Meeting Kim Il Sung in His Last Weeks

April 15th, 2012
23

The first (non-communist) Americans to meet North Korea’s president Kim Il Sung likely were journalists Harrison Salisbury of The New York Times, and Selig Harrison, then of The Washington Post, in 1972. Congressman Stephen Solarz was the first U.S. public official to meet him in 1980, and Rev. Billy Graham later met him in 1992

You have reached your limit of 5 free articles this month. Subscribe today for unlimited access. Prices start from just $2.88 per week
Existing users, please sign in here:
Remember Me

Recommended for You

Two Koreas to resume joint excavation of ancient palace

Two Koreas to resume joint excavation of ancient palace

South Korea’s Ministry of Unification on Monday announced plans to resume the inter-Korean project of conducting an archaeological excavation of Manwoldae Palace in the North Korean border city of K…

July 24th, 2014
1
How North Korea has been arming Palestinian militants for decades

How North Korea has been arming Palestinian militants for decades

Pyongyang has fewer foreign embassies than many other capitals, but the DPRK’s showcase city is home to one that even Washington lacks: Palestine. Since the early 1960s, North Korea has staunchly…

June 25th, 2014
1

About the Author

Mark Barry

Dr. Mark P. Barry is an independent Asian affairs analyst who has followed U.S. - DPRK relations for the past 22 years. He visited North Korea twice and met the late President Kim Il Sung in 1994, and has appeared on CNN to discuss North Korea. From 2005-06, he helped found and direct the Asia Pacific Peace Institute in Washington, DC. He also assisted the convening of the first-ever meeting of legislators from China and Taiwan in Tokyo in June 1989, under the auspices of the International Security Council. Dr. Barry has spoken on U.S.-DPRK relations before the Korean Political Science Association, Korea Institute of National Unification, and the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii, among others. He received his Ph.D. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and his M.A. in national security studies from Georgetown University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in international relations and global management, and is also associate editor of the International Journal on World Peace quarterly.

Join the discussion

  • James_C

    This is a great account.  Great piece Mark, thanks very much for the contribution. Really interesting to hear how sharp he was in his last days.

  • James_C

    This is a great account.  Great piece Mark, thanks very much for the contribution. Really interesting to hear how sharp he was in his last days.

  • ibisbill

    “While this statement [no beggars in North Korea] seems laughable in the context of the severe food
    shortages that North Korea would endure from 1996 on, it was not a
    ludicrous thing to hear about the North in 1994.” Ahem, why was it not ludicrous in 1994? Where did the visitors go outside Pyongyang? Were they free to walk around Pyongyang without a minder? How long did they spend in North Korea? The author is naive at best.

    • Ted Brown

      You have to remember ibisbill that food shortages, i.e. the famine, didn’t really start until late 1995, over one year on from his visit.
      Also at that time, walking around Pyongyang was a bit easier than it was now.  When WCW hosted their wrestling tournament in PY the year after, many of the wresters skipped the hotel to look around the city..

  • ibisbill

    “While this statement [no beggars in North Korea] seems laughable in the context of the severe food
    shortages that North Korea would endure from 1996 on, it was not a
    ludicrous thing to hear about the North in 1994.” Ahem, why was it not ludicrous in 1994? Where did the visitors go outside Pyongyang? Were they free to walk around Pyongyang without a minder? How long did they spend in North Korea? The author is naive at best.

    • Ted Brown

      You have to remember ibisbill that food shortages, i.e. the famine, didn’t really start until late 1995, over one year on from his visit.
      Also at that time, walking around Pyongyang was a bit easier than it was now.  When WCW hosted their wrestling tournament in PY the year after, many of the wresters skipped the hotel to look around the city..

  • Afostercarter

    For full disclosure: Was it not the case that this trip was basically organised by the Unification Church? Not that this detracts at all from the value of this fascinating account. But it does seem a salient fact, and as such should not go unsaid.

    • Mark Barry

      Mr. Foster-Carter, thank you for your comment. The Summit Council was founded by Rev. Moon. Obviously his trip to the North in 1991 laid the basis for later cooperation, including Pyonghwa Motors. The 1994 trip to NK itself was co-organized by Summit’s director, Antonio Betancourt, and President Carazo, both of whom had met Kim Il Sung 5 times. BTW, great piece you wrote for the BBC yesterday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17701230

      • http://twitter.com/nknewsorg NK NEWS

        Thanks for highlighting that article Mark, we missed it somehow!

  • Afostercarter

    For full disclosure: Was it not the case that this trip was basically organised by the Unification Church? Not that this detracts at all from the value of this fascinating account. But it does seem a salient fact, and as such should not go unsaid.

    • Mark Barry

      Mr. Foster-Carter, thank you for your comment. The Summit Council was founded by Rev. Moon. Obviously his trip to the North in 1991 laid the basis for later cooperation, including Pyonghwa Motors. The 1994 trip to NK itself was co-organized by Summit’s director, Antonio Betancourt, and President Carazo, both of whom had met Kim Il Sung 5 times. BTW, great piece you wrote for the BBC yesterday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17701230

      • http://twitter.com/nknewsorg NK News

        Thanks for highlighting that article Mark, we missed it somehow!

  • Pingback: Weekly News Brief – 18 April 2012 « NORTH KOREA NEWS BRIEF

  • Pingback: NK NEWS BRIEF | April 18, 2012 « Liberty in North Korea | BLOG

  • http://psjournal.tumblr.com/ P’yongan Society Journal

    “I do not believe his answers were ghost-written, but were largely dictated by Kim, because the tone had the same unmistakable authority as when I heard him speak.” 
    I recently talked to a Chinese man who met Kim Il Sung on seven occasions and he also mentioned his distinctive voice. “He sounded like a movie star, even in Chinese.” 

    Thanks for posting! 

  • http://psjournal.tumblr.com/ P’yongan Society Journal

    “I do not believe his answers were ghost-written, but were largely dictated by Kim, because the tone had the same unmistakable authority as when I heard him speak.” 
    I recently talked to a Chinese man who met Kim Il Sung on seven occasions and he also mentioned his distinctive voice. “He sounded like a movie star, even in Chinese.” 

    Thanks for posting! 

  • Pingback: Threat of Finlandization by China Should Spur Korean Reunification | My Blog

  • Pingback: Reflections on missed opportunities of Kim Il Sung’s death | NK News - North Korea News

  • Pingback: How South Korea and America wrecked chance for reconciliation with the North | samacharyug.com

  • Pingback: How South Korea and America wrecked chance for reconciliation with the North | Hihid News

  • Pingback: LED Lighting News » Blog Archive » How South Korea and America wrecked chance for reconciliation with the North

  • Pingback: How South Korea and America wrecked chance for reconciliation with the North | Dantengfang 蛋疼坊

  • Pingback: Mark P. Barry: Brief Bio | Mark P. Barry