The world’s premiere pariah state appears to have come out in favour of Scottish independence, as North Korean “officials” in Japan say they “believe independence will be positive as it will encourage personal exchanges and provide both countries with business chances”.
The East Asian nation, which was comparatively prosperous in the 20th century before authoritarianism and attempts to become self sufficient crippled its isolated economy. Although it is reportedly unlikely, ordinary North Koreans will be aware of the run-up to the referendum, and if Scotland does vote to go it will “almost certainly” be reported, says the Daily Telegraph today.
North Koreans will no doubt remember the part the United Kingdom played in the Korean War through its leadership of the Commonwealth Division who fought on the side of the South, and may even celebrate Scotland’s independence. Although North Korea is unlikely to open its own embassy in Scotland, it is clearly hopeful for a future of bountiful trade, as NK source So Chung-On said: “North Korea is rich in natural resources and we like the taste of Scotch whisky, so we can be beneficial to each other”.
The revelation of this tacit support from the North Korean elite for Alex Salmond and the Scottish nationalists has been received in good humour by many. Some took to twitter to accuse Kim Jong-Un of “trolling” the UK over the referendum, and others taking the opportunity to rebrand Salmond as “the Supreme Leader”.
The news has come on the same day as North Korea announced its ambition to develop their tourist industry, with a plan to increase annual visitors from 100,000 to a million. Scotland may be an obvious target for this new industry, and North Korea clearly maintains an interest in the UK.
London is one of a small group of cities in the world with a North Korean embassy or diplomatic mission. The London mission, which occupies an urban semi-detached house in Ealing, West London has been in the public eye recently thanks to the unusual behaviour of the staff. When a local hair salon used an image of the Supreme Leader of the Democratic Republic, Kim Jong-Un to advertise haircuts under the slogan “bad hair day?” diplomatic staff arrived to complain.
A recent freedom of information request regarding the behaviour of foreign diplomats in London revealed that, despite only having two cars and generally not being invited to engagements or diplomatic events, the North Korean embassy has amassed some £200,000 in congestion charges and parking fines.