You're not a successful nation state until you've got a flag airline, baby! Air Canada! British Airways! Hell yeah!
That said, it appears that it is possible be a dramatically less-than-successful nation and still have a flag airline. In North Korea's case, that airline would be Air Koryo. Chances are, most of us will never be unfortunate enough to hop on one of their flights to one of its five far eastern destinations. I'm pretty sure that's not such a bad thing. Read the rest
An encyclopedic application will teach the Juche idea to a new generation of North Koreans, reports the BBC, which cites the state's official media organ thus: "People must try harder to learn the teachings of the founder Kim."
...this focus on doctrine seems to be part of a wider effort by the government to counter foreign influences that increasingly penetrate the isolated country through the proliferation of technology. The digitisation has seen a steady trickle of foreign news and entertainment entering North Korea on portable devices like USB memory sticks - something that presents a challenge for the authorities. North Korea's approach has been to embrace technology while making sure that it serves its purpose - to portray the state-sanctioned version of reality to the people.
Previously: Comrade Commodore Unicorn
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(PHOTO: Kim Hyok Chol, left, and Kim Yong Chol at Beijing airport on Jan. 17, 2019, KYODO NEWS)
Donald Trump appears to believe it is fun to yuk around with North Korea, but North Korea does not yuk around. Read the rest
In 2014, Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker for publishing a link to a leaked pre-release screener of his movie "The Hateful Eight." The ensuing court-case revealed that the screeners Tarantino's company had released had some forensic "traitor tracing" features to enable them to track down the identities of people who leaked copies.
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“Hiding behind fake profiles, a group linked to Pyongyang solicited technology work to send hard currency back home.” Read the rest
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 the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the U.S. State Department warned American citizens in a renewed advisory on Friday. Read the rest
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
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
No, really. You gotta see this. Read the rest
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:
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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.
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
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.
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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
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
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