Blitzer's dispatch: Lighter moments during tense times in North Korea
December 18th, 2010
10:08 PM ET

Blitzer's dispatch: Lighter moments during tense times in North Korea

Even in the midst of incredible tension on the Korean peninsula, there have been a few lighter moments as I continue covering New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s extraordinary visit here.

He’s trying to calm down the tensions and has been meeting with senior North Korean diplomats, generals and nuclear officials, including Kim Gye Gwan, the North Korean who invited Richardson here on this mission.

At the start of their meeting, Governor Richardson introduced me to Kim Gye Gwan, and, through a translator, Kim joked that he was very familiar with my work, and that he understood that I was “as powerful as President Obama.” I started to laugh, as did everyone else in the room. He then said, “I understand only you and Obama have your own Situation Rooms” to which all of us laughed again.

I was impressed that he was following CNN and I mentioned that I’d been watching CNN International at this hotel where we’re staying in Pyongyang. I thanked the nuclear negotiator for allowing CNN to come into Korea for Governor Richardson’s visit, and hoped they would let us come back.

This time, he responded in English, saying, “Why not?”

Despite the joking and some of the sight-seeing tours they’ve taken us on, I have to say it’s a very worrisome time in the North Korean peninsula. A lot of people here seem to be somewhat encouraged that the UN Security Council is scheduled to meet for an emergency session Sunday morning East Coast time. Maybe that will calm things down. Bill Richardson tells me that it might give North Korea and South Korea some sort of cover to ratchet down the very bellicose rhetoric.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Tony

    Fascinating... don't know how much to read into the 'why not' comment. Wouldn't that signal a significant and very positive change on the part of the North Koreans? Or was it just a friendly comment? interesting either way. Thanks Wolf for bringing us this glimpse into a country we know so little about.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • kaiser wilhelm II

      check out the vice guide to north korea
      tis a strange place

      December 19, 2010 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Seoul

      I am a 45 year old father who lives in Seoul. For all my adult life, I've considered myself as a Pacifist. Lately with the North's beligerance, my stance along with many in this country has turned. We are fed up and find the succession plan of an entire country to a 27 yr old to be something out of a sci fi flick. It's no rhetoric when people on the street are saying, "the son is worse than the father and let's teach them a lesson". So yeah, if Richardson is there to help diffuse the tension, that time is now.

      December 19, 2010 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lars

    Why the hell is Wolf in jeans? It's disrespectful and so "ugly American".

    December 18, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      All of this stuff going on and you comment about jeans vs dark pants vs ??

      I don't know where you are from Lars but there are more important things than dress.

      Better to be ugly than stupid.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chip H

      For real! Blitzer must be channeling a 30,000 year old warrior of Robert Redford, although I think Redford likes white shirts
      and corduroy jacket, with a trendy chapeau and a TED broach on his lapel. How nice the picture contains no appellations.

      December 19, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Correct Sir

      Your correct Lars. Huge fashion faux pas!!!! He has on his sportscoat, dress shirt, and tie under that jacket though, so when they do a quick taping you won't be able to see his jeans (only the waist up), so his secret is usually kept hidden except for this photo...ha ha

      December 19, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • SC

      Jeans with a tie and very thick jacket. Laughing stock!

      December 19, 2010 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • John Watson

      It's been the required men's style for a number of years – it's called "dressing down." It's often used by various personalities and the very wealthy to appear as "just plain folks."

      December 19, 2010 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Dexter

      Disrespectful is right., but I'd say the disrespect is coming from the north Koreans, Wolfie is a tool for misrepresenting it as light-heartedness. Do you think a similar "joke" about Kim Jung il would be that well received by his cronies?

      December 19, 2010 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Fast Fred

      He borrowed the jeans from Steve Jobs.....o yeah they were made in China.

      December 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dru

      Only a bored housewife would comment on jeans while the 2 Koreas are on the brink of war. What a super genius!!!!

      December 19, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. D. MacArthur

    What a fail. Nice photo op.

    Richardson and Wolf should get outta town before the bombs drop. They have no business messing around in North Korea.

    No more dialogue. No more meetings. It's time for military action. Too much yacking is all Bill will ever accomplish in North Korea. Aside from stuffing his face with fried 'matter' and beer.

    Bunch of clowns. Who the f- does Richardson think he is, anyway??

    Doesn't he have a Billy the Kid pardon to sort out back home?

    Well get on it, fail boy. Before you miss your flight!

    December 18, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darketernal

      North Korea must be pressured to hand over control to Seoul, it will make China and USA happy as well. No one needs Kim Jung Ill, he only costs money and millions of human lives on top of it and is a constant threat to the world and is now even developing underwater nuclear missiles and has concentration camps in his country with thousands of people who need to be rescued. Waiting wont work, he's like a tumor, that needs to be removed before he spreads his development of even more death and increase of weapons, lets annex the north already, thru the means of pressure or violence.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      Are your volunteering yourself to go and drop bombs?

      December 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmoke

      You warmongers are the reason we have so much bloodshed in the world today. Richardson is appealing to the sane people in that country, not madmen like you.

      December 19, 2010 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • rags

      So, who died and left you in charge? Go home boy, before things get tough.

      December 19, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Devon

      Bill Richardson was the US Ambassador to the United Nations, he is a current Governor, and has been a presidential nominee, none of which you could probably aspire to be. The man is just trying to benefit our nation.

      December 19, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      yeah, it's time to drop bombs!!

      I dont have to fight! What do I care?

      Bombs away!

      December 20, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Guitarman

    Well, I hope is more than a friendly gesture. Cool heads need to prevail there.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alfuso

    D MacArthur – you're fired. Again

    December 18, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darketernal

      old soldier, never die.

      President Truman should have annexed the north while MCdouglas was still in charge, thanks to his faillure to listen millions of people have died thanks to the not working system that is called communism. Its no good to have a job unfinished, lets annex North Korea with the most advanced strategy we ever thought of thru the best generals and field marshals that America has got to offer.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dice

    Typical thoughts from a liberal controlled by emotion and not rational thought. Wolf, the North Koreans are liars, terrorists, murderers, and master manipulators. Do not be fooled by their "cute" rhetoric, no matter how much they stroke your ego. Get with it Wolf, they are using you & CNN.

    December 18, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • pkfops

      I wonder what John Boehner's thoughts are on the subject?

      December 19, 2010 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Phil Leslie

    The only time I saw that fool Wolf more out of place was on Jeopardy!

    December 18, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cant Stop Laughing

      Hilarious!.... I'm glad someone finally pointed that out. Wolf is a complete moron. His appearance on Jeopardy was pathetic, especially for a news anchor of his caliber. No wonder he's a Republican. Seems like stupidity and the GOP go hand in hand these days. GET RID OF WOLF PLEASE!!!!!

      December 19, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Oh, you :T

      Really? I thought the clip of him doing the Dougie at the Soul Train awards took that distinction.

      December 19, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Victoria

    Seems people here have already decided what they think before they start reading...

    December 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gurubachan S Khalsa

    Yogi Bhajan once said "There is no freedom which is free and no liberation without labor". Peace is not easy. Good Luck, Gov. Richardson! Our prayers are with all those who want to work for peace. I am very grateful you are there!

    December 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darketernal

      if for every time all the people that pray would instead stick their hands out ,and do labour to improve the earth the world would actually have become a better place instead of wishfull thinking. Stop praying start acting now!

      December 18, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. VA John

    "North Korean peninsula"? Has already annexed the south to the north? It is the Korean peninsula.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nattydread

    Why do some folks just make it a habit to insult and degrade others who are trying hard to make the world a better place to live in? I call on such people to refrain from this bad behaviour,join the caravan of peace and love,and together we can remake this world with love and happiness.Let no one think he or she is too big or too small to play a part.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. Fred Bartkowski

    Would only have to coax a few key players into the open and BANG this despotism could be ended.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Fred Bartkowski

    We didn't have to invade Iraq to kill Saddam.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. FstEti

    Great! Well, now that the U.N. and Wolfie are there, I feel MUCH better about the situation.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. Fred Bartkowski

    United States Supreme Court Inc.
    NCLC proxy.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
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