May 20, 2024

A Korean American in the DPRK

As a Korean-American, I had my reservations about going on a tour to North Korea.  From stories that were told to me as a child to stories that were told to me by the media, they were never these positive messages telling me this was a country I should go visit.  From as early as I can remember, I was always taught by my parents to actually hate North Korea and to distance myself from it as much as possible.  Non-Korean Americans would always ask me if I was from the North or South shortly after finding out I was Korean.  And now even as an adult, I am still being told by the news how hostile they are and how they seeking to destroy the world.  Knowing all this, why would I ever want to go to North Korea?  I can know everything I ever wanted to know about the place just by reading what’s out there from the comfort of my home.

These days North Korea is getting more and more coverage in the news than ever before.  It’s mostly about how belligerent and hostile they are.  But if you filter out just those very words, you’ll start to see a different side to North Korea.  As it turns out, there are things that were being said weren’t really consistent with what was going on.  I think the biggest thing that grabbed my attentions was finding out that tourists were allowed to visit the country.  If you were to ask me before, I would have told you that tourism in North Korea is illegal.  In fact, researching many of the current media outlets and blogs there are still people today still saying the same thing.

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