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North Korea anecdote to get removed from subsequent editions of 'No Going Back'

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem says future editions of her upcoming autobiography will not include reference to meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Despite that, Noem is neither confirming nor denying the meeting took place.

As a member of Congress, Noem twice references meeting Kim Jong Un in the first edition of her new autobiography ‘No Going Back.’ The anecdote appears in a section about international relations and trade negotiations.

She calls Kim a “little tyrant.”

Noem voiced the audiobook version of the memoir.

Promoting the book on CBS, Noem said once the anecdote was brought to her attention she moved forward on edits to the text.

“I’ve met with many, many world leaders. I’ve travelled around the world. I should not have put that anecdote in the book. At my request they have removed it," Noem said. "I’m saying that I’m not talking about that meeting. I’m not talking about my meetings with world leaders. There’s some that are in the book and there’s some that’s not in the book.”

Noem said she has visited the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

One North Korea expert says Kim Jong Un has no interest in meeting junior members of the US House of Representatives.

Benjamin Young is an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, who wrote a book on North Korea in 2021.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and former president Donald Trump embrace at rally in Rapid City last year
Lee Strubinger
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and former president Donald Trump embrace at rally in Rapid City last year

He said the dictator is all about meeting people in very high positions of power.

“And, based on what I’ve read about how North Korean’s perceive the American system, it’s very flawed. It lacks any sort of nuance. Because they perceive it to be somewhat similar to their system where you have an all-powerful leader, the family around him has a lot of power and you have a Congress, and they rubber-stamp things," Young said. "That’s not how our system works at all.”

Noem has been vying for a spot as Trump’s running mate. The former president has endorsed the book.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.