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The 13th World Festival of Youth and Students was held in the North Korean capital almost thirty years ago next month. A global gathering of international Communist Party-affiliated youth organizations, it represented something of a last hurrah for a world that was soon to disappear in a storm of revolution and unrest.
Hosted by North Korea — in large part as a response to the South’s successful hosting of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games — the festival cost the country billions and saw thousands of international students descend on Pyongyang for an event devoted to “Anti-Imperialist Solidarity, Peace and Friendship.”
Choi Sung-guk, a former North Korean national who has since defected to the South and built a career for himself as an animator and cartoonist, lived in Pyongyang during the festival and observed the micro-level changes in the city as a young boy.
We talk about what he saw, how he interpreted it, his journey to South Korea, and where he draws inspiration for his animation.
(And, as a little extra for our podcast listeners who are particularly interested in the festival, host Jacco Zwetsloot has created a playlist of all the videos on YouTube of the festival, which you can watch here.)
About the podcast: The “North Korea News Podcast” is a weekly podcast hosted exclusively by NK News, covering all things DPRK: from news to extended interview with leading experts and analysts in the field and insight from our very own journalists.
Featured image: ournation-school.com (우리민족강당)