SLOWHAND FOR PEACE…. There have been reports for years about authoritarian North Korean officials’ love of Western culture. In one of the more famous examples, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reportedly wowed Kim Jong-il in 2000 by bringing him a basketball signed by Michael Jordan.
With that in mind, anecdotes like these aren’t surprising, but they are amusing.
One of the diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks reveals that North Korean officials suggested the U.S. government make arrangements for rock icon Eric Clapton to perform in Pyongyang as a way of building “good will” between the countries.
The suggestion was relayed to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, through an intermediary whose name was redacted from the document.
“Arranging an Eric Clapton concert in Pyongyang could also be useful, [the intermediary] said, given Kim Jong-Il’s second son’s devotion to the rock legend,” the cable begins. “As Kim Jong-Il’s second son, Kim Jong-chol, is reported to be a great fan, the performance could be an opportunity to build good will.”
The cable was written in 2007, and to date, there has been no Clapton concert in the North Korean capital.
I do wonder, though, what kind of trade we could arrange. Maybe nuclear materials in exchange for an acoustic set?