Coverage of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) all too often focuses solely on nuclear proliferation, military parades, and the personality cult around its leaders. As the British ambassador to North Korea, John Everard had the rare experience of living there from 2006, when the DPRK conducted its first nuclear test, to 2008, just before Kim Jong Il’s stroke. While stationed in Pyongyang, Everard’s travels around the DPRK provided him with numerous opportunities to meet and converse with North Koreans.
Only Beautiful, Please goes beyond official North Korea to unveil the human dimension of life in that hermetic nation. Everard recounts his impressions of the country and its people, his interactions with them, and his observations on their way of life. He provides a picture as well of the life of foreigners in this closed society, considers how the DPRK evolved to its current state, and discusses the failure of current approaches to tackle the challenges that it throws up. The book is illustrated with striking and never-before-seen photographs taken by Everard during his stay in North Korea.
John Everard's distinguished career with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spanned nearly 30 years and four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America), and included a number of politically sensitive posts. As the youngest-ever British ambassador when he was appointed to Belarus (1993 to 1995), he built an embassy from the ground up just a few short years after the fall of the Soviet Union. He also skillfully managed diplomatic relations as the UK ambassador to Uruguay (2001 to 2005) during a period of economic crisis and the country’s election of its first left-wing government.