SEOUL (Reuters) - Leaders of the divided Koreas held only their second summit on Wednesday with gifts of forbidden movies, tempting meals with hog fat and, again, wandering hands.
DVDs LOVED BY JAPANESE HOUSEWIVES AND TEENAGERS
Film buff Kim Jong-il is now the proud owner of some of South Korea’s best movies and dramas that have won legions of fans among Japanese housewives, teenage Asian girls and movie critics addicted to stylized violence.
The DVDs South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun presented to his Northern counterpart included the drama series “Jewel in the Palace”, about a cook in the Korean royal court, and “Winter Sonata” a syrupy melodrama. Both series have been huge hits in Asia, especially among middle-aged Japanese women.
Kim also received a movie starring a South Korean pop star named Rain, who can send the hearts of teenage girls aflutter with his funky dance moves, Another gift was the Cannes award-winning movie “Old Boy”, a violent tale of revenge in which an angry hero takes out his frustration by munching on a whole, live octopus.
Ordinary North Koreans can be jailed for watching South Korean entertainment.
The South Koreans planned to throw a banquet for their hosts on Wednesday with the imperial court dishes featured in “Jewel in the Palace”. It sent over a selection of fine ingredients and some of its best chefs to prepare the meal, pool reports said.
Roh took the South Korean delegation to lunch at a restaurant serving cold noodles given rave reviews by the North’s propaganda machine, which is never at a loss to praise the state.
The delegation dined at Okryu. As the North’s official KCNA news agency says: “Foreigners who tasted the Pyongyang cold noodles at the Okryu Restaurant are unsparing of their praises.”
If cold noodles are not to the party’s liking, the restaurant also offers: “green gram pancakes mixed with sliced vegetables and hog-fat that has a special taste”.
The next item is a bit abstruse. The simple part is that Roh’s wife visited the North’s Academy of Koryo Medical Science, an Oriental medical school.
The difficult part is trying to understand what they do. North Korea’s official media are no help.
For example, KCNA said the academy treats “the idiopathic thrombocytopenia, an obstinate disease, with medicines such as prednisolone and dexamethasone.”
Or how about this one?
“The institute has recently established the process of extracting efficacious elements from the Saengmaek broth made of boiled insam, schizandra chinensis and liriope platyphylla.”
After causing chuckles in the media centre on Tuesday for inadvertently touching the backside of a young North Korean woman during a photo session, Roh caused outbursts of laughter again for his wandering hands.
Roh, who had just finished his first formal talks with Kim, shook hands with the North Korean leader and then scratched his nose, bringing his finger extremely close to his nostrils.