North Korean workers abroad aren't slaves

North Korean workers abroad aren't slaves

In the city of Dandong, on the Chinese side of the Yalu River, one can see a long row of restaurants decorated with North Korean flags. Songs about the leaders, Great, Dear and Supreme, are heard from…

November 27th, 2014
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Kim’s sister a vice department director in Workers’ Party

Kim’s sister a vice department director in Workers’ Party

Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is a vice department director in the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), a Korean Central News Agency r…

November 27th, 2014
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Being a minor party in the North

Being a minor party in the North

North Korea would be one of the last countries in the world that one would think of when it comes to political pluralism. However, three political parties do exist legally in the DPRK. In addition to …

November 26th, 2014
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How the Sakhalin Koreans became Russian

How the Sakhalin Koreans became Russian

This is the conclusion to a four-part series on Russia's Sakhalin Korean community and its relations with North Korea. To see the previous installments click here, here and here.  The deportation …

November 25th, 2014
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The father and son accused of helping N. Korea develop WMDs

The father and son accused of helping N. Korea develop WMDs

“I ate what they gave me in the jail,” the defendant told Judge Charles Norgle, speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, to show that he was following proceedings. “What was it?” “Milk…

November 25th, 2014
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How the famine helped improve our choices in North Korea

How the famine helped improve our choices in North Korea

Every week we ask a North Korean your questions, giving you the chance to learn more about the country we know so little about. This week Lachlan in Australia asks: Where do North Koreans normal…

November 24th, 2014
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Broken English in Pyongyang: A Review of Without You, There is No Us

Broken English in Pyongyang: A Review of Without You, There is No Us

During one trip to North Korea one of my minders, a man in his 40s suddenly asked, “Have you been to South Korea?” No one else was within earshot. Tour officials collect visitors’ passports for …

November 24th, 2014
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Suki Kim: The ethical boundaries of writing in North Korea

Suki Kim: The ethical boundaries of writing in North Korea

There are a couple of scenes from Suki Kim’s recently released memoir where she nearly lets down her guard. In Without You, There is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite Kim, a n…

November 24th, 2014
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Why Kim Jong Un's special envoy just met Vladimir Putin

Why Kim Jong Un's special envoy just met Vladimir Putin

Choe Ryong Hae, the special envoy of Kim Jong Un, is now in Russia. Officially he is in Moscow to discuss economic relations between the two countries, as well as international and regional issues. …

November 20th, 2014
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What was Panetta thinking?

What was Panetta thinking?

I have long considered North Korea’s frequent charge that the U.S. is contemplating a nuclear strike clunky and unconvincing. The assertion seemed very much over the top, and as we know from the fai…

November 20th, 2014
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The story of the Sakhalin Korean rebellion

The story of the Sakhalin Korean rebellion

In December 1976, the sleepy city of Korsakov, on the southern-most tip of Sakhalin island, witnessed a picture that few if any Soviet cities outside Moscow or Leningrad would see in the days of Brezh…

November 20th, 2014
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Is Kim Jong Un young? Yes, but maybe not inexperienced

Is Kim Jong Un young? Yes, but maybe not inexperienced

Think over the possibility of the Kim Jong Un government remaining in power for more than, let’s say, the next five years. What are the key issues? First, establish whether you are prepared to cast …

November 20th, 2014
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Why North Korea attracts so much sensational media coverage

Why North Korea attracts so much sensational media coverage

With the growth of the Internet and social media, the way news is both produced and consumed has changed rapidly in recent years. Demand for traditional print and broadcast media is continually dec…

November 19th, 2014
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Satellite imagery reveals China's $350m suspension bridge to nowhere

Satellite imagery reveals China's $350m suspension bridge to nowhere

North Korea appears to have abandoned efforts to connect the Chinese funded $350m new Yalu River suspension bridge to domestic infrastructure, satellite imagery published at the end of September revea…

November 18th, 2014
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Why Russian Koreans didn’t fall for Pyongyang propaganda

Why Russian Koreans didn’t fall for Pyongyang propaganda

By the mid-1950s, some 40,000 ethnic Koreans lived on the island of Sakhalin – then a newly acquired part of the Soviet Union (the southern part of the island was transferred from Japan in 1945). Mo…

November 16th, 2014
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