Is dictator Kim Jong-un planning to open a restaurant in Scotland?
He may have been behind a host of cyber attacks including a recent notorious raid on tech giants Sony.
But it seems North Korea’s controversial leader Kim Jong-un may have a new target in his cross-hairs. And this time it’s not the computer systems of Hollywood but Scottish stomachs.
That’s because experts believe the diminutive despot may be planning to open one of his state-backed restaurants in the country.
Dubbed ‘Pyongyang’ restaurants, the chain has begun springing up across China and Asia selling fare such as dog meat soup, pine-nut gruel and ginseng wine.
Proceeds are funnelled back to North Korea to help prop up the secretive regime.
And North Korea watchers now believe Scotland may be next prime location, largely thanks to the popularity of whisky among the communist ruling elite.
Michael Madden, editor of the North Korea Leadership Watch, said Jong-un is desperate to build diplomatic ties with European countries with left-wing leanings.
“It would not surprise me at all if they opted to open a restaurant in Scotland,” he said.
“The Scottish independence referendum catapulted Scotland into the North Korean elite’s thoughts.
“Despite voting ‘No’ they’d consider left-leaning Scotland to be more suitable to deal with than England. Plus, North Koreans love whisky. Tourists in North Korea are told to tip people in Scotch instead of the currency.”
One of the restaurants has already opened in Holland.
They are run in partnership with Office 39, a secretive branch of the North Korean government, which uses them as a legal way of raising overseas cash.
Mr Madden, a frequent visitor to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, added: “They are one of the few ways to experience North Korean culture without having to go there.
“They are done like a franchise with the state renting the brand out to other Koreans to run.
“But they tailor the menus to suit. Customers in Western Europe won’t get a plateful of dog!”
Fellow expert Jenny Town, of the US-Korea Institute, said she too believed Pyongyang had warmed to Scotland in recent months.
She said: “North Korea is going to support any country struggling for independence and legitimacy, as North Korea itself still continues to seek validation and recognition of its own legitimacy as a sovereign nation.”
The state-run food outlets which began springing up about 10 years ago channel up to 30% of takings back to Pyongyang. But some critics fear the cash ends up in Jong-un’s own pockets to fund his lifestyle.
As well as a love for whisky, portly leader Jong-un is reportedly hooked on Swiss cheese.
It’s claimed he imports vast quantities at huge expense despite millions of his countrymen being malnourished.
The FBI recently accused North Korea of being behind cyber attacks on the US. The regime is thought to be incensed at a film, The Interview, which centres around the fictional assassination of Kim Jong-un.
The Sunday Post contacted the North Korean Embassy in London for comment, but they did not respond.
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