WikiLeaks: North Korea Wanted U.S. to Arrange an Eric Clapton Concert
What is it with oppressive regimes and icons of English popular culture?
First WikiLeaks revealed the Burmese military junta's plan to purchase soccer club Manchester United. Now the non-whistleblower website has released classified U.S. embassy cables detailing the Eric Clapton fandom of Kim Jong-chul, middle son of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. So great is Kim Jong-chul's passion for Clapton that the U.S. pondered booking a Pyongyang show for the bearded rocker in an attempt to thaw relations with the dictatorship. Per the cable, dated May 23, 2007:
9. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX passed on the suggestion from his North Korean interlocutors that the USG arrange for Eric Clapton to perform a concert in Pyongyang. 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. VERSHBOW
As The Guardian's Amelia Hill notes, the suggestion wasn't without merit: Clapton reportedly agreed to play a concert in Pyongyang back in 2008 as a way of promoting "cultural understanding between countries." And while the show never materialized, North Korea's recent creation of a YouTube account guarantees Kim Jong-chul unfettered access to memorable Clapton moments like this one.