WASHINGTON Oct 5 (TNS): North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is a rational politician and the US needs to understand that to deal with the nuclear-armed country, a top Central Intelligence Agency Korea expert said Wednesday.
“Beyond the bluster, Kim Jong-Un is a rational actor,” said Yong Suk Lee, the deputy assistant director of the CIA´s Korea Mission Center.
“We have a tendency in this country to underestimate his conservatism.”
“He wants to rule for a long time and die in his own bed,” Lee said at a conference on the CIA at George Washington University.
US politicians including President Donald Trump have repeatedly painted Pyongyang´s strongman as irrational and “crazy.”
But Lee said Kim´s focus is to stay in power, as shown by the brutal murder in Malaysia in February of his half brother Kim Jong-Nam, which has been blamed on Pyongyang agents.
“All politics is local,” he said of the North Korean milieu.
The country´s long history of being surrounded by greater powers, too, means that the country is constantly on the defensive, and its leaders play that up.
“North Korea is a political organism that thrives on confrontation,” Lee said.
But Kim´s fierce defense of his position and his combativeness against Washington does not mean he will act irrationally now that he has the capacity to fire a nuclear tipped missile at the United States.
“Waking up and deciding to nuke Los Angeles is not in his interest to survive,” he said.