In late October, Juche 89 (2000), a 200-strong delegation from the United States led by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang.
The mere fact that the Secretary of State of the United States, which claimed that it was the “only superpower,” was visiting Pyongyang for the first time in the history of the relations between the two countries was enough to strike the world with wonder.
As the hours went by, the world, which was keeping a watchful eye on her actions, was struck with a greater wonder; she was seen to change her brooches several times, seeming to indicate variations in her psychological state.
On the day of her arrival, she was wearing a brooch with the design of the Stars and Stripes.
Albright had a reputation for delivering a “delicate political message” to and skilfully handling her dialogue partners by means of different shapes of brooches.
This brooch was a symbol of the “dignity” of the United States.
The next day Chairman Kim Jong Il held talks with her.
He provided clear answers and conclusions to all her questions concerning DPRK-US relations, complex and sensitive international issues, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and on the Korean peninsula, and the missile issue, which was of greatest concern to the United States.
Albright explicitly expressed her admiration for her dialogue partner, as if she had forgotten that she was having formal talks, saying that Kim Jong Il’s clear-cut answers were really fascinating.
These words were not an expression of diplomatic etiquette but spoken from her heart.
As a token of her feelings, she wore a heart-shaped brooch at a banquet she hosted in honour of Kim Jong Il.
This brooch was a symbol of her respect and admiration for her dialogue partner.
Charles Kartman, who was a member of her entourage and a special envoy to the Korean peninsula peace talks, said that the Secretary of State was very satisfied with the result of her visit to Pyongyang and in particular she was fascinated by Kim Jong Il.
In the report that she submitted to President Clinton after her return home, Albright wrote:
Kim Jong Il is completely different from the type we have so far imagined.
His theory is systematic and logical.
He is not only well versed in the current complicated international issues but also correct in his analysis and judgement of the issues, and broad-minded, magnanimous and clear-cut in dealing with all affairs.
It is entertaining to have talks with Kim Jong Il, for he listens to his dialogue partner to the last in a prudent manner and with great attention, and shows himself to be magnanimous.
It is, accordingly, inevitable to be drawn deep into his theories and assertions during negotiations.
All in all, I could not but admit that Kim Jong Il is a leader, clear in theory in the political, economic, cultural, military, diplomatic and all other wide-ranging fields, definite in confidence, broad-minded, meticulous and many-sided.
Albright was with Kim Jong Il for 14 hours during her short sojourn in Pyongyang.
When she appeared at the airport at the start of her return home, she wore a cowboy-shaped brooch, the symbol of peace, which was glittering in the sunlight.