In the final week before Scotland historic referendum, supporters for independence have gained support from an unlikely -- and perhaps unwanted -- place: North Korea. Or at least a newspaper aligned with the dictatorship's government.
In an exclusive report from the Daily Telegraph -- a conservative London paper that opposes Scottish independence -- the managing editor of a leading pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan said he thinks “independence would be a very positive thing for Scotland” and that “every person has the right to live in an independent country.”
The government of Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang has not yet offered official comment. But the remarks by Choe Kwan-Il -- whose Tokyo publication, Choson Sinbo, serves Japan’s substantial pro-DPRK exile community -- provide a tantalizing glimpse into the hermit state’s thinking.
The United Kingdom -- of which Scotland remains, for now, a part -- is one of the few Western countries to have diplomatic relations with North Korea, but they are seldom warm. The UK has accepted more North Korean refugees than any other country in the world, and London has consistently sided with American-led efforts to curtail Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
As nationalist leader Alex Salmond fights off dire warnings about the consequences of Scottish independence, the latest polls indicate that the referendum vote will be close. For North Korea, support for independence may involve more than just geopolitical considerations.
“Noth Korea is rich in natural resources and we like the taste of Scotch whiskey, so we can be beneficial to each other,” Choe said.