According to NK News, a Mr. Miller Matthew Todd (that's the name given by the DPRK authorities) approached North Korean immigration authorities and informed them he sought "asylum," apparently expecting to be welcomed with open arms. Instead, he was immediately arrested.
Leonid Petrov, an expert on the Hermit Kingdom at the Australia National University in Canberra, explained that while an American defector would be a huge PR victory for the Kim regime, North Korean authorities are extremely paranoid, and any deviation from ordinary immigration procedure is viewed with "panic."
“Miller Matthew Todd’s action has hit the nerve of North Korean immigration officers because the DPRK considers entry visas its property and does not tolerate disrespectful attitude to it. … Every foreign visitor who expresses intention to stay in the 'workers’ and peasants’ paradise' longer than his or her visa permits, creates panic among the minders and leads to investigation and deportation. But an American citizen seeking asylum in the DPRK promises a PR bonanza for the regime, which desperately seeks Washington’s attention."
Kenneth Bae, a 46-year old American citizen and Christian missionary, has been in a North Korean prison since November 2012, accused of being part of an alleged coup d'état called "Operation Jericho." He has been sentenced to 15 years, and the Obama administration has failed to help arrange his release.
In other, wackier news from North Korea, it seems boy dictator Kim Jong-un is a turophile. Apparently, he's especially a fan of Emmental, which Americans know better as Swiss Cheese. So Fatty the Third, as the psychopathic despot is known in China, sent officials to the National Dairy Industry College (ENIL), in Mamirolle, Franche-Comté, France, one of the world's top schools for cheesemakers. He wished to arrange for three North Korean students to attend the school, so he could have his own supply of freshly-made, locally-produced cheese.
The school's response? "Non."
While ENIL does accept foreign students, the French had no interest whatsoever in accommodating Li'l Kim's request. With the prominent place cheese holds in East Asian cuisine, I'm sure that was a disappointment to the people of North Korea. Eighty percent of whom are starving.
And finally this week, after lambasting South Korean incompetence in relation to the April 16th sinking of a ferry boat that killed over 300 people, many of them schoolchildren, the government of North Korea has managed to dredge up a tiny sliver of human decency from the depths of its black heart, and authorized a message offering sympathy for the deaths. So, I'm sure the families feel MUCH better.
Remember, today's the day Barack Obama arrives in Seoul; and the North has suggested they may test an underground nuke to celebrate the occasion; this week they sealed off one of their test tunnels. Stay tuned.