Call it shameless capitalising on a diplomatic kerfuffle, but we felt it would have been a pity if we couldn't find an air transport angle among this avalanche of hitherto-classified ambassadorial cables.
Not that the subject will surprise anyone: a US Government request that embassy personnel in China and Central Asian states approach "appropriate level" officials and "encourage them to deny overflight" of an Air Koryo Ilyushin Il-62 operating between North Korea and Iran.
The communication describes the flight, JS621 from
It gives details of the scheduled flightpath of the 28 July 2008 flight and requests that states being overflown - China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - deny clearance or "require that it land and be subjected to inspection" before allowing it to proceed. The same applied to the return service, JS622, three days later.
"Alternatively," it says, "if this aircraft requests a fuelling stop in your country, we request that you grant this permission and promptly search the aircraft upon its arrival for evidence of prohibited items or activities."
No word on whether the requests were heeded or whether Air Koryo gratefully accepted Condoleezza Rice's invitation to make the unscheduled pit-stop...