Obama’s State Dept. Nominee: North Korea's Kim Jong-il ‘Smart, Capable,’ ‘Not a Lunatic’

President Obama’s nominee to a top State Department post is one of the few American diplomats to have met North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, whom she later described as “smart, capable and supremely confident.”

Wendy Sherman traveled to Pyongyang in 2000 in her capacity as counselor to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Visiting South Korea four years later – when she was no longer in government – Sherman had positive things to say about the reclusive Stalinist leader. 

“He’s not a lunatic, nor is he psychiatrically ill, but he has an inflated sense of power,” Seoul’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper quoted Sherman as telling students at a leading women’s university in March 2004.

Obama nominated Sherman on July 1 as undersecretary for political affairs, the State Department’s third-ranking position.

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