North Korea is "quietly" supporting a Yes vote for Scotland's independence in the Sept. 18 referendum. What's even more bizarre than North Korea weighing in on the purest form of freedom? The country's motivation: access to Scotch whisky.
"I believe independence will be positive, as it will encourage personal exchanges and provide both countries with business chances," Choe Kwan-il, managing editor of Choson Sinbo, a news outlet based in Japan with strong ties to North Korea, told theTelegraph. "North Korea is rich in natural resources and we like the taste of Scotch whisky, so we can be beneficial to each other."
It's not so cut and dry: So Chung-on, the director of the International Affairs Bureau of the General Association of Korean Residents of Japan, was not sure that North Koreans even knew the Scotland referendum was happening. But he did argue that Scotland's independence is all but guaranteed and that the shift in the United Kingdom's political makeup would allow for an actual relationship between the two countries. "The result will be very important, and if the Scots do vote to become independent, then North Korea will be prepared to respond to that," he said.
Why does North Korea care about Scotland? Since North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un likes to throw back a good alcoholic beverage or two, reportedly spending more than $32 million on alcohol in 2013, North Korea's response could potentially include trades for Scotland's famous Scotch whisky.
This could be a major boon for Scotland, which has seen alcohol exports flatline in 2014. The U.S., Japan and Mexico are still big markets for Scotch, but the BBC reports that China's exports for the beverage dropped by about 30%.
Scotland's big vote: With the referendum just around the corner, a recent YouGov polls shows 52% of respondents against independence and 48% in favor.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has been pushing hard against a "yes" vote. While visiting Scotland, Cameron took to Facebook on Wednesday, posting a message aimed at Scots:
My message to the Scottish people is simple: 'We want you to stay.' Please read and share this article with friends:
As the people of Scotland put pen to ballot paper next week, you will be writing the UK's future in indelible ink. It's a momentous decision: there will be no going back.
That is why the main party leaders – Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and I – have agreed the right place for us to be today is in Scotland, not at Prime Minister's Questions in Westminster. There is a lot that divides us, but there's one thing on which we agree passionately: the United Kingdom is better together. At this crucial moment, we want to be listening and talking to voters about the huge choices they face. Our message to the Scottish people will be simple: 'We want you to stay.'
Thousands of mailed-in ballots have already been submitted in Scotland. The referendum determining the country's future will be held next week.
h/t The Telegraph