North Korea: Operatives exploited Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media sites to get money and dodge sanctions

“Hiding behind fake profiles, a group linked to Pyongyang solicited technology work to send hard currency back home.” Read the rest

New photo book gives rare glimpse inside North Korea

Inside North Korea collects Oliver Wainwright's gorgeous photos of the striking public aesthetic of a brutal dictatorship. Read the rest

DO NOT travel to North Korea, what's left of the U.S. State Dept. warns Americans

“Do not travel” to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the U.S. State Department warned American citizens in a renewed advisory on Friday. Read the rest

Heartbreaking documentary on London's North Korean enclave

Little Pyongyang made the festival rounds and his been picked up by The Guardian. It tells the story of how one soldier made his way to Europe's largest community of North Korean nationals after escaping the brutal regime.

Joong-wha Choi, a former soldier in North Korea, lives today with his wife and children in a sleepy London suburb, home to Europe's biggest North Korean population. Despite enjoying the new found comforts of his British life, and being emancipated from the pressures of the North Korean state, he has a desire to return to the land that betrayed him, and feels like his true home. Joong-wha reflects on both why he left North Korea and the state of his day to day life over the course of several months, in a portrait of loss, longing, and the complexities of healing from trauma.

Here's a nice Q&A with the filmmakers

Little Pyongyang (YouTube / The Guardian) Read the rest

Revealed: North Korea's covert uranium enrichment site Kangson

Journalist Ankit Panda has a bombshell report over at the Diplomat today that identifies the location of Kangson, a covert North Korean uranium enrichment site situated just outside the capital city of Pyongyang. Read the rest

Watch North Korea's film on Kim Jong Un's Singapore trip with Trump

No, really. You gotta see this. Read the rest

North Korean escapee makes heartfelt plea to Trump to hold Kim Jong-un accountable for his atrocities

When Yeonmi Park was just 13 years old, after suffering inhumanely under the North Korean regime, she and her family escaped to China (and eventually to South Korea).

She is now 24 years old and has become a vocal advocate for human rights in the country she once fled from. In this New York Times video, this brave young defector describes the terrible conditions for people in her home country and asks Trump to hold its dictator Kim Jong-un accountable for these human rights violations.

You may remember Park from a few years ago when she told her story at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin, Ireland:

If her story interests you, give her powerful and inspiring 2016 memoir, In Order To Live, A North Korean Girl’s Journey To Freedom, a read:

Park’s family was loving and close-knit, but life in North Korea was brutal, practically medieval. Park would regularly go without food and was made to believe that, Kim Jong Il, the country’s dictator, could read her mind. After her father was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for trading on the black-market, a risk he took in order to provide for his wife and two young daughters, Yeonmi and her family were branded as criminals and forced to the cruel margins of North Korean society. With thirteen-year-old Park suffering from a botched appendectomy and weighing a mere sixty pounds, she and her mother were smuggled across the border into China.

I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea.

Read the rest

The weird(er) US-North Korea summit that ended with 4.5 hours of silent staring

In 1969, United Nations Command negotiator and US Maj. Gen. James B. Kapp and North Korean Maj. Gen. Ri Choon-Sun sat across the table from one another for 11.5 hours without eating or using the restroom. The delegates were only permitted to leave the room if the person who called the meeting proposes a recess. Ri never did. In fact, the two men spent the last 4.5 hours of the meeting silently staring at one another. At 10:30pm, Ri stood up and walked out.

During the meeting, Knapp had asked Ri for North Korea to begin a four-step process to calm tensions in the region.

The infamous meeting was featured in Jeffrey Z Rubin and Bert R. Brown's book "The Social Psychology of Bargaining and Negotiation" which sounds like a rather useful read.

"A long, awkward silence" (Weird Universe) Read the rest

This is the "movie trailer" that Trump played for Kim Jong-Un

At yesterday's Trump-Kim summit, the White House played this fake movie trailer. I wish it began with "Imagine a world.." but the actual narration is almost as good:

“Destiny Pictures presents a story of opportunity, a new story, a new beginning, one of peace, two men, two leaders, one destiny."

Korean version below.

(Quartz)

Read the rest

Trump: Singapore and DMZ possible sites for North Korea Summit with Kim Jong-Un

In a White House press briefing with Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari at his side, U.S. President Donald Trump said he believes a summit with North Korean president Kim Jong-Un will happen, and that Singapore and the Korean DMZ are possible sites for the historic summit. Read the rest

Kim Jong Un says North Korea no longer needs to do nuclear tests

Huge news from North Korea in advance of the North-South summit next week, and planned denuclearization talks with the U.S. President. Read the rest

Watch North Koreans watch K-pop

For the sake of the comity of nations, North Korea has opened its borders to bands from the south such as Red Velvet, seen here "belting out" one of their pop hits for the wildest audience they're ever likely to see.

Just imagine being the poor guy who has to clean up after this mayhem! Read the rest

Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping secretly met in #Beijing for historic first visit

Kim Jong Un secretly met with China's Xi Jinping in Beijing, an historic first visit by North Korea's leader. Read the rest

Trump goes it alone on North Korea. What could go wrong, other than nuclear war?

In a detailed Washington Post piece at the end of a bizarre political week, David Nakamura writes, “The White House dumped its South Korean ambassador nominee, State's top North Korean expert resigned; the NSC's Asia director was on paternity leave for 2 weeks. One man swooped in to fill the vacuum: Trump.”

“In Trump’s decision on North Korea, the world glimpses a president who is his own diplomat, negotiator and strategist.

An excerpt from the story of how we arrived at this bizarre point of United States/North Korean diplomacy, without a single Dennis Rodman in sight:

Over the past six weeks, the Trump administration’s roster of Korean experts, already depleted, grew even thinner. The White House mysteriously dropped its choice for ambassador to Seoul. The State Department’s top North Korea specialist resigned. And the senior Asia director at the National Security Council was out the past two weeks on paternity leave.

But when a high-level South Korean delegation arrived at the White House on Thursday afternoon for two days of meetings over the North Korea threat, one person swooped in to fill the vacuum: President Trump.

In a stunning turn of events, Trump personally intervened into a security briefing intended for his top deputies, inviting the South Korean officials into the Oval Office where he agreed on the spot to a historic but exceedingly risky summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. He then orchestrated a dramatic public announcement on the driveway outside the West Wing broadcast live on cable networks.

Read the rest

North Korea invites Trump to denuclearization talks. Breakthrough or power stunt?

South Korea's national security adviser today announced he told President Donald Trump that Kim Jong Un says he's committed to denuclearization, and that Trump agreed to make it happen by May, as North Korea has proposed. Read the rest

U.S. says North Korea killed Kim Jong Un's half-brother Kim Jong-Nam with chemical warfare agent VX

The U.S. State Department today announced the United States has determined that the North Korean government used chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Un's half-brother. Read the rest

North Korea willing to 'denuclearize,' says South

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, told envoys of South Korea today he is willing to negotiate with the United States to end his country’s nuclear weapons program. South Korean officials say the North Korean leader also agreed to halt all nuclear and missile tests during the proposed talks with Trump administration officials. Read the rest

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