Who said that?
Why it's the pensioners' friend - Winston Peters! It must be true as the Korean Central News Agency said so "Winston Raymond Peters said in his speech that it was not long since the two countries established diplomatic ties, but there are a lot of things to learn from each other, hoping that the good relations between New Zealand and the DPRK would go on".
Hopefully when Winston returns from North Korea, he might be asked by the NZ Media, what exactly are the "lot of things" we can learn from North Korea? Here's some suggestions:
- Nuclear processing and weapons development? (hardly in a nuclear phobic NZ);
- Immigration policy? (stop people from leaving by force);
- Agriculture? (collectivise all farms and let produce be given to the state in exchange for a wage);
- Law and Order? (have 1/12th of the population spying on the rest, have internal passports, gulags, executions, summary judgments, torture)
- Disability policy? (kill all disabled newborns, have none living in the capital, mental patients virtually ignored)
- Culture policy? (have nothing but paeans to the leader, the party and the nation, censoring internal bad news and showing almost nothing but bad news about the outside world);
- Education policy? (take children from infancy and place into childcare where they are taught Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are their fathers, and they should be loyal to them and the nation above their parents?)
- Health policy? (the elite get first class healthcare, whilst everyone else takes their chances with ancient medicine and antiquated equipment)
I can't wait.
What might North Korea want to learn? Well it is clear from the same report that Foreign Minister "Pak Ui Chun, said in his speech at the reception that it would be in the interests of the two countries to boost the bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation on the principle of respect for sovereignty, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, mutual benefit and equality".
That's the key, you see North Korea sees imprisoning children in gulags as an internal affair. However, don't believe everything (or indeed almost everything) the Korean Central News Agency reports, you see Winston did say something right.
He has raised human rights as a concern, as reported by TVNZ and Radio NZ. So he has played a careful diplomatic trick, by not mentioning it in advance - he mentioned in Pyongyang what North Koreans would get imprisoned and executed for mentioning. Good on you Winston. Hopefully we''ll find out exactly what you did say!