Like so many out-of-luck relatives at family functions, North Korea asked its richer cousin for some money today at a memorial service for Kim Jong-il. A South Korean delegation only travelled north after being badgered by their estranged family for not wanting to pay their respects to an dictatorial uncle they never even liked. Now that they decided to go, a North Korea couldn't help but hit South Korea up for some money during the visit.
Where this differs from our familial relations is that North Korea wants the money in the form of economic investment, specifically from "inter-Korean summit agreements" South Korea backed away from in 2008, reports The New York Times. "Kim Yong-nam, president of the North Korean Parliament and a ceremonial head of state, expressed the wish when he met Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea, according to Ms. Lee’s spokesman." The investment from South Korea was meant to ease tensions on the peninsula before the whole deal went nuclear after, well, North Korea refused to abandon its nuclear weapons program in 2008. Who knows if it'll work this time around, but we'll just say from our own experience: money has the tendency to complicate already awkward family relations. Though we're happy to see them do anything to work on that frosty relationship.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.