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South Dakota Gov. Noem admits error of describing meeting North Korea's Kim Jong Un in new book

WASHINGTON (AP) — South Dakota Gov.
FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2024, at the National Harbor, Feb. 23, 2024, in Oxon Hill, Md. Noem claims in a new book to have met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during her time in Congress, but her office has said the publisher will be addressing “conflated" names in the book as further scrutiny was put on the Republican governor's life story. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is releasing a new book called “No Going Back,” but on Friday her office said she would actually be going back to correct some errors — including a false claim that she once met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Republican governor's new book was part of an overt effort to be selected as a running mate for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but it has already faced bipartisan backlash for a story of how she once shot her hunting dog. Then, after scrutiny of her descriptions of meetings with international leaders, her spokesperson Ian Fury said in a statement that it was an error to include Kim in a list of world leaders who Noem has met — and the publisher would correct any future editions of the book.

Noem's political prospects were already falling amid widespread disgust for how she recounted killing her 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket after it had shown aggressive behavior and killed her neighbor's chickens.

In her soon-to-be-released book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward," Noem also describes instances where she has stood up to international leaders — anecdotes that would have bolstered her foreign policy experience — but those were swiftly called into question. She writes about canceling a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

After The Dakota Scout first reported Noem's descriptions of the meetings, Fury said that the book "has two small errors. This has been communicated to the ghostwriter and editor."

In addition to the meeting with Kim, Fury said Noem also mistook the dates in which she spoke with former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley.

“The book has not been released yet, and all future editions will be corrected,” Fury added.

In a section of the book about meeting with international leaders, Noem writes: “Through my tenure on the House Armed Services Committee, I had the chance to travel to many countries to meet with world leaders — some who wanted our help, and some who didn’t.

“I remember when I met with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un,” she writes. "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).”

The description of such a meeting was quickly challenged and described as implausible by experts on U.S.-North Korea relations. When Noem was a member of the House Armed Services Committee from 2013 to 2015, relations between the two countries were tense and a congressional delegation meeting with Kim would have generated considerable awareness, said Syd Seiler, a former U.S. intelligence officer who spent decades working on the relationship with North Korea.

“Nothing like this happened,” he said, adding that he was working at the White House and State Department during that time period and was not notified of a congressional meeting with Kim.

Noem did join an international congressional trip, known as a codel, to Japan, South Korea and China in 2014.

In the book, Noem also writes that she was “slated to meet with" Macron in November last year while she was in Paris for a conference of European conservative leaders, but canceled when he made comments that she considered “pro-Hamas.”

However, Macron's office told The Associated Press that no “direct invitation” had been made for Noem to meet the French president, though it did not rule out that she may have been invited to a Paris event that he was also scheduled to attend.

Fury said, "The governor was invited to sit in President Macron’s box for the Armistice Day Parade at Arc de Triomphe. Following his anti-Israel comments, she chose to cancel.”

Meanwhile, Noem is trying to fend off the backlash for writing about shooting her dog as well as a goat.

“Don’t believe the #fakenews media’s twisted spin,” she posted on the social platform X this week. “I had a choice between the safety of my children and an animal who had a history of attacking people & killing livestock.”

Her spokesperson, Fury, also cast scrutiny of the errors in Noem's book as biased, saying, “The media will, of course, try and make these tiny issues huge."

Still, members of Congress have poked fun at Noem, with Reps. Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat from Florida; Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania; and Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Carolina; launching a Congressional Dog Lovers Caucus this week.

Moskowitz said on X that one of the group's rules was “you cannot kill a puppy.”


Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed.

Stephen Groves, The Associated Press

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