September 30, 2023

How North Korea has limited, controlled and surveilled dangerous outsiders

The recent exodus of diplomats from Pyongyang underlines the DPRK’s long-standing suspicions toward foreigners

The spectacular evacuation of a Russian family from North Korea in a rail pushcart -- and subsequent, far from ceremonial exits of diplomatic staff from the country since the COVID-19 pandemic began -- has drawn considerable attention to the country’s shrinking foreigner population, with international agencies withdrawing personnel and only 10 embassies still in operation as of this week.

But while this hasty evacuation has largely been a result of the COVID outbreak, it also seems that North Korean authorities actually want foreigners to leave.