North Korea

Middlesbrough Council Foreign Office Offers Birthday Congratulations to Kim Jong-eun

The Washington Post reports on muted plans for celebrations of birthday celebrations on Saturday for the DPRK’s Young General, who may be 28.

This is not for lack of congratulations from the Foreign Office at Middlesbrough Council. The Ambassador, soprano, Sussanah Clarke has established links with Pyongyang and boasts in a dedicated section on her webpage to have been the first British performer to appear in the DPRK.

Specially selected members of the public, it would appear, loved her Korean language rendition of Danny Boy. Footage of her being introduced to State officials can be seen below.

Middlesbrough has a proud link with the DPRK, as Clarke tells us, for it was in her stadium that the latter’s national football team played during the 1966 World Cup. In 2001, Council members arranged for a return visit by surviving members of this side. For some reason, Clarke makes no mention of their trouncing by the Portuguese side being punished by detention in labour camps: in The Aquariums of Pyongyang, former child prisoner at Yodok Camp, Kang Chol-hwan recounts meeting members of this side.

Nor is there any memtion of Kim Jong-hun, coach of the margionally less disasterous 2010 World Cup side being punished by being forced to become a manual labourer.

BBC World Service just has broadcast an interview with Clarke, signing Happy Birthday in Korean, which would have made Malcolm Caldwell blanch. Oh, yes, she accepts that little difficulties are in place for inhabitants of the DPRK, such as restrictions on mobile ‘phones (no mention of what happens to those who use them).

No doubt State officials are able to put aside mild admonishments from a grinningly vacant useful idiot in return for gifts of delicate glassware from Middlesbrough Council, and chats with Clarke’s mother – a big cheese in Redcar and Cleveland Council on kitchen gardens.

Gene adds: Don’t miss this video of the Dear Leader, with the Young General in tow, visiting a typical workers’ apartment building* in Pyongyang.

*Har har.