Michael Malice, author of Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il, joined Breitbart News Tonight on Thursday and speculated that a tentative meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was arranged via back channels.
“It’s always very complicated,” Malice said. “So there’s a few factors that go into this. First of all, if Trump had refused, then they could go to face the world and say, ‘Look, we’re the doves. We’re the peace-seeking ones. We want diplomacy — even though we threatened to nuke Guam last summer. Let’s forget about that. We’re the diplomats, and Trump’s the warmonger.’ So that’s one big move that they made.”
“Second of all,” he continued, “it could be that King Jong-un thinks he’s so bright that he’s going to be able to run circles around Trump in a negotiation, and third, so much of this stuff is behind the scenes. When North Korea was negotiating with Japan, the negotiator wouldn’t even give his real name. We don’t know what went on behind the scenes to make this meeting about to happen, and I doubt very highly that Kim Jong-un asked publicly, and Trump agreed publicly, without there having been behind the scenes groundwork laid. That seems absurd to me.”
Malice mocked CNN’s analysis of tentative talks between Trump and Kim. “They’re on CNN saying, ‘This is happening in May. There’s no way for Trump to get ready on such short notice for a denuclearization plan.’ They don’t think these plans have been in the works for decades or at least many years? What are they talking about?”
“We don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes with China,” said Malice.
Breitbart News Tonight co-host Rebecca Mansour concurred with Malice. “I mean, China pulls [North Korea’s] strings anyways. It seems as if something must have happened, the way that this whole thing has gone down, its timing with the steel tariffs. It feels as if there’s something bigger at play.”
North Korea’s leadership does not suffer harm from the country’s economic hardship, said Malice. “When the economy is a mess, it’s the people that hurt. [Kim Jong-un] is not hurting. He has not lost any weight. He’s still waddling around. So whenever the economy hurts, it’s the people that are starved, and then he gets to go on TV and say, ‘Look at these sanctions that the U.S. imperials put on us; it’s their fault that you’re hungry. They tried to kill you in the Korean War … and they can’t wait to come back here and kill you all. So would you rather be hungry, or do you want me to give them concessions?'”
“[Kim Jong-un] always puts the harm on the people,” Malice said.
Malice recalled Kim Jong-il’s political calculus in allowing between one and two million North Koreans to starve to death to maintain his legitimacy. “During the nineties, when they stopped having food, they refused to let the U.N. in to feed people because Kim Jong-il said having the U.N. feed the people would make the government superfluous. So they chose to let one to two million people die. This was an intentional genocide, just like Stalin did in Ukraine. They would have no problem killing so many of their own citizens. They did it very recently. That is something to weigh.”
Malice contrasted today’s North Korea with the post-Stalin Soviet Union. “Frankly, the Soviet Union cared more about its people — especially toward the end — than North Korea. It was in 1956 when Khrushchev said Stalin is the devil and began to close down the gulags. The Soviet Union was hardly a paradise, but compared to North Korea, the level of freedom was far higher, and the level of information and the standard of living was far higher. In the Soviet Union, my parents would wait in line for hours for food, but there was food.”
Malice described himself as optimistic about the possibility of movement towards peace on the Korean Peninsula. “I’m in favor of any time we sit down and talk, as long as it’s not used purely as a show for their propaganda. If they’re meeting in some neutral space, and even if they make some kind of [deal], such as the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War, even that is a tangible step towards peace on the peninsula.”
A “possibility of diplomacy” was opening up, said Malice. “This is unprecedented. No sitting American president has ever met with a North Korean leader. … The Korean War isn’t over. There’s only an armistice. The North and the South are technically at war. It’s a very easy concession from both sides to sign a peace treaty, even though it doesn’t mean anything because they’re already effectively at peace. That would still be a big deal in terms of moving the world forward.”
Breitbart News Tonight airs Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.