SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea’s autocratic leader knows how to wield power but was puzzled on Wednesday that South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun could not decide by himself whether to accept an offer to continue their summit one more day.
In the end Roh rejected the offer during the second ever summit between the two states, still technically at war, and which will end on Thursday as planned.
While Roh is in the final months of his presidency, limited to one term by the constitution, Kim has been in power since 1994, inheriting the position and an accompanying personality cult from his father.
The following is a South Korean pool report of part of their conversation:
Kim Jong-il: “It’ll be good to push your schedule today to tomorrow, take your time and sit down, loosen your belt and have lunch tomorrow ... Let’s delay your schedule by a day ... How about you return in the morning (Friday)?”
Roh Moo-hyun: “There are two places (in the president’s office) which are more powerful than me. I think I have to discuss it with security and protocol.”
Kim: “The president can’t make the decision? All that’s needed is for the president to decide.”
Roh: “I decide on the big things. I can’t decide on the small things.”