Sports and Tourism
Includes eyewitness accounts from foreigners on the ground in DPRK
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Goodbye Juche 104; hello Juche 105!
New Year greetings from Koryo Tours
Well what a year that was!
We started 2015 not knowing when the restrictions on international tourism would be lifted, and now end it with a record number of tourists in the country for our New Year's Eve tour!
Here's a look back at our fave moments from 2015, plus see below for our top tips for 2016.
From all of us here at Koryo Tours we hope you have had
a wonderful festive season and that 2016 is your best year yet!
N.Korean Border City Woos Chinese Tourism
New leisure facilities and a train station for Chinese tourists are being built in the North Korean city of Sinuiju, according to a pundit.
A satellite photo (top) on Google Earth on Sept. 3, 2015 shows new facilities on a reclaimed land in Sinuiju, North Korea, while in another taken on March 13 the site was empty. A satellite photo (top) on Google Earth on Sept. 3, 2015 shows new facilities on a reclaimed land in Sinuiju, North Korea, while in another taken on March 13 the site was empty.
Curtis Melvin at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said Google Earth satellite images from September show a hotel, a swimming pool, a shopping center and a dock being built.
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NK likely to demand resumption of Mount Geumang tours
By Yi Whan-woo
Updated : 2015-11-25 18:34
North Korea is likely to make strong demands for a resumption of the suspended tours by South Korean citizens to Mount Geumgang in North Korea at the envisioned inter-Korean high-level talks, sources said Wednesday.
In return, Seoul may consider accepting Pyongyang's offers if it wants to regularize reunions among relatives separated either side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
The two Koreas plan to hold preliminary talks at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom, Thursday, to discuss the agenda for the high-level talks in line with their agreement reached on Aug. 25.
Kim Ki-woong, chief of the Ministry of Unification's Office of Inter-Korean Dialogue, will represent the three-member delegation from Seoul. The North Korean side will be headed by Hwang Chol, a senior official of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF). It deals with inter-Korean affairs.
Travel agencies offer sky-high look at Pyongyang
By Kim Bo-eun
Travel agencies based abroad are offering tours that give a bird's-eye view of Pyongyang.
Korea Konsult, a Stockholm-based agency specializing in tours to North Korea, has helicopter and plane tours of the capital.
The 40-minute tour starts at Pyongyang International Airport and flies above the Taedong River, the sports village on Chongchun street, the Turu Islet, Mirae Scientists' Street, Juche Tower and Kim Il-sung Square. It also passes the Mansudae Grand Monument, Party Founding Memorial Tower, May Day Stadium, Mirim Horse Club, Jangchon Olericulture Cooperative Farm and Mangyongdae.
Tours are on Sundays and national holidays.
According to Korea Konsult's website, tourists of more than 30 nationalities visit North Korea every year through the agency.
Young Pioneer Tours, an agency based in China, also focuses on Pyongyang tours. It is offering helicopter tours - "New Year's Party Tour & Pyongyang Helicopter Joyride" - starting Dec. 28 through Jan. 3.
New Year's Eve in Pyongyang
Your last chance to visit North Korea in 2015!
If you watched with envy when our biggest-ever tour ran the Pyongyang Marathon, or wished you'd been there to see the massive celebrations for the 70th Anniversary Party Foundation celebrations, then don't miss this, your last chance to visit the DPRK in 2015: it's our New Year's Eve tour!
As well as welcoming in 2016 in style - we expect fireworks, and have arranged an authentic Hogmanay party in a top-secret location! - you'll have the opportunity to add a ski extension to this very special tour!
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Workers soccer game one more example of increased inter-Korean cooperation
Posted on : Oct.29,2015 16:57 KST
Workers from South Korea’s two main umbrella unions check in for their flight to Pyongyang, at Gimpo Airport, Oct. 28. (Yonhap News)
After reunions of divided families, a slew of exchange and engagement projects going ahead
After the first reunions of families divided by the Korean War in 20 months went off without a hitch, engagement between North and South Korea is increasing in the civic sector, with an inter-Korean workers’ soccer game taking place in Pyongyang after a gap of eight years.
The workers who will take part in the soccer game represent the largest number of South Koreans to visit North Korea for the purpose of cooperation and exchange since the May 24 Measures were put in place in May 2010 following the sinking of the Cheonan warship.
A 162-member delegation representing both major umbrella labor unions - including Kim Dong-man, chair of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU), and Choi Jong-jin, senior vice chair of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) - arrived in North Korea at 12:30 pm on Oct. 28. The delegation traveled via the direct air route over the West (Yellow) Sea, departing from Gimpo International Airport and touching down at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport
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Iran seeks visa waivers with 28 countries
Iran seeks reciprocal visa waiver programs with 28 countries as part of its bid to boost inbound tourism, Director of Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) Masoud Soltanifar says.
“We have selected 40 countries on the basis of our top priority for attracting tourists, out of which we have sent visa waiver requests to 28 countries and are following the issue through diplomatic channels,” he said in Isfahan.
Moreover, the Foreign Ministry has been tasked with establishing electronic tourist visa facility known as e-visa which will lead “to a transformational change enabling everyone to apply for tourist visa from their home”, Soltanifar added.
The government has further approved extending stays for visa on arrival from 15 days to 30 days.
“We are after cancelling visa requirements with the countries which provide satisfactory provisions for passage to our citizens,” Soltanifar said.
Iran has launched an ambitious plan to boost tourism income. Soltanifar said the target is to generate $25-30 billion by attracting 20 million tourists a year.
KFA chief's visit to North Korea raises hope for football exchanges
By Nam Hyun-woo
Updated : 2015-09-16 21:06
Korea Football Association (KFA) President Chung Mong-gyu will visit North Korea to attend the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) Executive Committee meeting this weekend, raising hopes for football exchanges between the two Koreas.
Chung will leave for Pyongyang, Friday, through Beijing for the 46th EAFF meeting scheduled for Saturday to discuss the East Asian Cup in August and other issues of the regional body.
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Hello Sailor -- it's parade time in the DPRK
On Oct 10 there will be a massive military parade in Pyongyang -- this is your chance to see a widely discussed event that very rarely happens in reality
Last chance to join our party foundation tour for North Korea's incredible military parade: closes sep 8
Join one of our tours and we'll get you to the best viewing spots, help you interact with the watching crowds and passing paraders, not to mention the amazing photo ops!
If you've ever wanted to experience a military parade -- up close and personal -- then come to North Korea with us this October as the country celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party with some truly epic events!
Anyone visiting North Korea with Koryo Tours during this period will be able to attend one of the giant parades so often shown on the news when discussing the country, yet which are actually held very infrequently in Pyongyang. This year's event is the first such military parade since 2013, and will likely be the last chance to see something like this for quite some time.
Be there on the streets, lined with local people, as the Korean People's Army -- along with their tanks, missiles, and other equipment -- make their way around the city, all backed by a surprisingly festive atmosphere that you too can be a part of!
Kim Il Sung Square is set to be the venue for the main parade (with the senior leadership of the country almost certainly in attendance), which is the core of the highly synchronised display seen on TV, but off-limits to foreign visitors. However, the parade participants will then wind their way around Pyongyang, and are greeted by the local citizens in a celebratory atmosphere that is a lot more personal and human than you would perhaps expect.
We know the route of the parade, and will get you up close to the action; you can mix with the locals, high-five the passing soldiers, and get some amazing photos with the tanks and military equipment -- something truly unforgettable, and a rare opportunity in North Korea!
Kim Il Sung 100 Birthday - April 2012
April 15th 2012 was the biggest holiday in recent DPRK (North Korean) history, and Koryo Tours and our customers were lucky enough to be on the ground as it all happened.
[NK military] [Photos]
From pilgrimage to profit: N. Korea’s search for tourism revenue
Opening of new terminal at Sunan airport a new step in tourism infrastructure – but will tourists come?
August 26th, 2015
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;…………
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
Thus begins Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a landmark in early (late 14th century) English literature and a paean to tourism (hint: read aloud or follow the link for a modern version). Tourism, in the form of pilgrimages to a place considered holy, has a long history stretching back thousands of years, and continues to be important today; the most prominent example being the annual Hadj when some 2 million Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca. It was the Greeks who brought sport into the mix, along with a mechanism for promoting peace, with the Olympics. Chaucer’s pilgrims seem to represent a turning point, a move from the religious to the secular; they appear to regard the journey to Canterbury as an veiled excuse for what we might regard as some of the attributes of modern tourism; going to new places, meeting new people, swapping stories, and with the Wife of Bath, ruminations on sex. Enjoyment rather than purification of the soul.
Tourism to North Korea manifests these characteristics. For the first few decades it was mainly a matter of political pilgrimage, and there are still elements of that today. The agreements between Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong Il which opened up Kumgangsan to southern tourists marked a transitional period. The incentive for both governments was political, and for South Koreans going to Kumgangsan had a quasi-religious quality, celebrating the beauty of the Korean Peninsula with a touch of shamanistic significance of place. However, tours to Kumgangsan were also a big money spinner for the tourism industry in the North and, for those involved, also in the South. Today, as exemplified by the new terminal at Sunan airport, and the Masikryong Ski Resort, the focus is commercial. Which leads to various questions, principally what are the implications of this and will it be a business success?
Whatever North Korea’s success in attracting commercial tourists and FDI, the strategy does indicate a commitment to peace. Significantly, and symbolically, the construction of the tourism infrastructure has been carried out by the army – a manifestation of swords into ploughshares. And we might just wonder why the U.S. and South Korean governments, instead of facilitating this do their best to hinder it.
The Great American Vacation in Three Charts
Where do Americans go? Who visits the U.S.? What do they do here?
August 11, 2015
by Dorothy Gambrell and Justin Bachman
Nearly 70 million Americans traveled abroad last year. Even more people visited the U.S., continuing a trend that began about five years ago amid efforts to reverse a decline in tourism caused by the financial crisis and tighter security. In 2010, Congress created a body to promote tourism in the United States; two years later, the White House followed with an executive order (PDF) aimed at speeding visa approvals.
Where do Americans go? Canada and Mexico, of course. Excluding those two, 30.8 million Americans traveled abroad last year, led by Californians and New Yorkers, according to recent data (including both business and leisure travel) from the Commerce Department's National Travel and Tourism Office.
UBS looks at trends in Chinese tourism
Shanghai Daily, August 10, 2015
The number of outbound Chinese tourists has doubled over the past five years from 57.4 million to 116.6 million in 2014. Few will doubt the future growth potential of China's mainland outbound tourism, but what is more interesting is where and how Chinese tourists will travel, and what they will do abroad.
To help investors better understand the likely behavior of Chinese tourists and anticipate future trends, UBS conducted a survey in April of 2,924 middle- and high-income residents in 20 first- and second-tier Chinese cities.
The respondents were a mix of those who had travelled abroad in the past 15 months and those with travel plans in the next 12 months.
S. Korea loses to NK, settles for second at Women's East Asian Cup
Updated : 2015-08-08 21:00
South Korea fell to North Korea 2-0 to settle for second place at the Women's East Asian Cup on Saturday.
Yun Song-mi scored on a first-half free kick and Ra Un-sim added an insurance goal early in the second half at Wuhan Sports Center Stadium, as North Korea won its second consecutive East Asian Cup and closed out the four-nation event with a perfect 3-0 record.
North Korea, ranked eighth in the world, had earlier beat Japan 4-2 and China 3-2. It improved to 14 wins, one draw and one loss all-time against South Korea.
North Korea is on a roll in regional events of late. It has won the 2013 Women's East Asian Cup and the 2014 Asian Games, both held in South Korea.
Hyundai Asan visits NK for memorial service of late chairman
A group of South Korean businesspeople crossed the inter-Korean border Tuesday to hold a memorial service in North Korea for the late chairman of Hyundai Group, Chung Mong-hun, who spearheaded an inter-Korean tour program.
The 22-member delegation, led by Cho Kun-shik, president of Hyundai Asan, a South Korean operator of the now-suspended joint tour program, left for Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast to commemorate the 12th anniversary of Chung's death, according to company officials.
Chung, who aggressively pursued the tour program and other business projects with the North, committed suicide in 2003 amid an investigation into allegations that former President Kim Dae-jung secretly transferred large sums of money to the North ahead of a 2000 inter-Korean summit.
In accordance with Chung's wishes, his ashes were scattered near a resort on the mountain.
Hyundai chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun, Chung's widow, did not accompany the delegation, the officials said.
The businesspeople also plan to check properties remaining at the resort on Mount Kumgang, according to company officials.
Hyundai Asan kicked off the joint tour program at Mount Kumgang in 1998, a symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation, but Seoul suspended the tours in 2008, after the shooting death of a South Korean female tourist by a North Korean solider at the resort.
Pyongyang has called for the resumption of the tour program, which once served as one of the few legitimate revenue sources for the cash-strapped country. (Yonhap)
[Hyundai Asan] [Kumgangsan]
Joyful Chinese celebrate Winter Olympics bid success
Xinhua, August 1, 2015
Friday was another happy and memorable day for China as Beijing won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Beijing, host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, won 44 nods against rival Almaty's 40 in the International Olympic Committee vote in Kuala Lumpur Friday afternoon. It will be the first ever city to host both the summer and winter Olympics.
Lee Min-ho Promotes Korea Tourism
Actor Lee Min-ho has starred in a commercial promoting travel to Korea. The commercial is part of efforts by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to boost tourism after the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
The film shows Lee visiting top tourist destinations including villages of traditional homes in Seochon and Bukchon and Cheonggye Stream in Seoul. Special permission was also given for shooting at the royal shrine of Jongmyo, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Lee's management agency said the actor welcomed the chance to promote the country around the world.
The commercial has been uploaded on YouTube and will air early next month on major TV networks overseas including CNN and China's CCTV.
Young N.Korean Players to Compete at East Asian Cup
North Korea has finalized its roster for the East Asian Cup to be held in Wuhan, China, next month. The list of 23 players includes three playing in overseas leagues.
Pak Kwang-ryong of FC Biel-Bienne in the second-tier league in Switzerland, An Byong-jun of JEF United Chiba and Ri Yong-jik of V-Varen Nagasaki in Japan made the list. Ri is a teammate of Lee Yong-jae, who will play on the South Korean squad.
All of the North Korean players are in their 20s, with veteran goalkeeper Ri Myong-guk the oldest at 29.
South Korea will face North Korea on Aug. 9.
S.Korean Officials to Inspect Forests in N.Korea
Eight South Korean officials and staff of Hyundai Asan are visiting North Korea from Wednesday until Friday to survey pest damage to pine trees in the Mt. Kumgang area.
Hyundai Asan was the operator of package tours to Mt. Kumgang that were suspended seven years ago and still owns facilities in the scenic spot.
A Unification Ministry official said Tuesday "We've approved Hyundai Asan's request for a visit to the North." Back on July 15, the North asked Asan to survey the pines at Mt. Kumgang, which it said are suffering from an unidentified disease and are turning yellow from the bottom up.
The official added Seoul is willing to help once the investigation is complete. But whether that is the first step toward a resumption of the package tours remains to be seen.
The two Koreas have conducted joint pest control in a pine forest at Mt. Kumgang before.
"North Korean media are emphasizing the responsibility for taking care of forest resources, saying that it's equally important to plant and grow trees," a researcher with a government-funded think tank said. Leader Kim Jong-un is apparently keen to preserve the impoverished country's remaining forest resources.
For withering pine trees, North Korea calls in Hyundai for help
Posted on : Jul.29,2015 17:02 KST
Delegation of forestry experts to visit North Korea to assess problem of treez around Mt. Keumgang
When pine trees around Mt. Keumgang began withering, North Korea asked Hyundai Asan to send in experts. A team of forestry experts will be heading to North Korea on July 29 to carry out a three-day investigation.
“A team of eight individuals composed of five forestry experts with the Korea Forest Research Institute (part of the Korea Forest Service) and the Korea Tree Health Association and three staff members from Hyundai Asan are planning to visit North Korea between July 29 and 31,” said an official from South Korea’s Ministry of Unification on July 28.
The decision came after North Korea’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee and Mt. Keumgang Development and Direction Bureau asked Hyundai Asan, which holds a monopoly on tours to Mt. Keumgang, to look into the problem.
Currently, trees all around Mt. Keumgang are turning yellow and withering around the base and the leaves. The damage to trees in the township of Goseong is said to be particularly severe.
The fact that North Korea is asking the South to help with a quick disease and pest investigation despite the poor state of inter-Korean relations is thought to reflect the considerable interest that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has shown in reforestation.
In 2012, the Korean National Commission for UNESCO assisted with pest control in a pine forest around a group of ancient tombs from the Goguryeo Dynasty near Pyongyang at the request of North Korea.
“Since the area around Mt. Keumgang is a natural heritage that both North and South Korea must protect, we are planning to take necessary measures on a governmental level according to the results of the experts’ survey,” a senior official at the Ministry of Unification said, adding that their visit to North Korea is unrelated to tourism at Mt. Keumgang.
By Kim Ji-hoon, staff reporter
Wonsan Airport nears completion, with potential for impact on tourism and economy
Newly renovated international airport could reverse losses caused by sanctions preventing Japanese vessels docking
July 30th, 2015
John G. Grisafi
North Korea’s Wonsan International Airport (also known as Kalma Airport) has been the site of a major construction and renovation project for the past two years. Though progress has not always been consistent, the project has appeared to be a major concern for Pyongyang and one which could potentially have a significant impact for the North Korean tourism industry and economy in general, once complete.
Previously known as the Wonsan Air Base and used primarily as a military airfield, the airport is located within the greater Wonsan city boundaries and immediately east of the city’s urban center. The northern portion of the airport occupies the southern half of the Kalma Pensinula and the airport is adjacent to both Wonsan Harbor (to the west) and the Sea of Japan (known in Korea as the East Sea, to the airport’s east). North Korean state media on July 30, referred to the airport as Kalma Airport (named for the peninsula), which may be its new official name following the renovation.
Why China’s Olympic win might not be a cause for celebration
The Olympics often results in useless construction and more debt -- things China has plenty of
By Ana Swanson July 31 at 1:45 PM ?
A child makes a face while having her photo taken with the snow covered slopes of the Nanshan ski resort in Beijing on Jan. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Skiing outside of Beijing has long been an icy and treacherous affair. Like everywhere else in China, the hills tend to be packed with people. And most seemed to spend their time sprawled out on the hill, forming a human obstacle course.
China’s winter sports abilities are sure to improve a lot before 2022, when Beijing is now slated to host the Winter Olympics Games. On Friday, the International Olympic Committee voted 44-40 to have Beijing hold the winter games, over Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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Beijing 2022 bid to boost winter sports in China
Xinhua, July 28, 2015
More and more children have been encouraged to participate in ice and snow events.
Beijing's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics has offered China a precious chance to promote winter sports and encourage more people to participate in ice and snow events, said bid officials on Monday.
As part of its plan of expanding the appeal of winter sports to the 300 million people who live in north China, Beijing 2022 has implemented a string of promotional programs in schools, business districts and parks throughout the city. Already, skiing and ice hockey are attracting new fans, especially among the country's burgeoning middle class.
Unification Minister says Mt. Keumgang tourism a “separate issue” from sanctions
Posted on : Jul.27,2015 18:12 KST
Minister Hong Yong-pyo says with guarantee of visitors’ safety, tours to mountain could be resumed
The South Korean Unification Minister talked about plans to treat the possible resumption of tourism at Mt. Keumgang in North Korea as a “separate issue” from current sanctions against the North.
While appearing on July 26 on the KBS program “Sunday Diagnosis,” Minister Hong Yong-pyo was asked whether the resumption of tourism would be discussed as a separate issue from the so-called May 24 Measures that have restricted interactions with North Korea since the 2010 sinking of the ROKS Cheonan.
“It’s a separate issue,” Hong affirmed. “There are some areas that are connected, but it’s separate.”
Hong went on to say that “tourists’ physical safety is the most important issue” with the resumption of tourism at Mt. Keumgang.
[Kumgangsan] [Sanctions] [SK NK policy]
World-famous Mt. Kumgang
Mt. Kumgang is situated at the northern tip of the Thaebaek Mountains stretching along the east coast of Korea. It is one of the six celebrated mountains in Korea and widely known as the world-famous tourist resort for its beautiful scenery.
Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il visited the mountain many times and personally trod the rugged mountain paths to fix sightseeing courses and gave instructions for holiday homes and camps to be built at many scenic locations.
Thanks to their painstaking efforts, the mountain has been converted into a fine recreation ground visited by a large number of working people, youth, students and children for sightseeing and recreation every year.
The Korean people and tourists from many countries who visit the mountain are reluctant to leave it, fascinated by the charming spectacles of the mountain.
Mt. Kumgang is now being built up into the tourist resort of the world level.
30% of global duty-free shopping driven by Chinese
China Daily, July 15, 2015
Chinese shoppers drove 30 percent of all global duty-free sales in 2014. They have contributed the most to duty-free sales since 2009, and growth in duty-free spending outstrips local retail-sales expansion, said Catherine Lim, senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
The number of outbound Chinese tourists will surge 19 percent to 139 million this year and rise to 164 million in 2016, which will boost global duty-free and travel-related retail sales, Lim said.
Last year, Chinese tourists spent more than $163 billion on overseas shopping.
Laibach live in concert
In collaboration with Laibach Liberation Day Tour Artistic Director Morten Traavik, we are pleased to be able to offer music aficionados this chance to see Laibach in North Korea.
Founded in the former Yugoslavia 35 years ago, Laibach have remained a source of fascination and controversy, "a group never afraid to do things other groups won't".
The concerts on August 19th & 20th will take place at the Kim Won Gyun musical conservatory in Pyongyang and foreign attendance is currently subject to confirmation.
This October travel across North Korea by rail!
Simply the best way to see rural North Korea, and the stunning east coast:
Travel by train across North Korea from Pyongyang to Chongjin in the North East!
Koryo Tours is proud to announce a new stunning travel opportunity that crosses North Korea overland by train from Pyongyang to the beautiful Mt Myohyang and all the way to the rarely-visited East and North-East Coast, and the major industrial city of Chongjin.
As the DPRK's remote North East was previously only accessible from Pyongyang by a special charter flight, you will be among the first foreigners to experience the spectacular scenery between the capital and the remote North-East Coast.
Korea all-out to lure Chinese back
By Jhoo Dong-chan
Asiana Airlines will invite some 150 CEOs of Chinese travel agencies for tour events here next week aimed at boosting Korea's sagging tourism industry following the recent outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
They are among some 200 Chinese guests, to include 40 travel writers and 10 influential bloggers, the firm said.
Asiana Airlines sponsors the four-day promotional events that kick off on July 15, jointly with the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), Incheon International Airport Corp., Hana Tour and Lotte Group.
Chinese people will participate in various tourist programs including a tour to the Lotte World Tower being built in southern Seoul and a ferry trip along the Han River.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon is also expected to join one of the tour activities in Myoung-dong where 73 percent of Chinese tourists reportedly visit during their stay in Korea.
The invitation program is a part of the country's efforts to revitalize the tourism sector experiencing a sharp decrease in the number of foreign visitors since the MERS outbreak.
A total of 21 percent of foreign tourists on daily average has decreased compared with the previous year due to the disease, according to the KTO.
"We hope the events will be a turning point for the struggling tourism industry. We need to let the Chinese people know that Korea is a safe country to visit," said Asiana CEO Kim Soo-cheon.
[MERS] [China SK]
Terminal of Pyongyang International Airport Opens
Pyongyang, July 1 (KCNA) -- The Terminal of Pyongyang International Airport was newly built.
The terminal was built in a modern way from the gatepost to the airport to departure lounge, entry formalities hall, service halls, etc and it has various kinds of service networks necessary for business, public catering, information and medical treatment and all other amenities.
A ceremony for opening the terminal took place on Wednesday.
Present there were Pak Pong Ju, Pak Yong Sik, Ro Tu Chol, officers of units who took part in the construction, soldier-builders, officials in relevant field, employees and their families, officials of commissions, ministries and national institutions who contributed to the construction, officials and other people in Sunan District.
Pak Pong Ju, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and premier of the DPRK, made an opening speech.
He said that the terminal is the crystal of the noble loyalty, ardent patriotic will and unremitting efforts of Marshal Kim Jong Un who has been keen to put the aerial transport of the country on a world level true to the intention of leader Kim Jong Il.
The terminal is an iconic edifice in the Songun era and the proud result brought about by the army and people's devoted fighting spirit, great army-people unity and hot wind of creating a new Korean speed, he noted.
Nostalgia drives Chinese tourists to North Korea: research
Updated : 2015-07-01 17:55
By Kim Hyo-jin
Many middle-aged Chinese tourists visit North Korea because they feel nostalgic about the Chinese countryside they remember from their youth, according to a recent study.
Li Fangxuan, a Ph.D student at Waikato University, surveyed 50 Chinese tourists who recently visited North Korea about reasons for their trip to the isolated country.
Chinese tourists curious to see the ‘real’ North Korea
Monday, 15 June 2015, 10:28 am
Press Release: Waikato University
Chinese tourists curious to see the ‘real’ North Korea
Chinese tourists visit North Korea because they are curious about their “mysterious” southern neighbour, and want to see the reality of people’s lives under dictator Kim Jong-un for themselves, a study by a University of Waikato PhD student has found.
Tourism Management PhD student Fangxuan Li, 25, has been awarded a $1,000 prize for best paper at the 18th Annual Waikato Management School (WMS) Student Research Conference, held on 12 June.
North Korea receives around 100,000 foreign visitors a year, 80% of whom are Chinese. Fangxuan’s study looks at Chinese tourists’ perceptions of North Korea, and their reasons for wanting to visit the isolated country.
In recent years, North Korea has been actively trying to promote its highly controlled tourism industry to wealthy foreigners. Last year the government opened a new luxury ski resort in the Masik Pass, although foreigners are still heavily restricted in their movements.
Fangxuan grew up in the Chinese border town of Dandong and could see North Korea out of his bedroom window. “My grandfather fought in the Korean War in the 50s, so I’ve heard a lot of stories while growing up,” he says.
Many Chinese tourists want to know the ‘real truth’ about North Korea, or to seek out potential business opportunities, his research found. During their trip, they are keen to sample traditional Korean food; visit Mt Kumgang National Park; see historic war monuments; and go to the famous Arrirang Festival.
Overall, they perceive North Korea as an attractive tourism destination with an unspoiled natural environment, which is relatively cheaper to visit than many other countries.
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The Wonsan–Mt. Kumgang International Tourist Zone
Tourism development and foreign investment
Paul Tjia, Netherlands
The Korean government is trying to attract a larger
number of foreign tourists. The new airport terminal of
Pyongyang is planned to open in July and is six times
larger than the old terminal building. There are several
investment opportunities in the field of tourism, and an
example is the investment project for the WonsanKumgang
areas of Wonsan, the Masikryong
Thongchon and Mt.
Australia grants Chinese 10-year multi-entry tourist visas
CRI, June 26, 2015
Australia grants 10-year multiple-entry visas to Chinese visitors. [Photo: CRI]
Australia is one of the latest countries to start granting 10-year multiple-entry tourist visas to Chinese visitors.
This is part of the deal in the landmark free trade agreement (FTA) inked between China and Australia last week.
It is clearly stipulated in the agreement that applicants applying for the 10-year tourist visa are forbidden from working in Australia and they cannot stay in Australia for more than three months at a time. It is also advised that the time interval of their visits to Australia should be as wide as possible.
A fast track will be established to offer visa services for Chinese applicants exclusively, according to the Australian government. Online applications with Chinese simplified language will also be available to facilitate the whole process.
The extension of visas from three years to 10 years demonstrates increased confidence between the two countries, which will also substantially improve Australia's tourism, according to Australian Minister of Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb.
The United States, Canada and Singapore have also made 10-year visas available to Chinese citizens.
[Australia China FTA] [Tourism]
North Korea unveils a gleaming new airport terminal featuring high-end stores and chocolate fondue
By Adam Taylor June 25 at 11:11 AM ?
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, inspects a new terminal at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport with his wife, Ri Sol-ju. (Rodong Sinmun/EPA)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently visited a shiny new terminal at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, according to photographs released by state media on Thursday that showcase amenities that — in all honesty — would make many domestic travelers in the United States jealous.
A three-page spread in the newspaper Rodong Sinmun showed shops selling fancy clothes and jewellery, as well as Kim inspecting an espresso cafe and a wine bar. International confectionery brands such as Mars Bars are visible for sale in one duty-free shop.
[Bizarre] [Media] [Infrastructure]
Kim Jong Un Inspects Terminal of Pyongyang International Airport
Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, first chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, together with Ri Sol Ju gave field guidance to the Terminal of Pyongyang International Airport which was successfully completed.
He commanded a bird's-eye view of the terminal from his plane.
Saying that Pyongyang International Airport was well built in a neat and fashionable manner, he set forth the tasks for radically changing the looks of its area in harmony with the modern terminal.
He stressed that the looks of the vicinity of the airport, including the areas of Sunan District and Thaekam Farm, should undergo a dramatic change as befitting the gateway to the capital city of Pyongyang, under the Party's master plan for the development of the airport area, and high-speed railways and motorway from the airport to the city center should be built to ensure smooth traffic.
Kim Jong-un Tours New Airport Terminal in Pyongyang
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, his wife Ri Sol-ju and younger sister Kim Yeo-jong toured a new airport terminal in Pyongyang on Thursday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju visit the new terminal of Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, in this photo released by Rodong Sinmun on Thursday. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju visit the new terminal of Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, in this photo released by Rodong Sinmun on Thursday.
The official [North] Korean Central News Agency said Kim toured the new terminal of Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, which opens on July 1. Work on the terminal for the airport, the main gateway to Pyongyang, started in 2012.
It contains duty free shops, restaurants and underground parking lots. Kim also ordered a highway and high-speed rail linking the new terminal with Pyongyang.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks at cosmetics store at the new terminal of Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, in this photo released by Rodong Sinmun on Thursday. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks at cosmetics store at the new terminal of Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, in this photo released by Rodong Sinmun on Thursday.
Whether it will ever earn its keep is unclear since North Korea's Koryo Airlines only flies to a handful of foreign destinations.
China-DPRK tourist route reopens
Xinhua, June 19, 2015
A oft-suspended tourist route between China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been reopened after its latest closure.
A charter flight carrying 73 tourists left from Yanji, in the Korean Autonomous Prefecture of Yanbian in northeast China's Jilin Province, for Pyongyang in the DPRK on Thursday.
The route will be open until early October, with a planned 32 charter flights on Thursdays and Sundays. All seats on the flights in June have been booked, according to Yanbian Tianyu Travel Agency, which runs the route with the DPRK's Air Koryo.
A four-day trip costs 3,980 yuan (about 650 U.S. dollars) per person while a five-day trip costs 4,480 yuan per person, according to the agency.
The route between Yanji and Pyongyang was first opened in July 2012, but it was closed for the whole of 2013 due to tensions in the DPRK. It resumed on June 29 last year and was suspended again in October. A total of 90 flights had been completed on the route by October.
Cycling around in North Korea for the first time
Video Uploaded on 2 Dec 2011
On 6th September, 24 tourists from 10 different countries and 4 Korean guides embarked on the first ever cycling tour in the DPRK (North Korea). British travel company, Koryo Tours, stages first cycling tour of North Korea. The cyclists pedalled as much as 30 miles a day, often along dirt tracks in some of the most remote parts of the country, but also journeying along the 10-lane Youth Hero Highway from Pyongyang to Nampo, on the west coast.
More information what happenend on the trip, you can read a blog posting at: http://www.koryogroup.com/blog/index....
My Paektu Running/Cycling tours
For the first time ever, we have gained permission to host a half-marathon run in Mount Paekdu, North Korea's most stunning and sacred spot.
N.Korea Misses Universiade Enrollment Deadline
North Korea has failed to submit a list of athletes it is sending to the 2015 Summer Universiade in Gwangju in July by the sign-up deadline Wednesday.
In an application to the Fédération internationale de sport universitaire (FISU) in March, the North said it would send 75 athletes and 33 officials in track and field, diving, gymnastics, rhythm calisthenics, table tennis, judo, women's soccer, and women's handball.
The organizing committee here said it is "still early to conclude" that the North isn't taking part. "It'll still be possible for the North Korean athletes to participate in the event if they sign up before the universiade opens," a committee spokesman said.
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DPRK to introduce preferential policies to attract investment for key tourism project
Source: Xinhua Published: 2015-5-27 23:32:00
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will introduce various preferential policies to attract investment for a planned international tourist zone, officials in charge of the affair said here Wednesday.
The development of Wonsan-Mt.Kumgang international tourist zone, a key project approved by the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly last June, is now underway, Yoon Yong Sok, chairman of the project's promotion committee, told an investment meeting held at Mount Kumgang, a renowned tourism destination in the DPRK.
According to officials, there will be exemptions from customs for various things and corporate income tax reductions for companies operating for more than 10 years in the zone. The basic income tax rate will be reduced from 14 percent to 10 percent.
Noting that construction has already started in Wonsan, Yoon said he hoped the investment meeting could offer a platform for all participants to better understand the tourism resources and prospects of the zone and find out investment opportunities.
Some 130 entrepreneurs and scholars, with the majority from China, attended the meeting. There were also businessmen from Japan, the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Sweden.
Uri Tours Focuses on North Korea Tourism
Posted May 14th, 2015
by Mark Edward Harris
Several years ago, Andrea Lee traded a desk job as a corporate attorney in New York City to head Uri Tours, a New Jersey-based travel company founded by her family a decade ago, which organizes tours to North Korea. As its CEO and occasional tour leader, the 33-year-old Lee helps curious individuals see what life is like north of the 38th parallel on the divided Korean peninsula.
Although widely perceived as a sealed-off nation closed to foreign tourists, North Korea permits group and even private travel by citizens of any country other than South Korea who book through a tourism partner-provider. While the U.S. Department of State strongly recommends against travel by U.S. citizens to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the country is officially known, there appears to be no adverse impact on Uri’s business.
N.Koreans Take Part in S.Korea-Run Taekwondo Match
This year's World Taekwondo Championships organized by the World Taekwondo Federation kicked off in Chelyabinsk, Russia on Tuesday.
At the opening ceremony, the rival International Taekwondo Federation or ITF, a North Korean body, gave a demonstration for the first time in a WTF competition.
The WTF is led by South Korea.
ITF senior vice president Hwang Ho-yong told reporters, "There are many differences between WTF and ITF but there are also many similarities. This will be the first step towards the two taekwondo bodies to work together based on mutual trust."
When asked if a team from WTF will be invited to the ITF World Championships in Bulgaria in August, Hwang said it will be decided after a review by relevant officials including ITF president Chang Ung. "Chang is very busy so he couldn't come this time," he added.
In August last year, WTF and ITF signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to respect each other's rules and allow their athletes to compete in competitions hosted by the other federation.
The WTF is the only taekwondo organization sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee.
China to launch more train tours to N. Korea
Dandong, a Chinese city that borders North Korea, will start its first train tour to the hermit state on May 26, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported Saturday citing a tour agency in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning.
The four-day tour will visit the southern border city of Kaesong, Mt. Myohyang and the truce village of Panmunjom, which sits in the middle of the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas. The trip will cost from 2,000 yuan ($320) to 3,000 yuan ($480) per person.
With the train tour, Dandong is joining other border regions that have begun train tours to the North.
FIFA to Withdraw Funding For North Korean Soccer Development
Members of the North Korean men's soccer team pose on the podium following their loss to South Korea in the gold medal match of the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, Oct. 2, 2014.
The international governing body of soccer has withdrawn plans to provide impoverished North Korea with U.S. $1.66 million in financial assistance to cultivate domestic growth of the sport, as the country’s regime continues with nuclear development, despite global sanctions.
A spokesman for the Zurich-based Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) told RFA’s Korean Service that according to Swiss law, the organization is unable to provide funds to North Korea through its Financial Assistance Program (FAP), which is designed to bolster soccer in nations that lack resources.
“Since FIFA is domiciled in Switzerland, sanctions of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), as well as the Swiss Federal Council are binding for FIFA,” the spokesman said.
“[North Korea] is currently subject to SECO and/or Swiss Federal Council sanctions. Due to these sanctions, we are currently unable to transfer any money to the [North Korea] Football Association.”
The spokesman said SECO and the council maintain a freeze on North Korean assets and a travel ban on North Koreans suspected of having ties to the country’s nuclear program based on sanctions adopted by the United Nations Security Council following nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, and a satellite launch in 2012 deemed applicable to ballistic missile development.
[UNUS] [Sanctions] [Double standards]
Candidate for top FIFA job backs inter-Korean World Cup team
By Nam Hyun-woo
Michael van Praag, president of the Royal Netherlands Football Association, said he will support a unified football team between South and North Koreas to compete in the World Cup.
"Football is for everyone. That's my campaign and if I'm elected and the two countries wish to do so, it will be my task to do my best for what members want to do," said van Pragg, who is running for the presidency of FIFA against incumbent Sepp Blatter, said during an interview with The Korea Times.
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DPRK to establish 2nd int'l tourist zone
Xinhua, April 24, 2015
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has declared a second international tourist zone, the official KCNA news agency reported Thursday.
The Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly on Wednesday promulgated a decree, announcing the establishment of the Mubong special zone for international tourism.
The special zone will cover some areas of the Mubong workers' district in Samjiyon County, Ryanggang Province, the decree said.
The DPRK Law on Economic Development Parks and other regulations on foreign investment will apply in the special zone, said the KCNA.
It is the second international tourist zone set up in the DPRK after the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang international tourist zone established in June 2014.
NK to seek English teachers to train tour guides
By Lee Min-hyung
North Korea is seeking English-speakers from overseas to train tour guides in the repressive state.
London-based tour agency Juche Travel Services (JTS) is running a program inviting paying volunteers to teach English or tourism at Pyongyang Tourism College for a month.
"We were approached by our partners at Korea International Travel Company (KITC) on behalf of the National Tourism Authority to assist in arranging volunteering positions for teaching English language or tourism management," JTS chief David Thompson was quoted as saying.
North Korea and the revolutionary football of 1966
Disciplined, surprising performance at UK World Cup inspired devotion, 'total football' concept
April 17th, 2015
The notion of “total football” is well-known to sport aficionados today. Pioneered and largely employed by Dutch teams such as Ajax and even by the national Dutch team since the early 1970s, total football was popularized by Johan Cruijff. Fewer people, however, know where Cruijff and other Dutch players got the idea for a soccer strategy that literally revolutionized the game.
Cruijff had been experimenting with a high-intensity form of training and playing since the summer of 1966, when he watched some of the games in the UK World Cup, and was struck by the dark horse of that competition: the DPRK team.
During the 1966 World Cup, in fact, the North Korean team managed to impress many on and off the field with its excellent preparation, its tenacity and its will to prevail despite inferior technical skills.
At that time, the UK did not recognize the DPRK as a sovereign state and offered to grant access to the North Korean team on the condition that they would not play under their official country name.
The North Koreans, who were quickly re-named “the jockeys” by most of the international press due to their lower-than-average height (170 cm, or 5.5 feet), proved a very cohesive and motivated group from the start. Their coach, Myung Rae Hyun, had led the team since 1963, importing tactics and conditioning methods from Hungary, East Germany and the Soviet Union.
[Soccer] [Sports diplomacy]
No South-North team at Universiade
Updated : 2015-04-13 17:23 loading
Jang Jong-nam, vice president of North Korea's National University Sports Federation, center, participates in the draw session during the heads of delegation meeting of the 28th Universiade at the Holiday Inn in
Gwangju, Monday. / Yonhap
By Nam Hyun-woo
GWANGJU ? No joint team of South and North Koreas will be formed for the 2015 Gwangju Universiade, the organizers for the student games said Monday.
"As the draw session for the team events was held today, it became almost impossible to have a single team between the two Koreas," said Gwangju Universiade Organizing Committee (GUOC) Secretary General Kim Yoon-suk, during the heads of delegation meeting of the 28th Universiade at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Gwangju.
Since the North suggested its participation to the Gwangju Universiade last month, expectations and controversy have mounted whether the athletes from the two Koreas might compete on a single team.
The organizers did not reject the possibility of a unified team as it might be a boost for the Universiade. However, the two sides did not make enough progress before the draw session.
Are Chinese tourists really that bad?
China's vice premiere Wang Yang once said, some Chinese tourists' uncivilised bahaviour "damages the image of the Chinese people and has a very bad impact."
It seems the reason why people care about the reports on Chinese tourists' bad behaviour is that a greater community is humiliated by a small fraction of the 'uncivilised.'
But are Chinese tourists really that bad?
Adam Taylor, a reporter with the Washington Post, wrote in an article that studies and polls have named Americans, Britons and French as the "world's worst tourists" in the past few years.
Chinese are not among the worst, at least.
Also, indecent behaviour, such as soaking one's feet in the fountain in front of the Louvre in Paris, France, is not exclusively committed by Chinese nationals.
Chinese are traveling abroad in greater numbers; however, for most of the public, it still remains a luxury. Most Chinese are unable to speak English. Many are on their first trip abroad. Inexperience or timidity also results in confrontational situations.
The exotic environment and cultural differences also play a big role in the issue.
[Column] North Korea’s biggest obstacle may be itself
Posted on : Apr.11,2015 07:56 KST
Modified on : Apr.11,2015 07:56 KST
Jin Jingyi, professor at Peking University
Recently, North Korea held a briefing in Shenyang, China, on a development plan for a Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang International Tourism Zone. Its idea involved developing a single belt encompassing the city of Wonsan, the Masikryong Ski Resort, Ullim Falls, Sokwang Temple, Tongchon, and Mt. Keumgang. An explanation of the legal context was also provided, with a goal of attracting one million foreign tourists a year. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also hinted in his 2015 New Year‘s address that the Wonsan-Mt. Keumgang zone would have to play a leading role for other development zones.
Will the plan succeed?
N.Korea to Attend Preparatory Meeting for Universiade
North Korean officials will visit South Korea to attend the Heads of Delegation meeting ahead of the Gwangju Summer Universiade set to be held from July 3 to 14.
The event's organizing committee said Thursday that North Korea confirmed its attendance at the preparatory meeting. The committee will now work on details of the North's participation.
Some 200 officials from 60 countries will attend the meeting in Gwangju from April 11 to 15 to inspect the athletes' village, competition venues and training facilities.
North Korea submitted an entry for the event to the organizing committee on March 3, and said it will compete in eight sports, including the women's football and handball events.
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N.Korea to Lift Ebola Quarantine
North Korea will reportedly soon lift a 21-day Ebola quarantine against all inbound visitors which it imposed in October last year.
A trader in Beijing on Monday said, "Pyongyang authorities told me this morning that I can do business again now because they're going to lift the Ebola quarantine."
And Kyodo News quoted a staffer of package tour operator Koryo Tours in Beijing as saying, "The North Korean state travel agency told us this morning that there'll be a change in the North's border policy. It seems that foreigners can soon tour the country again."
Some sources reported rumors that the quarantine was already lifted on Monday.
Experts speculate the motivation is a growing hard-currency shortage as a result of border closures.
The North's tourism revenue and international trade have taken a severe blow from the quarantine, which compelled long-term visitors to sit out the period at inns near airports or railway stations.
Even top officials were reportedly quarantined when returning from government business abroad.
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South and North taekwondo federations moving toward inter-Korean exchange
Posted on : Feb.17,2015 16:28 KST
Choue Chung-won, World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) president
WTF President says a written invitation has been sent to North Korean counterparts for participation at May championships in Russia
Two leading federations are taking their first steps toward inter-Korean taekwondo exchange.
World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) president Choue Chung-won, 68, announced the news while speaking to reporters on Feb. 16 at the Seoul Press Center.
“We have formally invited president Chang Ung and a demonstration team of 20 athletes from the North Korean-led International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) to the opening ceremony of the World Taekwondo Championships this May in Chelyabinsk, Russia,” Choue said.
“We sent a written invitation in mid-January, and we quickly received an affirmative response,” he added.
THE DMZ ACADEMY
Pyongyang, North Korea 2015
The abbreviation DMZ stands for De-Militarized Zone, which is the demarcation line defining the temporary and/or artificial border between two sides in an unresolved armed conflict. Although the term has been used in several other conflict zones, it is most widely known and associated with the Korean peninsula where it has divided one nation into two opposing states for more than 60 years since the end of the Second World War and Japanese occupation.
The first of its kind, DMZ Academy is a practical and theoretical
symposium for cultural exchange in the international visual arts.
For a limited period of time in August 2015, we will create a temporary art academy in Pyongyang, DPRK, where international and Korean visual artists together will exchange ideas and experiences about their respective crafts.
Disciplines such as painters, sculptors, and photographers will be represented, as well as those special to the DPRK such as mosaic artists, embroidery and backdrop painters.
The DMZ Academy also aims to give artists from other countries an opportunity to understand more of the position that culture has in North Korean society, as well as the high level of craftsmanship among its artists.
China, N.Korea, Russia Plan Tourism Zone in Duman Delta
China plans an international tourism zone in the Duman River delta on its northeastern border with Russia and North Korea, the official Xinhua news agency reported Friday.
All three countries are to join the project, which encompasses 10 sq.km of land each from China's Hunchun region, North Korea's Rajin-Sonbong area and Siberia.
The zone will be home to a hot springs hotel, golf course and other leisure and tourism facilities. Tourists will be able to visit visa-free.
Xinhua reported that Beijing, Pyongyang and Moscow already authorized the development and put together a joint task force to oversee it. It is the brainchild of the Chinese government.
Hunchun Mayor Jin Chunshan was quoted as saying both North Korea and Russia are eager to pursue the project. "Tourism knows no politics or boundaries," he added.
China hopes to finalize its blueprint this year.
The three countries have been pursuing several joint tourism and industrial projects in their border areas.
In June 2011, China and North Korea developed a sightseeing course linking Rajin Sonbong and Hunchun, and some 1,300 Chinese tourists have taken it route so far. It stretches for a mere 70 km, but there are several stops along the route which offer rare glimpses into North Korea.
China now wants to extend the course to include Russian border cities.
N. Korea cancels Arirang mass games for 2015: tour agency
In this Monday, Aug. 2, 2010 photo released by Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, North Koreans perform at the Arirang Festival at May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea. / AP Yonhap
North Korea has canceled its annual signature dance and gymnastic performances scheduled for this year, a Chinese tour operator said, amid continued quarantine measures against Ebola.
"We have received confirmation from our partners in Pyongyang that the Arirang Mass Games will not be taking place this year," Young Pioneer Tours, a China-based travel agency specialized in trips to the isolated North, said in a brief release posted on its website Saturday.
North Korea seeks foreign volunteers to teach tourism students
A new travel scheme will allow English-speakers to spend a month in Pyongyang teaching the country’s future tour guides
Those looking for an unusual gap year option may look no further – a new volunteer programme is looking for English-speakers to help North Korea’s future tour guides improve their language skills and learn the basics of working with tourists.
The programme, which offers a month-long teaching placement at Pyongyang Tourism College in the secretive country’s capital city, is run by Juche Travel Services (JTS), a certified travel company which promises “unparalleled levels of interaction and engagement with local Koreans.” Volunteers will head up courses teaching English or tourism.
The company says it is looking for people with a Tefl (teaching English as a foreign language) qualification or a background in tourism management, “who can contribute positively to growing the country’s tourism industry”.
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N.Korea Eliminated from Asian Cup with Big Loss
With a 4-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, North Korea was eliminated from the AFC Asian Cup tournament in Australia.
This follows a 1-0 loss to Uzbekistan on Saturday.
Minister Picks Up on Sharing Winter Olympics with N.Korea
The idea of sharing the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games with North Korea depends on progress in inter-Korean relations, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said.
Ryoo made the remark in the National Assembly Foreign Affairs-Unification Committee on Thursday in reply to a question from New Politics Alliance for Democracy lawmaker Shim Jae-kwon.
Shim asked Ryoo's opinion about the idea, which was mooted by the governor of Gangwon Province but met with anger by the organizing committee of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Organizers Against Sharing Olympics with N.Korea
The organizing committee of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Tuesday rejected an idea by the Gangwon governor to share the sports extravaganza with North Korea, even symbolically.
"With the construction for all competition venues already under way, we have already made it crystal clear that there is no point of discussing co-hosting of the Olympics," Kwak Young-jin, the committee's vice president, told reporters.
Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon said in a press interview Monday that Pyeongchang could consider sharing the Winter Olympics with North Korea.
Choi said the North's participation is "important for the success of the Olympics" and added that venues for some events that do not cost much to build, like freestyle snowboarding, could take place there.
Gangwon Governor Moots Sharing Olympics with N.Korea
Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon has mooted the idea of sharing the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang with North Korea.
Choi was speaking at a New Year's dialogue with Gyeonggi Governor Nam Kyung-pil at Chosun Ilbo headquarters in downtown Seoul on Sunday.
Choi said, "We can consider symbolically sharing one or two snowboarding events with the North. The venues don't take much money or time to build."
"One of the ways to persuade the North to participate in the Games is to share some events," he said.
"The most realistic way is to launch a unified team. But if the North wants, we can consider sharing some events like freestyle snowboarding and giant slalom events with the approval of the International Olympic Committee," he added.
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Traveller's tales: Eyewitness accounts
Pyongyang becoming “three-dimensional” city with skyscrapers and smartphones
Posted on : Aug.27,2015 16:09 KST
Construction is ongoing at a housing complex for scientists in Pyongyang, Aug. 24. On the left, the first complex is completed, and on the right, the second complex is being built. (Yonhap News)
Recent trip by South Korean media to cover under-15 soccer tournament was the first in five years
A Yonhap News reporter shared an account of Pyongyang undergoing a visible transformation into a “three-dimensional” city, in an Aug. 26 piece for the agency after returning from a ten-day-long trip on Aug. 16 to cover the second annual international under-15 soccer tournament, saying “Changjon Street along the Taedong River is lined with high-rise apartment blocks equal in scale to residential-commercial buildings like Tower Palace in Seoul’s Gangnam district. Roughly one in three of the cell phones carried by Pyongyang residents was a smartphone.”
[Daily life] [EWA]
The human side of North Korea
Korean-American writer Suki Kim teaches 19-year-old students at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology / Courtesy of Suki Kim
Suki Kim describes undercover mission among Pyongyang's elite
By Lee Ji-hye
Many watchers of North Korea experience a similar conundrum: While the country can be fascinating, there are few ways to get inside the country and really experience it personally.
Yes, the communist dictatorship allows tourists inside its borders; however, these travelers are constantly accompanied by minders and can only go where the Kim Jong-un regime wants them to.
Suki Kim, a Korea-born writer who is a naturalized American, believes that the problem with looking at the North strictly from the outside is that the humanity of its people is lost.
Kim's North Korean Visa / Courtesy of Suki Kim
Kim, 44, would know: In 2011, she spent six months as an undercover English teacher at one of the North's elite universities, getting to know the people and the fears instilled in them.
[Diaspora] [EWA] [propaganda]
“Fieldwork” North Korea: Observations of daily life on the ground inside the country
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 40, No. 2, October 6, 2014.
This paper uses observations collected “on the ground” inside North Korea to argue that everyday life matters when researching North Korea and that one method of carrying out such research is to travel there as a tourist.
Looking out from my guesthouse window in Ch’ilbosan, the beautiful mountain region in the Northeast of North Korea1, I watch a mother and father walk down a country road, each holding a hand of their small son and listening intently to his excited conversation. The tight grip with which the parents hold onto the little boy’s hands reminds me that in a few years’ time he will be leaving his family for mandatory national service of up to eight years in North Korea’s army2. The family’s tanned skin, small frames and simple clothes betray their tough rural life in North Korea. The boy looks around ten or eleven, but North Korean children often appear much younger than their actual age, their physical development held back by chronic malnutrition and poor sanitation.
My trip to North Korea: 13 misconceptions corrected
Western media is full of false reporting
By Marcel Cartier
April 21, 2014
I had the unique opportunity to spend several days in three different parts of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, more commonly just referred to as “North” Korea. This was an exceptionally life-changing experience that challenged many of the pre-conceptions that myself and fellow western visitors who accompanied me from Beijing had going in. Here are some things about North Korea that may surprise you, as many of them surprised me, as well.
1. Americans Are Not Hated, But Welcomed
The Koreans have a very high level of class consciousness, and do not equate the American people with our government. They make no secret of their contempt for U.S. imperialism, but if you say you’re an American, the conversation will usually revolve around culture or sports more than politics. At the Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang (think your local library on steorids, with over 30 million books), the most popular CD is The Beatles’ “Greatest Hits”, although Linkin Park is also requested a lot among local youth. The young men seem fascinated with the NBA, and know a lot more about the league than just Dennis Rodman.
North Korea’s capital, with its water parks and new buildings, coddles the elite
In the capital for the first time since 2008, a visitor finds BMWs, Audis and glittering new apartment towers.--
By Anna Fifield September 2 ?
PYONGYANG, North Korea — This is not a city on the ropes.
Cars, for instance. A recent visitor, in the capital for the first time since 2008, found many more of them on the streets — and not just the locally produced “Pyonghwa” brand or Chinese BYDs, but Lexus sport-utility vehicles and late-model BMWs and Audis.
And shoes. Many women are dressing more fashionably, and brightly colored, shiny high heels, often with jewels, appear to be the trend du jour.
Changjon Street, in the heart of the city, near Kim Il Sung Square, is unrecognizable from a few years ago. Rows of round apartment towers line the street. Lit up at night, they are festooned with neon bands, giving them the appearance of giant fireworks. By day, the towers are reflected in the glittering river, making the city look “just like Dubai,” in the words of one government-appointed minder.
Pyongyang, always a showcase city, has become even more of a Potemkin village.
Girls playing on the beach, hair salons and bored commuters: Tourist who took camera inside North Korea expecting to find 'really, really sad people' is shocked to discover a happy country
Singaporean photographer Aram Pan visited North Korea last year
Gained permission for his 360 photography project after sending emails and faxes to North Korean contacts
A BBC Panorama documentary led him to believe he would see lots of starving people
Discovered healthy looking men and women shopping, playing volleyball and clocking off work at 6pm
Believes that 'North Korea needs more friendly interaction with the outside world, even if it is just tourists'
By Sarah Dean
Published: 12:26 GMT, 29 May 2014 | Updated: 16:17 GMT, 29 May 2014
When a man from Singapore had his wish to visit North Korea granted, he braced himself for the scenes of 'barren lands' and 'really, really sad people' that he had seen via a BBC Panorama documentary.
But what he found blew his mind - for all the right reasons.
Inside the communist enclave in 2013, photographer Aram Pan witnessed bustling markets, men and women enjoying themselves at a Western looking water park and miles and miles of crops ready for harvest, shattering all of his illusions about what a holiday to North Korea would entail.
Unlike other tourists who have visited the country, Mr Pan did not have to hide the photos and video he was taking from inside the country - he simply asked for permission.
[Daily life] [Media] [EWA]
Teaching at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology
A video by Helen Kibby from Taranaki who has taught at PUST..
[Education] [EWA] [PUST]
2012 Expedition of Mountains of the Baekdu Daegan in North Korea
Standing in front of Paektusan
In the wet months of June and July, I spent six weeks with the Pyongyang members of Korea-New Zealand Friendship Society travelling around the northern provinces of Yanggangdo, Hamgyeongbukdo, and Hamgyeongnamdo. Our purpose was to attain photographic images of a selection of mountains on the Baekdu Daegan.
The Baekdu Daegan is the main mountain spine of the Korean Peninsula that stretches for about 1700km from Korea’s holy Paektusan Mountain to Hallasan Mountain in southern Korea. I am producing a photographic journal that will highlight this sacred mountain chain – the first time the two Koreas will feature in a book connected by mountain, of which the Korean people have a huge common reverence for.
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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Photos and Videos
[Reporter’s notebook] On Flickr, a chance to see the non-aggressive North Korea
Posted on : Nov.30,2015 20:23 KST
A selection of travelers’ photos from North Korea on Flickr
Media in both South and North Korea tend to use images of militaries and division; online sharing can change that
Vivid, yet strange.
Looking at pictures taken by travelers to North Korea on Flickr is an experience that evokes conflicting emotions.
Run by Yahoo, Flickr is counted alongside Instagram as one of the leading photo-sharing sites around. Most of its images are travel pictures. But recent years have seen a marked increase in photos taken around North Korea. Typing the keyword “North Korea” in its search box on Nov. 25 brought up a message reporting 145,813 results.
The increase in North Korea pictures has been especially visible since Kim Jong-un took over as leader in 2012. Indeed, it may be linked to his emphasis on promoting the country’s travel industry. Newer, more generous standards on picture-taking also look to have been established to help draw visitors. During my ten or so visits during the early ‘00s, photographing farming regions was strictly forbidden; this time, such images were easy to find on Flickr. Uwe Brodrecht, a German traveler who visited North Korea between Oct. 5 and 15, posted images that he had actually taken inside of farming homes when he stopped in villages like Chonsam in Kangwon Province’s Anbyon County.
The photographs that made North Korean soldiers leave their post
July 23, 2015
•by James Hyams
“Bomb them all to Hell” read a private message to Aram Pan after announcing his next trip into North Korea.
This is not a sequel to the Hollywood comedy The Interview, which mocked North Korea and reinforced negative views of North Korea and its people.
Aram Pan in North Korea
Aram Pan in North Korea
This is the true story of North Korea through the eyes of Aram, a Singaporean photographer who has been using existing and the bleeding edge technologies to visually document North Korea.
Aram first applied to the North Korean government for permission to do a photography project in the “Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea” back in 2013.
“I figured the world has more images of the deep ocean depths than we have of North Korea. One day I just decided to try contacting them to see if I could do some kind of photography project in their country.”
He was surprised when his project got approved.
“The impression I originally had was that it would be tough to gain access with so many stories about undercover reporters allege they are risking their lives with hidden cameras.”
The latest addition to Aram’s kit is his modified go-pro hero 4 black that shoots 360 degree video footage.
“The original lens has been ripped out and replaced with a 280 degree lens,” he said.
This gives an amazingly wide angle that enables interactive 360 degree viewing of the video on YouTube.
Hanging out at the beach in North Korea – in pictures
Visitors to the DPRK expect to have their every move monitored, so it took travel blog The Velvet Rocket by surprise when they were dropped off at the beach unsupervised for a couple of hours. They set about meeting as many locals as they could, taking photos as they went. The results are a refreshing change from the stage-managed images often seen emerging from the country
Timelapse video offers unique insight into North Korea's capital city
Images of Pyongyang are usually presented through government-issued photos or occasional holiday snaps, but a new tourism film offers a very different view of daily life in the city
theguardian.com, Friday 8 August 2014 21.37 BST
The back-lit Pyongyang skyline.
Pyongyang is one of the few cities in the world that remains an enigma – mainly because so few people outside the country ever see it.
According to estimates, only around 6,000 people per year visit North Korea as tourists, many of whom are confined to the capital city under the strict supervision of the state-endorsed tour companies that take them there.
Images of Pyongyang are usually presented through government-issued photos, holiday snaps from tourists, or journalists given special (and often supervised) access.
However, a collaboration between JT Singh, a branding specialist focused on cities, and Rob Whitworth, a time lapse film-maker, has created a video that offers a rare visual journey inside Pyongyang.
Branded “Enter Pyongyang” and made in conjunction with the North Korean tour company Koryo Tours, the video is presented as “an invitation to explore” the usually hermetically sealed city.
from JT Singh Plus 1 week ago Not Yet Rated
“Enter Pyongyang” is another stunning collaboration between city-branding pioneer JT Singh and flow-motion videographer Rob Whitworth. Blending time-lapse photography, acceleration and slow motion, HD and digital animation, they have produced a cutting-edge panorama of a city hardly known, but one emerging on the visitor’s landscape as North Korea’s opening unfolds.
North Korea was the last country seemingly immune to change—but no longer. Recent years have witnessed mobile phone penetration, a surge in tourists, and even a marathon. Numerous special economic zones have been launched in cooperation with China, Russia, and South Korea, with railways planned linking all countries in the region. “Enter Pyongyang” captures not just the city, but this dynamism and sense of potential
Summer camp in North Korea
Normally reclusive country opens its doors for more than 300 children from around the world, offering video games, air-conditioned rooms and other luxuries that are out of reach for most of its citizens.--
In an undated photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, center, visits Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wonsan, North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency via AFP/Getty Images)
Scenes of Daily Life in Korea from the 1900s
See more rare photos of scenes of daily life in Korea, during the early period of Japanese colonial rule, taken by a Japanese photographer.
North Korea is open for Business
Published on 21 May 2014
The 17th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair. Businessmen from China and North Korea come here to exchange contacts and trade.
Videos by Aram Pan on DPRK
The DPRK 360 project
The DPRK 360 project is an independent project that aims to showcase the many aspects of DPRK (a.k.a. North Korea) through photography. All attempts will be made so as not address any past, present or future political issues that may be sensitive. The purpose of this project is to encourage understanding of the country and uncover the mysteries that lay hidden. Through better understanding, fear can be removed and friendships can be made. Most of the images will not undergo any instagram, lomo or artistic filters to make them moody or emotional. There will also be interactive 360 degree panoramic images of places across the DPRK.
This project is an initiative by me (Aram Pan), a Singapore based virtual tour photographer. This project is entirely funded by myself and some sponsors and I'm not paid a single cent to generate any propaganda. I plan to make regular trips to DPRK to photograph more of the country so any sponsorships or grants will be deeply appreciated. I do not wish that my photos or panoramas be used in politically heated articles as it may jeopardize my project. I have made the first baby steps in gaining their friendship and trust so I will not do anything that will disrupt this friendship.
The spirit of this project can be found in a DPRK folk song 'White Dove Fly High'. The white dove is a universal symbol of peace and has been chosen to be the symbol of this project.
In case anyone wonders where my political loyalties are, I love my country of Singapore as it is my dear home and I fully support my current government and its leaders.
personel bio pic Aram Pan has been a photographer since 2003. He went into full time commercial panorama production in 2007 and has produced over 3000 panoramas for real estates, hospitals, tourism, industrial, aerospace and many other industries.
Inside North Korea
A peek into Kim Jong Un’s reclusive regime.
Photos taken by Tim Kearns in Pyongyang, 2006
A collection of photos by NZer Tim Kearns who was teaching at the NZ-DPRK Friendship School in Pyongyang in 2006
Google Streetview Pyongyang-Style
Geoffrey K. See | Monday, January 6th, 2014
Slightly over a year ago, a fellow Singaporean who does visually spectacular work taking 360-degree panoramic photos contacted me asking if we could arrange for him to conduct similar work in North Korea. As we were at that time an all-volunteer team holding down full-time jobs while running our workshops in North Korea on the side, we were unable to help him.
However, the Singaporean, Aram Pan, went ahead and made this vision reality. The outcome is a set of visually stunning panoramic shots of various scenic spots in North Korea. You are able to explore places by spinning around at a point, and even hop onto other spots where Aram has captured images. Do check out his 360-degree photos at http://www.dprk360.com/
DPRK 360 is a photographic project by Aram Pan to capture the essence of North Korea (DPRK) through the use of 360° panoramas, photos and videos.
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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