Just how much do North Korean officials love New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson? Enough to let him and media-mate Wolf Blitzer jump on the phone live from Pyongyang after a critical Sunday, December 19th meeting with General Pak Rim-su, in charge of both the DMZ and Korean War armistice.
Richardson tells Blitzer that even though the idea of a “red phone” hook-up between North Korea and South Korea has been previously discussed, it was never really properly pursued. During today’s meeting, Rim-su told the Governor North Korea was receptive to this notion.
Richardson separately suggested to Rim-su that a military commission featuring representatives from North Korea, South Korea and the United States be set up to monitor future developments in the contentious Western Sea region. As a further indication of just how much North Korea likes guys from the U.S. with beards and measured speech like Richardson and Blitzer, Rim-su also offered to return to the U.S. the remains of several hundred American soldiers killed during the Korean War.
Today’s report on CNN is the latest of several highly unusual phone dispatches by Blitzer from the Hermit Kingdom. In the winter of 2008 and earlier this fall, for the Worker’s Party 65th anniversary celebrations, North Korea allowed reporters to Skype, tweet and email. But the Blitzer–Richardson combo is turning out to be an international pairing in the showplace capital on par with that of Hennessy French cognac and DHL.
The North Koreans even found time to joke with Blitzer, suggesting that he is as “powerful as Obama” because he, like the 44th President, has his own Situation Room.