Sports and Tourism
Includes eyewitness accounts from foreigners on the ground in DPRK
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Never Tired': Norwegian Coach Forecasts Bright Future for N Korean Soccer Team
© REUTERS/ Toru Hanai
12:52 28.12.2017Get short URL
Norwegian Jørn Andersen is managing the national soccer team of North Korea, arguably the most isolated country in the world, and is impressed with his troops' prowess.
Jørn Andersen, who stayed in Europe for most of his career as a player and a coach, was surprisingly offered to head North Korea's national team in 2016, a challenge he boldly accepted.
"When I first got the offer, it felt a little strange. But now I am very happy that I made the decision," Jørn Andersen told the Norwegian daily Dagbladet.
During his stay at a suite in a Pyongyang hotel, from where he operates, the 54-year-old has noted a world of difference between European and North Korean players' frame of mind.
"My players are friendly, they work hard and are always motivated to work out. In Europe, I have experienced that players sometimes get tired and do not want to work. Here, the players are never tired. They work around the clock and are eager to learn new things," Andersen said.
Although North Korea failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Andersen predicts a bright future for soccer in the Asian nation. According to Andersen's forecast, North Korea will soon reach the world cup for the third time in its history (after 2000 and 1966, when they surprisingly upset Italy and drew Chile).
"The probability that they qualify for Qatar in 2022 is large. If they continue to develop as they did, I think they will be among the top four or five best teams in Asia. The team has taken great strides and there is a positive feeling in terms of the future," Andersen argued.
Nick Butter: Running the World 196
Hello there! As the year comes to an end, and we begin to count down the days 'til Christmas, we have some more exciting news to share with you...
Nick Butter — endurance athlete, ultra runner, and motivational speaker — will be joining us at the Pyongyang Marathon in 2018 during his challenge to run a marathon in every country in the world (while raising money for charity).
Between Jan 2018 and July 2019, Nick Butter will be running a marathon in every country in the world. He'll be doing 196 marathons in 550 days — around one every 68 hours for 18 months non-stop! During this time, he will be hoping to break eight different world records, and raise more than £250k for prostate cancer research.
U.S. Won't Halt Drills During Pyeongchang Olympics
By Lee Yong-soo
December 12, 2017 11:59
The U.S. is refusing to reschedule annual joint drills with Korea so they do not overlap with the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The drills usually kick off in late February or early March, but the Paralympics do not end until March 18. Seoul asked for the drills to be rescheduled but Washington "is against it," a diplomatic source said Monday.
The drills, dubbed "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" last 50 to 60 days. They can be scheduled after the Olympics proper, which end on Feb. 25, but will almost certainly overlap with the Paralympics that follow it.
[Joint US military] [Olympics18] [US dominance]
N. Korean female football striker puts team above all else
By Joo Kyung-don
CHIBA, Japan, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korean women's football forward Kim Yun-mi is a team player if there ever was one.
Kim scored the match's only goal as North Korea defeated South Korea 1-0 on Monday at the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) E-1 Football Championship at Soga Sports Park in Chiba, Japan.
It was North Korea's second straight victory and South Korea's second straight loss at the four-nation tournament, which also features Japan and China.
Kim now has three goals and leads all scorers after two contests. She scored both North Korean goals in their 2-0 win over China last Friday.
IOC president meets with North Korean Olympic chief in Switzerland
Posted : 2017-12-09 12:18
Updated : 2017-12-09 12:18
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has met with North Korea's Olympic body chief in Switzerland, a U.S. broadcaster said Saturday.
Bach had a meeting with North Korea's Olympic Committee President Kim Il-guk at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Friday, according to Voice of America (VOA). VOA was citing an e-mail from the IOC's public affairs office.
The IOC, however, didn't elaborate on what the two officials discussed, VOA said, adding that it was a meeting for them to get to know each other after Kim became North Korea's new Olympic body chief earlier this year.[Olympics18]
New Year’s Eve Tour:
5 nights in the
DPRK + 1 on the
2018 in style,
in the DPRK!
From 1,650 EUR per person
Celebrate in style and spend a memorable New Year in North Korea! Our New Year’s Eve tour includes a comprehensive city tour of Pyongyang as well as getting you down to the DMZ, where North and South Korea continue their decades-old face-off. You will be staying at the Yanggakdo Hotel, one of the deluxe standard hotels in Pyongyang.
It is also possible to add a 2-night skiing extension to this tour- come and join us on the slopes of North Korea’s only ski resort; Masik Pass. Please let your tour manager know should you be interested in adding the ski extension.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in style in the DPRK including a fireworks display!
Kumsusan Memorial Palace (Mausoleum of the leaders), Victorious Fatherland Liberation Way Museum and other Pyongyang highlights
Panmunjom/DMZ – the border with South Korea
Questions Raised Over U.S. Taking Part in Pyeongchang Olympics
By Cho Yi-jun, Kim Myong-song
December 08, 2017 09:33
U.S. participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang remains an "open question" amid threats from North Korea, a senior U.S. diplomat said.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley made the remarks when she was asked by Fox News on Wednesday if the U.S. has made a final decision to compete in Pyeongchang.
"What we will do is make sure we are taking every precaution possible to make sure that [U.S. athletes are] safe and to know everything that's going on around them." The situation is changing every day and U.S. participation "depends on what's going on at the time" in South Korea.
The Donald Trump "administration is going to come together and find out the best way to make sure they're protected," she added.
Russia to allow individual athletes to participate in Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Posted on : Dec.8,2017 15:58 KST Modified on : Dec.8,2017 15:58 KST
Snow piles up on the Pyeongchang Olympics ski jump at the Alpensia Ski Resort on Dec. 7. (by Lee Jung-ah, staff photographer)
Organizers relieved that Russian government decided against a boycott
On Dec. 7, officials in the Blue House breathed a sigh of relief. After the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from participating in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Russian athletes could compete in the Olympics on an individual level if they so desired. The government is planning to make every effort to prevent anything from obstructing President Moon Jae-in’s plan for the Olympics to serve as a catalyst for peace.
“This is fortunate, and I think it’s something to welcome,” a senior official at the Blue House said in regard to Putin’s remarks. “Russia is a powerhouse in the Winter Olympics, and frankly speaking, the government was worried and concerned about the IOC’s decision [to ban it]. Anyway, I think that we’ve avoided the worst-case scenario.”
“Undoubtedly, we will not declare any blockade will not prevent our Olympic athletes from participating, if any one of them wants to participate in their personal capacity,” Putin said on Dec. 6. Russia is a dominant force in winter sports. During the 2014 Winter Olympics, held in the Russian city of Sochi, the country was the overall winner, netting 13 gold medals.
[Olympics18] [Russia SK]
Experts discuss ways of transforming Pyeongchang Olympics into “peace Olympics”
Posted on : Dec.8,2017 16:04 KST Modified on : Dec.8,2017 16:04 KST
Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Hae-chan speaks with Korea Peace Forum emeritus chairman Lim Dong-won during “2018 Outlook for the Political Situation on the Korean Peninsula and Our Response Strategy,” held on the afternoon of Dec. 7 at Yonsei University’s Kim Dae-jung Library in Seoul’s Mapo district. The date marked the 17th anniversary of the former president receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. (by Kim Chang-gwang, staff photographer)
Sending a special envoy and halting military exercises during the Olympics are two possible options
A proposal to send a special envoy to North Korea for the participation of its athletes in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was made at a roundtable discussion to commemorate the 17th anniversary of late former President Kim Dae-jung being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Experts also stressed the need for a response from the South Korean government to US politicians arguing that Washington should not be afraid of risking war.
[Olympics18] [Wishful thinking]
IOC bans on Russia deals blow to PyeongChang Olympics
Posted : 2017-12-06 17:03
Updated : 2017-12-06 17:38
By Baek Byung-yeul
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from competing in next year's PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Wednesday (local time), dealing a fresh blow to the Winter Games is struggling to draw greater public attention.
The Olympics governing body said it was suspending the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) with immediate effect after an investigation found evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russia.
IOC President Thomas Bach made the announcement at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne after its executive board studied and discussed the findings of a commission that investigated the state-sponsored doping.
Former Switzerland President Samuel Schmid, who led the IOC commission, said it had "confirmed the systemic manipulation of anti-doping rules and systems in Russia during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, as well as various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility."
"This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport," Bach said. "As an athlete myself, I'm feeling very sorry for all the clean athletes. Working with the IOC Athletes' Commission, we will now look for opportunities to make up for the moments they have missed at the finish line or on the podium."
The IOC said certain Russian athletes will still be able to compete at the Olympics, scheduled for Feb. 9 to 25, as an Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) without their national flag or anthem. Also, those athletes hoping to compete must qualify according to the qualification standards of their respective sport and they must not have been disqualified or declared ineligible over any anti-doping rule violations.
[Russia confrontation] [Olympics] [US SK] [Tribute]
N.Korean Skaters Forfeit Tickets to Pyeongchang Olympics
By Lee Soon-heung
December 01, 2017 10:41
A pair of North Korean figure skaters have given up their chance to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The skaters, the North's only athletes to qualify for the Olympics, failed to register for the event by the deadline.
According to the Korea Skating Union on Thursday, Ryom Tae-ok, 18, and Kim Ju-sik, 25, had not signed up for the Pyeongchang Olympics as of Oct. 30, the International Skating Union's deadline for Olympic registration for skaters who earned Olympic berths at the Nebelhorn Trophy event in September.
Ryom and Kim claimed one of the last four Olympic berths for the pair skating event by scoring 180.09 points overall at the Nebelhorn Trophy.
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This Winter Olympics
I will cycle from Pyongyang to Seoul
to champion Peace with Sports
I will cycle from Pyongyang to Seoul crossing the Korean Demilitarized Zone
From Pyongyang, DPRK to Seoul, South Korea
Connect the lovely Korean Peninsula, local citizen interviews etc.
Everyone loves sports, Everyone loves peace!.
The Korean Peninsula is in the limelight these days with every stakeholder trying to achieve peace in this region. Clearly, the usual channels are not working out as expected and I would like to give a light-hearted break. What better than cycling from Capital to Capital for PEACE with SPORTS during the Olympics?!
With the upcoming Winter Olympics in February in South Korea; I think this is the perfect time to promote peace and sports in the region.
Yes, I am cycling from Seoul to Pyongyang on my handmade Bamboo Bicycle.
Train Tour: Pyongyang to Vladivostok - ride DPRK's rails with the locals
Epic local train journey from Pyongyang
to the extreme North - and on to Vladivostok
Ride the rails of North Korea with
the locals: an all-new opportunity!
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IOC vows to cover costs of North Korean athletes participating in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics
Posted : 2017-10-28 12:57
Updated : 2017-10-28 12:57
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is willing to cover all costs for North Korean athletes if they participate in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, a Washington-based news outlet reported Saturday.
The IOC told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that it is ready to pay for "all costs" through the Olympic Solidarity program if North Korea wants to compete at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. The Olympic Solidarity is a scholarship program designed to support national Olympic bodies participating in the Games and especially those in need of financial assistance.
The IOC said that in order to assist the North Korean Olympic body in joining training camps and competing in winter sports, it is cooperating with the International Ski Federation and the International Skating Union. The IOC added it has also organized a special support program for North Korea's PyeongChang 2018 hopefuls, according to RFA.
The IOC also regularly contacts North Korea's Olympic committee, and North Korean athletes are welcome to compete at the PyeongChang Olympics, RFA reported.
North Korea didn't have any qualified athletes at the previous Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. But in September, North Korean figure skating tandem Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik qualified for the Winter Olympics south of the border and expectations have been rising whether Pyongyang will send them to the PyeongChang Olympics.
[Olympics] [Sports diplomacy]
A Step-by-Step Guide to Running the Pyongyang Marathon
Hi from Beijing and welcome to another newsletter! Preparations for the 2018 Pyongyang Marathon are in full swing and we have some exciting news to share!
First all of, we are happy to announce that the time limit for the amateur full marathon (42 km) race has been extended from 4 ½ hours to 5 ½ hours! If the 4 ½ hour time limit previously stopped you from signing up, we hope you'll consider joining us in 2018!
Additionally, next year will also be the first time in Pyongyang Marathon history that there will be a 5 km amateur race for those looking for a shorter run through the streets of Pyongyang!
But perhaps best of all - the Pyongyang Marathon Committee has officially approved the participation of runners with disabilities in the marathon
North Korea applies to participate in Pyeongchang Paralympics Committee
Posted on : Oct.13,2017 16:42 KST Modified on : Oct.13,2017 16:42 KST
North Korean figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok (18) and Kim Ju-sik (25) qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang following their performance at the 2017 Nebelhorn Trophy, an international figure skating competition that took place in Oberstdorf, Germany on Sept. 29. (Yonhap News)
Application increases the possibility that NK will take part in Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
On Oct. 12, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa said that North Korea had applied to participate in the Pyeongchang Paralympics Committee. Considering that North Korea’s application to participate comes at a time of heightened military tensions between the North and the US, this could provide an opportunity for future inter-Korean exchanges.
During the National Assembly’s audit of the Foreign Ministry, which was held in the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee on Oct. 12, Kang was asked by Won Hye-yeong, a lawmaker with the Democratic Party, for an update on the progress of a resolution that Seoul had submitted to the UN calling for the cessation of conflict around the world during the Pyeongchang Olympics.
[Olympics] [Sports diplomacy]
France 'Could Skip Olympics If N.Korean Threat Continues'
By Chang Min-seok, Seok Nam-jun
September 25, 2017 12:31
France could skip the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea if the standoff with North Korea gets worse, its Sports Minister Laura Flessel said last Thursday.
"We will never put our team in danger," Flessel told a radio interviewer. "If it gets worse and we do not have their security confirmed, our French team will stay here."
Flessel later backtracked, saying she was merely talking in principle and added that she has not yet considered that option.
[US NK policy] [Consequences] [Olympics]
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South Korean government offers truce resolution in advance of Winter Olympics
Posted on : Sep.21,2017 17:29 KST Modified on : Sep.21,2017 17:29 KST
President Moon Jae-in presents a gift of Olympic mascots to International Olympic Committee chairman Thomas Bach while in New York to attend a meeting of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 19 (Blue House Photo Pool)
The gesture honors the games’ original goal of promoting peace
The South Korean government submitted a truce resolution to the UN calling for a halt to conflicts around the world during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next February. The UN has adopted “Olympic truce” resolutions since 1993 as a way of honoring the games’ original goal of promoting peace. But with North Korea’s repeated provocations resulting in heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the Pyeongchang Games are poised to hold special meaning as an occasion for reducing military tensions.
President Moon Jae-in met on the morning of Sept. 19 with International Olympic Committee chairperson Thomas Bach while in New York to attend a meeting of the UN General Assembly.
[Moon Jae-in] [Spin]
N. Korean IOC member 'Olympics and politics are separate things'
Posted : 2017-09-16 21:09
Updated : 2017-09-16 21:09
North Korean International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung talks in an interview held in Lima on Friday. / Yonhap
North Korea's sole member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula caused by the North's nuclear and missile tests and the United Nations' sanctions may not affect next February's Winter Olympics in South Korea's PyeongChang.
In an interview with Olympic Channel, Chang Ung said that politics and Olympics are separate things and North Korea could have competitors at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics if its athletes qualify.
"I am quite sure politics is one thing and the Olympics is another thing. So I don't see any big problem for the PyeongChang Olympic Games," Chang said in the interview held on the sidelines of an IOC meeting in Lima on Friday (Peruvian local time).
[Olympics] [Sports diplomacy]
The End of American Tourism to the DPRK
The U.S. State Department recently announced a ban on American passport holders traveling to North Korea, which came into effect on September 1st. Therefore, as of last Friday, American tourists can no longer travel to the DPRK legally, and we will no longer take American passport holders on our tours.
Our last tour to have taken American tourists to North Korea was the 'Youth Day Minibreak', which returned to Beijing on August 29th. Other Americans who live and work in North Korea (approximately 200) can apply for a special dispensation from the State Department to remain inside the country. These U.S. citizens, who include teachers at PUST (the Pyongyang Institute of Science and Technology), health workers, and NGO employees, argue that the travel ban will end the valuable work they do within the DPRK. TIME has written an interesting piece about their perspective on the ban.
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N.Korean Forward Han Kwang-song Loaned to Perugia FC
By Joo Hyung-sik
August 09, 2017 12:17
North Korea's only international footballer Han Kwang-song was loaned to Perugia in Italy's second-tier league Serie B on Tuesday.
The forward joined Cagliari in top tier Serie A in March and became the first North Korean ever to score a goal in the top five European leagues a month after his arrival.
But Cagliari decided to send Han to Perugia to give him more playing time. Perugia is familiar to South Korean football fans as South Korea's Ahn Jung-hwan was with the club in the early 2000s.
Ahn was released by Perugia for scoring a winning goal against Italy during the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.
Han's Instagram profile features the "Dreams Come True" slogan used by South Korean football supporters in the 2002 World Cup, an unusual move for a North Korean.
New from Koryo Tours: Our Monthly Newsletter
Welcome to Koryo Tours' all-new Monthly Newsletter! On the first of every month, we will update you on developments going on in the field of tourism in North Korea and some of the other destinations we service, along with some snippets of ephemeral info that we think might interest you.
We hope you'll enjoy this reading experience; learn some news, click some links, and maybe even consider joining an adventure with us!
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Moon invites N. Korea to PyongChang Olympics again
Posted : 2017-07-24 16:54
Updated : 2017-07-24 19:57
President Moon Jae-in holds an oversized name card showing he has been named honorary ambassador for the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, after receiving it from former national figure skating star Kim Yuna, right, during an event to muster nationwide support for the games at the Alpensia Resort in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, Monday, 200 days ahead of the Olympics. / Korea Times photo by Koh Young-kwon
By Kim Rahn
President Moon Jae-in renewed his invitation to North Korea to attend the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Monday.
He made the call despite a continuous silence from the North about cooperation on nonpolitical issues including participating in the sports event. A month earlier Moon also proposed forming a single, unified team with North Korea.
"We've opened the door wide, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has, and now all that is left is North Korea's decision," Moon said during an event to muster nationwide support for the games in the provincial city of Gangwon, 200 days before the Olympics is set to open
[Sports diplomacy] [Olympics]
N. Korea calls off int'l beer festival for 'unknown reasons'
Posted : 2017-07-24 11:05
Updated : 2017-07-24 17:17
A China-based tourist agency that arranges tour programs to North Korea said Monday that the North has informed it of the cancellation of a beer festival slated for late July to the end of next month.
Koryo Tours said that it was informed on Sunday that the 2nd Taedonggang Beer Festival has been canceled for an unknown reason. The fest is supposed to be held from July 26 to late August at an excursion ship and the wharf along the Taedong River running through Pyongyang.
"The reason for the cancellation is unclear and we don't expect full information to be forthcoming but it is possibly down to the ongoing drought in the country that has caused a great deal of trouble," the agency said on its English-language blog.
Is N. Korea looking for next hostage candidate?
Posted : 2017-07-20 15:47
Updated : 2017-07-20 15:51
Samjiyon Airport, near Baekdu (also known as Paektu) Mountain, is 1,400 meters above sea level and a stopover when visiting the Korean Peninsula's highest mountain. / Yonhap
By Ko Dong-hwan
About a month after the controversial death of North Korean detainee Otto Warmbier in June, an American tourist in his early 20s, the military state has launched a new tourism website.
In a country known for not allowing tourists free rein, it is hard to see it as just like any other conventional tourism promotion.
Over the years, the hermit state has become infamous for locking up visitors who offend, including 16 Americans in the past decade. So the new website raises suspicions about the Kim Jong-un regime's intention.
The state's National Tourism Administration launched "DPR Korea Tour" at tourismdprk.gov.kp. The site provides detailed information about tourist spots like Pyongyang, Mt. Kumgang, Nampho and Mt. Paektu .
Pres. Moon says N. Korea in Pyeongchang games would instill the “Olympic Spirit”
Posted on : Jul.4,2017 16:23 KST Modified on : Jul.4,2017 16:23 KST
Moon apparently using sports as a vehicle to resume inter-Korean dialogue and exchange
President Moon Jae-in said on July 3 that North Korea’s participation in next year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics would “contribute not only to instilling the Olympic spirit but also to peace in our region and the world and the unity of humankind.”
The Blue House has also reportedly opened the possibility of holding the Games in both South and North Korea and fielding unified South and North Korean teams in events such women’s ice hockey if North Korea does participate. With the groundwork laid for resuming inter-Korean dialogue at a South Korea-US summit late last month, Seoul now appears to be fleshing out plans for using sports exchange to get the ball rolling on inter-Korean reconciliation.
During a meeting at the Blue House that morning, Moon reportedly asked International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach to play a role in the process.
[Moon Jae-in] [Olympics]
NK shrugs aside use of sport for reconciliation
Posted : 2017-07-02 17:07
Updated : 2017-07-02 17:13
Chang Ung, second row right, a North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), greets children who performed taekwondo during the closing ceremony of the 2017 Muju WTF Taekwondo Championships in the namesake southwestern county on June 30. Standing to his right is IOC President Thomas Bach. WTF President Chou Chung-won, second row left, also joined the closing ceremony. / Yonhap
'Ping-Pong Diplomacy' not replicable for 2 Koreas
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Just as the exchange of table tennis players ultimately paved the way for diplomatic normalization between the United States and China during the Cold War, sports can help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
This idea of sports diplomacy seems to have fascinated President Moon Jae-in. His recent speech indicates he views the forthcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics as an opportunity to achieve inter-Korean reconciliation through the exchange of athletes. Specifically, Moon and his aides regard women's ice hockey as a possible sport event where the two Koreas can possibly team up to form a unified team. The Moon government played the ice hockey card to facilitate dialogue between the two Koreas.
[Sports diplomacy] [Olympics] [False analogy]
IOC Chief Optimistic About Joint-Korean Olympic Team
By Lee Tae-dong
June 30, 2017 12:56
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach was optimistic about President Moon Jae-in's proposal to field a joint Korean team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Bach arrived in Korea on Thursday for the closing ceremony of the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, North Jeolla Province and said Moons' proposal is "in the spirit of the Olympism."
He said he has already invited North Korea to take part in the Pyeongchang Olympics. Moon expressed hope last week to see a joint Korean team.
But Chang Ung, the North's sole IOC member, remains pessimistic. "Easier said than done," he said when reporters asked him about the plan. Chang had earlier pointed out that it took months of negotiations to put the team together in 1991.
[Olympics] [Joint Korean]
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How sports can ease inter-Korean tensions
Posted on : Jun.27,2017 17:36 KST Modified on : Jun.27,2017 17:36 KST
President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with North Korean International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung, at the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, North Jeolla Province, on June 24. (by Kim Kyung-ho, staff photographer)
But plenty of hurdles remain before South and North Korea can cooperate for next year’s Pyeongchang Olympics
The image of President Moon Jae-in beaming and shaking hands with North Korean International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Chang Ung at the World Taekwondo Championships opening ceremony on June 24 was a symbolic moment for the way sports can ease inter-Korean relations.
President Moon presented the South Korea’s official position in favor of athletic exchanges with North Korea. This includes proactive proposals to North Korea such as fielding a unified women’s ice hockey team at next February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, relaying the Olympic Torch in North Korea, and having the South and North Korean athletes enter together.
The new administration’s efforts to relax tensions are being welcomed by a public anxious over the way inter-Korean conflicts have intensified under past conservative administrations. The IOC and world federations for different sports groups are also fundamentally focused on the Pyeongchang Olympics. From the IOC’s standpoint, the Pyeongchang Olympics could go down with a noteworthy legacy if it becomes an avenue for exchange to increase, leading to regional peace.
[News analysis] Will South and North Korea field unified team at Pyeongchang Olympics?
Posted on : Jun.26,2017 16:09 KST Modified on : Jun.26,2017 16:09 KST
President Moon Jae-in poses for a commemorative photo with taekwondo demonstration teams from South and North Korea at the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, North Jeolla Province, on June 24. (by Kim Kyung-ho, staff photographer)
President Moon’s proposal would take non-political issue of sports as a starting point for restoring inter-Korean relations
During the opening ceremony of the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, North Jeolla Province, on June 24, President Moon Jae-in proposed sending a unified Korean team to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next year. The proposal appears to be an attempt to use sports, a non-political issue, to open up inter-Korean relations, which have been strained despite the appearance of a new South Korean administration. It remains to be seen whether the door to dialogue will open, depending on how North Korea responds and on whether a unified team takes shape.
[Olympics] [Joint Korean]
IOC Open to Using N.Korean Ski Resort for Winter Olympics
By Lee Tae-dong
June 26, 2017 12:23
The International Olympic Committee on Friday expressed interest in a proposal from Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan to use North Korea's Masikryong Ski Resort as a venue for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
"We are happy to discuss his ideas. The Olympic movement is always about building bridges, never about erecting walls," the BBC quoted an IOC spokesperson as saying.
During a visit to Pyeongchang last week, Do said North Korea's participation should help promote inter-Korean peace. "Hopefully we'll be able to ease lingering tensions as we bring North Korea on board," he said. "North Korea says the Masikryong Ski Resort was built according to global standards and I intend to discuss this" with North Korean IOC member Chang Ung.
North Korean IOC member Chang Ung (center) waves on arrival at Gimpo International Airport on Friday.
The ski resort opened in 2014 after the North spent US$300 million building it. It covers 14 million sq.m of land and has 10 slopes as well as a hotel and cable car.
But many obstacles must be overcome first. The two Koreas need to discuss how to transport athletes, officials and spectators back and forth through the heavily-fortified border and how to accommodate them.
There is very little time to test the facilities and make the necessary improvements to Olympic standards.
Perhaps events like snowboarding and cross country skiing, which are less affected by a change of venue, could be moved there, but other alpine events would be too difficult.
"In alpine events athletes get very nervous about the slightest changes to the quality of snow or courses, and practicing in Masikryong could make things very inconvenient for the athletes," said one Winter Olympics coach.
North Korean taekwondo team arrives in S. Korea, first in ten years
Posted on : Jun.24,2017 16:37 KST Modified on : Jun.24,2017 16:37 KST
International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Chang Ung (left, gray hair) is greeted by a South Korean children’s taekwondo team as he arrives at Gimpo Airport with a North Korean taekwondo demonstration team, June 23. (by Shin So-young, staff photographer)
Demonstration team’s participation in World Taekwondo Championships raises possibility of more inter-Korean athletic exchanges
A North Korean taekwondo demonstration team headed by International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Chang Ung arrived in South Korea via Beijing on the afternoon of June 23 to take part in the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships (WTC).
While the visit was for an international competition organized by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), it is also drawing notice as the first instance of inter-Korean exchange since President Moon Jae-in took office. There is also the question of possible future athletic exchanges between South and North ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The visit by the North Korean taekwondo demonstration team was the first since 2007.
According to the WTC organizing committee, the visiting team included 36 members, including Chang and International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) secretary-general Ri Yong-son. Also included were four ITF officials: vice presidents Dato Leong Wai Meng and Mario Bogdanov, European Continental Federation president Michael Prewett, and spokesperson George Vitale. ITF is an international taekwondo organization led by North Korea.
Moon invites North Korea to PyeongChang Olympics
Posted : 2017-06-24 19:39
Updated : 2017-06-24 19:39
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday invited North Korea to the Winter Olympic Games to be held in the country early next year, while welcoming a North Korean delegation to the World Taekwondo Championships.
"I believe in the strength of sports that has been establishing peace. I am glad to see the first sports exchange of the South and the North under the new (South Korean) government take place at this event," Moon said in his congratulatory speech marking the opening of the event hosted by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
[Sports diplomacy] [Moon Jae-in] [Olympics]
Tourism to North Korea: “trip of a lifetime” to the “hermit kingdom”?
Posted on : Jun.22,2017 14:53 KST Modified on : Jun.22,2017 14:53 KST
Tourists on a Young Pioneer Tour have a beer in a pub in Pyongyang (from Young Pioneer Tour Instagram)
Student’s recent death has rekindled a debate in the US about banning travel to North Korea
Amid the uproar over the death of American student Otto Warmbier after returning to the US in a coma 17 months after he was arrested during a trip to North Korea, interest is growing - and debate intensifying -- about traveling to North Korea. Pyongyang allows foreigners to visit the North on a limited basis as a way of earning foreign currency.
On June 20, CNN reported that more than 4,000 foreign tourists visited North Korea last year, not including Chinese tourists. There are reportedly more than 30 travel agencies that arrange trips to North Korea for tourists who like to get off the beaten path, including Young Pioneer Tours (the agency that Warmbier used), Koryo Tours, Uri Tours and New Korea Tours. These agencies present North Korea as an exotic and fascinating country, using photography and phrases such as “the hermit kingdom,” “an unforgettable experience,” “a trip into an unknown world” and “a safe country.”
Travel writeups and rave reviews posted by tourists also spark travellers’ curiosity about taking trips to North Korea. Reports by people who have traveled to North Korea occasionally pop up on Quora, a global Q&A site that is linked to social media.
“Overall, I went there to see a curiosity. The last communist dictatorship on earth, before it falls apart,” wrote Mahesh Murthy, who said that he and his son spent a week in North Korea in 2015. Murthy was satisfied with the experience, which he described as “a trip of a lifetime.”
Tourists on a Young Pioneer Tour mimic North Korean soldiers’ goose-stepping in Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang (from Young Pioneer Tour Instagram)
A travel writer living in Norway by the name of Bjørn Christian Tørrissen said that there was “undeniably” poverty in North Korea, but that it was “nowhere near as bad as what you can see while travelling in countries like Kenya, India or Bolivia.” Tørrissen said in his review that the trip had given him a new outlook.
Tours to North Korea are organized for groups, not individuals, and you cannot travel there on your own. Tourists are accompanied by minders who monitor them closely. There are various travel packages available, such as tours of downtown Pyongyang and competing in the Pyongyang marathon. The travel package that Young Pioneer Tours is offering this month is a five-day trip, costing 1,145 euros, which includes a bicycle tour of downtown Pyongyang and a visit to the DMZ. Koryo Tours is currently selling an eight-day summer vacation package in July for 1,850 Euros a person that includes a tour of the border city of Sinuiju and hiking on Mt. Keumgang.
Travel groups suspend trips to N. Korea after Warmbier's death
Posted : 2017-06-21 11:25
Updated : 2017-06-21 17:13
Travel agencies specializing in North Korea tours are saying they will no longer take U.S. citizens to the North after an American university student released by North Korea last week in a coma died, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday.
An official at New Korea Tours, a North Korea tour operator, told the Washington-based RFA in an email that it has decided not to receive applications for North Korea tours from U.S. citizens due to the recent tragic incident, referring to the death of Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student.
New Sports Minister Wants Inter-Korean Women's Ice Hockey Team
By Kim Seung-jae
June 21, 2017 12:43
South Korea's new sports minister is pushing to form an inter-Korean women's hockey team ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Do Jong-hwan, who was appointed minister of culture, sports and tourism last week, said during a visit to the headquarters of the Pyeongchang organizing committee on Tuesday that North Korea's participation sh
in any form or by any means without prior written permission.
North Korea to send delegation to World Taekwondo Championships on June 24
Posted on : Jun.16,2017 13:54 KST Modified on : Jun.16,2017 13:54 KST
National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon speaks at a meeting of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee, June 15. (pool photo)
National Intelligence Service says that inter-Korean relations could be restored under the right conditions
North Korea has decided to send its taekwondo demonstration team to the World Taekwondo Championships, which will be held in Muju, North Jeolla Province, on June 24. While reporting this to the National Assembly, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Suh Hoon said that the right conditions could lead to the resumption of inter-Korean exchange in the future.
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Will North Korea participate in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics?
Posted : 2017-05-19 10:56
Updated : 2017-05-19 10:56
The top organizer of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea has offered to open the land route for North Korean athletes if they decide to compete south of the tense border.
In a meeting with journalists at the South Korean Embassy in London on Thursday (local time), Lee Hee-beom, head of the organizing committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, said South Korea will welcome North Korea with open arms.
Lee has repeatedly stated that all peace-loving nations have an obligation to participate in the Olympics.
"South Korea will welcome North Korea and when they decide to come, the South Korean government will allow them to come by road," Lee was quoted by Reuters as saying. "And when they have supporting teams, the (South) Korean government will allow them to come by ship. All nations are very welcome, including North Korea and Russia (which is dealing with a doping scandal). We want it to be the peace games."
This is your chance to visit Mt Paektu — one of the hardest places to get to in North Korea
Mt. Paektu is a sacred volcano in the northeast of Korea. It's also so difficult to get to that our tours rarely ever go there. Any trip to the DPRK (North Korea) is an amazing and unusual experience, of course. But going to Paektu — the highest mountain on the entire Korean Peninsula — is *seriously* off the beaten path.
Interested in being one of the few to have seen it? Well, my friend, your luck's in. This August and September we will be running three different trips that'll each take you to Mt Paektu. None of our other tours in 2017 have this incredibly important and beautiful stop on the itinerary — so if you want to go then grab the chance while you still can!
Pyongyang Marathon 2018
Our tours for next year are now online!
Greetings from Koryo Tours. May the Fourth be with you!
Today marks the launch of the 2018 Pyongyang Marathon. Exciting times. Once again: Koryo is thrilled to be the event's official (and exclusive) travel partner.
So, whether you missed out on this year’s race, or simply want to run again, now's your chance to take a look at our exciting itineraries for next year's marathon tours.
The Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon — aka the Pyongyang Marathon — will take place on Sunday 8th April (2018). You can run the 10k, Half or Full Marathon.
All three distances take place at the same time and on the same day, and the race is fully recognised by the IAAF (who have categorized it as a bronze label road race).
Starting back in 1981, the race was first opened to amateur foreign runners in 2014. This extraordinary event offers a unique opportunity for foreigners to run the streets of Pyongyang, interacting with locals who line the course to cheer and high-five the runners.
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Huge Job Losses at Travel Agencies Catering to Chinese Visitors
By Chae Sung-jin
April 21, 2017 12:05
Some 22 percent of staff at travel agencies here catering to Chinese package tourists either quit or are on leave amid a boycott over Seoul's decision to deploy a U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here.
The Korea Association of Travel Agents surveyed 101 travel agencies employing 1,124 workers and found that 245 staff either quit or are on leave.
[THAAD] [China SK] [Tourism]
S.Korean Anthem Played in N.Korea for 1st Time
April 06, 2017 13:03
The South Korean anthem was played in North Korea for the first time ever as a qualifier for the AFC Women's Asian Cup kicked off at Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang on Wednesday. South Korea faced India in front of some 5,000 spectators.
The crowd stood respectfully but did not show much reaction when the anthem played.
The match between world No. 17 South Korea and No. 56 India was predictably lopsided. Because North Korea beat India 8-0 in the opening match two days ago, South Korea needed to score a lot of goals to stay in the competition.
[Photo] North Korean women’s hockey team in S. Korea
Posted on : Apr.4,2017 15:32 KST Modified on : Apr.4,2017 15:32 KST
Members of the North Korean women’s ice hockey team walk along Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung, Gangwon Province on Apr. 3. They are participating in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship Division II Group A. (Yohap News)
Members of the North Korean women’s ice hockey team walk along Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung, Gangwon Province on Apr. 3. They are participating in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship Division II Group A. (Yohap News)
Can sports exchanges lead to a thaw in inter-Korean relations?
Posted on : Apr.3,2017 19:05 KST Modified on : Apr.3,2017 19:05 KST
South Koreans wave flags showing a unified Korean peninsula while cheering the North Korean women’s national team, during the Women’s Hockey World Championship in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, Apr. 2. (by Park Soo-hyeok, Gangwon correspondent)
North Korean women’s ice hockey team now in S. Korea, while S. Korea’s women‘s soccer team in the North
The North Korean national women’s ice hockey team entered South Korea on Apr. 1, while the South Korean national women’s soccer team reached Pyongyang via Beijing on Apr. 2. Since the reciprocal visits of sports teams attending international events represents a resumption of inter-Korean exchange, which was cut off after the closing of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in Feb. 2016, attention is focusing on how this will affect inter-Korean relations in the future. Another major question is whether North Korean athletes will attend the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
This is the first time for a North Korean sports team to visit South Korea in two years and six months, since the Incheon Asian Games in Sept. 2014. The last time a South Korean sports team played a game in North Korea was in Aug. 2015, when more than 80 people (including players and staff from Gyeonggi and Gangwon Province teams) competed in a boys’ soccer tournament in Pyongyang.
S. Korea to approve N. Korea's possible participation in PyeongChang Olympics
Posted : 2017-04-03 13:59
Updated : 2017-04-03 13:59
South Korea's unification ministry said Monday it plans to allow North Korea to take part in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics if Pyongyang decides to do so.
On Sunday, North Korea expressed its intent to take part in the Winter Games in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul, and its sub-cities, according to Choi Moon-soon, the provincial governor of the host city.
Seoul's unification ministry said that a set of U.N. sanctions and punitive measures against North Korea's nuclear program do not ban Pyongyang from taking part in international sports events.
Women's ice hockey team sweating as showdown with N. Korea nears
Posted : 2017-03-30 13:45
Updated : 2017-03-30 18:17
The women's national ice hockey team runs drills in the Kwandong Hockey Centre ice rink in the eastern city of Gangneung, Wednesday. They will clash with the North Korean team on April 6 in the city. / Korea Times
2 Koreas to clash on ice on April 6 amid diplomatic standoff
By Kang Hyun-kyung
GANGNEUNG — Sarah Murray, head coach of the women's national ice hockey team, habitually tapped her stick on the ice while watching her 22 players running drills at the Kwandong Hockey Centre, Wednesday, a week before their showdown with North Korea.
Tapping sticks on the ice is what coaches and hockey players would traditionally do when they are excited about their teammates for their fantastic play or show their support for them. The Canadian coach does that whenever her players score a goal or make a good save.
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N.Korea Requests to Compete in Hockey Championship in S.Korea
By Kim Myong-song
March 29, 2017 10:47
North Korea has requested the South Korean government to allow its women's ice hockey team to participate in the International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship in Gangneung, Gangwon Province next month.
"We have received an application from the North Korean team through the IIHF, and we are currently reviewing it," an official at the Ministry of Unification said Tuesday.
The South Korean government reportedly plans to approve the application as it is an international sporting event. The North Korean team will consist of 20 players and 10 staff including coaches. In the application, they stated that they will fly into Korea from a third country, and plan to stay in the South from April 1 to 9.
The Koryo Courier:
By Koryo Tours
The US Secretary of State's visit to the DMZ as seen from the northern side.
In the centre of the Panmunjom Joint Security Area (JSA), or ‘Truce Village’, are a number of blue and silver buildings straddling the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) which divides the DPRK in the north and ROK in the south. The DPRK’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) administers the silver buildings, while the southern United Nations Command (UNC) administers the blue ones. Only one of these buildings, a blue one, is open to visitors and tourists from both sides. Inside of this hut is the only place where it is possible to cross freely between north and south and home to the famous negotiating table standing in both Koreas. Since the UNC administers this hut, visitors on the southern side have priority to enter.
One some days the scheduled arrival of a tour group from the south makes for a relatively mundane scene with little activity across the MDL save an open window from which to take a photo of the northern group. On other days a concurrent visit by a southern group makes for the iconic scene of military guides deployed on both sides.
From above we watched as an accompanying US military guide provided an introduction to the area in a voice just loud enough to be made out by our group watching from above.
“Does anyone have any questions?”
A number of people on the northern side raised their hands in response. A few journalists on the southern side naturally waved in return, only to be swiftly rebuked by the US military guide. For some reason or another, one is allowed to wave from the northern side, but perhaps it is believed on the southern side that such a gesture might begin World War III. Indeed, all the world’s a stage, and all of us are merely players....
The next morning our groups shared images of themselves caught on CCTV and Al-Jazeera television broadcasts at our hotel. I also received a message from a friend in the US that the LA Times had reported “A group of North Koreans, apparently tourists, waved across the border during Tillerson’s visit”. I congratulated our group at their ability to blend in with the locals after just a few days.
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Soak up the atmosphere and join in the celebrations
on President Kim Il Sung's 105th birthday!
April 13 - April 18/19 2017
Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour
5 nights in the
DPRK + 1 on the
How a student started Australia's first North Korean tour company
By Harry Pearl
3:00 PM Monday Feb 13, 2017
When you’re a tourist in North Korea, you need to follow the rules. Failure to comply can land you in a lot of trouble - and with tourism on the rise, the danger is growing.
Australian student Alek Sigley has been showing curious visitors the sights of North Korea for years, but he can still remember his first trip to the "Hermit Kingdom".
It was 2012 and Sigley, who was studying the North Korean language in northeast China, crossed the border for a field trip.
"It was pretty overwhelming," Sigley, 27, tells news.com.au. "I've travelled a bit and I don't think there is anywhere else in the world quite like it."
An industrialised country that had no advertising, no McDonald's, no internet. It was, he says, "a little world of its own."
But it had him hooked, and, within a year, he started Australia's first and only specialist tour company operating in the enigmatic country of 25 million people.
Since then, he's been to North Korea more times than he can count and he leads several tour groups there each year with his business Tongil Tours.
Despite its reputation as the world's most isolated country, North Korea is on a tourism drive and dictator Kim Jong Un has set an ambitious goal of growing foreign visitors from just over 100,000 annually to two million by 2020.
A number of special tourism zones have been established over the past few years and, along with the more traditional tours of state sites and monuments, visitors can now go snowboarding, surfing and will soon be able to stay in an underwater hotel.
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Pyongyang Marathon 2017:
It's your last chance to sign up!
Hello! The 2017 edition of the Pyongyang Marathon this April is set to be the most exciting yet, with a new route that gets you to more of the city than ever before, and all participants having the chance to start AND finish their races in front of a 50,000-strong crowd in Kim Il Sung stadium.
Running through Pyongyang’s streets, without guides, and alongside locals, is a particularly special experience. And, based on how the last few years have gone, we can guarantee you a stunning experience you will never forget!
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Traveller's tales: Eyewitness accounts
Secret State - Inside North Korea – CNN
CNN's Will Ripley Special Report Sep.16, 2017
The present situation in the DPRK
by Suneet Chopra
(reproduced from People’s Democracy with thanks).
dprkI WENT to DPRK on the invitation of the preparatory committee of the Fifth International Festival in Praise of the Great Persons of Mount Paektu who include Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, from August 12-18. 241 international delegates from over 50 countries participated.
What was striking was the change I saw since my last visit there some ten years ago. The agricultural situation was far better as was the tree-cover which I saw being planted during my last visit. Pyongyang had developed exponentially with an impressive sci-tech centre and street to house the personnel involved in developing DPRK’s science and technology, notably its missiles and defence technology among other projects. There was considerable effort to deal with uneven development even in the north-east of the country which I was able to visit. A balanced development is yet another achievement to be noted, as outlying areas were now being developed and Pyongyang is like any modern city in the world. Another achievement is how much effort has been spent to improve the education and development of the children, who are given utmost priority in development expenditure.
Also the food situation was better. This was evident from the considerably better health of people in the streets and in the villages. Their clothes too were better than before. Institutions of education and the training of children as the citizens of the future had also progressed. But what was striking was the calm and unhurried way in which people went about their daily tasks, despite the threats the country is facing.
There is remarkable unity among the people in the country, this appears to be the force behind the contempt they treat the USA with and is a result of the new confidence the Korean people have, not only by developing the infrastructure and agriculture, but also the production and provision of the necessaries of life for the people. Also, from the number of successes the DPRK has scored in strengthening and improving their military capacity for self-defence and for deterring any attempt at what the USA and its allies have been doing in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, there is very little fear among the people.
[EWA] [Daily life] [Regional policy]
Photo-Report: The North Korea Neither Trump nor Western Media Wants the World to See
What we hardly ever see in articles on North Korea is the human side, some of the faces among the 25 million people at risk of being murdered or maimed by an American-led attack. I was part of a small delegation that visited the DPRK, with the intent of hearing from Koreans themselves about their country and history.
By Eva Bartlett
North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) is one of the least understood and most lied about countries on Earth. In Western corporate media renditions, most news about the country is alarmist (of “the North Koreans want to kill you” type), fake (“all men have to have the same haircut,” a story originating from Washington itself), or about the North’s military.
Accounts of the nation’s military prowess and threat generally ignore (as noted here) the presence of the 28,500 U.S. troops occupying South Korea, their 38 military installations, and more recently their Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea — “a U.S. radar system opposed by the Korean people, in the North and South, as well as China.”
The Present Situation in DPRK
I went to DPRK on the invitation of the preparatory committee of the Fifth International Festival in Praise of the Great Persons of Mount Paektu who include Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, from August 12-18. 241 international delegates from over 50 countries participated.
What was striking was the change I saw since my last visit there some ten years ago.
2017 PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPLORATION of the PAEKTUDAESAN-JULGI in DPRK
EXPEDITION 1: May 25 to June 15, 2017
By Roger Shepherd of HIKEKOREA on June 21, 2017.
The Paektudaesan-julgi is an 1800km mountain spine that stretches down the entire length of the
Korean Peninsula. It serves as its watershed via a continuous ridge that is never cut by water. It also
serves a role as the spine of the Korean nation and its character along with the belief that it is a
transmitter of all its natural energies. In the DPRK it remains relatively untouched and unvisited by
outsiders including most DPRK citizens.
New Zealander Roger Shepherd is a South Korean based photographer and writer. He has been
visiting sections of the Paektudaesan-julgi since 2011. He records and documents it through writing
and photography. His work is well received in both the North and South of Korea, with numerous
exhibitions and articles that send a message to the people of Korea, that despite its division, its
oneness can still be sensed through the Paektudaesan-julgi and its people. This year he is embarking
on two more expeditions of new mountains of the Paektudaesan-julgi. He recently returned from his
[EWA] [Inter-Korean] [NK NZ] [Person-to-person]
Louis Cole's Merry North Korea adventure
By Phil Robertson
North Korea is one of the most repressive countries in the world. But that didn't faze the British YouTube celebrity Louis Cole, a 33-year-old travel blogger with nearly two million subscribers, from jumping onto a guided government tour to try and find some new material to promote himself and his FunforLouis video channel. Evidently Cole thought his motto of "peace out, enjoy life and live the adventure," combined with the outlandish goal to promote surfing for North Koreans, would be so much adventure that no one noticed he was completely ignoring the dire reality of life for most persons living under a government whose egregious human rights abuses have been described by the U.N. as "without parallel in the contemporary world."
Maybe Cole didn't do his homework, but he seemed genuinely surprised when he came under fire from other Internet video loggers for uploading videos from his 10-day trip in the North Korean government-controlled bubble. He shouldn't have been.
Who Is Fun For Louis?
Louis Cole makes a Daily Vlog of his life! He enjoys travelling the world with friends, having fun and inspiring others!
Fun For Louis MAP is an interactive map that allows you to see where each vlog took place, what travelling was done in that vlog, and lets you have another sense of being along for the adventure.
- DPRK is nothing like I imagined
Article by former NZ MP Ross Meurant in the Pyongyang Times 25 June
'No sense of crisis' in Pyongyang
By Choi Sung-jin
"I could feel no anxiety or looming crisis caused by sanctions on North Korea. The streets of Pyongyang were peaceful with cherry blossoms and azaleas in full bloom and people looked bright."
That's what a Singaporean woman, who ran in part of a marathon in Pyongyang on April 10, said about the North Korean capital.
Ong Wan, 39, and her elder brother visited the North's largest city in April 9-11 and ran in a 10-kilometer race, a section of the Pyongyang Marathon. It was the largest event, drawing about 1,000 foreigners, since the United Nations slapped on new sanctions to discipline the isolated regime's nuclear and missile provocations.
"The event was held amid strong sanctions the international community has imposed on North Korea, but the atmosphere was far from anxious or crisis-ridden in downtown Pyongyang, which was opened to foreign tourists," Ong told the Yonhap News Agency by phone.
Before and after the marathon, foreigners walked around the streets and subway stations and found the atmosphere was quite peaceful and the citizens' faces were bright, she said.
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
Photographs taken in the DPRK, April 1998 by Tim Beal
Bird's eye view of Pyongyang
Video and photos by photographer Aram Pan
We caught up with Aram to hear more about his recent trip – scroll down to see his photos from the flight.
NK News: Could you tell us how you got started making films about North Korea?
Aram Pan: It started with my first trip in August 2013. That trip really piqued my interest as I saw a side of them that nobody seemed interested in. Ordinary life was happening all around that seemed to be overshadowed by the narrative of North Korea being a scary place. I just decided, why not show people the stuff I see?
NK News: Why do you think you’ve been allowed the access that you have?
Aram Pan: Perhaps it’s because I don’t see them as the terrifying people everyone thinks they are and I guess they feel that. I find that the friendlier I am, the more they naturally reveal themselves to me. There’s an old saying, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”.
NK News: How did you get the rights to film from above? What was the experience like?
Aram Pan: They’ve recently restricted bringing cameras or mobile phones into the microlight planes for safety reasons. The wind is extremely strong up there and a well-timed gust would knock off your mobile phone.
I asked if I could capture the city from the air – long story short. After a combined effort on the part of the NTA (National Tourism Administration) and KITC (Korea International Travel Company), approval was obtained and my flight was arranged so I could bring up any camera that could be safely stuck or tethered to me.
Inside North Korea: Photographers offer a rare insight into Kim Jong-un's secretive state
Photos from 2015; standard fare
3DPRK - capturing North Korea in 3D photographs
Published on Nov 2, 2016
3D Photographer Matjaž Tancic & Koryo Studio producer Vicky Mohieddeen filmed their extraordinary trip to capture North Korea in 3D. Editor Matt Hulse.
Photographer captures rare insight into life inside North Korea
March 14, 2016 2:16pm
Lauren McMah news.com.au
A DARING photographer has provided a rare glimpse of life inside North Korea with a stunning collection of snaps he smuggled out of the world’s most secretive state.
Michal Huniewicz, who is based in London, took the “illegal” photographs during a visit to the socialist country, which is under the brutal rule of dictator Kim Jong-un.
“I was told I would be detained in case photos like these were found,” Mr Huniewicz told Bored Panda.
“But I managed to smuggle them out of the country, which was very stressful.”
Many of his photographs depict daily life for citizens in North Korea’s capital city Pyongyang, including people inside restaurants and on their commute to work.
Other snaps showcase the city’s brutalist architecture style and the staggering difference between the North Korean cityscape and that of nearby China.
[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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