Sports and Tourism
Includes eyewitness accounts from foreigners on the ground in DPRK
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Rodman holds tryouts for Pyongyang exhibition game
By Associated Press, Published: December 20
PYONGYANG, North Korea — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman held tryouts Friday for a North Korean team to face a dozen NBA veterans in an exhibition game on leader Kim Jong Un’s birthday next month — though he hasn’t convinced all the players on the American team that it’s safe to come to Pyongyang.
The flamboyant Hall of Famer said plans for the Jan. 8 game are moving ahead but some of the 12 Americans he wants are afraid to come.
Some foreign analysts say the dramatic purge and execution of Kim’s once-powerful uncle less than a week ago has cast doubt on Kim’s future. But officials here say there is no instability and Kim remains firmly in control.
“You know, they’re still afraid to come here, but I’m just telling them, you know, don’t be afraid man, it’s all love, it’s all love here,” Rodman told The Associated Press after the tryouts at the Pyongyang Indoor Gymnasium. “I understand what’s going on with the political stuff, and I say, I don’t go into that venture, I’m just doing one thing for these kids here, and for this country, and for my country, and for the world pretty much.”
[Sports diplomacy] [Rodman]
Kim Jong Un Visits Construction Site of Ski Resort on Masik Pass
Pyongyang, December 15 (KCNA) -- Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, visited the Ski Resort on Masik Pass near completion.
He went round Masik Pass Hotel, ski service and lodging buildings and resting places in the skiing courses for beginners and amateurs.
After going round bed rooms, lounges, dining rooms and swimming pool of the hotel etc., one by one, he said that everything inside it looks nice and every aspect and corner are friendly to environment and match the scenery of the mountain.
He noted that the hotel is a model structure as it has been built as required by the party's policy calling for designing and building anything according to its use and peculiarity, and the best one in the country.
He said that ski service and lodging buildings and resting places in skiing courses for beginners and amateurs have also been built in such a way as to meet the desire and requirements of the people, afford best convenience to them and suit their emotion and sense of beauty.
Dennis Rodman to Train N.Korean Basketball Team
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is expected to visit North Korea on Dec. 19-23 as scheduled despite the ongoing purge surrounding leader Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-taek.
He will supervise a friendship game between a team of former NBA players and a North Korean team in Pyongyang on Jan. 8, Kim Jong-un's birthday.
Dennis Rodman gestures during an interview in this photo taken on Nov. 21. /AP Dennis Rodman gestures during an interview in this photo taken on Nov. 21. /AP
"Yes, I'm going to North Korea to train the basketball team," he told AP last Friday. "I'm going to bring American players over there. Yes I am. I'm going to be the most famous person in the world when you see American people holding hands [with North Koreans] and hoping the [North Korean] doors can be opened. If they can. If they can. If they can. I'm going. I'm going back for his birthday. Special."
The Arirang Mass Games of North Korea
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 50, No. 2, December 16, 2013.
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Andray Abrahamian | Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 | No Comments »
Our workshop leaders spend a decent amount of time talking to North Korean audiences about customer expectations internationally, whether industrially or at the retail level.
On a recent site inspection of a new hotel in Wonsan, and as if to illustrate some of the issues of which we try to make our audiences aware, we came across this thing:
step back in time
Retro Hip Hotels in Brooklyn Should Get in Touch With This Control Panel Company (photo by Calvin Chua)
Younger readers might struggle to recognize this device, but it was what all luxury hotels required in the 1980s: a panel from which to control the lights, alarm clock, TV and radio. A nearly extinct creature, it can still be found surviving in environments such as the Yanggakdo, Koryo and other Pyongyang hotels that aspire to luxury status. Or, rather, 1980s perceptions of luxury.
The curious thing is that while those hotels generally have vintage (the kind euphemism for old) fixtures, this control panel was brand spanking new. Whoever was in charge of refurbishing this hotel simply does not have the exposure to how around the world customers have changed in the last 30 years. They just ordered up a 1980s era fixture because that’s all they have been exposed to. Somewhere in the DPRK they can still manufacture these things.
Meanwhile, in our workshops, participants asked lots of questions that show they know they lack information on some basic things (how many toilets do we need per customer at a ski resort?). On others, such as how contemporary rooms should look, they don’t even know how far away they are from meeting the expectations on service and comfort for winter sport travelers.
If they are to reach their goal of a million visitors a year to Wonsan, they will need to send a lot more people abroad to hospitality and service training centers. (Lest the dear reader fear a misprint, I’ll just repeat that number in numerals: 1,000,000 per year.)
On a positive note, thanks to this control panel, we learned what ‘skirting board’ is in Korean at 5:38 p.m. (It was forgotten by 5:40.)
N.Korea Turns to Sports, Tourism for Hard Currency
The North Korean regime has been pouring huge sums into the construction of exclusive sports and recreational facilities for the rich in Pyongyang and major cities in the provinces.
Leader Kim Jong-un has inspected sports-related facilities 25 times so far this year, including the new Mirim Riding Club that opened in Pyongyang on Oct. 20. That was more than three times the visits he made to similar facilities last year.
An outdoor ice rink and a roller skating rink in Pyongyang last year was completed last year, and the Rungna People's Sports Park, Pyongyang Gymnasium, and Mirim Riding Club this year.
Back in July, two new hotels opened in Wonsan, Kangwon Province. The Kalma Hotel has 58 bedrooms and the Saenal Hotel accommodates about 200 guests on 18 floors. A ski resort is under construction in Masikryong in Wonsan.
Since Kim took power, the regime has focused on recreational facilities with an eye on earning hard currency from tourism.
North Korea: The next Thailand of Asia?
Push to bring in foreign visitors may reveal shortcomings in Kim Jong Un’s knowledge
by Andrei Lankov , October 31, 2013
Nearly all communist states tended to have a “main construction project,” an impressive undertaking where, if the newspapers were to be believed, the workers’ enthusiasm for labor produced amazing feats and whose eventual completion would bring an era of unparalleled prosperity.
North Korea is no exception. In the past, such projects tended to be power stations, steel mills and mountain railways, but nowadays the North Korean public is told that the nation’s major achievement is a luxury ski resort being built with great efforts at the Masik pass.
A quick look at the list of the officially endorsed projects also indicates that an unusually high share of these undertakings are related to the hitherto largely neglected sporting and leisure industries. The North Korean media reported with great pomp the completion of Sinphyong Kumgang Scenic Beauty Resort, renovations of the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium and May Day Stadium (perhaps the world’s largest). There were also reports of Kim Jong Un inspecting the newly built 3D Cinema Theater, as well as Mansugyo Soft Drink Restaurant and Ice Rink. There are also talks of the development of the Kangwon area as a tourist zone.
What does all this mean? On the one hand, this peculiar enthusiasm for sporting and leisure facilities might be connected with another “get-rich-quick scheme” which seems ever-popular in Pyongyang. In the last couple of months there have been a number of indications that this time North Korean economic planners hope to generate much income from tourism. In other words, they hope to make North Korea into the Thailand of Northeast Asia.
DPRK, Indonesia Have Friendly Football Match
Pyongyang, November 10 (KCNA) -- There took place a men's friendly football match between the DPRK April 25 team and the Indonesian national team here on Sunday.
It was watched by O Kum Chol, colonel general of the Korean People's Army (KPA), service personnel of the KPA, sportspersons, football fans, working people in the city, Ambassador Nasri Gustaman and staff members of the Indonesian embassy, diplomatic envoys of foreign countries and foreigners staying here.
The April 25 team beat the Indonesian team 2:0 in the match.
Weightlifting-South Korean anthem for lifters in Pyongyang
September 15, 2013 12:04 AM
* South Korean junior lifters take gold and silver
* North plays South's anthem at medal ceremony
SEOUL, Sept 15 (Reuters) - History unfolded around two junior South Korean weightlifters in Pyongyang on Saturday after their national anthem was played for the first time on North Korean soil.
The North's official KCNA news agency reported that Kim Woo-sik and Lee Young-gyun were placed first and second in the Interclub Junior Men's 85kg category. They were the only lifters in that division.
Footage from North Korea's state broadcaster, KRT, showed Kim and Lee standing on the podium as the South Korean anthem played at the arena.
North Korean spectators, mostly young men dressed smartly in shirts and ties, applauded as the South Korean lifters received their medals then stood respectfully for the South's anthem.
The two Koreas have only resumed dialogue in recent weeks after tensions earlier this year appeared to take their frayed ties to the brink of war with Pyongyang threatening missile and nuclear attacks against the South and the United States.
The visit was approved by Seoul's Unification Ministry last week after Pyongyang promised to guarantee the safety of the South Korean delegation, the ministry said.
The delegation of 22 lifters and 19 officials from the federation flew to Beijing from Gimpo International Airport in Seoul on Tuesday before boarding a connecting flight to the North Korean capital.
The lifters were invited to compete in the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Championship from Sept. 11-17.
The last time South Korean athletes competed in North Korea was in 2003 for an inter-Korean basketball and soccer event.
In July, the North Korean women's national football team received a warm welcome in the South when they competed in the East Asian Cup. (Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Nick Mulvenney and Amlan Chakraborty)
[But was the NK anthem played?]
Filming at North Korea's first ski resort: Q and A - video
Swiss journalist Marc Wolfenberger tells Jon Snow about his impressions of North Korea and how it is changing under new leader, Kim Jong-un - ski slope and all.
[Intelligent, un-polemical responses from Wolfenberger to Jon Snow's predicable bemused questions]
[Kim Jong Un] [media] [daily life] [Video]
Welcome to North Korea's first ski resort - video
Jonathan Miller Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Exclusive: the Masik Pass ski resort in North Korea is a national priority for Kim Jong-un. But will it be ready on time? Watch this exclusive film from Swiss journalist Marc Wolfenberger.
[The filming is by Wolfenberger, but the commentary unfortunately is by Jonathan Miller and is appallingly bad; ignorant and uninformed, clichéd, polemical, and condescending]
[Kim Jong Un] [media] [daily life] [Video]
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North Korea calls Switzerland’s refusal to sell it ski lifts a ‘serious human rights abuse’
By Max Fisher
October 7 at 11:28 am
North Korean soldiers at work on the country's first ski resort, underneath cables that were to carry ski lifts. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
North Korean soldiers at work on the country's first ski resort, underneath cables that were to carry ski lifts. (Kim Kwang Hyon/AP)
North Korea, long pegged as perhaps the world's worst human rights abuser, accused Europe of committing "serious human rights abuse" for refusing to sell ski lifts to the Hermit Kingdom. That's perhaps the most revealing little moment in its breakneck effort to build ski resorts – one with real implications for how the outside world deals with North Korea.
North Korea has been working feverishly on constructing its first-ever ski resort, a lavish project that young leader Kim Jong Un personally set as a top national priority. But it has hit a major snag: It can't get ski lifts because of sanctions.
Unlike nuclear weapons or medium-range missiles, North Korea doesn't have the technology to make its own ski lifts. But the countries that do make them all tend to be in the West, where new sanctions imposed in March make it illegal to sell luxury goods to the Hermit Kingdom. North Korea tried offering millions of dollars to Austrian and French companies to import ski lifts, but both said no.
Finally, North Korea tried to import from a Swiss company, offering $7.7 million for the lifts. It would be a logical choice: Kim went to school in Switzerland, which is presumably where he developed his very expensive love of skiing. And the country's well-known history of neutrality at times extends even to Pyongyang. When the Swiss government blocked the deal, Pyongyang had had enough. It issued a furious response via official state outlet KCNA, declaring, "This is an intolerable mockery of the social system and the people of the DPRK and a serious human rights abuse that politicizes sports and discriminates against the Koreans."
[Sanctions] [US dominance]
New Chinese Travel Law Hits Korea's Tourism Industry
Significantly fewer Chinese tourists are visiting Korea since a new travel law took effect in China this month, leaving travel and retail businesses here that counted on a continuing boom high and dry.
Korea's biggest travel agency Hana Tour on Thursday said the number of Chinese tourists it handled shrank to 4,000 in October, down 60 percent from 10,000 last month.
Mode Tour said its tours attracted 13,000 Chinese last month, but that fell to 5,000 in October. The numbers include all bookings until the end of this month.
"The decline is mainly due to the new Chinese travel law," said a Mode Tour staffer.
The new travel law bans including shopping in tour programs, charging extra, and demanding tips. It aims to prevent travel agencies from attracting customers with cut-price tours that sometimes fall short of even the round-trip airfare, and then trying to make the money back from tips, optional extras and herding them into certain shopping outlets that pay commissions.
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Construction of Ski Resort on Masik Pass Progresses Apace
Pyongyang, September 27 (KCNA) -- Soldier-builders are pushing forward the construction of the Ski Resort on Masik Pass.
Ten ski courses have been constructed in the main and nearly 60 projects of a hotel, service and lodging buildings, resting places, heating facilities and dozens of apartment houses for employees are making brisk headway.
Soldier-builders and shock brigade members are sharply increasing the speed of overall construction.
Commanding officers of the field headquarters are scrupulously organizing and commanding operations according to projects and stages after working out concrete daily plans in keeping with the pace of all projects that have reached the final stage.
Soldier-builders in charge of the ski courses are busy rounding off them
European cyclists roll into N Korean port town of Rajin
Participants wave at onlookers as they cycle during the Nordic Ways Vatternrundan China-DPRK international cycling tourism festival in Rason, North Korea, on Monday.
Dozens of European cyclists rolled into the North Korean port town of Rajin this week for the last leg of a rare two-stage race from China to North Korea.
Clad in skin-tight shiny outfits and accompanied by a fleet of support cars, the 47 cyclists from Sweden, Germany and more than 10 other countries rode from China to the Wonjong border crossing to take on the 50km road into Rajin.
Such free-wheeling travel by foreigners is unusual in North Korea, a reclusive and isolated state under international sanctions for nuclear and missile tests.
“They were really good bike roads, some of the best roads you can have for biking,” Gaavert Waag, manager of Nordic Ways — the events company behind the race — said by telephone.
Welcome to Taedong Travel!
SPECIALISTS IN BUDGET TRAVEL TO NORTH KOREA (DPRK)
Taedong Travel will provide you with the chance of a lifetime to see this utterly fascinating and beautiful country for the lowest possible cost. Whether you choose a short stay in the capital of Pyongyang, or decide on a lengthier trip along the empty highway to the east coast, you’ll not leave without feeling that you have experienced an amazingly unique part of the world. A trip to the DPRK is a truly mind blowing experience. We guarantee that for many tourists, one trip to the DPRK will not be enough.
Discussions under way to allow N. Korean taekwondo to compete internationally
Posted on : Sep.26,2013 16:03 KST
At present, athletes from North Korea aren’t permitted in some international competitions
By Lee Kil-woo, sports correspondent
A plan is currently being discussed to allow North Korean taekwondo athletes to compete in the Olympics.
“We are currently in close deliberations with related organizations to clear the way so that North Korean athletes can compete in taekwondo at the Olympics,” said Choue Chung-won, president of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), at a press conference held at the Press Center in central Seoul on Sept. 25.
At present, only athletes who are part of the WTF, the international organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are allowed to compete in the Olympics. As a result, athletes who are associated with the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), which has a special relationship with North Korea, have been blocked from taking part.
“The WTF and the ITF are currently in discussions about the possibility of allowing athletes from one organization to compete in tournaments organized by the other,” Choue said. “Various bureaucratic procedures remain to be completed, but a final decision will be made as early as the first half of 2014.”
By Andray Abrahamian
19 September 2013
This month, the front covers of two of my favorite magazines, Korea and Korea Today, both feature athletics. One shows a sort of mass participatory event, perhaps a youth camp. The other shows the elite table tennis players who defeated their southern kin in the finals of the world championships a couple months ago. These magazines generally exist to inform foreigners that everything is great in North Korea and only getting better. While one can be skeptical of some of their claims, the focus on sports is neither incidental nor insignificant but could have some important implications for the Kim Jong Un era.
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N.Korea Has Stellar Hopes for Ski Resort
North Korea reportedly expects to attract 5,000 customers a day to a ski resort leader Kim Jong-un is building and make US$62.5 million per year from it.
The ski resort is at the mountain pass of Masikryong 768 m above sea level in Munchon, Kangwon Province, along the Wonsan-Pyongyang highway.
The website NK News on Monday reported the figures based on a planning document from the North's Ministry of Sports and Kangwon Provincial People's Committee.
It quoted the document as saying, "North Korean customers from nearby provinces will form the backbone of anticipated demand, followed by international tourists from surrounding nations."
Chinese Tourists 'Behaving Crassly in N.Korea'
Chinese tourists are behaving boorishly in North Korea throwing sweets at children in the street, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday. It was the latest in a long line of stories highlighting alleged rudeness by Chinese tourists abroad.
But the daily added, "North Korea's tourism workers may look down on their boorish northern visitors but they also appreciate their big-spending ways."
Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours, which specializes in tours to the North, was quoted as citing "as an example mainland tourists throwing sweets at North Korean children 'like they're feeding ducks,'" and
Kim Jong-un Sends Message to Hyundai Chairwoman
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun received a verbal message from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a memorial at Mt. Kumgang last Saturday on the 10th anniversary of the death of her husband, former Hyundai chief Chung Mong-hun.
A North Korean official told her Kim was praying for the repose of her husband and wished Hyun and her family and Hyundai Group all the best, Hyun told reporters at the border after her return.
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun speaks to reporters on return from North Korea on Saturday after a memorial for her late husband, former Hyundai chief Chung Mong-hun. Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun speaks to reporters on return from North Korea on Saturday after a memorial for her late husband, former Hyundai chief Chung Mong-hun.
The message was delivered by Won Tong-yon, vice chairman of the North's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, during the memorial service, she said.
He described it as a "verbal letter," according to a Hyundai staffer.
Hyun said she remains determined to resume package tours to the scenic mountain resort, which stopped after a South Korean tourist who had strayed off-limits was shot dead by a North Korean soldier in 2008. "Hyundai will never give up on the Mt. Kumgang tour project," she said.
The North also wants the lucrative tours to resume, but South Korea is demanding an apology and promises to prevent similar incidents.
In North Korea, Hyundai Group chair receives message sent by Kim Jong-un
Posted on : Aug.5,2013 15:32 KSTModified on : Aug.5,2013 15:46 KST
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun (third from the right) comes back into South Korea through the Donghae Highway Transit Office after her visit to Mt. Keumgang, North Korea for a tenth anniversary memorial for her late husband, former Hyundai Group chairman Chung Mong-hun, August 3. (Yonhap News)
Hyun Jeong-eun visits Mt. Keumgang for memorial of late husband’s passing, receives message of condolences and hope
By Park Byong-su, staff reporter
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a message on Aug. 3 to Hyundai Group chairperson Hyun Jeong-eun, who was visiting Mt. Keumgang for a tenth anniversary memorial for her late husband, former Hyundai Group chairman Chung Mong-hun.
The Hyundai Group responded that the message was delivered from Kim to Hyun at Mt. Keumgang. In it, he said that Chung had “opened up a path for the Korean people’s reconciliation and cooperation and contributed greatly to the development of inter-Korean relations and the unification of the homeland.
"I express my condolences, and I wish the best to you and all of Mr. Chung’s family and to everyone at the Hyundai Group," the message reportedly continued.
The Korean Central News Agency reported on Aug. 4 that Kim’s message was delivered by Won Dong-yon, vice-chairman of North Korea’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.
This is the first time Kim has delivered such a message to a South Korean. It primarily expressed a personal message of condolences, it also expressed hope for improvements in inter-Korean relations, including the resumption of tourism at Mt. Keumgang.
N.Korean Footballers Get Warm Welcome Home
North Korea's women's football team returned home to much fanfare last weekend after winning the EAFF East Asian Cup in Seoul.
Members of North Koreas womens football team cry as they meet the regimes leader Kim Jong-un. /Rodong Sinmun Members of North Korea's women's football team cry as they meet the regime's leader Kim Jong-un. /Rodong Sinmun
They burst into tears upon meeting the country's leader Kim Jong-un, who praised the team's efforts and shook the hands of all the players, according to the state-run Rodong Sinmun.
The athletes were welcomed by ecstatic crowds in Pyongyang and paid homage to the statues of regime founder Kim Il-sung and his son, former leader Kim Jong-il.
Hyundai Chairwoman to Visit N.Korea
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun will visit North Korea's Mt. Kumgang on Saturday to attend a memorial service on the 10th anniversary of the death of her husband, former Hyundai chief Chung Mong-hun.
The government approved the visit of 38 Hyundai executives to the North, a spokesman said Thursday. It will be Hyun's first visit to North Korea since the funeral of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in December 2011, and her first trip to Mt. Kumgang since August 2009.
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun and her daughter pay tribute to her dead husband Chung Mong-hun at a monument on Mt. Kumgang in North Korea in August 2009. /Courtesy of Hyundai Group Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun and her daughter pay tribute to her dead husband Chung Mong-hun at a monument on Mt. Kumgang in North Korea in August 2009. /Courtesy of Hyundai Group
Hyundai Asan, the group's travel arm, ran package tours to the North Korean scenic resort until they were suspended after the fatal shooting of a South Korean tourist there in 2008.
The Hyundai Group, not to be confused with the carmaker, has held a memorial service for Chung at a monument set up there every year since 2004.
Mudslide Blights Kim Jong-un's Ski Resort
A mudslide caused by recent torrential downpours hit a new ski resort North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is building in Masikryong in Kangwon Province.
Satellite images taken last Friday show some buildings buried under huge amounts of mud washed away from ski slopes. They also show a hotel and other facilities flooded.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks with officials during his inspection trip of a ski resort under construction in Masikryong, Kangwon Province in June. /Rodong Sinmun North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks with officials during his inspection trip of a ski resort under construction in Masikryong, Kangwon Province in June. /Rodong Sinmun
Some 420 mm of rain fell on Wonsan, Kangwon Province from July 10 to 12 alone.
On one visit to the site in May, Kim ordered officials to speed up construction so the resort can open this winter.
N.Korea Asks Hong Kong Firm to Redesign Airport in Pyongyang
North Korean has asked a Hong Kong-based firm of architects to redesign Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.
PLT Planning and Architecture is also remodeling a military airport in the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang tourism zone into a civilian airport, the daily said.
Otto Cheng Ping-lun of the firm said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is reportedly very happy with the design of the Mt. Kumgang airport and therefore asked them to tackle the new project too, with the proviso that an airport in the capital should look even better than one in the provinces.
Cheng said he was introduced by a Hong Kong businessman with personal connections with the North Korean regime but did not go into the details of the project.
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N. Korea, Japan held to scoreless draw at E. Asian cup
North Korea and Japan were held to scoreless draw at the women's match at the East Asian Cup tournament here on Thursday.
At Hwaseong Stadium, south of Seoul, North Korea kept the reigning FIFA Women's World Cup champion at bay in the back-and-forth encounter at the regional tournament.
Japan, the two-time defending East Asian Cup champ, entered the competition ranked third in the world, six spots ahead of North Korea on the FIFA women's rankings.
A different N. Korean soccer team visited Seoul this time
Posted on : Jul.23,2013 15:39 KSTModified on : Jul.23,2013 15:57 KST
The North Korean women’s soccer team responds to audience applause after their July 21 victory over South Korea at World Cup Stadium in Seoul. The players are wearing cleats of different brands and styles, a change from the past.
In Sunday’s match against the South, North Korea’s players appeared friendlier and more engaged
By Kim Bong-gyu, staff photographer
At the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, the whole North Korean team wore cleats of the same brand.
The North Korean women’s soccer team has changed in the eight years since they have been to Seoul.
The North and South Korean football teams faced off on July 21 as part of the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup, with North Korea winning 2-1 over the South.
From the time the North Korean players started warming up, the mood in the team was different from the past. The expressions on their faces were not stiff or blank, and they even waved at the fans in the crowd while they were practicing their shots.
N.Korean Women Rally to Beat Southern Rivals in East Asian Cup
In the first encounter between the two Koreas' women's football teams in eight years, the North rallied to win 2-1 on Sunday in their EAFF East Asian Cup clash at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday.
North Korea was kitted out in uniforms by German brand Adidas and cleats made by Japan’s Mizuno -- none of the players wore boots by Nike, an iconic U.S. sports brand.
South Korea grabbed an early lead in the 26th minute courtesy of a neat strike by Kim Soo-yun, before a brace by Ho Eun-byol 10 minutes later turned the tables as she rifled home in the 35th and 37th.
Ho Eun-byol of North Korea (second from left) reacts after scoring a goal in the 37th minute during a match against South Korea in the EAFF East Asian Cup at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday. Ho Eun-byol of North Korea (second from left) reacts after scoring a goal in the 37th minute during a match against South Korea in the EAFF East Asian Cup at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday.
The home team had several good chances in the second half but failed to convert any into goals.
A crowd of 6,500 people watched the match live, with South Korean fans chanting songs and beating drums, and a group of North Korean defectors throwing their weight behind the visitors.
N. Korean soccer team comes to S. Korea
Posted on : Jul.19,2013 13:39 KST
Members of the North Korean team smile and wave as they leave Incheon International Airport after arriving from Beijing for the women’s EAFF Women’s East Asian Cup, July 18. It has been eight years since the North Korea women’s team last competed in South Korea at the East Asian Cup in 2005. (by Kim Bong-kyu, staff photographer)
N. Korea to keep focus on football in regional tourney in S. Korea
North Korean football players wrap up their training at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, Friday. They are participating in the July 20-27 Women’s East Asian Cup in Seoul.
North Korean football players will keep their focus on the field when they compete in the regional tournament to soon kick off in South Korea, their coach said Friday.
North Korea will participate in the Women's East Asian Cup, which will kick off in Seoul on Saturday. South Korea, Japan and China are other participants in the round-robin event that will wrap up on July 27.
The men's competition will go on from July 20-28.
The North Korean women's football team is here for the first time since the 2005 East Asian Cup. The last time any North Korean sports team played in South Korea was April 1, 2009, when the two Koreas clashed in Seoul for an Asian qualifier for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Korea prevailed 1-0.
N.Korean Team Due at Weekend Amid Tightened Security
North Korea's women's football team will arrive at Incheon International Airport late on Thursday night to compete in the EAFF Women's East Asian Cup, which runs from Saturday until July 28.
It is the first time in eight years for the team to visit the country to participate in the regional event. The reclusive state's men's team last came in April 2009 to attend qualifying games for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The two Koreas will meet at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday at 6:15 p.m., then the North faces Japan in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, on July 25, and China at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on July 27.
When it expressed its intention to take part in the Cup last month, North Korea requested that it receive equal treatment to the other teams, and did not make any special demands such as tougher security or blocked access to the team. However, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service and police authority reportedly plan to allocate additional personnel for the security of the visiting team.
North Korea is ninth according to the FIFA world rankings. It won the U-20 World Cup in Russia in 2006, and climbed as high as world No. 5 at one point. However, some players in the national team tested positive for banned substances during the 2011 Women's World Cup, and were banned from playing at the follow-up event in 2015. The team also got eliminated in the group stage at the 2012 London Olympics.
UN Sports Advisor Visits N.Korea
A UN advisor on sports diplomacy left North Korea on Tuesday after a four-day visit.
Wilfried Lemke arrived in North Korea last Saturday and visited a number of sports venues in Pyongyang, including Rungna People's Sports Park and Pyongyang International Football School.
Wilfried Lemke Wilfried Lemke
On Monday, Lemke visited a ski resort in Wonsan, which North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is pulling out all stops to complete by the end of the year.
North Korea hopes to earn hard currency by attracting foreign tourists to the ski resort.
The UN said Lemke's visit came at North Korea's invitation. A source said, "It seems the purpose was to promote North Korea's sports policies and to gain help in attracting foreign tourists to the new ski resort."
Dennis Rodman Wants Nobel Peace Prize for DPRK Diplomacy
By The Diplomat Staff.
July 3, 2013
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman says that something is “seriously wrong” if he isn’t a top contender for the Nobel Peace Prize this year.
The five-time NBA champion became the first American to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un earlier this year when he visited the country as part of a Vice trip to film a documentary. While there he struck up quite a friendship with the North Korean leader and urged U.S. President Barack Obama to call Kim upon returning home.
In a new interview Rodman says that he believes he should be awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
“My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries. Why it's been left to me to smooth things over, I don't know. Dennis Rodman, of all people. Keeping us safe is really not my job; it's the black guy's [Obama's] job. But I'll tell you this: If I don't finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something's seriously wrong,”
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Two Koreas to Square Off in Women's Football Match in Seoul
North Korea's women's football team will participate in the 2013 East Asian Cup next month in South Korea, the latter's Korea Football Association said on Thursday.
This will be the first visit by the women's team to the South since it competed in the 2nd edition of the Cup in 2005.
The two Koreas will play one another at Seoul World Cup Stadium on July 21.
Pyongyang-KL flight set to resume in August .
Tuesday, 25 June 2013 14:52 P Vijian 0 Comments
North Korea’s national carrier Air Koryo will resume its Pyongyang-Kuala Lumpur (KL) services beginning Aug 4, 2013, coinciding with the Arirang festival, the annual majestic dance and gymnastics performances.
The airline began its historic inaugural flight in mid-April 2011, but services were temporarily halted because of poor passenger volume as tourists shied away from the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) or often called as North Korea.
“Due to the situation in Korean Peninsula, tourists did not feel save to travel. But situation has changed now, so we have decided to re-launch the service.
“We want more Malaysians and South-East Asian tourists to visit our country,” Pak Kyong Nam, MD of the DPR Korea Tourism Sdn Bhd, told The Malaysian Reserve in Kuala Lumpur last week.
Incheon invites NK to Asiad
Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil
Mayor tells Korea Times of efforts to bring Pyongyang team on board
By Cho Jae-hyon
Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil is confident of North Korea’s participation in the Asian Games to be held in the western port city next year.
“I’m 100 percent sure of North Korea’s participation. We’ve been talking with the North using all the routes and channels we have,” Song, 50, said in an interview.
His optimism is based on the relatively “close relationship” that the city of Incheon has with the North.
Song said its professional football team Incheon United FC runs a factory manufacturing football boots in the Chinese border city of Dandong.
“With the exception of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, it is the only factory jointly run (by South and North Korea). We have hired 25 North Koreans to work in the factory that’s been running for two years,” Song said.
Kim Jong-un showing himself to be a man of leisure
Posted on : Jun.6,2013 14:13 KST
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits the construction site of Masikryong Ski Resort on an unspecified day in a photo released by Korean Central News Agency. (KCNA)
Spirited approach to building of ski resort shows North Korea giving greater priority to tourist facilities
By Gil Yun-hyung, staff reporter
In an appeal to the North Korean people, leader Kim Jong-un used the old socialist catchphrase of “speed battle.”
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published an appeal from Kim on June 5 in which he asked the people to accelerate work at Masikryong Ski Resort to open a new golden age in every part of the building of a socialist state. “When the Party throws a thunderbolt, the military workers will pick up the pace at Masikryong through their indomitable spirit and their tenacious blitzkrieg attack,” Kim said. “We absolutely must complete the construction of the Masikryong Ski Resort before the year is over,” he urged.
Masikryong is a mountain located near Wonsan in South Hamgyeong Province that is 768m above sea level. On May 26, Kim toured the construction site of the ski resort that is being built. North Korea is planning to construct a “world-class ski resort” with a helipad, a hotel, and ski slope that is 110,000m long and 40-120m wide. With the port of Wonsan close by and the Pyongyang-Wonsan highway in the vicinity, the mountain is an ideal location for a tourist attraction.
Dennis Rodman Replaced Michael Jordan on N.Korea Trip
Dennis Rodman Dennis Rodman
Former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman only went to North Korea in February to replace "King of Basketball" Michael Jordan who "wasn't interested," the New York Times reported last Thursday.
"The creators of 'Vice,' a new HBO newsmagazine with a penchant for daredevilish themes, said Wednesday that Mr. Rodman had improved the program but was not even their first choice," the daily wrote.
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N.Korea Suggests Regional Basketball Tournament
North Korea last month proposed to the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union an international basketball tournament involving both Koreas, China, and Japan.
An informed source on Friday said North Korean state broadcaster KRT proposed to the ABU that they jointly host a basketball tournament among national players from the four countries.
It seems Pyongyang made the proposal because North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is keen on basketball, as evidenced by his invitation to former U.S. basketball superstar Dennis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters to Pyongyang in March, the source added.
Kim Jong Un Visits Masik Pass Skiing Ground
Pyongyang, May 26 (KCNA) -- Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, provided field guidance to the Masik Pass Skiing Ground now under construction by the KPA.
He mounted an observation deck to hear a detailed report on the construction of the skiing ground.
He was greatly satisfied to learn that soldier-builders have constructed a skiing area on mountain ranges covering hundreds of thousands of square meters, including primary, intermediate and advanced courses with almost 110 000 meters in total length and 40-120 meters in width.
He said the skiing ground is located in the best place as it ensures a long period of skiing and it is easy to have access to it with the Pyongyang-Wonsan tourist motorway available nearby.
N.Korea Admits S'porean Tourists to Mt. Kumgang
Pyongyang has allowed tours to resume to Mt. Kumgang with a package that includes a trip on a luxurious Singaporean cruise ship.
The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said the vessel arrived in the eastern port city of Kosong on Monday. It added that the international tourists on board were overwhelmed by the beautiful landscape there.
North Korea has been striving to revive tourism to the scenic mountain after such activities were suspended in 2008 when a South Korean tourist was shot dead by a North Korean soldier. The soldier claimed she had been trespassing in a military area near the resort where she was staying.
1st Batch of Rason-Mt. Kumgang Tourist Group Tours Mt. Kumgang
Pyongyang, May 21 (KCNA) -- The 1st batch of Rason-Mt. Kumgang international tourist group arrived at the Kosong port by the ship "Royale Star" on Monday.
Displayed at the port was the banner with letters reading "Warm welcome to the international tourists aboard 'Royale Star' to Mt. Kumgang". The group was welcomed at the port by officials concerned and inhabitants in Kosong County.
Tour company says North Korea to allow Westerners to make day trips from Chinese border
By Associated Press,
Published: May 14
BEIJING — A Western tour company in China said Tuesday it has obtained permission from North Korea for Westerners to make day trips into the country from the Chinese border.
Gareth Johnson of Young Pioneer Tours said his Xi’an-based company — after years of lobbying — had received Pyongyang’s approval to organize tours for non-Chinese foreigners to the North Korean border town of Sinuiju, which so far has been open only to Chinese tourists.
Johnson said he expects the day trips — which may begin in June — to be popular among Westerners looking for an affordable and convenient option to visit the largely isolated country.
Westerners already can visit North Korean on weeklong organized tours, with an average cost of $1,300 per person, while day trips would cost considerably less and could fit into the travel itinerary of someone who is visiting China, Johnson said by telephone.
Sinuiju is connected by bridge to the Chinese city of Dandong along the Yalu River. It has been open to Chinese tourists since the 1990s and receives about 20,000 Chinese visitors each year. However, travel agencies say the number of Chinese tourists recently has plunged due to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Tourists to Sinuiju can visit a local revolutionary museum, see a statute of the country’s former leader Kim Il Sung, watch performances and take photos with kindergarteners.
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Rodman Plans 2nd Visit to Pyongyang
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman says he will visit North Korea again in August and spend time with leader Kim Jong-un. The eccentric former athlete invited derision in February when he went to Pyongyang leading an acrobatic basketball show team right after the North conducted a third nuclear test.
He spent some time gladhanding and joshing with Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju, a first for an American.
Rodman told the Miami Herald at a charity gala last Friday that he and Kim "have no plans really, as far as what we're going to do over there, but we'll just hang and have some fun!"
[US NK interaction] [Media]
Chinese agency cancels N. Korean tours
Others take caution but proceed
By Kim Young-jin, Jun Ji-hye
A travel agency based in China announced Tuesday that it has canceled its entire schedule of tours into North Korea, due to the mounting tension on the Korean peninsula.
The announcement came hours after the Stalinist state advised foreigners residing in South Korea to evacuate because of the danger of a “thermonuclear war” occurring.
“Because of the situation in North Korea, all tours are canceled from now. We will announce when tours begin again as soon as we get official information from North Korea,” stated Explore North Korea, a travel company based in Dandong, on its Facebook page.
The company, whose typical customers are from western nations, had five tours scheduled in April, departing April 11, 13, 15, 17, and 20.
However, other tour operators said they will continue conducting normal business.
Kempinski Pulls Out of N.Korean Hotel Project
Europe's oldest luxury hotel chain Kempinski has abandoned plans to run the giant Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, China's official Global Times reported Monday.
Kempinski planned to open the hotel, in a monstrous unfinished skyscraper in the North Korean capital, in July or August of this year but decided to pull out due to escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
A spokesman for the German chain said it would be "unable to manage Ryugyong Hotel according to the standards of the Kempinski Hotel and Resorts under present circumstances."
N.Korea to Start Boat Tours for Chinese Tourists
North Korea is about to start boat tours for Chinese tourists between Rajin-Sonbong and Mt. Kumgang late this month, even as it ratchets up war threats against the rest of the world.
An executive of a Chinese travel agency in Yanji said the boat tours will start in late April. "We already have permits for the tour packages from both sides." The executive said there has been no warning from North Korea of imminent hostilities.
The four-day boat trip costs 4,000 yuan (approximately W730,000) per person.
But another travel agent in Hunchun admitted the number of interested customers has "fallen slightly due to the latest situation."
The North is eager to attract Chinese tourists. Charter flight services between Yanji and Pyongyang will resume late this month, Yanbian online radio reported early this month.
Train tour packages will also resume late this month between Tumen in the Chinese province of Jilin and Mt. Chilbo in North Hamgyong Province in North Korea. The North is expected to take part in a large-scale tourism fair in Dandong, Liaoning Province on April 28.
Charter flights between Xian and Pyongyang and between Shanghai and Pyongyang will likely resume around July.
According to the China National Tourism Administration, the number of Chinese tourists to the North grew 47.9 percent from 131,100 in 2010 to 193,900 in 2011.
China becomes top tourist source market
Xinhua, April 5, 2013
The United Nations World Tourism Organization has confirmed that 2012 saw China become the top tourist source market in the world.
Last year, Chinese expenditure on travel abroad climbed to US$102 billion, culminating a period in which it has been the most rapidly growing source market for tourism in the world.
Since the turn of the century, there has been over an eightfold increase in the number of overseas trips made by Chinese travelers, from 10 million who went to other countries in 2000 to 83 million who traveled abroad in 2012.
Air Koryo Anticipating a Big Summer…
Andray Abrahamian | Friday, April 5th, 2013 | No Comments »
There have been rumors of Air Koryo offering more flights than ever before for 2013, but now there is confirmation. Confirmation being a notice on the door at Sunan Airport.
As of mid-April, Air Koryo will be running flights to Beijing on Monday and Friday as well as its regular Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday flights. This will bring them into direct competition with the Air China flights on those days, which are more expensive. Moreover, Air China seems to run the route quite reluctantly, especially in the winter, when any dusting of snow seems to be a pretext for cancellation. Its not hard to see why: during the winter months, capacity is very low.
Wish you were here? North Korean tourism experiencing a boom among American travelers despite 24/7 military surveillance and regular power outages
By Nina Golgowski
PUBLISHED: 18:05 GMT, 16 March 2013 | UPDATED: 23:35 GMT, 17 March 2013
Catch the latest reports on life in North Korea and think, I'd like to try that?
A booming number of Americans are traveling to North Korea thanks to a New Jersey-based tour company that's expecting a record number of foreigners to visit this year since 2009.
Uri Tours, the same agency that helped organize former-NBA player Dennis Rodman's highly-publicized trip last month, say they expect at least 500 people to obtain visas through their service this year.
They say that's five-times more than when the country first opened its doors to outside visitors for most of the year in 2009 opposed to previously allocated select dates.
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N.Korea Cuts 3G Mobile Web Access for Foreign Visitors
Groups that organize trips to North Korea say the country is no longer offering mobile Internet to foreign visitors, just weeks after it unveiled a new 3G service that promised an unprecedented look into the notoriously closed state.
The apparently uncensored Internet service was introduced last month, setting off a flurry of Instagram photos and Twitter posts. The move offered a rare glimpse into a country that does not allow its own citizens to access the web.
Koryo Tours, a group that specializes in trips to North Korea, says it was told by authorities in Pyongyang that 3G access is no longer available for visitors.
"About two weeks ago, I got an email from my contact at Koryolink, which is the mobile phone company there. They said that the 3G still exists, but just not for tourists," says Hannah Barraclough, a tourism manager at the Beijing-based group.
"It's still possible for foreign residents in Pyongyang to access, but not for foreign tourists who visit," added Barraclough, who said no reason was given for the termination.
There'll Be No War, N.Korea Assures Chinese Tourists
A senior North Korean official has assured Chinese tour operators that there will be no war on the Korean Peninsula. The assurance came at a time when the North is ratcheting up its belligerent rhetoric.
Visiting Xian in Shaanxi Province in mid-March, Kim To-jun of the North's General Bureau of Tourism, told Chinese tour operators, "Don't worry. There'll be no war on the Korean Peninsula, so send as many tourists as possible."
The regime is expected to resume package tours in July via non-stop flights between Xian and Pyongyang. The route opened in July 2011 and the package tours started a year later.
This Week in Hypocrisy With George Stephanopoulos
by JP SOTTILE
There are many revolving doors in Washington, D.C.
Some are doors to power, some are doors to influence and profit, and some are simply portals of opportunity for party animals who desperately want to remain inside the Beltway.
That door is marked: “the media.”
Most become pundits, commentators and experts—the denizens of America’s blatherati.
It’s the easy way in and out, because you don’t have to pretend. You just keep on regurgitating talking points and, hopefully, you’ll score a few consulting gigs to help keep the kids in Sidwell Friends or to keep on receiving an annual invite to CPAC.
Both FOX and MSNBC provide important holding pens for some of these animals until they get invited back inside the corridors of power.
But an intrepid few actually try to navigate the door between politics and journalism. George Stephanopoulos is one of them.
Like most who go through that door—either into government from journalismor into journalism from government—George had to take an oath: The Hypocritic Oath.
The Oath sounds familiar: “First, do no harm”—to your friends, your colleagues, your access and your long-term status as an insider. In other words, don’t “drop bombs” on your dinner plate.
His strict adherence to Washington’s all-encompassing oath was on full display when Dennis Rodman, fresh off of his quirky visit to North Korea, went on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
U.S. criticizes N. Korea for Rodman distraction
The U.S. government accused the North Korean leadership Friday of "wining and dining" former NBA star Dennis Rodman and his group while many of its people are starving.
"Clearly, you've got the regime spending money to wine and dine foreign visitors when they should be feeding their own people," Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy spokesman for the State Department, said at a press briefing.
He was answering a question about Washington's view on Rodman's trip this week to Pyongyang with a basketball show team.
Rodman became the first high-profile American figure to meet the communist nation's leader, Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his 20s, since he seized power in late 2011.
After leaving North Korea, Rodman called Kim an "awesome kid."
Dennis Rodman: Kim Jong Un Wants President Obama to ‘Call Him’
By Kari Rea
Mar 3, 2013 9:32am
In his first interview since returning to the U.S. from an unprecedented visit to North Korea last week, former NBA star Dennis Rodman said he bears a message for President Obama from the country’s oppressive leader, Kim Jong Un.
“He wants Obama to do one thing: Call him,” Rodman told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.” “He said, ‘If you can, Dennis – I don’t want [to] do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”
The athlete also offered Kim some diplomatic advice for potential future talks with President Obama.
“[Kim] loves basketball. And I said the same thing, I said, ‘Obama loves basketball.’ Let’s start there,” Rodman said.
Rodman’s comments come just days after the basketball star shocked the world with an unexpected trip to Pyongyang, North Korea, becoming the first known American to publicly meet with the mysterious Kim since he assumed command of the totalitarian nation after the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il in 2011.
Dennis Rodman in North Korea to film TV show
The former NBA star becomes an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tension between the United States and North Korea.
U.S. Ex-NBA Star Tours Pyongyang
Pyongyang, March 1 (KCNA) -- Dennis Rodman, ex-player of the NBA of the U.S., and his party toured the Rungna Dolphinarium on Friday.
The guests expressed deep impressions as they were briefed on the Dolphinarium on picturesque Rungna Islet.
They spent a good time watching dolphins dancing to the tune of cheerful music, jumping in group, spinning rings, jumping into the air and shaking hands with people.
Earlier, they also toured the Tower of the Juche Idea and the Arch of Triumph.
How Dennis Rodman—and You—Can Visit North Korea
By Bruce Einhorn on February 27, 2013
First Eric Schmidt went to North Korea. Now it’s Dennis Rodman’s turn.
Last month, Google’s (GOOG) chairman made headlines by visiting the communist state. On Tuesday, the former NBA star started a week-long visit to the North, traveling with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters on a goodwill visit. The Pyongyang regime is trying to make it easier for other foreigners to follow: Bloomberg News reports the country’s only cellular operator is going to offer uncensored 3G services for foreigners traveling to the Stalinist state.
Rodman, aka the Worm, doesn’t seem to have doubts about the morality of visiting a country where—notwithstanding the official government website’s description of a “Juche-oriented” land where “workers, peasants, soldiers and intellectuals are the true masters of their destiny and are in a unique position to defend their interests”—human rights abuses are rampant and the government is toying with nuclear weapons. As Rodman writes on his Twitter feed: “I’m not a politician. Kim Jung Un & North Korean people are basketball fans. I love everyone. Period. End of story.”
Which raises many questions: Is it even legal for Americans to visit North Korea, a charter member of George W. Bush’s Axis of Evil? How does somebody who’s not the chairman of the world’s most powerful Internet company or a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame manage to go there? Is the North about to become the Next Big Thing for tourists looking for an exotic holiday? Should you cancel your plans for Bali or Bhutan and follow Rodman to Pyongyang?
Kim Jong Un and Rodman watch basketball
Photos, with text in Korean
DPRK, US basketball players conduct joint training
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 28, 2013
Visiting U.S. basketball players had a joint training here on Wednesday with sportsmen of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), marking the first public exchanges since the team set foot on the isolated country.
National Basketball Association retiree Dennis Rodman, together with players from U.S. Harlem exhibition basketball team, exchanged match tactics, training mode and technical movements with teenager players from the DPRK.
Xinhua learned from sources that there would be a match on Thursday between the two sides. Foreign embassies and non-government organizations here have been invited to watch.
DPRK officials declined to reveal whether their top leader Kim Jong Un, widely believed to be a big basketball fun, would watch the game.
[US NK interaction]
DPRK, U.S. Basketball Players Have Joint Training
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- Basketball players of the DPRK and the U.S. conducted a joint training in Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Gymnasium here on Wednesday.
Participating in it were U-18 players of the DPRK and ex-player of the NBA of the U.S. Dennis Rodman and his party.
Match tactics, training mode and technique movement of the players of the two countries were exchanged at the joint training.
A workshop on basketball technique took place that day.
[USS NK interaction]
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Harlem Globetrotters in North Korea for 'basketball diplomacy' – video
The Harlem Globetrotters, including former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman, land in Pyongyang in North Korea to film part of a documentary about the basketball team. They hope to visit a sports camp for children and compete with North Korean athletes in an exhibition match they hope will be attended by the leader, Kim Jong-un
Ex-Player of American NBA, His Party Arrive Here
Pyongyang, February 26 (KCNA) -- Ex-player of the NBA of the U.S. Dennis Rodman and his party arrived here Tuesday.
They were greeted at the airport by Son Kwang Ho, vice-chairman of the DPRK Olympic Committee, and officials concerned.
Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman in North Korea; Obama administration shrugs
Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman is surrounded by journalists upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea | Kim Kwang Hyon/AP
By Hannah Allam | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman, known for his vivid hair colors and flamboyant fashion, seems to be reviving his bad-boy persona, arriving Tuesday in North Korea on a surprise trip to the pariah state.
The State Department said curtly that it didn’t have any position on this “private travel,” though Rodman said on Twitter that he was looking forward to meeting the reclusive leader Kim Jong Un, who just set off global alarms with a third nuclear test that’s drawing a sharp rebuke from the United Nations.
“It’s true, I’m in North Korea,” Rodman tweeted on his official Twitter account. “Looking forward to sitting down with Kim Jung Un. I love the people of North Korea.”
He added, “I come in peace.”
Rodman – along with some members of the Harlem Globetrotters – is in Pyongyang for a filmed visit that Vice, a media production company based in Brooklyn, has dubbed “basketball diplomacy.” He’s scheduled to lead a basketball clinic for children and shoot hoops with top North Korean players for a Vice production that’s set to air on HBO in April.
Dennis Rodman’s bizarre trip to North Korea: Is it also unethical?
Posted by Max Fisher on February 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm
American basketball star Dennis Rodman and several members of the Harlem Globetrotters are in North Korea, where they will film for a forthcoming Vice/HBO program and promote some “basketball diplomacy,” including pick-up games in Pyongyang.
Whatever the trip’s impact, it reminds me of a debate that I’ve heard many times among people who work on issues relating to North Korea: What are the ethical pros and cons of visiting the world’s most oppressive country? Although there is no consensus view and a significant numer of North Korea-watchers say that visiting the country helps to open it up, I most frequently hear experts argue that tourism is unethical because it directly funds and offers free propaganda to the regime.
Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations, with whom I exchanged e-mails several months ago about the ethics of visiting North Korea, wrote back that “there are plenty of ethical dilemmas and few answers when it comes to dealing with the DPRK.” He explained, “Any interaction with North Korea involves an element of moral hazard. It was a central question that dominated and polarized the humanitarian aid community from the start of its interaction with North Korea in response to the famine in the mid-1990s.”
Quotes from the people who set up Rodman’s visit might give you a sense of its mission, which certainly so far seems to emphasize promoting Vice and Rodman a bit more than actual track-two diplomacy. (That doesn’t mean Rodman’s trip must be necessarily bad, but I make this point to explain why I’m treating it as an act of tourism and commerce rather than research or diplomacy.)
[US NK interaction] [Media] [MISCOM]
Singaporean Tourist Ship Opens Business at Rajin Port of DPRK
Pyongyang, February 20 (KCNA) -- The Singaporean tourist ship "Royale Star" opened its business with due ceremony at Rajin Port in the northeastern DPRK on Feb. 20.
Present at the ceremony were officials and other people of DPRK and Chinese institutions related to tourism and people in Rason City.
Kim Chun Hwa, director of the Rason International Travel Company, the director of the Yanbian Tianyu International Travel Company of China, and Zheng Yuanhui, owner of the ship, made speeches at the ceremony.
They said the start of business by the ship is of great significance in developing tourism in the Rason Economic and Trade Zone, adding it will contribute to bringing about a turn in the services for tourists.
They expressed thanks to the DPRK for its cooperation in the preparations for the start of the ship's business.
They stressed the need to improve the services and inject fresh energy into Rason-Mt. Kumgang tour and the businesses in the zone.
At the end of the ceremony its participants toured cabins and other facilities of the ship.
A reception and an art performance were given on the same day.
DPRK Draws Increasing Number of Tourists
Pyongyang, February 19 (KCNA) -- Interest in DPRK tourism is ever growing worldwide.
According to data available, a large number of people visited the DPRK for tourism from some 50 countries and regions over the last one year.
The number of tourists has been steadily increased from the beginning of the 2000s, sharply from Juche 98 (2009).
The number of arrivals from European countries is also on increase.
The increase is fueled by many attractions.
Eye-catching achievements made by the country in the effort for building a thriving socialist nation in recent years are one of the attractions.
Some of the tourists introduce their good impressions of the country through media and websites.
New air routes by chartered flights to the DPRK were opened last year from Shanghai, Harbin, Xian and Yanji of China.
The Kuala Lumpur-Pyongyang air route was re-opened as a regular service in tourism season.
Local tourism by plane and bicycle is encouraged and border areas were opened for tourism.
Among tourism destinations are Mts. Paektu, Kumgang and Chilbo, Sinuiju City in North Phyongan Province and the Rason Economic and Trade Zone.
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Unification Ministry refuses permission for inter-Korean football game
Posted on : Jan.22,2013 15:28 KST
The North Korean men's national football team is greeted as they arrive at Incheon International Airport before the 2005 East Asian Football Championship.
Denial raises questions about government’s claim that it will work for dialogue between the Koreas
By Kang Tae-ho, senior staff writer
On Jan. 21, South Korean government refused the first request for permission to contact the North this year. Government officials stated the grounds for the refusal were ongoing deliberations in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) about sanctions in response to North Korea’s December 2012 missile launch. With the presidential transition committee in operation, this is inconsistent with Park Geun-hye’s stated aim to “open the door to dialogue between the two Koreas.”
N.Korean Striker Hopes to Fill Stadiums at Suwon
Jong Tae-se Jong Tae-se
Suwon Samsung Bluewings held a ceremony to welcome North Korean striker Jong Tae-se to the club on Thursday.
At the press conference, Jong, who showed up with his hair dyed gray, praised the physical style of play in South Korea. He also vowed to improve his Korean language skills by watching entertainment shows on TV. "I cut my hair short and dyed it to symbolize a fresh new start," he said.
Jong broke his serious demeanor by smiling when Suwon's managing director Lee Seok-myung handed him his new No. 14 uniform.
When asked why he picked Suwon, Jong said, "I heard good things about the team from Ahn Young-hak, my teammate in North Korea who formerly played in Suwon. I was also attracted to Suwon's big fan base and stadium. I hope to contribute to the team's title run by scoring at least 15 goals in my debut season."
Jong, who was born in Japan to a North Korean mother and a South Korean father, is the fourth North Korean to play in the K-league. After the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he moved from Japan's J-League to Bochum in Germany's second-tier league. He then moved to Cologne last February but failed to win a starting position and decided to seek his future in South Korea.
Other North Koreans who played in K-League include Ryang Kyu-sa, who signed with Ulsan Hyundai in 2001, Kim Yong-hui, who joined Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma one year later, and Ahn Young-hak, who played for Busan IPark and Suwon from 2006 to 2009.
N.Korean Striker Targets 15 Goals in Debut Season with Suwon
Jong Tae-se Jong Tae-se
North Korean striker Jong Tae-se arrived in Korea on Tuesday to join Suwon Samsung Bluewings.
Upon arriving at Incheon International Airport, Jong told the press he aims to score 15 goals in his debut season in the K-League and hopes to win his first-ever league trophy.
"I'm happy to play for Suwon, a club with a long history where North Korean midfielder Ahn Young-hak once played," he said. He will hold a press conference on Thursday after undergoing a medical.
A third-generation Korean Japanese, Jong was born to a South Korean father and a North Korean mother. He began his career as a professional footballer with Kawasaki Frontale in the Japanese League in 2006. He has also played North Korea's national team since 2007.
In 2011, he joined German second-division club VfL Bochum before being traded to Cologne last February. After losing his place in the club's starting rotation he decided to try his luck in Korea.
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Traveller's tales: Eyewitness accounts
Tablet PC menus, Volkswagon taxis in Pyongyang
A Korean-American businessman living in the United States could hardly believe his eyes when he visited the North Korean capital of Pyongyang last week.
Cafes in central Pyongyang were filled with not only foreigners but local customers who appeared busy with their tablet PCs and smartphones.
“It was as if I was in the middle of Seoul,” the visitor said, adding that customers were choosing and placing their orders on tablet PCs.
On the second floor of the café was a Korean restaurant serving bulgogi (marinated charbroiled beef) for as high as $70 per serving, but you could not get a table without a reservation.
He also noticed what he believed was an increased number of taxis ? which he estimated at 1,000 ? mostly second-hand imports of Volkswagons which run 24 hours a day at a base fare of 500 North Korean won.
Pyongyang in the summer of 2013
Posted on : Aug.26,2013 15:08 KST
Modified on : Aug.26,2013 15:12 KST
Colored taxies similar to those seen in South Korea on the streets of Pyongyang. The North Korean capital appears to be changing, with more luxury cars and foreign tourists. (provided by Okedongmu Children in Korea)
Director of humanitarian aid group returns from North Korea with impressions of a changing city
Gwon Geun-sool, chairman of Okedongmu Children in Korea, visited the North Korean cities of Pyongyang and Nampo with his colleagues from Aug. 14 to 17. Okedongmu is a NGO that has provided humanitarian aid to North Korean children over the past 17 years.
This article describes Pyongyang in summer 2013 as seen through Gwon’s eyes. The eight members of Gwon’s group, including an employee of Seoul National University Hospital, represented the first aid visit to North Korea by a South Korean NGO since Park Geun-hye was inaugurated as president of South Korea.
It had been five years since Gwon had been to the North, and two years since Okedongmu had sent a representative there.[EWA]
8 Days in the 'Land of Evil'
North Korea Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Victory
by ANDRE VLTCHEK
As the plane – Russian-built Tupolev-204 – was taking off from Pyongyang Airport, I felt nothing, absolutely nothing. The morning fog was at first covering the runway, and then it began to lift. The engines roared. Right after the takeoff I could clearly distinguish green fields, neat villages and ribbons of ample and lazy rivers below the wing. It was undeniably a beautiful sight: melancholic, poetic, and truly dramatic. And yet I felt numb. I was feeling nothing, absolutely nothing.
The Status of Microbrews ... in North Korea
Some travelers look for local beer in new locales, but this featured beer enthusiast went out his way to tailor his visit to North Korea with the sole purpose of visiting microbreweries and tasting beer there. He likens the taste of North Korean beer to American microbrew Anchor Steam. South and North Korea compete in many fronts, but this informed traveler and microbrew aficionado concludes that North Korean beers taste better than the ones in the South. Perhaps South Korea does better in the soju arena.
[EWA] [Daily life]
'Kim Jong-Ale': North Korea's surprising microbrewery culture explored
29 April 13 / by Ian Steadman
UParadise Microbrewery, PyongyangParadise Microbrewery, PyongyangJoseph A Ferris III
For a country that commonly experiences famines, North Korea has a surprisingly large range of beers. And if you're a microbrewing enthusiast, it might be the last country you'd think of visiting on a tasting tour. That's exactly what Josh Thomas did, though, from 30 March to 6 April this year.
Thomas, who lives in Hong Kong and works in advertising as a creative technologist, is a self-confessed lover of all things beer. Though an amateur microbrewer himself, he "might be moving over into the professional realm soon with some mates", he told Wired.co.uk. "I've been brewing beer for a number of years, and love to travel the globe trying beers from different cultures."
[EWA] [Daily life]
Andy Kershaw: Travelog – North Korea
Broadcast on Channel 4 TV as part of the ‘Travelog’ Series.
The One Show – North Korea
Andy on The One Show BBC1 talking about his own experiences of North Korea in the context of recent media hysteria over the country’s hostile rhetoric. Broadcast on the 10th April 2013.
Third-wave Coffee hits the DPRK
Andray Abrahamian | Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 | No Comments »
A very pleasant discovery this March is that there is what you might call a third wave coffeeshop in Pyongyang. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ‘third wave’ essentially means thinking about coffee similarly to wine: concern for terroir, freshness and individual, hand-made drinks. It’s pretty bougy.) This un-named café is attached to the Pyongyang Hotel View Restaurant. It is the first one in the DPRK with single origin beans, pour-overs and even a small roasting machine, as far as we know.
An American's back-flip in North Korea
Eric Hill executes a back flip on a deck in the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone in this recent photograph. / Courtesy of Eric Hill
By Kim Young-jin
For Eric Hill, an American adventurer with a flair for doing daring deeds, executing a back flip is not difficult. He clears out space, builds momentum with his arms and launches toward the sky.
The flip is part of the 30-year-old’s routine everywhere he goes. He is on a remarkable mission: to visit every U.N.-recognized country in world record time. He also does a handstand and receives a high-five from a local in each place.
Interview: A Capitalist in North Korea (Yes, They Do Exist...)
By Justin Rohrlich Jan 15, 2013 1:16 pm
Though far from becoming a beacon of freedom anytime soon, entrepreneur Felix Abt says that, "by North Korean standards, there has been quite a practical change in society and the economy."
While the world was quasi-agog last week over images of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt watching students at Kim Jong Il University utilizing his company’s search engine, it’s a safe bet they won’t be networking with potential employers after graduation.
A small slice of North Korean society may be permitted to access the Internet in limited ways (according to analysts, only a thousand or so of North Korea’s 25 million people can get online; the best most can do is view the country’s walled -- and heavily restricted -- intranet, where state-sponsored news is available). Expats living in-country (a small number of diplomats, NGO workers, and a tiny sprinkling of brave businesspeople; a 2005 census reported 124 foreign nationals residing in Pyongyang, a city of 2.1 million) are, however, able to get online via satellite -- though even they face restrictions.
“LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) blocked me when I listed my North Korean address -- and I was not the only one,” Felix Abt, a Swiss entrepreneur who spent seven years living and doing business in North Korea, tells me.
Abt, co-founder of the Pyongyang Business School, former managing director of the Pyongsu Joint Venture Company, North Korea’s first-ever foreign-invested pharmaceutical enterprise, and author of the new book, A Capitalist in North Korea (Amazon Publishing Services, 2012), was unceremoniously booted from the site in 2009.
“Maybe LinkedIn’s legal department thought it was too risky or something,” Abt, now living -- and working -- in Nha Trang, Vietnam, says. “I don’t know.”
In fact, “as a matter of corporate policy,” LinkedIn does not allow “member accounts or access to our site from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria” under the conditions of international sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. (LinkedIn is not alone; other major tech names such as Google, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) among others, also restrict access to their products from sanctioned countries, though one wonders if Eric Schmidt notified Google’s legal department that its products are being utilized at Kim Il Sung University.)
North Korea: Bringing modern music to Pyongyang
German and North Korean musicians working together
German conductor Alexander Liebreich is one of the few Westerners to have visited North Korea several times. On his last trip, with the Munich Chamber Orchestra in November, he was surprised how much the situation has changed.
"Is there anywhere in the city that we shouldn't go?"
It is wise to ask this question early on in a trip to Pyongyang. I put it to our contacts at the German Korean Friendship society, who had helped organise our trip.
"But… is it OK to just walk around Pyongyang, unaccompanied?"
"Of course. Why wouldn't it be?"
He has established a reputation for pursuing unusual projects. In 2002, he visited North and South Korea together with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie where they gave the first Korean performances of Bruckner Symphony No. 8. He has since returned to North Korea six times
The 2005 documentary Pyongyang Crescendo captures his teaching experiences there
I was astonished. Their only recommendation was that we avoid visiting the train station and resist taking photos of military buildings.
I travelled to Pyongyang with my orchestra to give workshops to students at the University of Music and Dance with the ambitious plan of putting on a joint concert after five days.
An American NGO ... in North Korea
By Jeff Baron
Dec 15 2012, 8:33 AM ET 8
The story of an Arizona rancher who moved to the most oppressive country on earth -- and is attempting to reconcile two countries that have been enemies for decades.
The United States has boots on the ground in North Korea.
Cowboy boots, size 10 Durangos, and they belong to Rob Springs, a Korean-speaking Arizona rancher. Springs and his cowboy boots made their 66th visit to North Korea in November 2012. They've spent nearly three years on the ground there since 1997, traveling to every part of the country.
Springs is a private citizen, and his story doesn't deal with the issues high on our national security agenda -- how the U.S. government deals with North Korea's weapons and human rights.
But it's an important story, because in critical respects it competes against the common narrative about North Korea that Americans -- including those who must deal with its nuclear and missile programs -- get almost daily from the media.
[An excellent article and one well worth reading
Is life in North Korea really not that bad?
Posted by Olga Khazan on November 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm
North Korea is so insular that tales from defectors are some of the few glimpses the Western world gets. Books such as Blaine Harding’s “Escape from Camp 14” or Barbara Demick’s “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea” are filled with former North Koreans’ accounts of innocent people toiling away in gulags, scrounging around train stations for food and living in complete darkness thanks to nationwide energy shortages.
But Felix Abt, a Swiss businessman who lived in North Korea for years, says these and other widely read accounts of life in North Korea tell far from the whole story. In a recent opinion piece on GlobalPost, he makes the incredibly unusual argument that North Korea isn’t as destitute and oppressed as its escapees would have you believe.
North Korea's not as crazy as everyone says
Commentary: Most of what we hear about the Hermit Kingdom comes from defectors, but there's a lot more to the country.
November 1, 2012 00:20
NHA TRANG, Vietnam — A peculiar strand of literature on North Korea has been published in recent years, with the authors drawing heavily on interviews with defectors. Sure, North Korea has been a horrific place with famine and prison camps, but these books reveal a single slice of North Korean society. And it's dangerous that they're taken so frequently at face value when they remain unverifiable.
The stories these authors tell are indeed heart-wrenching. Journalist Blaine Harding, formerly at the Washington Post, wrote a biography of Shin Dong Hyuk in the 2012 book "Escape from Camp 14." Shin was a famous defector born and raised into the brutal environment of a labor camp from where he later escaped.
Unfortunately, there's a big flaw. The defector initially presented his story differently from what he later told to the author. Harden acknowledges in his book that the defector lied to him about his experiences, but decided to believe him anyway.
For seven years, I made a living in the world's most closed off communist country as — of all careers there — a businessman. Now living a comfortable life as an entrepreneur in Vietnam, I have all sorts of stories to tell that contradict these tales.
[EWA] [Defector] [Propaganda]
Welcome to Lenin Disney: North Korea’s otherworldly tourism experience
Posted by Max Fisher on October 16, 2012 at 10:05 am
A British tourist finds empty halls and endless propaganda in Pyongyang. (Thomas Bailey)
The surreality of visiting North Korea begins at customs. Officials in full military dress — and there are a lot of them, judging by this clandestine video shot by a Canadian tourist — announce that anyone carrying a cell phone must surrender it, to be returned on leaving. The experience gets weirder from there, based on the numerous travelogues and reports that have emerged since the country lifted many of its restrictions on American tourists in 2010.
Hotel of Doom, Alcatraz of Fun: North Korea’s finest tourist stays
Posted by Max Fisher on October 18, 2012 at 8:33 am
The Ryugyong Hotel looms above Pyongyang. (AP/Greg Baker)
Should you decide to join the small but growing contingent of Western tourists visiting North Korea every year, you will probably spend most of your time in Pyongyang, and that means staying in one of the few approved hotels. Like most things on the tightly-controlled, propaganda-heavy tours, lodging in North Korea is said to be a uniquely bizarre, but perhaps revealing, experience.
Most tours, which are shepherded by government minders at all moments except while inside the hotel, put visitors up at the Yanggakdo. It’s enormous by North Korean standards, 47 stories, the top of which is a revolving restaurant. Like the thousand or so rooms, the restaurant is mostly empty, all of it an elaborate show of prosperity that doesn’t exist. The hotel is on an island in the Taedong River, which runs through the middle of the city. This allows guests a rare freedom of movement, as minders will allow guests to wander the island unguided. Although, as Lonely Planet‘s guidebook cautions, “don’t even think of crossing the bridge into the city.” This has earned it the nickname among guides, “Alcatraz of Fun.”
A mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
John Hearnshaw. Professor of Astronomy, University of Canterbury, Christchurch NZ
A week in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea may not sound like everyone’s idea of a fun holiday destination. I just spent the first week of September in that country and absolutely enjoyed every minute of my time. The Koreans treated me like a celebrity rock star or visiting president, with a large black limousine and chauffeur assigned to me for a week, during which time doors to important people and places were opened to me and every effort was made to please and impress. As the first astronomer ever to visit DPR Korea from another country (except for some Chinese astronomers who went to Pyongyang over 10 years ago), and also one of the few foreign scientists of any type to go there, the Koreans certainly appreciated my visit.
An Englishman in Pyongyang
Global Times | 2012-7-27 19:10:06
By Feng Shu
Michael Harrold currently works and resides in Beijing. Photo: An Saigang
Sitting across a table from the affable, unassuming Briton, one would never guess that he'd spent seven years in a world that is still largely off limits to Western media.
Almost 20 years after he left Pyongyang in 1994, Michael Harrold, the first Briton to work and live in North Korea, is still surprised that his life led him to this mysterious nation, which remains inaccessible to most people even today.
After answering a bizarre job posting upon his graduation from Leeds University in the UK, Harrold, then 25 years old, found himself in Pyongyang in March of 1987 with a new job title: English language adviser. His main duty was to polish English translations of the collected works and speeches by North Korea's then president, Kim Il-sung, and his son and then heir, Kim Jong-il.
Report from Pyongyang
Stewart Lone from the University of New South Wales, has been teaching English in Pyongyang. Here he ponders on the strange discrepancy between the image of the DPRK, life in Pyongyang, and the political system promulgated by our governments, media, and some writers –all ‘honourable men’ in Shakespeare’s phrase – and his experiences.
He is working on a longer description of his time in Pyongyang.
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David Guttenfelder Is TIME’s Pick for Instagram Photographer of the Year
By Ishaan Tharoor @ishaantharoor Dec. 18, 2013Add a Comment
David Guttenfelder / AP
Inside Pyongyang's Masudae Assembly Hall two women wait to lead us down a red carpet to meet Kim Yong Nam, the head of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea, April 10, 2013.
David Guttenfelder is TIME’s pick for Instagram photographer of the year. The veteran photojournalist is a seven-time World Press Photo award-winner. He has traveled the world for the Associated Press, covering wars, elections and natural disasters in over 75 countries. But in 2013, Guttenfelder, the AP’s chief Asia photographer, won over a new audience after he became one of the first foreign photographers to be granted the ability to work in North Korea. And he featured some of his most striking, intimate pictures from the Hermit Kingdom on Instagram.
Inside North Korea
A rare visual tour inside the reclusive and secretive country.
A Cultural Peek Into the Hermit Kingdom
I work as a Chief Mate on U.S.-flagged oceanographic research ships . The voyages and expeditions I have worked brought me from the Yangtze River of China, to the icebergs off Cape Horn South America, Antarctica, and many other points around the world.
My passion is world travel and I have spent the last 13 years working and independently traveling through over 90 countries. I have no home and live out of a backpack (although a girl in Taiwan has me settling down for the first time in my life). I also love to read literature, study history, and make trouble where and when I can.
Traveling to North Korea has been a life changing experience but it’s far from being my only one.
More images from inside North Korea
A rare visual tour inside the reclusive and secretive country.
North Korean Pastoral
The Hermit Kingdom as you've never seen it.
PHOTOS BY ROGER SHEPHERD | MARCH 11, 2013
The Baekdu Daegan mountain range twists its way more than 1,000 miles down the length of the Korean Peninsula, from the sacred peak of Baekdusan on the North Korea-China border to Jirisan in central South Korea. Today, it is choked off by landmines and barbed wire at the demilitarized zone, but once, it was considered the "spine of the nation" -- a source of spiritual energy and strength for the Korean people.
Life on China-N. Korea border
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