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"Kim Jong Il Appears Unemotional at Summit"

Posted October. 03, 2007 03:14,   


The world media reported North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s greeting of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun in front of a culture hall in Pyongyang on Tuesday. CNN televised the moment when President Roh crossed the border that divides the Koreas and the meeting between the two Korean leaders.

Meanwhile, most media pointed out the contrast with the previous summit, saying that Kim Jong Il did not show the same passion he showed at the airport when he met former President Kim Dae-jung back in June 2000.

Kim Jong Il’s Unexpected Appearance-

Like the first round of summit meeting, it was unknown when the reclusive North Korean leader would greet President Roh. When Kim Jong Il appeared in front of a culture hall, foreign media reported the breaking news.

Japan’s Kyodo News hurriedly reported, “Kim Jong Il Greets President Roh in Pyongyang.” Germany`s DPA news agency wrote, “It was unexpected that the reclusive North Korean leader showed up at the greeting ceremony.”

CCTV, the Chinese state media, focused on President Roh’s visit to the North by car for the first time as a South Korean president, crossing the Military Demarcation Line.

The New York Times reported that there is both optimism and pessimism over the usefulness of the meeting, with a picture of smiling Roh and tight-lipped Kim standing together.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Japanese governments expect that the summit talks could include discussions on North Korean nuclear and human rights issues.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Tom Casey said that denuclearization on the Korean peninsula will be a main agenda of the summit meeting between the two Korean leaders on Wednesday. He said on Monday at a press conference that the meeting would not bring dramatic changes in the basic framework of the six-party talks over the nuclear issue.

Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said on Tuesday, “We hope that the summit talks can contribute to denuclearization on the peninsula and to bringing peace and stability in the region.”

The world media’s impressions of this meeting were quite different from that of the first summit because of Kim Jong Il’s unemotional face.

The Associated Press reported,” There was no passion on Kim Jong Il’s face. It was a stark contrast with the impressive meeting with former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung when Kim Jong Il greeted him with a smile and clapping, softening his image toward South Korea and the world.”

The AP also reported, “Unlike Kim Jong Il, who clapped while walking slowly with no emotion on his face, President Roh appeared very happy, waving his hand with a smile.”

The Washington Post said, ”Lame-duck President Roh visited unpredictable North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. For President Roh, who has low approval ratings, a change in public opinion is what his ruling party badly needs.”

Japanese media’s reports were relatively calmer and cooler than their reports during the first inter-Korean summit meeting. This indicates that Japanese expectations for this summit are far less than the previous one. For example, Japanese newspapers printed an extra edition during the first round of talks, but this time, they just covered the story on the front page.