Because not all interviews with the North Korean elite should be honest, hard-hitting or really that necessary in the first place

by Gabriel Mizrahi on October 20, 2012

Kim Han Sol is Kim Jong Il’s grandson. I’m telling you this, because after watching the interview below you still wouldn’t know it.

Here’s what you will know:

  • Elisabeth Rehn, the Finnish ex-diplomat interviewing Kim Han Sol, looks suspiciously like Judi Dench (this might in fact be her greatest qualification)
  • Kim Han Sol likes to sport hipster glasses and black tie (he probably had a bar mitzvah to attend after the interview)
  • Finnish Judi Dench wants to adopt Young Kim (but probably won’t “because you already have parents”)
  • Kim Han Sol has hopes and dreams (because as FJD points out, “all young people have dreams”), and those hopes/dreams are to hang out with his South Korean friends because it just isn’t right that he can’t do that now (even though he totally can, because he already has and they all agree that it’d be awesome to hang out more)

I think my favorite part is when Young Kim talks about “continuing my education after United Word College [his school in Bosnia] somewhere, and after university hopefully picture myself volunteering somewhere, and after that I’d like to engage in more humanitarian projects, and also work to contribute to building world peace and especially back home because that’s a really important part of me that Koreans are really divided and that we can, if we put a little effort step by step, we can come to a conclusion and unite.”

To which Finnish Judi Dench responds, “Certainly you can, and you will do that — one day. The question, of course, is the day next week, next year, or after 10 years, or” — awkward pause as she waits for Kim to save her from herself — “even more?”

“Maybe more.”

Because Young Kim needs some time! Just like 10 more years to hang with his bros in Macau and attend Bosnia college and travel and eat lots of food (which he’s really thankful for, by the way, because that’s how he was raised) before he solves the whole reunification thing and also world peace and especially back home because that’s a really important part of him.

And how does he feel about North Korea’s policies? Is he upset, disappointed, concerned?

“Growing up in that kind of background” — he means the elite royalty of North Korea — “I had a lot of thoughts for myself, and, uh, I concluded that, um… uh… through meeting people I’ve concluded that I will just take opinions from both sides, see what’s good and see what’s bad and make my own decisions and not completely side with one side.”

Well played, Kim. A born diplomat. (Yes, FJD totes let him get away with that one.)

Is Elisabeth Rehn actually Judi Dench? Or do we just love random mashups of Scandinavian diplomats and world-class talents?

He continues: “I’ve had some friends from South Korea, in Macau” — you know, the Chinese Las Vegas he was able to move to with no punishment or labor camps or anything unpleasant like that — “and it’s

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quite interesting because the two countries are trying to work to build peace together for unification, but at the same time there are laws that say that North Koreans and South Koreans should not interact with each other, even outside of Korea.”

So unfair. But that won’t stop Young Kim from broing out with his SoKo buds. If laws designed by his grandfather that don’t really apply to him stand in the way, then bring it on, because that’s how much Kim Han Sol wants reunification.

“Me and my South Korean friends, at first it was kind of awkward when I first met them.” (I know how he feels. Almost as awkward as watching this interview.) “But little by little we started understanding each other through the same classroom experience, and sometimes we share our own stories from back home and realize how similar we are — same language, same culture — and it’s just political issues that divide the nation in half.” (That, and the 1 million soldiers stationed at the DMZ.) “And now today we are really close friends and we travel together and it’s such a wonderful feeling.”

Can’t make this stuff up. Good thing the KCNA didn’t have time to prep him.

Enjoy the un-interview below.

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