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WikiLeaks: Lee Kuan Yew called North Koreans “psychopathic”

MM Lee said he believes Japan may well ‘go nuclear’ (if North Korea becomes a nuclear power).

MM Lee said the Chinese do not want North Korea to have nuclear weapons. At the same time, the Chinese do not want North Korea, which China sees as a buffer state, to collapse. The ROK (South Korea) would take over in the North and China would face a U.S. presence at its border. If China has to choose, Beijing sees a North Korea with nuclear weapons as less bad for China than a North Korea that has collapsed, he stated…

MM Lee expressed worry about the effect on Iran if the DPRK (North Korea) persists (in its nuclear ambitions). MM Lee said he believes the DPRK can be contained and will not proliferate, but Iran has very high ambitions, ties to Shiite communities outside Iran, and oil wealth.

The North Koreans are “psychopathic types with a ‘flabby old chap’ for a leader who prances around stadiums seeking adulation”. That is what Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew told US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg when they met at the Istana (presidential palace) in Singapore on May 30, 2009, according to a US embassy document released on the WikiLeaks website.
On China, the document says:

MM Lee stated that in the absence of a social safety net in China, the Chinese savings rate is 55 percent, exceeding even Singapore’s 50 percent level. Consumption accounts for only 35 percent of Chinese GDP, as opposed to 70 percent of U.S. GDP. The Chinese leadership may be loath to shift permanently to a more consumption-oriented economy, but the leadership will do so temporarily, if only to avoid unrest… The pragmatists are in charge. There is nothing Communist about it. They just want to preserve one party rule…

MM Lee said China is following an approach consistent with ideas in the Chinese television series The Rise of Great Powers. The mistake of Germany and Japan had been their effort to challenge the existing order. The Chinese are not stupid; they have avoided this mistake. China’s economy has surpassed other countries, with the exceptions of Japan and the United States. Even with those two countries, the gap is closing, with China growing at seven-nine percent annually, versus two-three percent in the United States and Japan. Overall GDP, not GDP per capita, is what matters in terms of power. China has four times the population of the United States. China is active in Latin America, Africa, and in the Gulf. Within hours, everything that is discussed in ASEAN meetings is known in Beijing, given China’s close ties with Laos, Cambodia, and Burma, he stated.

The document can be found here on the WikiLeaks website. It is part of what it calls Cablegate.

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