December 03, 2010 11:51
North Korea "fattened up" people selected for reunions of families separated by the Korean War with regular meals and vitamins, Ser Spiegel reported Wednesday quoting a U.S. diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul filed a report on the reunions in August 2009 that said North Koreans are selected for the reunions based on their loyalty to the state and "transported to Pyongyang and then fattened up with regular meals and vitamins to mask the extent of food shortages and chronic malnutrition in the North."
The same report recounts the experience of a South Korean delegation to the North, who were reportedly asked to provide a "gift" and required to pay "US$50 per person" themselves for a banquet arranged for them.
Another cable, filed by the U.S. Consulate General in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang in 2009, touched on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. According to the dispatch, one businesswoman, who is powerful enough not to fear the North Koreans, met Kim Jong-il at his guest villa on Mt. Myohyang, where she found the dictator "in good health and spirits." She said she got the impression that Kim, "detail-oriented, charismatic and with a good memory," was in control of everything.
Kim, thought to be seriously ill, seems not to be following doctors' orders and concerned about his health at all," the cable said. He "lit a cigarette as soon as the formal one-hour meeting ended, drank champagne before dinner, whiskey cocktails during the meal, and continued to chain-smoke throughout the private dinner."
It added the businesswoman recalled Kim's mistress, "Kim Ok, sitting on a separate sofa and taking notes."
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