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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Korean leaders' table talk
Kim Jong-il on TV screen
Kim Jong-il: 'My media image is distorted'
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has denied reports in the Western media that he lives a secluded life.

He told South Korean president Kim Dae-jung during talks in Pyongyang that he had made a number of visits abroad. He joked that the summit had put an end to his seclusion.

The informal conversation was broadcast on South Korean television.

Kim Jong-il:Was everything comfortable?

Kim Dae-jung:Yes. I also ate cold noodles...

Kim Jong-il:The morning talks ended late, so if you ate with haste, the noodles would not all have been digested. Please take your time in the future and eat well.

Pyongyang citizens are in a very excited state. The people of the entire country warmly welcomed the president on his personal visit, brought about by his decision.

However, I am actually a little worried whether the greetings went properly.

Kim Dae-jung: I am very grateful that Chairman Kim personally came to the airport and that hundreds of thousands of citizens turned out to welcome me.

Kim Jong-il:I watched the South side's television broadcasts late into the night... The South Korean people had an attitude of welcome.

I watched programmes introducing the people whose hometowns are in the North and those who escaped to the South. They cried and hoped to hear about their hometowns, that news of them would be conveyed so that the road for reunification would be achieved soon.

There were scenes in which people actually wept.

Kim Dae-jung:I heard that hundreds, or even more than a thousand, foreign reporters stood up and clapped when we shook hands at the airport.

Kim Jong-il:As I told you yesterday, what happened at the airport was to extend greetings. I am not the first grandson [An expression of humility.]...

Europeans often ask why I live in seclusion. They say that a person who lives in seclusion has appeared for the first time.

I have been to China and Indonesia and on many unofficial foreign trips.

They say I live in seclusion. I have been liberated from seclusion through your visit. [Participants in the meeting laugh.]

I feel good when I hear such remarks. [More laughter.]

This is because I have done those things without the knowledge of anyone else.

Kim Dae-jung:You know what you should know. [More laughter.]

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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