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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 15th April 2016 > ‘KIM JONG UN IS NOT CRAZY’

‘KIM JONG UN IS NOT CRAZY’

Why the U.S. may be dangerously wrong about the North Korean leader and his nukes

@BroderJonathan

ON A COLD AFTERNOON in February, several former American officials hurried to the Hilton hotel in Berlin, a city long known for its Cold War spies and intrigue. They had traveled there for a private meeting with senior representatives from North Korea, the most reclusive government in the world. Over the next two days, the Americans gathered in one of the hotel’s modern conference rooms and listened to a surprising new proposal. Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, the North Koreans said, wanted to resume negotiations in hopes of ending decades of hostility between the two countries.

The timing was significant. A month earlier, the U.S. had agreed to talks to formally end the Korean War, but that effort collapsed when Washington demanded that the North’s nuclear weapons program be part of the discussions. A few days later, the Hermit Kingdom, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), set off what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb at an underground site in the country’s rugged northeastern mountains. That nuclear test, the country’s fourth, left U.S. officials scrambling for new ways to deal with the threat from one of the world’s last Communist regimes.

EYES FRONT: Kim Jong Un’s military has conducted four nuclear tests as part of his strategy to prove North Korea is a nuclear state not to be trifled with.
ED JONES/AFP/GETTY
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Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, the North Koreans said, wanted to resume negotiations in hopes of ending decades of hostility between the two countries. Jonathan Broder investigates why the US might be wrong about Kim Jong and his nuclear intentions.
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