President Rodrigo R. Duterte called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as the “man of the hour” after he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and plant a pine tree on the demarcation line in the east Asian nation’s demilitarized zone.
“Naging idol ko tuloy siya – Kim Jong-Un. For all of the time, he was pictured to be the bad boy of the community,” the President said when sought for reaction on the impact of Friday’s Inter-Korean Summit.
Duterte said with one masterstroke, Kim is now the hero of everybody.
“He appears to be amiable, jolly good fellow, and very accommodating,” he told reporter in a press briefing during his arrival here from Singapore to attend the 32nd ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on April 27-28.
The President expressed hope that the North Korean leader would remain that way.
“Nobody is really after him. Just a matter of historical divide which was created there, wala naman kasali ang buong mundo (the rest of the world is really part of it),” he said.
Duterte wished he would meet Kim one day and be able to congratulate him.
Once they meet, Duterte said he would tell the North Korean leader, “Bilib ako sa’yo. Marunong ka mag-timing (I’m impressed with you. You had it at the right time).”
Duterte underscored that heroism is sometimes left to chance, otherwise, it’s purposely timed.
The President further wished Kim would consider him as a friend.
On the impact of the North and South negotiations, the President said it is a positive development because there will be less tension now in the Korean Peninsula.
“And maybe, just maybe, we can avoid a war which nobody can win anyway,” the President said.
Duterte said a North and South Korean trouble could spark another war involving Western countries.
“Then maybe you can say goodbye to planet Earth,” he said.
During Friday’s Inter-Korean Summit, Kim and Moon met at the South Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss negotiation for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The leaders of the two Koreas also pledged to formally end conflict in the region, more than six decades after hostilities ceased in 1953.
Kim was the first North Korean leader to visit South Korea.
The first and second Inter-Korean Summit took place in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, respectively. PNA