May 20, 2022

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How North Korea’s friendship with ‘third world’ countries changed

Benjamin R. Young discusses an often overlooked aspect of North Korea’s history during the Cold War

The history of North Korea’s foreign relations tends to be viewed through the lens of its perennial conflict with the U.S. and often uneasy ties with its supposed communist friends, the Soviet Union and China.

But as explained in Benjamin R. Young’s new book, “Guns, Guerillas, and the Great Leader,” North Korea also developed many ties with Third World countries during the Cold War. In this context, the DPRK saw itself as part of a post-colonial, anti-imperialist movement against larger countries that ostensibly sought to exploit others under their own world orders.