Kim Jong-Il Nukes Ted Turner's Fantasy of 'Sincere,' Non-Threatening North Korea
Referring to the North Korean regime’s claim they were “committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs,” Turner, having just returned from a trip to North Korea, found those promises to be 100% credible.
“I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere,” he told an incredulous Blitzer.
Turner’s pleadings on behalf of the North Korean regime won him “Quote of the Year” accolades at the MRC’s annual DisHonors Awards dinner in Washington back in March. (Click on the link for video.) MRC analyst Megan McCormack took down Turner’s comments, as originally published in the September 20, 2005 CyberAlert. Key excerpts:
Wolf Blitzer: “We want to talk a little bit more about today's developments involving North Korea with CNN founder and Chairman of Turner Enterprises, Ted Turner. He's joining us once again from New York. You spent some time recently in North Korea, Ted. Did this agreement come to you as a surprise?"
Ted Turner: "No. No. I talked with quite a few of the North Korean leaders and South Korean leaders, too, and spent really the most time with the head negotiator for North Korea. And I was really over there to try and persuade North and South Korea to make the DMZ into an international peace park when, when they sign a peace treaty, which I anticipate will be fairly soon, now that we have the six-party talks, we have agreement there. But I had a great time. I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere. There's really no reason -- no reason for them to cheat or do anything to violate this very forward agreement. I mean, I think we can put the North Korea and East Asia problems behind us and concentrate on Iran and Iraq, where, where we still have some ongoing difficulties."
Blitzer: "I've got to tell you, Ted, given the record of North Korea, especially the fact that, in the Clinton administration in '93-'94, they made a similar pledge, which they violated and they backed out of, I'm not exactly sure that I accept all your optimism."Astonishingly, Turner even rejected Wolf Blitzer’s attempt to point out the deplorable human rights abuses of the communist regime, and said North Korea was no threat to the U.S., and that even if a North Korean missile hit Alaska, the only ones affected would be "a few sea lions."
Turner: "Well, you know, I was optimistic about the Cold War when I got to Russia, too. But I looked them right in the eyes. And they looked like they meant the truth. I mean, you know, just because somebody's done something wrong in the past doesn't mean they can't do right in the future or in the present. That happens all the, all the time."
Blitzer: "But this is one of the most despotic regimes and Kim Jong Il is one of the worst men on Earth. Isn't that a fair assessment?"
Turner: "Well, I didn't get, I didn't get to meet him, but he didn't look, in the pictures that I've seen of him on CNN, he didn't look too much different than most other people."
Blitzer: "But look at the way, look at the way he's, look at the way he's treating his own people."
Turner asserted: "Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but ah-"
Blitzer: "Lot of those people are starving."
Turner: "I didn't see, I didn't see any, I didn't see any brutality in the capital or out in the, on the DMZ. We went, we visit, drove through the countryside quite a bit to get down to Panmunjom and Kaesong. We traveled around. I'm sure we were on a special route, but I don't see, there's really no reason, North Korea's got enough problems with their, with their economy and their agriculture. I think they want to join the western world and improve the quality of life for their people just like everybody else. And I think that we should give them another chance. It doesn't cost us anything. We already have agreements. And North Korea never posed any significant threat to the United States. I mean, the whole economy of North Korea's only $30 billion a year. It's less than the city of Detroit. It's a small place, and we do not have to worry about them attacking us....They can't reach the USA, and we can pound them into, into oblivion in 24 hours."
Blitzer: "But, you don't want to get, you don't want to get to that. There are some estimates, by the way, that could reach Alaska."
Turner: "Well, what, the Aleutian Islands? There's nothing up there but a few sea lions."