Former President Bill Clinton tried to defuse tensions between Washington and Pyongyang during a historic meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il in 2009, according to a memo posted to website WikiLeaks. File Photo by KCNA
SEOUL, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Former President Bill Clinton suggested to Kim Jong Il a return to the six-party talks in 2009, when Clinton went to North Korea to seek the release of two U.S. journalists who had been detained in the country.
An archived message posted on the website WikiLeaks that was included in a batch of hacked email messages belonging to Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta includes an extensive 8-page memo on the historic meeting between Clinton and Kim.
While the two never met when Clinton was in office, the North Korean leader welcomed the former president as "someone who believed in the possibility of a common future between the United States and [North Korea]," according to the summary that appears to be drafted by David Straub, the associate director of the Korea Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.
Straub was part of the Clinton delegation in 2009.
The email was sent to former Clinton aide Doug Band, who then forwarded the message to Podesta, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Kim allegedly told Clinton during the meeting President George W. Bush was responsible for a downturn in U.S.-North Korea relations. The "bilateral relationship had gone back to square one due to the neo-conservatives in the United States" and partly because of the "harsh language" Bush used against Pyongyang, Kim said.
The meeting took place about three months after North Korea's second nuclear test in May 2009, and the memo shows evidence the two sides were exploring options, including six-party and bilateral talks, in an effort to defuse tensions in the aftermath of two nuclear tests.
Kim also told Clinton the "axis of evil" label Bush used in his first State of the Union Speech in 2002 prompted North Korea to focus on nuclear weapons development, and added, "if the Democrats had won in 2000 the situation in bilateral relations would not have reached such a point," according to the memo.