The big question on the opening Tuesday of the North-South Korean summit in Pyongyang was whether or not North Korean leader Kim Jong-il would condescend to welcome South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun in person, or whether he would delegate that ceremonial chore to his much lower-ranking No 2.
Actually, second-ranking Kim Young-nam, who as chairman of the presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly is titular head of state, was the first to receive Roh, standing beside him in an open limousine as they waved at the crowds on the way to the red carpet stretched across the wide avenue in front of the cultural hall in the heart of the North Korean capital.
Minutes before, Kim Jong-il answered the question as pool television, live from Pyongyang, caught him getting out of the back seat of his own black limo, walking around an honor guard and standing at the end of the carpet. Television anchors and correspondents were appropriately impressed. In Hong Kong, a pair of CNN anchors spoke in hushed voices, as if they were right there, fearful of interrupting an event they repeatedly called “historic” as they began referring to Kim Jong-il by one of his favorite and oldest titles, “Dear Leader”. [complete article]