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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
S Korea gifts spur DVD diplomacy
Border guards (file photo)
One of the presents was a film set on the tense North-South border
Among the gifts South Korea's president gave North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il at their historic summit were scores of South Korean DVDs.

The DVDs he received included a soap opera set in Korea's 16th century court and a 2000 feature about a modern cross-border incident.

Mr Kim is a keen movie buff and is thought to own a vast film library.

The gift was also pertinent since ordinary North Koreans are forbidden from watching the South's films.

Analysts say the North is worried that if people did see the films, they would realise the economic gulf that has grown up between the impoverished North and wealthy South.

Range of films

Television footage showed around 150 DVDs being presented to Mr Kim on Tuesday, the French news agency AFP said.

"Thanks for bringing me precious and authentic goods," Mr Kim reportedly said.

The titles on offer included Jewel in the Palace starring Lee Young-ae, said to be Mr Kim's favourite actress, about a cook in the Korean royal court.

This was unlikely to be a sensitive choice, given it is set in an era of a unified Korea, something the North is still striving for, analysts say.

But another gift was potentially more risqué.

Joint Security Area is a contemporary South Korean blockbuster in which a Swiss military officer arrives in the border village of Panmunjom to investigate the killing of two North Korean soldiers in the DMZ.

Mr Kim also received the South Korean melodrama Winter Sonata, a film about a South Korean pop star, and Old Boy, an award-winning surreal tale of revenge.

North Korea's leader is rumoured to own more than 20,000 foreign films and has reportedly produced several films himself.

Mr Kim is so keen on film that in 1978 he even kidnapped a South Korean film director to make features for him.

N Korean movies' propaganda role
18 Aug 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Koreas brought together by film
15 May 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Kidnapped by North Korea
05 Mar 03 |  Asia-Pacific

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