Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew called North Koreans “psychopathic” and leader Kim Jong-il a “flabby old chap” who craved public worship, a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks said.
In the document detailing a conversation between Lee and US Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg in May last year, Singapore’s elder statesman said he would be surprised if the North Koreans agreed to give up their nuclear weapons.
“They are psychopathic types, with a ‘flabby old chap’ for a leader who prances around stadiums seeking adulation,” said the leaked document.
Singapore’s first prime minister who now holds the title of minister mentor in the cabinet compared the plight of North Koreans to his experiences living through the Japanese occupation of his country during World War II.
“MM Lee noted that he had learned from living through three and a half years of Japanese occupation in Singapore that people will obey authorities who can deny them food, clothing and medicine,” the leaked document read.
Nuclear-armed North Korea might also give up its “first-strike capacity” but would keep its atomic weapons “in case the US government decides to seek a regime change,” the cable read.
Lee also said he believed that Japan may “go nuclear” in response to the North’s actions.
Lee told Steinberg that China would prefer a nuclear-armed North Korea than a North Korea that has collapsed because it sees the country as a buffer state.
“If China has to choose, Beijing sees a North Korea with nuclear weapons as less bad for China than a North Korea that has collapsed,” Lee said, according to the account.
If North Korea failed, South Korea “would take over in the North and China would face a US presence at its border.”