Former U.S. president Bill Clinton (seated L) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il (seated R) pose for a picture in Pyongyang in this photo released by North Korean official news agency KCNA August 4, 2009.

Kim Jong-il really wanted to vacation with Bill Clinton in North Korea, hacked emails reveal

After a diplomatic meeting in 2009, Chairman Kim encouraged Clinton to "return often, officially and unofficially"

Brendan Gauthier
October 29, 2016 2:22AM (UTC)

In 2009, former President Bill Clinton went to North Korea to persuade then-ruler Kim Jong-il to release two American journalists who'd been arrested and were being detained in the communist country.

Not only did Clinton insure the release of the imprisoned journalists, but he made such a positive impression on Kim that he earned an invite back "to tour someday when there were no problems in bilateral relations," according to a memo attached to a hacked email to Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta.


Since Oct. 9, WikiLeaks has published daily Podesta's emails, which are believed to have been obtained by Russian hack team Fancy Bear in March.

The 10-page memo, drafted by Stanford University Korean studies professor David Straub, offers cursory insights into a par-for-the-course diplomatic visit. Buried in the final paragraph, however, is Kim's parting invitation to Clinton to come back and hang out.

"Chairman Kim . . .  asked that President Clinton return often, officially and unofficially," the memo details. "He suggested that President Clinton visit again to tour someday when there were no problems in bilateral relations."


According to the memo, Clinton then told Kim that he wanted to someday visit "the beautiful seaside location depicted in the entry hall of the Paekhwanwon Guest House." Kim responded that "he would show him a much more beautiful place, and that President Clinton should come back to the DPRK on holiday."

Kim Jong-il died of an apparent heart attack in 2011. His youngest son, Kim Jong-un succeeded him as supreme leader of North Korea.

Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

MORE FROM Brendan GauthierFOLLOW @BuzzFeedBrandon

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bill Clinton David Straub Dprk Fancy Bear John Podesta Kim Jong-il North Korea Wikileaks

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