SEOUL In North Korea, where cracking a joke
about the country's leader could see you, well, die laughing,
poking fun at the U.S. president is obviously not as serious.
As military chiefs from both sides of the Korean peninsula
met on Tuesday for talks, a general from the North started
proceedings by telling a joke at George W. Bush's expense.
"I recently read a piece of political humour on the
Internet called 'saving the president'," Lieutenant-General Kim
Yong-chol was quoted as saying in pool reports from the talks.
He then retold the old yarn about Bush who goes out jogging
one morning and, preoccupied with international affairs, fails
to notice that a car is heading straight at him.
A group of schoolchildren pull the president away just in
time, saving his life, and a grateful Bush offers them anything
they want in the world as a reward.
"We want a place reserved for us at Arlington Memorial
Cemetery," say the children.
"Why is that?" he asks.
"Because our parents will kill us if they find out what
The South Korean generals appeared befuddled as to what to
make of the humour -- perhaps not surprisingly given that the
North usually only refers to the United States and its
officials in vitriolic, highly politicised language.
In the North, where Kim Jong-il wields absolute power,
former refugees have said attempts to demean him mean certain
punishment or even execution.