Reading North Korea’s Explosive Critique of ‘Opposite Number’

Channel 4 HQ in London, image via Wikimedia Commons
Channel 4 HQ in London, image via Wikimedia Commons

While some sections of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry and various Friendship associations were in middle of a major operation to woo foreign audiences via wrestling, Kim Jong-un was tending to the military. More to the point, his National Defence Commission was hammering out a very angry salvo threatening Britain. For background on the issue, see Channel 4’s own press release about the show (presumably read by someone on the NDC with Internet access, the trigger for the outburst) and this AFP story.

I’ll have more writing later about cultural exchange between Britain and the DPRK, since presumably the NDC is at the apex of all bureaucracies in North Korea, and their threat would ostensibly have some negative impact in the realm of soft power and regular exchanges. At least the missive ends with a minor paean to “hard-won relations” between Great Britain and the DPRK.

Hopefully the North Korean Ambassador in London isn’t being tasked with having to personally fluster British TV bureaucrats, as I would assume he has a few other more important and tangible items on his plate at present. And goodness knows the DPRK leadership is nervous (or at the very least needing to prepare) for an assault on its human rights record at the United Nations this autumn, of which the UK is no small part. Well.

Sometimes you think that the North Korean leadership has a carefully calculated master plan, and other times it just feels like they are improvising and lashing out just to buy space and time while an actual strategy is formulated. UK-North Korea relations are bigger and more robust than one movie script alone can torch, but a missive like this cannot be seen as anything other than a shot across London’s bow, and thus needs to be taken into account.

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