South Dakota Gov. Noem refuses to admit she never met Kim Jong Un

South Dakota Gov. Noem refuses to admit she never met Kim Jong Un

In a strange interview on Sunday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem would not admit that she never personally met North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

During an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” host Margaret Brennan questioned Mrs. Noem about her memoir’s claims of visiting North Korea.

“So you did not meet with Kim Jong Un? That’s what you’re saying,” Ms. Brennan said. Mrs. Noem did not answer directly, saying “No, I’ve met with many, many world leaders, many world leaders.”

“I’m not going to talk about my specific meetings with world leaders. I’m just not going to do that,” Mrs. Noem added. “This anecdote shouldn’t have been in the book and as soon as it was brought to my attention, I made sure that — that was adjusted.”

In her upcoming memoir, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” Mrs. Noem claimed she personally met the dictator.

“I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un,” she wrote. “I’m sure he underestimated me, having no clue about my experience staring down little tyrants (I’d been a children’s pastor, after all).”

During her appearance on a Sunday talk show, Mrs. Noem was challenged about her claim of having visited North Korea. She clarified that her visit was to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the border area between South Korea and North Korea, and not the interior of the North Korean state.

Asked if she had been to North Korea, she said, “Yes, I have. I’ve been there. There are details in this book that talk about going to the DMZ and specifics that I’m willing to share.”

The DMZ, known for its high security, features buildings straddling the border between the two Koreas. It is in these buildings that it is technically feasible to cross into North Korean territory. However, actual visits to North Korea by American officials are highly uncommon due to the country’s contentious international relations and human rights issues.

Mrs. Noem‘s claims raised eyebrows, especially considering the rarity of American politicians visiting North Korea. Amid the controversy, a Noem spokesman acknowledged minor inaccuracies regarding the claimed interaction with Mr. Kim in the manuscript, addressing these with the book’s ghostwriter and editor for correction.

• Staff can be reached at 202-636-3000.

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