When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

North Korea

In The News

Mourning Queen Elizabeth II, Ukraine Hails Advances, “Anti-State” Nooble Vendor

👋 Aссалом!*

Welcome to Friday, where the world (from political leaders to newspapers and even one fluffy fictional character) reacts to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II at age 96. In The Conversation, UK lecturer Laura Clancy offers a look-back on the most represented person in British history and the meaning of her legacy. Meanwhile, Ukraine hails advances, North Korea declares itself a “nuclear state” and China goes crazy for EVs.

[*Assalom - Tajik, Tajikistan]

Watch VideoShow less

Far Out, Far East: Meet North Korea's Biggest Booster In Taiwan

"Taiwanese would laugh at the leader worship of the North Koreans, but wasn't that what we did in the days of Chiang Kai-shek?"

TAIPEI — On the evening of April 15, a crowd of nearly 100 people eagerly swarmed inside an ordinary building in Taipei's Ximending neighborhood. The occasion? The "Sun Festival", which commemorates the birthday of the first leader of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, and one of the most important holidays each year.

The venue was decorated in a North Korean style, with DPRK flags and photos of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il visible all around, while the tables displayed North Korean-made noodles, biscuits, tins, soaps, cigarettes and toy rifles.

Most attendees were in their 20s and 30s, with males outnumbering females by about 2-to-1. There were couples, friends and even a family with children. Everyone who attended received a small North Korean flag, two slices of Korean fried green bean cake on a paper plate and a portion of Korean seaweed rice rolls.

In addition to the "North Korean Lifestyle Exhibition" as a selling point, the event also featured a speaker recounting his travels to the country. And just before the talk began, the speaker invited all participants to stand up, played the North Korean national anthem and then led them in a bow to the statue of Kim Il Sung.

Hung Hao, the organizer for this event, is also the manager of the Facebook page "DPRK Business News." The page now has more than 33,000 followers, but Hung's business is more than that: on his bilingual business cards, he details the other services that include investment opportunities in the DPRK, business missions and contacts, business information and consultation, the import and export of DPRK goods from Taiwan.

Keep reading...Show less

Russian Oligarchs Turn To Crypto To Skirt Sanctions

Faced with a $32 billion drop in their wealth this year, Russian oligarchs are looking for assets to allow them to overcome sanctions that will increase with the invasion of Ukraine. Familiar with crises, they see bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as an escape from the hegemony of the dollar, and a way to diversify their holdings.

With the European Union and the United States delivering the harshest ever sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, ultra-wealthy Russians are turning to new tech to preserve their financial assets. Cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin (circa $32,000) and ethereum (circa $2,470) can be seen, rightly or wrongly, as life savers during financial and geopolitical crises that threaten private assets.

Keep reading...Show less

Deadly Japan Fire, France Blocks UK Travelers, Mars’ Grand Canyon Water

👋 Zdravo!*

Welcome to Friday, where Purdue Pharma’s $4.5 billion opioid settlement is overturned, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un celebrates his 10th year in office and water is found in Mars’ Grand Canyon. Weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique also looks at the reasons behind the Muslim Brotherhood’s failure to properly run national governments.

[*Serbian]

Keep reading...Show less
Geopolitics
Meike Eijsberg

Duped By North Korean Propaganda, Japanese Expats Are Suing Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-Un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, has been summoned to appear in a Japanese courthouse. Five people who moved to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) between 1959 and 1984 are seeking 500 million yen (3.8 million euros) in damages from the North Korean government for deceiving them with promises of a prosperous life they never found in the totalitarian state, South Korean daily Segye Ilbo reports.

The plaintiffs, four women and one man, are among the estimated 93,000 Japanese-Koreans and other Japanese who moved to North Korea in the latter half of the previous century, often persuaded by a propaganda project (Zainichi Chosenjin no Kikan Jigyo) to attract immigrant workers. The targeted campaign was carried out through the General Association of Koreans in Japan (Chongryon), the de facto representative of North Korea in Japan, touting life in the Northern peninsula as "paradise on Earth."

Watch VideoShow less
North Korea
Jeffrey Lewis

No Free Lunch: What Trump Must Face On North Korean Nukes

The U.S. may need to accept that Pyongyang doesn't give up its nuclear program.

WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump flew to Hanoi, Vietnam, this week, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had a surprise announcement: Trump and Kim would meet earlier than expected, at a dinner on the first evening. The late announcement led skeptics to describe the dinner as an attempt to overshadow Michael Cohen's embarrassing testimony about his work for Trump. But the last-minute dinner raised unexpected challenges. The two sides apparently struggled over the menu, with the White House pressing for simpler fare.

Even as a first-time novelist, I know this is called "foreshadowing."

Watch VideoShow less
North Korea
Yann Rousseau

Pyongyang Potential: Could North Korea's Economy Take Off?

With its mineral resources and cheap labor, the country has significant potential for growth, but economic openness could undermine its dictatorship.

SEOUL — Last month, Ian Bennett hosted a start-up workshop in Pyongyang. Several times a year, the computer scientist travels to North Korea to run training seminars organized by the Singaporean NGO, Choson Exchange. The workshops feature foreign professionals introducing North Korean workers to marketing skills, economic analysis and sales techniques.

"There is a strong entrepreneurial spirit," says Bennett. "Many people who seek to develop these new skills have experienced famine in the 1990s, and now know they can't rely any longer on the state alone. Those who have not tried to fend for themselves in the past often die."

Watch VideoShow less
North Korea
Brian Murphy

North Korean Defectors Watch Summit With Hope, Trepidation

SEOUL - They are the simplest of dreams.

To see familiar streets once more. Or walk along a river at the center of childhood memories. Or throw a big party with wine.

Watch VideoShow less
North Korea

Next On The Korean Peninsula: Trump And Pyongyang Nukes

Kim Jong Un's historic call for peace also included an unspoken message to U.S. President Donald Trump: North Korea won't surrender its nuclear weapons easily.

The agreement Kim reached Friday with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in declared "a new era of peace" and sought a formal end to the seven-decade-old Korean War. While it said both countries committed to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, it gave no details on concrete steps to achieve it.

Watch VideoShow less
North Korea
Yann Rousseau

How Kim Jong-un's Nuclear Arsenal Could Lead Us To Peace

North Korea may now be too dangerous to be attacked. But that may force all to find a diplomatic solution.

-OpEd-

PARIS — As soon as North Korea's sixth nuclear test was announced on Sunday, the litany of condemnations against Kim Jong-un's umpteenth "provocation" started up yet again. But despite all the "strong condemnations," the world's most powerful countries will most likely prove incapable of forging a coherent response. The regime in Pyongyang, meanwhile, is convinced that it has finally attained the key to peace.

Watch VideoShow less
North Korea
Tori Otten

North Korea, Time To Face The Music

-Analysis-

As Kim Jong-un again edges the world closer to an unthinkable nuclear showdown, the tribulations of a humble music store owner in Berlin may help explain why it's so hard to figure out what to do with North Korea.

Watch VideoShow less
North Korea
Stuart Richardson

Did Donald Send Dennis? A Reality Check In Pyongyang

Basketball star-cum-celebrity apprentice-cum-cultural envoy Dennis Rodman is in North Korea for yet another rendezvous with his "lifelong friend" Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of the hermit kingdom. When Rodman last visited Pyongyang in 2013, he blasted then President Barack Obama for nurturing hostile relations between the U.S. and the pariah state. But now, under Donald Trump's watch, the flamboyant celebrity's travel plans take on a whole other dimension.

Indeed, Trump is also a friend of Rodman's, and both have brought a similar Reality TV flare to the serious business of international politics. As Rodman prepared for his expedition Monday, President Trump was busy turning his Cabinet meeting into a strange episode of how-much-I-love-my-boss. One-by-one, in front of the television cameras, Trump's cabinet secretaries showered him in stilted praise reminiscent of contestants' eleventh-hour flattery when he hosted the Celebrity Apprentice. Or, perhaps, a Kim Jong-un appearance before the Central Committee?

Watch VideoShow less
EXPLORE OTHER TOPICS
chinaitalyusafrancegermany