Thursday, August 19, 2004

International Politics - Uppers and... whatever

You know you've made it as a global mover and shaker when you crack it for a mention on KCNA (Korean Central News Agency), the official mouthpiece of everyone's favourite Stalinist state:

Kim Yong Nam Meets Australian Foreign Minister
Pyongyang, August 18 (KCNA) -- Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, met and had a friendly talk with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who paid a courtesy call on him at the Mansudae Assembly Hall Wednesday. Present there was the party of the foreign minister.
Kim Yong Il, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, and officials concerned were on hand.


Kim Yong Il?? Kim Yong Il?? He got so close to meeting the Dear Leader, just a single letter off.

It seems that Downer's trip was largely a failure ("Downer N Korea mission fails" declared The Oz). No big diplomatic moves, no closer to restarting six-nation talks, no improvement in human rights for North Koreans, and not even a visit to the head honcho. It was probably not the smartest move to talk about the capacity for Pyongyang to launch a nuclear attack on Sydney just days before leaving, but regardless it seems that the DPRK are not terribly responsive to the outside world.

Before they were famous: Downer in his time as leader of the Federal Liberal Party.

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