Kim Jong-il’s personal sushi chef says he recently met with his son, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who told him he has “no intention” of going to war with the West and only orders illegal missile launches when he gets “exasperated.”
A man using the alias Kenji Fujimoto, who is known as the elder Kim’s longtime personal sushi chef from 1989-2001, says he recently visited Pyongyang at the younger Kim’s behest. Speaking to the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, Fujimoto claimed that Kim was exceedingly worried about his public reputation in Japan, and was looking to use Fujimoto as an informal diplomat, as Japan and North Korea have no formal diplomatic relations.
“I have no intention of waging war. It’s that whenever a diplomat tries to approach the U.S., they come up with unreasonable demands. They aggravate me, so I launch missiles,” Fujimoto quoted Kim as saying about recent missile launches, all of which violate United Nations sanctions. The most recent missile launch occurred Saturday – a submarine missile launch considered by South Korean intelligence to be a failure but touted in North Korea as an “eye-opening success.”
Fujimoto claims the remarks Kim made occurred at a dinner in Pyongyang on April 25, along with Kim’s sister and a close aide. Fujimoto notes that Kim drives a Mercedes Benz. “I felt like he wanted me to serve as a bridge between North Korea and the Japanese government,” he added, noting that he specifically asked how the Japanese people viewed him.
Fujimoto was in town to celebrate the birthday of the founder of North Korean communism and Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung. On that day, the younger Kim also ordered a missile launch, one American intelligence officials deemed an “embarrassing failure.”
There is little indication in North Korean state media that Fujimoto’s claim that Kim has “no intention” of starting a war is true. On Wednesday, state newspaper Rodong Sinmun published an editorial, once again threatening to incinerate the United States with a hydrogen bomb, which Pyongyang claims to possess. “If the U.S. dares provoke the DPRK in disregard of the reality, it will only meet the catastrophic disaster in which its land may be reduced to debris by the latter’s nuclear strike of justice,” the article reads. “The U.S. mainland is bound to be exposed to a nuclear disaster and the day of its ruin on our planet is also bound to come earlier,” the column continued.
This rhetoric is all-too-common in North Korean propaganda. The country’s media has threatened a nuclear strike on Manhattan in recent memory and depicted a nuclear strike on Washington, D.C., in a video broadcast nationwide. A March column in the Rodong warned:
In response to the US frenzied hysteria for unleashing a nuclear war, we have fully transferred our army from the form of military response to the form of delivering a pre-emptive strike and we state resolutely about the readiness to deliver a pre-emptive nuclear strike.
The rhetoric has become so belligerent that Russian diplomats have warned Pyongyang that continued use of such elevated language will result in an international invasion of North Korea to prevent its government from engaging in pre-emptive strikes against its enemies.
South Korean intelligence agents are warning that North Korea is increasingly closer to its fifth nuclear test. Its fourth occurred in January; North Korean media claimed it was a test of a hydrogen bomb. Seismology experts disagreed, arguing that the subsequent quake was too small to have come from such a weapon and, instead, suggesting that the weapon must have been a hybrid fusion-fission bomb.
There is little indication of what a fifth nuclear test would look like, though officials say preparations are complete for such a launch. President Park Geun-hye of South Korea herself confirmed the news, though she did not give reporters any information regarding why she believes the test is coming.