According to the JoongAng Ilbo, former British ambassador to North Korea John Everard apparently spoke at the Brookings Institute to mark the release of his book “Only Beautiful, Please: A British Diplomat in North Korea.” According to Everand, North Koreans display a rather surprising (given the amount of aid China gives them) level of dislike of the Chinese. For instance, one masseur who was quite OK working on Russians and Germans wouldn’t work on Chinese, saying they smelled bad.
Everand said it seems that while North Korean economic cooperation with China is growing, North Koreans’ deeply rooted independence is at work; for instance, North Koreans think the Chinese are arrogant.
Stanford University’s David Straub, who participated as a panelist, also recalled that when he accompanied James Kelly to North Korea in 2002, then-North Korean vice foreign minister Kang Sok-ju made comments that minimized Chinese assistance during the Korean War.
Everand said while North Korea is full of propaganda about American imperialism, ordinary North Koreans don’t feel particularly hostile towards the United States. He said there weren’t that many people who believed the United States would attack, and not many thought South Korea would since they believe the South to be an American puppet.
He also said that despite the initial debate in the United Kingdom over opening a permanent diplomatic presence in Pyongyang, he believed the placing of diplomatic legations in North Korea by countries like the UK, Germany and Sweden was having a great impact on the North.
You can listen to the entire address at the Brookings Institute website (and no, I haven’t gotten a chance yet).