Last week much ado was made about the Hermit with the Bad Haircut leaving his North Korean fiefdom for the first time since becoming that country’s latest Dear Leader Dictator a little over six years ago. Kim Jong Un hopped aboard his train and scooted across the border into China to meet with Xi Jinping, recently anointed Chairman of China for life.
Numbers in recent years show that China buys roughly 83% of all the goods North Korea exports. A lot of that is coal, but one report also showed things such as men’s and women’s non-knit suits and coats. I don’t know for sure, but it seems to me those clothing items could be the start of a retro fashion renaissance by the Chinese peasants. (Those of a certain age will no doubt remember seeing pictures of every citizen – male and female – in the country wearing bland-colored Mao jackets and pants favored by the all-powerful Tse-tung.)
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Kim Jong Un showed up in Beijing sporting an updated version of the communist haute couture. He certainly wasn’t there holding the best hand at the poker table, so he might as well dress like the minion he is to his Chinese handlers.
Even though the visit itself was initially shrouded in secrecy, pictures of the two leaders at a conference table and then with their wives heading into dinner soon began to circulate. There was one, however, of just Kim and Xi shaking hands. Kim looks as if he’s being squeezed and Xi’s expression mirrors that of one who just ate bad moo goo gai pan.
As expected, not many transcripts of the high-level talks and bargaining were released, other than Xi quoted as saying, “We speak highly of this visit.” I’m guessing that was chosen by the official press over the more-to-the-point observation of, “Who invited this clown?”
Ties between the two countries of late haven’t exactly been binding. Those UN sanctions against North Korea that China supported and Pyongyang lobbing a few missiles into the Sea of Japan just as Beijing was hosting a global economic summit didn’t endear either side to the other.
Which begs the question about just what did Kim and Xi have to really say to one another after the photographers left? No one who was present is talking, of course. Which leaves speculation to run rampant. And while I certainly have no inside information, I thought I’d take a wild stab at how the conversation progressed.
XI: Nice train, Kim.
KIM: Thanks, Xi.
XI: That’s Emperor Xi to you.
KIM: Sure, sure, whatever works.
XI: You know, most world leaders have their own planes these days.
KIM: Yeah, I’ve got a little fear of flying going on. Runs in the family. Plus I get a little airsick. Barfing at 30,000 feet doesn’t look good to my people.
XI: And you don’t really have any decent planes.
KIM: Well, that too. Which is one of the reasons I’m here.
XI: What is it this time? More uranium? You’ve already kind of wasted a lot of that, you know.
KIM: No, we’re good with that. I was thinking more along the lines of rice.
XI: Yeah, we’ve noticed you seem to be the only one with a weight problem in the entire country.
KIM: Slow metabolism.
XI: Uh-huh. So what do I get if I fill up a few of your railroad cars with rice?
KIM: You see, I knew it was a good idea to come by rail instead of air. But here’s the way I see it. If we keep messing with America and continue to threaten to blow up San Francisco, they’ll leave you alone.
XI: That’s good thinking, but Trump doesn’t like California in general and San Francisco in particular. You might be doing him a favor.
KIM: Okay, we’ll pick another target. The point is, we’re your decoy. We occupy U.S. time, energy, and resources while you do an economic end-around and eventually own the whole country.
XI: Well, we don’t really need you for that. But it is nice to have at least one other country that thinks we’re good guys. Nobody likes Goliath.
KIM: I do.
XI: Stop licking my shoes, Kim.
KIM: Okay, okay.
XI: And listen, forget about the bombs. We’ve got tariffs to put on U.S. products. Just wait ’til we drop a couple of those babies on them.
KIM: I bow to greatness.
XI: Well, you would if you could bend over.
KIM: Right. Speaking of which, could I get some lunch before I go?
It could have happened that way, couldn’t it?
©MMXVIII. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer