On the contrary, she was scared: Kim's "charm offensive", she said, was capturing the attention of foreign observers and marginalising the efforts of groups like hers to keep attention on the DPRK's human rights record. "I wonder who's advising them," she said, as though Edelman or Max Clifford were on board.
One in every hundred North Koreans lives in a prison camp; forced abortions and unexplained disappearances are common; the country's people have died of famine in their hundreds of thousands and a third of its young children are stunted due to malnutrition.
Yet when people mention North Korea in the West (and I'm sure I've been guilty of this myself) it's usually done with a grin and a jocular reference to the weirdness and eccentricity of the ruling dynasty - whether it be Kim Jong-eun's pudgy incongruity as a head of state, Kim Jong-il's bouffant hairdo, or the latter's appearance in Team America: World Police ('Aw naw, Hans Bwix!')
Is there any other authoritarian regime that people find so funny? Charlie Chaplin skewered Hitler in The Great Dictator, but laughter would hardly have been the first thing on his audience's mind when thinking of Hitler outside that context. Assad, Pinochet, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, the Argentine junta - I'm sure Frankie Boyle could come up with something but it's not obvious comic material.
While the behaviour of the Pyongyang regime is clearly not intended to be humorous (see The Cleanest Race by B.R. Myers, which puts it down to hyper-nationalism mixed with a 'maternal' leadership cult) it has surely drawn attention away from the human rights problems in North Korea. A refusal to let foreigners see most of the country also helps. So does the nuclear weapons programme, which has totally consumed the attention of foreign governments. US negotiators used to try to raise human rights on the side of nuclear talks, but have long given up after their North Korean counterparts flatly refused to discuss the matter.
As Blaine Harden, a former correspondent for the Washington Post, says, the DPRK human rights campaign might benefit from the endorsement of a George Clooney or a Mia Farrow, but no such celebrity champion has yet emerged - perhaps, a cynic might suggest, because the weirdness of the regime detracts from the romance of the cause.
As it happens, Harden himself has done a lot to raise awareness about the situation with his book, Escape from Camp 14, which reveals the sheer brutality of North Korea's prison camps through the true story of Shin Dong-hyuk. Part of the second of three generations of his family sentenced to life imprisonment, Shin watched a classmate beaten to death in the schoolroom by their teacher for hiding a few bits of grain, and felt so little love for his mother that he betrayed her escape plans to the guards; when she and his brother were executed, Shin says, he felt nothing but anger towards them. At the age of 20 he’d never sung a song. It's a shocking picture of the most Orwellian state that's ever existed.
Yet as my coffee companion today said, even if foreign powers (including the vital ally, China) did put concerted pressure on North Korea, it would be unlikely to do much in response - unless China cut off aid, which it would be loath to do for fear of prompting a stream of refugees over the Chinese border. She was pinning her hopes on an internal crisis at the top of the regime, perhaps with Kim Jong-eun being ousted by other senior figures.The country is still going through a transition phase, opening a potential window of opportunity, she said - but if this one closes, it could be years till the next one.
* If you missed it this included jolly visits to a zoo and a theme park, attendance at a concert featuring Disney characters and the appearance of a pretty young wife. He also shook up the top ranks of the army, prompting speculation about political reform.