April 14, 2024

How North Korea attempted to sell itself to the outside world

Many attempts have been made to present North Korea in a better light, with varying degrees of success

North Korea's approach to marketing itself to foreign visitors has often been contradictory, the product of competing bureaucracies and the changing whims of the leadership. As in many other fields, tourism is affected by the actions of several different branches of government, with incompatible policies and changes in the composition of the leadership often appearing to create massive internal confusion.

The output of the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) is a good example of this. It proudly and faithfully reports even the most banal signs of appreciation from the outside world ("Greetings to Kim Jong Un from Mexican Political Party Leader", "Lao Diplomats Visit International Friendship Exhibition House”…), while regularly printing vitriol calculated to offend and alienate 99% of international public opinion — the racist and sexist articles targeting Presidents Park and Obama spring immediately to mind.

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