The North Korean dictator seems to be in control of both his government and his personal faculties, U.S. national security adviser James Jones said Sunday. Reports in South Korean media and elsewhere have suggested Kim’s health is failing, but Jones, referring to Bill Clinton’s recent visit to the Hermit Kingdom, said “obviously we didn’t have any time to make an assessment there. But he [Kim] seemed in control of his faculties.”
After Clinton returned, Jones debriefed the former president as part of an ongoing process.
“Meet the Press”:
MR. GREGORY: ... But first, General James Jones, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.
GEN. JAMES JONES (RET.): Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
MR. GREGORY: Big news; North Korea, the two American journalists back home. This was the scene as it played out in Los Angeles on Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton accompanying the two journalists back home. He has since come back east and you have been able to fully debrief him. What can you say you have now learned about North Korea and specifically Kim Jong Il?
GEN. JONES: Well, I think that first of all I want to emphasize this was a private mission. And we can get into that if you’d like. But this was a private mission where—in, in which there were no official or unofficial messages sent by this government or by President Obama. So we celebrate the fact that we’ve had these—this great reunion and—but we can say that—we can also report that the president did—former president did spend time with the Korean leader, that he appeared to be in control of his government and, and his—he sounded very, very reasoned in terms of his conversation.
MR. GREGORY: His health is a big issue, right?
GEN. JONES: His health is a big issue, but obviously we didn’t have any time to make an assessment there. But he seemed in control of his faculties. And the president, the former president was able to engage him on a number of subjects. As you know, he had very—relationship with his father and—when he was in the—when he was—when the president was in office, and so he was able to convey his own, his personal views with regard to the importance of the issues of the moment, which is making sure that nuclear weapons do not appear on the Korean Peninsula.