Kim Jong-Un's Surprising Rise to Power: Washington Post Journalist Anna Fifield


This is the intelligence matters podcast with former acting director of the Michael Morell, sponsored by Raytheon. I set out to find every person who had ever met Kim Jon. I went and met several times with the Japanese sushi. Chef who had worked in the Royal household, while Kim German was a boy, the win the sushi shift met Kim Jong on for the first time they were are lined up to greet the two little generals Kim, John Lennon, his older, brother. These said that Kim Jong Chul was relatively coming and shook his hand and acted normally but Kim Jong own like list. Add onto his eyes and tried to stay down this forty year old man. And like the set himself over him. We, she said was very odd at the time. As the leader of North Korea. What are Kim Jong Len's goals? What are his objectives? What is he? He wants one thing he wants to stay in power know, these autocrats dictators by nature are paranoid bunch. He's constantly thinking about how he keeps his position the nuclear program, the executions, all of that is designed about maintaining his leadership of North Korea and his family's Plum position. Can you envision a set of circumstances by which he is willing to give up because nuclear program, I cannot I can't imagine him feeling secure enough to give them up. I can see him trading away. Some of his capability in the course of this process of things go well, but also, you know, it's very early days, you know, maybe down the line ain't or anything is possible. But right now, I can't see it. Anna Fifield is the Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post previously. She was the post Tokyo bureau chief, she was also the correspondent in Seoul for the financial times, she is widely known as one of the most Thornton of journalists writing on North Korea. She has visited North Korea, a dozen times Anna last week published a book the great successor on North Korean leader. Kim Jong UN I just sat down with Anna to talk about her new book and all things North Korea. I Michael morale and this is intelligence matters. So Anna, welcome to intelligence matters. It is a great to have you on the show. Thank you. I'm so happy to be here. So your book the great successor was published last week. It's fascinating. It's a must read I think for anyone interested in North Korea. And it has one of the best subtitles, that I've ever seen the divinely perfect destiny of brilliant, comrade, Kim Jong UN. It sounds like they actually wrote that. Yeah. We'll all those are all words that the North Koreans have said at once to age of we just took a little liberty in arranging them in that order. It's wonderful. I'd love to start with something that struck me right off the bat, which is the cover of the book. It's bright red with a caricature of Kim Jong UN. Why that design? Yes. This was the publishes design and their decision based on what they know about the book world. And I don't. But I think it kind of I mean, the whole thesis of the book is that he's not a cartoon. Character that he is somebody that we ought to be taking seriously, having said that there is something wacky about him. I think this, this taps into the bizarre side of it. So you reconstruct his past all the way up to the present, and I want to get into all of that in detail before doing that. I want to ask you a couple of questions about the book and I think the first one is what drew you to writing about him. I had been covering North Korea for some years, and I did not think that Kim Jong UN could do it that he would be able to perpetuate this system, which should by rights have collapsed, many years before. I mean, partly because it was so such an an acronym stick system, but also because he was so young and inexperienced and I couldn't imagine how he would have the wherewithal to do it. And how the old God had served his grandfather and his father and his still very much there Pyongyang how they would tolerate it. So partly, it was just like this fascination of how had he managed to do it. The first time I went back to Pyongyang under his reign. I was stunned to see this showcase capital, and is showcase capital. But it was looking so much better he had managed to give the showcase of makeover. So I wanted to go and report out and show how he had actually managed to defile these expectations. How did you go about writing the book where did you go? Who did you talk to, to the extent that you can share that with us? How long did it take? You know. How did you go about this? Yeah, it took about two years. I set out to find every person who had ever met Kim Jong-Un. So I was living in Japan, I went and met several times with the Japanese sushi. Chef who had worked in the Royal household, while Kim Jong UN was a boy, I found his aunt, and uncle who had been his guardians, and Switzerland while he was at school there, and who had defected to the United States, and I convinced him to talk to me is the only time I've ever talked on the record about Kim Jong UN, and what he was like as a child. But then, you know, often you know there are some people in Switzerland still who have met him, the teachers, the school classmates, but after that after he returns to North Korea when he's sixteen years old, the trail really goes cold, you know, he went into the North Korean equivalent of. Point, and then seemed to be on this kind of dictatorial apprenticeships for ten years while he was training to be his father's successor. So after that, it became more difficult, but I did try to find anybody who had met him after he took over, you know, diplomats had shaken his hand one time and things. No encounter was, too. Trivial as I looked for clues into this man, but then in two thousand eighteen it suddenly became a whole lot easier because, you know, it seemed like everybody had met him. So did you travel to North Korea to research the book I was travelling to North Korea in the course of my job anyway. But the whole time I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to write this, and I was looking for insights into him into not, you know, not so much him because obviously Xs very limited to say the least but into how the city Poung the home of the regime had changed the kinds of changes. He had made with the economy to show how he. Retained control. So, yeah, there were a lot of clues to be gleaned from Pyongyang. And when you went to North Korea, while writing the book, did they know you were writing a book. They didn't know I was writing a book, but they knew that I was the Washington Post correspondent, and I was there to report for the Washington Post. I've always been up front about what I'm doing. And who I am so so what is it like to travel there as a reporter? It is so frustrating because we're so excited. It's difficult to get into North Korea. So when you get your very pleased to be able to go in, and very hopeful that you'll be able to get some insight into how the system operates and then once you're there, you're frustrated at every turn because, you know, I have been to Cumulus songs fake birthplace. Seven times. I have never gotten any news out of it. You know, like it's very difficult to find new things to find out really what the truth is they just want you to see the, the myth now you mentioned that you have usually have two minders a good minor in a bad minder. What do you mean by that? Yeah. So there's always I mean North Koreans always travel everywhere, impairs, because they need to keep an eye on each other, as well as to keep an eye on me. So there is always yet to minders. Sometimes it's a driver in a mind, whatever but yeah, I had good cop bad call. One of them whose job was to say no to every request, and I tried to make my request reasonable it was like can I interview an economics professor at the university and things? And it was always no, no, no. And then there was one guy who was more jovial, and yeah. Yeah. Isn't the same minders each time? So it's possible to build rapport never have the same mind as for that exact reason they don't want us to build a report them. Interesting. So you've travelled there many times, I think it doesn't time. What's the most striking thing that you've ever seen? Oh, the most striking thing striking what, what are the things that really stand out to you about your travels there. I think you know we see so much about North Korea, and so many pictures and things, and we know that the country is very poor. But there are many places that are very poor. The thing that surprises me and that feels palpable. When you're there is kind of how afraid people you can feel that people they don't, if they see a foreigner outside a walking towards them, you know, they'll cross the street or look down. They don't want anything to do with you, because it's just so dangerous. So you're as a reporter. My job is to go out and talk to people. I never tried to talk to people in North Korea. Because I am simply endangering those people, I you know, they risk you put them under the risk of put them under. I won't get any thing from them. I will jeopardize them the mind doesn't everybody else around reported. So I get my real reporting from North Korea from outside the country from people who've just escaped, you know week before. Living in hiding in China or somewhere. So Anna want to jump into the book itself, and I want to start with its protagonist Kim Jong UN broadly speaking. How would you describe him as a person? He is a very ruthless and shrewd person. He you know, when he came in there was this tendency to view him like a joke, like a cartoon character, you know, everybody from John McCain to President Trump, calling him some version of crazy, but he is not crazy. He has acted in a way that is very calculated and rational to be able to hold onto power there. And many of the things he has done have been very brutal like having people executed. But that kind of behavior makes sense. If you're totalitarian autocrat trying to keep a hold of power, one of the things I looked at, you know, I looked at lauded his child hood and the kind of upbringing he head, and he had such a dysfunctional, ebb normal childhood. He was. Cloistered onto this compound in Pyongyang or other Royal residences around the country. He didn't have any relationship with his other like half siblings. He only knew his older, brother and younger sister. So he didn't have a chance to act normally with other children to play. He didn't go to school. He had shooter's home. So he didn't socialize really in a way or didn't learn to play nice in a way that other, you know, normal children did so looking at it. I think it would have been very difficult for him to grow up kind of any other way than he did. How did that early parts of his childhood end up shaping him? Do you think? I mean he has been used to be treated like a little demi-god from the earliest age on his eighth birthday. He was presented with a military general's uniform complete with gold buttons, and epaulettes and things and he was announced as his father success, Dan, and there were real general's at that birthday party who were saluting him. And. Bowing to him and deferring to him from that age. So as his aunt told me like from that day on, it was impossible for anybody to treat him normally because he had the sense of entitlement, and everybody else around him was had been told that he would be inheriting this family dentistry. You toll an interesting story about the Japanese sushi, chef and that moment. Right. Can you talk about that? Yeah, that's right. Win the sushi shift met Kim Jong UN for the first time, he they were lined up to in a Laker receiving line to greet the two little generals Kim Jong UN and his older brother. And he said that Kim Jong child the oldest son of that side of the family was relatively forthcoming and shook his hand and acted normally, but Kim Jong UN we like list, add into his eyes, and like tried to stay down this forty year old man, and like assert himself over him. We, she said, was very odd at the time, and then he spends this time in Switzerland about five years. Right. What is that like for him? And how did that shape him? Yeah. I mean in some ways he was living a great lifestyle there in it. He was like in any kind of like spoiled expec hit. He was going off to Paris to Disneyland. He was swimming in the French Mediterranean, going to Italy and eating pizza, and doing all these enjoying all of these benefits of living in Europe. And they clearly had money to fund the children's lifestyle there. But at the same time, he was living very normal existence compared to what he was living in Pyongyang where he did live in a palace and was treated in this very differential way. Once he got to Switzerland. He was posing as the son of North Korean diplomats. He was going to an ordinary school. He struggled and school, partly because of the language difficulties, and he stuck together with other immigrant kids there. They were his main friends, so it was not a particularly fun experience for him. I think so many people thought when he came to power that he would be different. Kind of North Korean leader because of this formative experience in a liberal democracy. I concluded the exact opposite was the case in that he his experiences in Switzerland would have reinforced to him that if it wasn't for this system that he grew up in North Korea. You know, if he was out in the real world, he wouldn't be special at all. He'd be normal he'd be nobody, you know, he would not be fated as this little demi-god. Like he was used to dedicate lottery searching, the book to Kim Jong UN. But you also take a look at his family and ancestors and ask you, a couple of questions about them. Maybe starting with his grandfather Kim Il song talking about him a little bit, and the impact that he may have had on Kim Jong on. Yes. So Kim Jong Il, Kim Il song was the founding president of North Korea installed by the Soviets after the end of World War Two, and he is very much associated with eve. Today with good times in North Korea that North Korea was relatively prosperous back. Then the economy was bigger than South Korea had strong benefactors on the Soviet Union and China as so even now you'll find escapees from North Korea who will think fondly remember fondly Kimmel song, but he started this personality, cold this, you know, propaganda that when way beyond anything that Soviets or melted on in China ever did and created this myth around the family that they were head this divine providence. Coming from a mythical mountain amount in North Korea could mount picture? So he started the system in very much wanted it to pass down the family line went to his son, Kim Jong Il. It was a very different kind of person. He was quite introverted and did not seem to enjoy, what has lot in life there, charisma. He did not. Have the charisma. Then come along comes Kim Jong UN number three, he's very much a carbon copy of Kim Il-Sung part of that is by design. He's really tried to like the weight gain and the haircut in the outfits and even his glasses and things. It's all very much vintage Cumulus song, because he wants to remind people of the good times and North Korea. And remind them over this provenance, which gives him his legitimacy, but it's striking house similar. Here's and personality to his grandfather, he's a very extroverted and gregarious charismatic, and how different he is from the from Kim number two Kim Jong Il who did not. He spoke in public. Only one time in seventeen years, and that was one single intense. So that's pretty savvy for a young man to think about playing to his people that way. Yeah. It is. I mean, part of the thing I wanted to try to figure out how does he know how to do this stuff, like is it a Nate? Did he just absorb it growing up in this system? Did he have advice? Is to tell him you know this. And it's, it's, it's still not clear. But what is clear is that he has proven much more canny than anybody ever expected. Do we know anything about the kind of relationship, he had with his grandfather, they I guess, Kim Jong UN was about ten when kim-il-sung died rice? Yeah, that's right. I mean he probably met him that he was not a secret like Kim Jong nam was. But there is no photograph of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong UN together when no photograph that's ever been made public. And we would expect it to be made public because of the strong family relationship, and through the costumer reporting, I discovered that, you know, this is one of the reasons why Kim Jong UN disliked, his uncle, junk tech so much, this is the uncle. He had executed at the end of two thousand thirteen he thought this uncool had been an impediment to him having that photo with his grandfather, having proper access to his grandfather and had kind of de legitimized him. In a way. And this was the execution that surprised everybody because the uncle was the one who was supposed to guide him. That's right. Supposed to be the regent keeping keeping tabs and helping him through. And then what about his relationship with his father, Kim Jong Il, what do we know about that? I mean, he did spend quite a lot of time with his father growing up Kim Jong nam and his cousin who lived with him in a kind of as a sister. They were complaining a lot. They can Jong Il was never there and their Royal household because he was off with this next family. There were quite jealous of that. So you're Kim Jong UN did have a relationship with his father growing up. And yes, seems to have been taken under his wing as the inheritor to end a couple more questions about his relatives. So his siblings, two, in particular, that I'd like to ask you about one is his sister commute. John and the other is Kim Yong-Nam could you talk about both of those and the way he interacted with them the way he saw them, and particularly with regard to, to Kim Jong nam, you know what led to his death? Yep. Kim Jong nam was the first one son of Kim Jong Il, which according to the Confucian hierarchies of Korean culture, he should have been the success, he should have taken over. But he did not partly, I think, because of his mother and Kim Jong UN's mother, they had very strong influences. But Kim Jong-Nam smother went to Moscow when he was only three years old and was kind of out of the picture for the rest of Kim Jong-Nam life there. Whereas Kim Jong UN's mother was very active there in Pyongyang. She was like factor first lady was really agitating, for her sons to, to be the successes, one of them to be the successes to this regime. So Kim Jong earn and Kim Jong nam had no relationship at all, as far as I can tell it's not certain that they ever even met each other, but still Kim Jong nam as the firstborn son of this bloodline, which is very important in Korean culture, could claim the right to be the leader of North Korea. So I think Kim. Jong earn viewed him as a real rival as somebody who could pose a threat to his role, even though Kim Jong-Nam showed no interest whatsoever in becoming the leader of North Korea. And that may have been, you know, one of the reasons why Kim Jong UN decided to have his brother, assassinated him, very gruesome, fashion, and Kuala Lumpur airport during the course of my reporting, I was told that him Jong-Nam had been an informant for the CIA and had been providing information to American intelligence operatives in southeast Asia. He'd been meeting them in Malaysia and Singapore to provide information on what he knew about the regime, and he did, you know, even though he had fallen out with his younger, brother. He's still did have good contacts in the regime. He's still met people at a high level. So it could be thought to have reasonable intelligent Kim Jong ruin found out about that. That would be another reason to Ed show. What movie? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So he is very much at a distance from Kim Jong UN. As opposed to his sister Camille Jong who's younger than him. And she is very much, you know, playing a supportive role to her brother making sure that his leadership everything runs smoothly. She is like his executive assistant choreographer, publicist all in one. So we've seen heard all of the summit's clearly working like she is the one who brings the pan out of her bag to so he can sign the agreements, and she's the one making sure everything runs smoothly. So her job is to make sure that her brother looks as good as possible. So he comes Kim Jong ruin comes back from Switzerland. And he begins the grooming process, a number of different ways and then his father dies, and he becomes the leader. And as you said, you thought he might not be able to sustain this, the remember many people who thought that way, I can tell you why was he able to do that. What did you conclude at the end of the day, I concluded he was able to do? By being very strategic and having a game plan, I think from the get-go, he laid out very early on this two tracks strategy Jin policy that he wanted to follow also something that his grandfather had started, but it formed by the wayside, so he very deliberately focused, first of all, on the nuclear program as a way to show a sign of strength, perhaps as a way to placate the military hardliners who may have had misgivings about this person who was supposedly, a martial, yet, had not spent any time at all in the military and as a way to fend off any threat from the United States. And so he made stonning progress and his nuclear program. You know, there was a lot of laughing at the idea, you know, when they were announcing that they would develop a hydrogen bomb, and they were building an intercontinental ballistic missile, but they did it, you know, there's credible proof that, that they did it. And so I think that was very definitely by design. And then now he is turning to the second part of that to track project, which is economic development that he is trying to grow the economy around the country a little bit so that he can say to the people of North Korea who he doesn't care about whatsoever. There's none of this is designed to raise the living standards for any good reasons of people of North Korea. It's all about him. Staying in power, but he wants to be able to say to them. Look, your life is getting better under my great leadership. So how has he changed as a ruler during his time in power, I think he's become much more confident. We have seen him. I, I was in Pyongyang in two thousand and sixteen for the Workers Party congress, which is the first time in a generation one of these communist party meetings had been called. And I just watched him standing there on a stage in front of three and a half thousand top brass and top party officials holding forth for. For well over an hour talking about his plans for North Korea. And he laid out a five-year economic plan, which had been done a North Korea for a long time, but I also thought was very bold because he was really staking his reputation on this. He was owning this policy. And so if it didn't work, he could be held accountable for it. So I think he is really growing into this role in his able to portray, you know, strength and confidence. And also able to like, turn on the charm, you know, after all of these years of threats and sabre-rattling and things we saw him trying to appear as this benevolent dictator coming out into the outside world in two thousand eighteen and trying to present himself as a totally reasonable responsible leader of a nuclear armed state, and somebody who should be viewed as an equivalent EPA peer of the. President of the United States, and China and South Korea is the focus on the economy paying off our living standards getting better. They are in general at tiny tiny bits, the for the majority of North Koreans. Life is still extremely hard. Many people do not have 'electricity. They do not have running water. They may not be starving, but they are malnourished. You know, it's unusual for people outside the big cities to get meat or other song forms of protein. So life is still very difficult for many people. But because he is tolerated, the growth of private markets and private enterprise North Korea. People are now much more than ever allowed to be entrepreneurs allowed to make their own money and to be independent of the state, so thanks to Kim during on simply tolerating, this not actually doing anything to encourage it. People are able to earn their own money and earn their own way to a better standard of living. Lately you actually talked about the class system in North Korea. And I found that interesting he talked about that a little bit. Yeah. North Korea has this very highly structured class system could Somboon where the society is broken up into three main categories. The people who are loyal to the regime, the people who are wavering in the middle, and then the people considered hostile, and they are people who, like may come from Christian background or have links to Japan or have collaborated with Japanese, you're many generations ago during the colonial period. And so those people do they may not actually be hostile. But they're part of a group that is considered a risk, and they are consigned that for life. And in those career, it's very easy to move down the classes to run a foul of the system. It's very difficult to work your way up the system in terms of like political standing, and everything is really decided according to this system like the people who are considered loyal. They go to Kim Il Sung university. The harvey. Out of North Korea. They get the best jobs. They live, well, they're the ones who get the food if there is to go around. So everything is dependent on your political loyalty to nearby Warren, you're born into this into this class system. So Anna as the leader of North Korea, what are Kim Jong Len's goals? What are his objectives? What does he want? He wants one thing he wants to stay in power that is his number one goal when he wakes up every morning. How does he maintain his grip on this regime in his family's position at the top of the society know these autocrats dictators by nature are paranoid bunch? He's constantly thinking about how he keeps his position. We think everything that he does the nuclear program, the executions, that lever Shing riches on the elite who keep him in power. Now, the economic improvements North Korea doesn't like to cool. Reforms because that implies something wrong with the system all of that is designed about maintaining his leadership of North Korea and his family's Plum position there. Why is the nuclear program so important to that? Right. Because I mean because he came in he was so unqualified. He didn't seem to have any qualification for the job apart from being the Ceylon of this family. But having this nuclear program is the ultimate weapon for the military, right? The military who may have had misgivings about him must have been thrilled to suddenly have the bomb, and he's fated them a lot. The lavish banquets concerts, where they are treated like Rockstars on North Korea. But also, and this is something I think is often really missed about North Korea. The nuclear program was a source of immense national pride for ordinary North Koreans even amongst those who detest the regime, and there's one person who really sticks in my mind. He was a science student at a university. In North Korea and he absolutely hated this regime. When Kim Jong took over him knew he had to escape because he just couldn't tolerate a third generation, but he described to me learning about the nuclear program in his physics class at university, and feeling so proud that North Korea had been able to develop this program that South Korea and Japan had not been able to. Why do you think Kim Jong came to the negotiating table when he did? What do you think he reached out when he did? I think it's a combination of two things partly its because as the North Koreans announced at the end of two thousand seventeen they had completed the missile program, he felt that he had gone as far as he needed to in terms of demonstrating this nuclear missile capability. But also, I think the maximum pressure campaign really did have an impact on on him because the Chinese who share this long border with North Korea and other, you know ninety percent of North Korea's trade goes to through China, the Chinese really started implementing sanctions, like they never done before because they were so worried that President Trump was serious about raining, down fire and fury on North Korea. The Chinese wanted to show that sanctions could work. So they enforce the sanctions, very strictly at the border and that began to hurt North Korea. I really for the first. Time for the first time. Yeah. And I think the combination of those things is what brought Kim Jong on show. One is, is coming to the table from a position of strength having the deterrence of a nuclear program, and the other is from weakness. Right from the sanctions, biting. Yeah, interesting. So here's the here's the ultimate question. Right. Which is can you envision a set of circumstances by which he is willing to give up his nuclear program or not? I cannot I can't imagine him feeling secure enough to give them up. You know, he's invested so much in this program, and so much has legitimacy risks on these weapons. And also, remember when he was taking over the spring was happening? He saw Moammar Gadhafi who struck a deal with United States to give up his nuclear weapons dragged from a ditch and killed. So I think this really has been see it in his mind. And that's why to this day, the North Koreans really object, very strongly when John Bolton talks about the Libya model. Because it doesn't hold any attraction for them. So I can't see a situation where he would be willing to give everything up. I can see him trading away. Some of his capability in the course of this process of things go well, but also, you know, it's very early days, you know, maybe down the line, eight or anything is possible. But, but right now I can't see it. How do you think he thinks about? U S policy, and where the US is coming from. And how do you think he thinks about President Trump, the North Koreans like pretty much everybody else was very puzzled by President Trump and his way of doing business when he came in? You know they didn't understand what the tweets man, you know, is tweets. It's Twitter policy and things. So I mean that's no different from China or South Korea, Japan or any other of these countries. But the North Koreans have really studied Donald Trump a lot. And there's a lot out there for them to crip from right? That they've read the art of the deal. I know that they have people in North Korea have read fire and fury, this expose about inside Trump's White House. Not. No. They listen to matters. You do fascinating. And then they have also, you know, I've heard about North Koreans have attained talks with Americans and have demonstrated this encyclopedic knowledge of President Trump's tweets. They, they pay attention to everything, and you can see that they've kind of figured out what pushes buttons. You know, it's no coincidence. That Kim Young child the emissary arrived in the White House, Oval office, with this huge envelope, because he knew the Trump would love that. And he did, so they have really studied him and tried to figure out how to interact with him in a way that gives them an advantage because they know far more about Donald Trump than, than the Americans know about Kim German so enemies been terrific with your times to couple more questions. One is are you optimistic pessimistic about US North Korean relations? You know, after all these years covering North Korea I should know better than to be optimistic. You know, you're usually, right? If you pay out North Korea. But I do you know before the Singapore summit, I did feel quite optimistic, and I retain a little bit of it to this day because I think Kim Jong Hoon is a very unconventional North Korean leader, and that he has been very bold, and audacious in, like being willing to advertise that he's traveling outside the country and meeting, Donald Trump and Hanoi before it even happened, you know that was very risky, especially since Hanoi was a disaster. But also the United States has a very unconventional leader somebody who's been willing to do things differently from before. So maybe you know they can figure you know as unlikely as it seems maybe they can figure out some way to break this deadlock. Because you know what I do know is that the traditional way of dealing with North Korea in thirty years of doing the same thing has not worked. So let's try something different. So second question is, what do you think he would think of your book Kim Jong UN? Yeah, I think he would not like it. I did not write it for him to like it. But, you know, even though I have given him a lot of credit for his survey, and the way that he has managed to hold onto power even and a half years on. But I also have outlined the way he's done at the brutality. The. Yeah. The ruthlessness and yeah, I expect that they don't like it. On the last question, I find it interesting that your book has sixteen chapters in, but you break it into three sections, you break it into the apprenticeship consolidation in the confidence, which we've talked about all three of those right? And I'm wondering if you wrote this book, ten to fifteen years from now with their be another section in what might be. I know that's a tough question. That is a tough question while, you know, it's so hard to predict anything about North Korea and start the book by saying, I'm writing this, because my predictions were wrong, right? I used to work on it a long long time ago. And I thought it wasn't going to last another five years. Yes. Declassified files from the sixties giving it five years, right? You know, anything is possible, but I can I can see a situation where can John on his manage to hold on. He does not seem to be any but anything but in control of the regime right now. But who knows what could happen? You know, look at him I think the biggest risk to North Korea is his health. He is a very unhealthy for thirty five year old and he's really worried about staying in power, you know, he should quit smoking and not exercising. Anna, thank you so much for your time. Thank you. The book is the great successor and the author is anti field. Great. Thank you for having me. That was anti field. I'm Michael Morell. Please join us next week for another episode of intelligence matters. This has been the intelligence matters podcast with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell sponsored by Raytheon the podcast is produced by Olivia gases. Jamie Benson and Enya guitar. If you haven't already subscribe rate, and review or ever, you download podcasts. You can follow the show on Twitter at Intel matters, pod and follow Michael at Michael. Jay morelle intelligence matters is the production of CBS News Radio.

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