North Korea may have the most oppressive government on earth, and its people may be starving as a result of horrendous communist policies. But the North Korean proletariat was surely thrilled to learn that their Dear Leader Kim Jong Il has thoughtfully provided "authentic" Italian pizza for a few of his most privileged subjects. And it only took a mere ten years to achieve this triumph of socialist central planning:
It has taken almost 10 years of work, but North Korea has acquired the technology to launch a project very dear to its leader's heart - the nation's first "authentic" Italian pizzeria.
The launch of Pyongyang's first Italian restaurant meanwhile brings to fruition a ten-year effort by Kim Jong-il - a renowned gourmand and lover of western food - to create the perfect pizza and pasta in his homeland.
Last year a delegation of local chefs was sent by Kim to Naples and Rome to learn the proper Italian techniques after their homegrown efforts to mimic Italian cuisine were found by Kim to contain "errors".
In the late 1990s Kim brought a team of Italian pizza chefs to North Korea to instruct his army officers how to make pizza, a luxury which is now being offered to a tiny elite able to afford such luxuries in a country that cannot feed many of its 24 million inhabitants.
Although the news story isn't clear on this point, I suspect that the access to the Pyongyang Italian pizzeria is limited to those with special privileged status given by the government, as was standard for stores providing unusual goods in most communist societies.
On the upside, Kim Jong Il's plan to provide pizza for the toiling masses of North Korea seems to have worked out better than his earlier plan to alleviate food shortages by breeding imported giant rabbits, which was aborted when the greedy Dear Leader decided to eat the initial batch of rabbits himself.