North Korea asked America to arrange an Eric Clapton concert in Pyongyang, saying that it could help to persuade Kim Jong-il to allow humanitarian aid into the country.
A confidential cable dated 22 May 2007 from the US ambassador in Seoul to Washington reveals North Korean officials "suggested" to the Americans that because Kim Jong-il's second son, Kim Jong-chol, was "a great fan" of the British guitarist, a "performance could be an opportunity to build goodwill". The report adds that "arranging an Eric Clapton concert in Pyongyang… could be useful, given Kim Jong-il's second son's devotion to the rock legend".
The request was portrayed by North Korea as a way to "promote understanding" between the communist nation and the west. Music has been used to advance the cause of diplomacy towards North Korea in the past, just as US orchestral visits to the Soviet Union were deployed in the 1950s during the cold war.
News of the Clapton request is revealed in a confidential cable detailing a briefing between the US ambassador in Seoul and a leading human rights worker in the region.