Sports and Tourism
Includes eyewitness accounts from foreigners on the ground in DPRK
Pyeongchang Olympics 2018
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North Korean basketball's
By James Banfill
No. 23 and basketball in northern Korea
North Korean basketball’s Michael Jordan
In the world of basketball, the No. 23 is legendary. Even in North Korea.
The most famous North Korean basketball player, the 7’ 8.5” (2.35 m) Ri Myung Hun (???), goes by the English name ‘Michael’. And at the International Friendship Exhibition at Mount Myohyang, there is a basketball singed by Michael Jordan, presented to leader Kim Jong Il by US Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
N.Korea Vows to Promote Basketball
By Kim Myong-song
December 19, 2018 11:47
North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper dedicated the whole page on Tuesday to an article urging North Koreans to create a basketball boom across the isolated country.
"Promoting basketball is not only a sports-related matter, but an important project that upholds the objectives of the [Workers] Party," the paper said. "We must rush to elevate the sport to global levels," it added.
Basketball is typically played by tall athletes, and North Koreans are on average shorter than their South Korean counterparts because of widespread malnutrition. But now basketball is being touted as a legacy of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who died seven years ago.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) poses for a photo with former NBA star Dennis Rodman and other basketball players in Pyongyang, in this photo taken in January 2014 and released by Rodong Sinmun.
One researcher at a state-run think tank said, "North Korea seems intent on promoting basketball to a national sport" because the current leader, portly Kim Jong-un, is a basketball fan.
Kim became keen on the sport when he watched American NBA matches on TV at boarding school in Switzerland in the 1990s.
He formed an incongruous friendship with the eccentric former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who has visited Pyongyang five times since Kim came to power. Kim watched a match with Rodman in tow back in 2013 between the Harlem Globetrotters and a North Korean team.
During the inter-Korean summit on April 27 of this year, Kim proposed basketball exchanges between the two Koreas and a South Korean team traveled to Pyongyang in July to hold a friendly match.
2 Koreas to Make Joint Bid for 2032 Olympics
By Chang Min-seok
December 17, 2018 10:39
The two Koreas will meet with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland in February to discuss a proposal for a joint bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.
After talks at the joint liaison office in the North Korean border city of Kaesong last week, the two sides agreed to submit a letter of intent to the IOC to co-host the Olympics.
Australia, China, India and Indonesia are also looking to host the Olympics, with the IOC's final decision likely being made at the IOC session in 2025.
The two Koreas also hope to field a joint team at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the following Paralympics and will keep discussing further details.
South and North hold second round of inter-Korean sports talks
Posted on : Dec.16,2018 16:49 KST Modified on : Dec.16,2018 16:49 KST
Talks focus on technical details for unified Tokyo Olympics team and jointly hosting 2032 Olympics
South Korean Vice Sports Minister Roh Tae-kang and North Korean Vice Sports Minister Won Kil-u shake hands before the second inter-Korean sports talks in the joint liaison office in Kaesong. (photo pool)
South and North Korea have initiated the technical work for putting together a unified team for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and for jointly hosting the 2032 Summer Olympics, as agreed in the Pyongyang Joint Declaration.
During the second meeting of the inter-Korean sports subcommittee at the Inter-Korean Liaison Office in Kaesong on Dec. 14, South Korean Vice Sports Minister Roh Tae-kang and North Korean Vice Sports Minister Won Kil-u agreed to send a letter expressing their intention to jointly host the 2032 Summer Olympics to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as soon as possible and to hold a meeting between inter-Korean sports officials and the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Feb. 15, 2019.
[Inter Korean] [Sports diplomacy]
2nd round of inter-Korean sports talks to be held on Dec. 14
Posted on : Dec.11,2018 17:32 KST Modified on : Dec.11,2018 17:32 KST
The second round of inter-Korean talks for sports cooperation will be held in the joint liaison office in Kaesong on Dec. 14, the Ministry of Unification announced. South Korean Vice Sports Minister Roh Tae-kang proposed holding the talks to his North Korean counterpart Vice Sports Minister Won Kil-u on Dec. 7. The talks will focus on the two Koreas competing under a unified team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and jointly hosting the 2032 Olympics. The photo shows The unified Korean team during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Aug. 18. (photo pool)
'Taekwondo unification can be inspiration for Korean unification'
Posted : 2018-12-05 14:11
Updated : 2018-12-05 14:11
World Taekwondo Executive Deputy Secretary General Kim Eil-chul, center, and North Korea's National Athletics Guidance Committee Chairman Choe Hwi, left, put their palms together as International Taekwondo Federation President Ri Yong-son looks on during a dinner at Okryugwan in Pyongyang on Nov. 2. Courtesy of World Taekwondo
Top World Taekwondo officials and their International Taekwondo Federation counterparts take time for a photo before starting their meeting at Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang on Nov. 2. Courtesy of World Taekwondo
By Jung Min-ho
The modern history of taekwondo resembles that of the country it was born in.
There used to be only one taekwondo. But just like Korea, the martial art was separated into two forms and each has developed in its own way for decades.
At a time when South and North Korea are making new efforts for peace, World Taekwondo (WT) Executive Deputy Secretary General Kim Eil-chul said taekwondo can be "an inspiration and a catalyst" for their unification.
"Unification of taekwondo will have significant implications for everyone in Korea who wants their country unified eventually," Kim said in a recent interview at The Korea Times office. "It is important to note that what we are trying to achieve is not unifying two different kinds of taekwondo; rather, we are trying to recover its original oneness."
Taking a first step toward accomplishing the goal, WT, under the leadership of South Korean Choue Chung-won, 71, and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), led by North Korean Ri Yong-son, agreed last month to create a joint organization by the end of this year to narrow their differences in governing the sport. This came decades after the two global taekwondo bodies had refused to recognize each other.
[Joint Korean] [Taekwondo]
Increasing number of unified Korean sports teams forming since Pyeongchang Olympics
Posted on : Nov.29,2018 17:25 KST Modified on : Nov.29,2018 17:25 KST
Public consensus for unified teams varies for each sport
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan (front row center) poses for a commemorative photograph with athletes and coaches from inter-Korean unified teams that competed in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, on Nov. 27 in Seoul. (provided by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
Unified inter-Korean teams have been on the rise since the formation of a combined women’s ice hockey team for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last February.
A unified women’s team competed in the semifinals at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Sweden last May, while a combined mixed doubles team competed at the Korea Open in July. A unified basketball team in August was followed by other teams in women’s basketball, rowing, and canoeing at the Asian Games in Jakarta/Palembang last September. As the momentum has continued to build, plans were set to field a unified inter-Korean men’s handball team at the world championships in Demark and Germany next January.
While political talks remain bogged down, inter-Korean sports exchange is poised to take over the peninsula through the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the 2021 Asian Winter Games (where Gangwon is currently being pushed as a host site), and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
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Chinese Travel Agency Sells Christmas Tour to Pyongyang
By Jung Ji-sup
November 27, 2018 09:46
A travel agency in Beijing is advertising a Christmas tour to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
Young Pioneer Tours sold the same tour to U.S. student Otto Warmbier, who was arrested there for defacing a propaganda poster and died a year and seven months later.
The three-day package tour to Pyongyang, which starts in the border city of Dandong, costs 475 euros, while a four-day tour to the demilitarized zone costs 695 euros.
The program includes a tour of downtown Pyongyang on Christmas Eve, taking visitors to the giant statues of regime founder Kim Il-sung and former leader Kim Jong-il at Mansudae, the USS Pueblo, a spy ship captured by the North in 1968, the Taedonggang Beer Brewery, and a trip on the Pyongyang subway.
May 30 - June 4/5 2019
International Children's Day Short Tour
International Children's Day is a great opportunity
to meet locals at the funfair on their day off! We’ll
also visit Kaesong and the DMZ. Round-trip by train
or upgrade to flight.
There is a famous saying in North Korea that 'Children are the Kings of the Country' and significant attention is devoted to children's upbringing and education. June 1 is International Children's Day, a day which usually marked by student oriented activities and events. We'll spend the holiday in the capital Pyongyang out and about in the city visiting locations popular with schoolchildren and their families.
Impoverished N.Korea Plans Asia's Biggest Water Park
By Yoon Hyung-jun
November 08, 2018 12:38
North Korea plans to build the largest water park in Asia at the scenic Mt. Kumgang resort with foreign investment even as severe food shortages loom amid international sanctions.
North Korea's Kumgangsan International Travel Agency posted an investors' guide on its website detailing plans for the water park. According to the guide, the water park will cover 200,000 sq.m in Kosong, Kangwon Province, making it the biggest in Asia. The idea is to operate it as a joint venture for 10 years, and the travel agency claims construction will only take six months.
The agency also said there will be an exhibition center for products from the Mt. Kumgang region as well as a hospital and 700-room hotel.
The North is desperate for foreign investment to develop its tourism industry and recently opened a website detailing 14 projects involving a hotel, a power generation facility, railways, restaurants and other services in Wonsan.
The North apparently hopes to cushion some of the effects of the sanctions, which ban imports of materials and cash but not tourism itself.
This is probably why North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently visited the Samjiyon area as well looking out masterfully over deserted beaches in Wonsan and Kalma, which are being eyed as tourism destinations.
UN Security Council resolutions prohibit the establishment of any joint ventures with North Korean groups or individuals, so the water park is currently a castle in the air.
Cho Young-gi at Kookmin University said North Korea "appears to be preparing ahead for an easing of sanctions. This may also be a form of pressure on the South Korean government to invest money."
[Tourism] [FDI] Media] [Logic] [Kumgangsan]
North Korea promotes inter-Korean summit symbols to attract tourists
Posted : 2018-11-07 12:00
Updated : 2018-11-07 14:46
North Korea anxious to jack up its tourism revenue appears to be aggressively promoting the symbols of inter-Korean summit talks, such as Pyongyang cold noodles, the border peace village of Panmunjom and Mount Paekdu, to potential foreign tourists.
JS Tours, a Japanese booking agent of the North's Korean International Travel Co., has launched North Korean tour packages featuring places jointly visited by the leaders of South and North Korea, American broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Wednesday.
On its website, the Japanese agent advertises a three-night, four-day Pyongyang tour package that includes stops in the well-known Okryugwan and Chongryugwan restaurants, saying the restaurants offer original Pyongyang cold noodles, or "naengmyeon" in Korean.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, their wives and attendants ate naengmyeon at Okryugwan after an inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang in September.
JS Tours has also offered a new five-night, six-day tour package bound for Mount Paekdu, saying Moon and Kim had a commemorative photo together at the Chonji crater lake on top of the North Korean mountain, according to RFA.
A North Korean tourism industry official recently told the Chosun Sinbo that Panmunjom, where Moon and Kim held their first summit in April, is the most popular tourist destination in the North.
The official estimated that the number of foreign visitors to Panmunjom is expected to more than double this year, due to tourists' curiosity for the inter-Korean border crossed by Kim.
Tourism is considered one of the rare sources of foreign currency earnings for North Korea, which has been put under international economic sanctions.
For that reason, the Pyongyang regime has recently been diversifying its tour package programs for foreigners to increase its tourism revenue.
The North's Rodong Sinmun daily newspaper this week introduced Cuba's success as a popular tourist destination, noting the country aims to increase the number of foreign visitors from 4.7 million last year to 5 million this year. (Yonhap)
Two Koreas united in taekwondo
Posted : 2018-11-03 11:26
Updated : 2018-11-03 21:27
Demonstration teams from the World Taekwondo and International Taekwondo Federation hold a joint performance at the packed Taekwondo Hall in Pyongyang, Friday. Courtesy of World Taekwondo. Courtesy of World Taekwondo
By Jung Min-ho
PYONGYANG, North Korea ? "One Korea, one taekwondo." This was the main message from Friday's joint performance between the World Taekwondo (WT) and International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) in the North Korean capital.
In front of more than 2,300 people that packed the Taekwondo Hall, demonstration teams from the two international governing bodies put on a wonderful show, in which they displayed jaw-dropping martial arts virtuosity and delivered an emotional message of peace.
"Among the four joint performances they have displayed so far, this one was the best," WT President Choue Chung-won said. "They seem to get better and better. I'm looking forward to their next performance."
Among the dignitaries who watched the event were Choi Hui, the chairman of North Korea's National Athletics Guidance Committee and International Taekwondo Federation President (ITF) Ri Yong-son.
After the event, Choi invited a WT delegation, ITF officials and athletes to a special dinner at Okryugwan, where he congratulated the two organizations for the achievements they made here.
"Taekwondo is one just like Korea is one," he said. "I hope taekwondo will contribute to our country's unification and prosperity."
[Joint Korean] [Detente] [Taekwondo]
Two Koreas declare intent to co-host 2032 Olympics
Posted : 2018-11-02 16:23
Updated : 2018-11-02 16:23
South Korea and North Korea agreed on Friday to inform the International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally of their intention to co-host the 2032 Summer Games.
The two sides reached that agreement during their sports talks in the North's border town of Kaesong.
Following their first sports talks in four months, the Koreas issued a joint communique, detailing other areas of cooperation.
The Koreas said they will try to field a joint team at next year's men's handball world championships.
The Koreas also agreed to form unified teams at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and to work with the IOC and international federations of summer Olympic sports to make that happen.
And to ensure mutual growth in sports, the Koreas said they'll actively participate in international competitions held on either side of the border.
The Koreas first expressed their interest in sharing the 2032 Olympics after the Sept. 19 summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
No Olympic Games, summer or winter, have been shared by two countries.
[Joint Korean] [Olympics32]
North Korea New Year's Eve Tour: Bring in 2019 in Pyongyang with Koryo Tours!
5 nights in North Korea for New
Year's Eve + Beijing-Pyongyang travel
Start off 2019 with the big
celebrations in Pyongyang! Round-trip
by train or upgrade to flight. 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.
South Koreans wow Pyongyang taekwondo fans [PHOTOS]
Posted : 2018-11-01 13:16
Updated : 2018-11-01 17:08
The crowd reacts during the World Taekwondo demonstration team's performance at Taekwondo Hall in Pyongyang, Wednesday. Courtesy of World Taekwondo
By Jung Min-ho
PYONGYANG ? The World Taekwondo (WT) demonstration team has sent out a powerful message of peace in through performance in the heart of the North Korean capital.
In the Taekwondo Hall, members of the South-Korean team showcased their trademark high-flying kicks and punches Wednesday evening in front of an audience of more than 2,300 Pyongyang residents.
Among them were WT President Choue Chung-won, North Korea's National Athletics Guidance Committee chairman Choi Hui and International Taekwondo Federation President (ITF) Ri Yong-sun.
"It was a great performance," team chief Na Il-han said. "All the members looked much more confident and comfortable this time compared with their first visit here in April."
Team coach Song Mi-ra, who is visiting Pyongyang for the second time, said she is now more comfortable and familiar with the city's atmosphere.
[Inter Korean] [Taekwondo]
Kim Jong-un Resumes on-Site Inspections
By Yoon Hyung-jun
October 31, 2018 11:28
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a construction site in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province, North Korean state media reported on Tuesday.
This was his first public appearance in 19 days since his on-site inspection of the newly renovated theater of the Samjiyon Orchestra on Oct. 11.
The North Korean regime has focused on developing Samjiyon, where Mt. Baekdu stands, as a tourist attraction. Massive construction and renovation projects are underway on Kim's orders.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, flanked by officials, inspects a construction site in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province in this photo from North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun daily on Tuesday.
Kim pressed workers to "speed up" progress in order to finish construction by October 2020, in time for the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers Party.
State media carried images of him giving orders, in a flurry of snow, or sitting on a heap of potatoes arm in arm with factory workers -- in an apparent attempt to boost his image as "a friendly leader."
"Kim Jong-un seems to be eager to build up tourist sites in Samjiyon and nearby areas with expectations that international sanctions will be eased," diplomatic circles speculated.
World Taekwondo delegation arrives in Pyongyang with message of peace
Posted : 2018-10-31 13:35
Updated : 2018-10-31 18:21
World Taekwondo President Choue Chung-won and the demonstration team are all smiles at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, Tuesday. Courtesy of World Taekwondo
By Jung Min-ho
PYONGYANG, North Korea ? A World Taekwondo (WT) delegation, led by its President Choue Chung-won, has arrived in Pyongyang with a message peace and unity.
At the invitation of the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), a global organization with close links to North Korea, Choue and 48 other delegates arrived in the North Korean capital about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to promote peace through taekwondo ? a traditional Korean martial art that was born before the country's separation.
"Taekwondo comes from the same root," Choue, who has been leading the Seoul-based WT since 2004, told reporters. "Taekwondo can bind them closely together and play a key role in promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
[Inter Korean] [Taekwondo]
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Inter-Korean goodwill matches of young soccer players foster environment of unity and friendship
Posted on : Oct.30,2018 17:15 KST Modified on : Oct.30,2018 17:15 KST
Ari Sports Cup returns to South Korea for first time since 2014
An inter-Korean goodwill soccer match is held at the Songam Leports Town main stadium in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, on Oct. 29. (Yonhap News)
The 15,000 spectators packing the stands at the Songam Leports Town main stadium in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, on Oct. 29 let out cries of excitement and frustration every time the South or North Korean team got hold of the ball and made for the goalposts. They did not take sides – seemingly unconcerned with who might win. In the stands, placards read “We are one.” Students holding up a Korean Peninsula flag cried out “Daehanminguk!” (literally “Republic of Korea”; a popular chant at sporting events) and helped energize the players, who were competing hard despite the nippy weather.
“I don’t care who wins,” said one South Korean senior citizen spectator who hails originally from the North Korean province of Hwanghae. “I just hope we’ll keep meeting and having exchanges like this often.”
North Korean footballers cross the inter-Korea border for tournament
Posted : 2018-10-25 15:59
Updated : 2018-10-25 17:31
North Korean football players competing in the 5th Ari Sports Cup U-15 international football tournament arrive in South Korea through the customs, immigration and quarantine office at Dorasan Station in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Oct. 25. Yonhap
A group of North Korean football players arrived in South Korea on Thursday for an international youth football tournament, Seoul's unification ministry said.
The ministry said the 84-member North Korean delegation crossed the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) and came to South Korea via the land route of the Gyeongui Line just after noon. They were greeted by South Korean officials, including Gangwon Governor Choi Moon-soon, at the customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) office at Dorasan Station in Paju, north of Seoul.
[Inter Korean] [Football]
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South Korea to propose co-hosting 2032 Olympics with North Korea
Posted on : Sep.13,2018 16:56 KST Modified on : Sep.13,2018 16:56 KST
Sports Minister to make propose in Pyongyang during inter-Korean summit
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan talks with Korean reporters in Tokyo on Sept. 12. (Yonhap News)
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan announced plans on Sept. 12 to propose jointly hosting the 2032 Olympics with North Korea.
Following a visit to Japan to attend a trilateral meeting of sports ministers with China and Japan, Do told South Korean correspondents in Tokyo that he planned to travel to Pyongyang during a schedule inter-Korean summit on Sept. 18–20 to “propose jointly hosting [the Olympics] in Seoul and Pyongyang.”
DMZ marathon offers rare peek inside heavily fortified border
Posted : 2018-09-09 17:07
Updated : 2018-09-09 20:30
Runners begin the race at the 15th Cheorwon DMZ International Peace Marathon in Cheorwon County, Gangwon Province, Sunday. / Korea Times photo by Koh Young-kwon
'2018 race best serves purposes of promoting peace'
By Yi Whan-woo
CHEORWON, Gangwon Province _ Over 4,800 runners including 340 foreigners had a rare chance to run through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as the Hankook Ilbo, the sister paper of The Korea Times, and Cheorwon County co-hosted the 15th Cheorwon DMZ International Peace Marathon, Sunday.
The annual event in South Korea's northeastern Gangwon Province best serves its purpose of promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula, according to organizers.
They underscored that it allows runners a peek into the DMZ that is off-limits to civilians during the rest of the year.
They also stressed that it took place in the lead-up to the third summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for next week.
Mass gymnastics event marks North Korea's Sept. 9 foundation day [PHOTOS]
Posted : 2018-09-09 14:46
Updated : 2018-09-09 15:44
The image of North Korea's flag on the floor of the May Day Stadium at Pyongyang. The phrases above the hall read: "The Glorious Day" and "Celebration 70." DPR Korea Tour-Yonhap
By Jung Da-min
North Korea is staging a mass gymnastics and artistic performance in Pyongyang, Sunday, to mark Sept. 9 foundation day.
On Friday, DPR Korea Tour, a website run by North Korea's National Tourism Administration, released rehearsal photos of, "The Glorious Country," being held at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang.
Tickets cost from $115.7 to $925.7, according to the website. Below are scenes from "The Glorious Country."
[Mass Games] [DPRK70]
North Korea is celebrating its birthday with ‘mass games’ — 100,000 people doing synchronized gymnastics
North Korea's 'Mass Games' to be performed for the first time in five years
Tens of thousands of people are mobilized to perform for the "Mass Games" in Pyongyang. (Reuters)
By Siobhán O'Grady
September 8 at 3:09 PM
From a distance, the mosaic-like screen of shifting colors almost appears to be electronic, lighting up a North Korean stadium like a huge TV. But on closer look, it's not a screen at all: It's thousands of people holding up colored placards, shifting them in synchrony to create the effect of a moving image.
The participants in the background are mainly students, and they practiced for many months, if not longer, to put together their part of a huge North Korean spectacle known as the Mass Games — a gathering that includes over-the-top gymnastics and dance performances, and proclamations of loyalty to the isolated country's leader.
Unified Korean Teams Fare Better Than Expected at Asiad
By Joo Hyung-sik
September 03, 2018 13:25
The unified Korean team finished 28th in the Asian Games in Indonesia that closed on Sunday with one gold medal, one silver medal and two bronze medals.
Players from the two Koreas formed unified teams in canoeing, rowing and women's basketball whose medals were included in neither South nor North Korea's tally.
The dragon boat racing team cut the most conspicuous figure, participating in five canoeing events. It won a gold medal in the women's 500-m race and two bronze medals in the women's 200-m and men's 1,000-m races.
The government wants to field another unified team for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-whan said on Aug. 22.
The women's basketball, table tennis, and handball associations are in favor. "We're going to hold talks with the North as soon as possible," said an official with the Korean Olympic Committee.
Sports authorities are keen to avoid repeating the mistake of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, when a unified women's ice-hockey team met with strong opposition from the public here because the North Korean players were seen as a drag on the much better South Koreans.
[Joint Korean] [Asian Games]
Korea Ends Asian Games with Disappointing Medal Tally
By Lee Tae-dong
September 03, 2018 10:30
Korea fell short of its medal goal at the Asian Games in Indonesia, which concluded on Sunday. It ended in third place with 49 gold, 58 silver and 70 bronze medals, although it set the goal of winning at least 65 gold medals for a seventh consecutive second-place finish at the quadrennial event.
"I humbly accept the result," Korean Olympic Committee chief Lee Ki-heung said at the closing ceremony.
China led the way with 132 gold, 92 silver and 65 bronze medals, followed by Japan with 75 gold, 56 silver and 74 bronze medals. Korea ranked behind Japan for the first time since the Asian Games in Hiroshima in 1994.
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Unified Korean canoeing team wins gold in women's 500m dragon boat racing
Posted : 2018-08-26 20:19
Updated : 2018-08-26 20:19
Unified Korea's gold medallists sing the national folk song "Arirang" during the awards ceremony for the women's canoe traditional 500m boat race at the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Sunday. AFP
The unified Korean canoeing team continued its historic run at the 18th Asian Games as it grabbed the gold medal in women's 500-meter dragon boat racing on Sunday.
The 16-member dragon boat racing team clocked 2 minutes, 24.788 seconds in the women's canoeing traditional boat race to finish first among six contestants at the Jakabaring Rowing & Canoeing Regatta Course in Palembang, Indonesia, the co-host city of the Asian Games with Jakarta. China won silver at 2:25.092, while Thailand took bronze at 2:26.904.
This was the second medal won by a joint Korean team at an international multi-sport competition. The women's team on Saturday earned bronze in the 200m dragon boat racing.
The medal doesn't count to either South Korea nor North Korea in the Asian Games medal standings. Instead, it will be awarded to "Korea."
It will be the first time that "Arirang," Korea's most popular folk song, will be played at a medal ceremony at the Asian Games.
South and North Korea have so far sent joint teams to six international sports competitions -- the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship, 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championship, 2018 ITTF Korea Open and 2018 Asian Games.
[Joint Korean] [Asian Games]
Korea Falters at Asian Games
By Seok Nam-jun
August 24, 2018 13:51
There will be no Korean archers in the women's recurve final at the Asian Games in Indonesia for the first time in more than 40 years.
World No. 1 Chang Hye-jin, who won two gold medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, lost to an Indonesian archer in the quarterfinals on Thursday, and Kang Chae-young lost to a Chinese opponent in the semifinals.
This is the first time Korean archers have failed to advance to the women's individual recurve final since archery was officially adopted as a competitive sport at the 1978 Asian Games in Bangkok. Korea had eyed its fourth consecutive gold-medal finish in the women's individual recurve.
Kim Jong-un wants to boost tourism
Posted : 2018-08-17 17:18
Updated : 2018-08-17 17:18
Kim Jong-un inspects Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist district in Gangwon Province (top) and hot spring resorts at Yangdok County in South Pyongan Province (below). KCNA via Yonhap
By Jung Da-min
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently visited major tourist facilities and encouraged officials, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Friday.
With his wife Ri Sol-ju, Kim inspected the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist district in Gangwon Province under construction and encouraged workers there, saying it would be "a very nice gift" for the people of North Korea once completed.
He stressed that the project should be finished by Oct. 10 2019 ? the foundation anniversary of the Worker's Party of Korea (WPK).
The fact that Kim visited the site only three months ago shows how much he cares about the project, observers say.
During his visit, Kim also said such projects were part of North Korea's "do-or-die struggle" against "hostile forces trying to stifle the Korean people through brigandish sanctions and blockade."
Kim and Lee were accompanied by top-ranking party officials, including Kim Su-gil, director of the Korean People's Army's general political bureau, and Hwang Pyong-so, first vice department director of the WPK's central committee.
The KCNA reported that Kim also inspected hot spring resorts in Yangdok County in South Pyongan Province and ordered construction workers (Korean People's Army soldiers) to develop the area as a special tourist district with additional healthcare facilities and resorts.
N.Korea Bans Foreign Visitors
By Lee Kil-seong
August 16, 2018 09:42
North Korea has mysteriously banned foreign visitors amid rumors that Chinese President Xi Jinping is going to Pyongyang soon.
Radio Free Asia on Tuesday reported that the North has suspended foreign group tours and banned visits by foreign businesspeople until Sept. 5.
A businessman in the Chinese city of Shenyang told RFA that he had booked an airline ticket to Pyongyang for mid-August but his North Korean partner asked him to put off travel until after Sept. 5. Several other businessmen had also had to put off trips to Pyongyang. The instruction seemed to come from the regime, he added.
N.Korea Charges Over W1 Million for Ticket to Mass Games
By Ahn Jun-yong
August 16, 2018 11:18
North Korea is selling tickets for the notorious mass games to celebrate its 70th anniversary next month at more than W1 million each (US$1=W1,130).
The mass games mobilize tens of thousands of North Koreans to hop around in unison and produce patterns with colored cards in a queasy display of people surrendering their individuality to the state. The last time they were held was in 2013.
North Koreans walk up the stairs in front of giant bronze statues of the country's late leaders in Pyongyang on Wednesday in this picture from the [North] Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea on its tourism website said they will be held from Sept. 9 to 30 at the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang. Tickets are advertised for 800 euros for a royal seat and 500 euros for a first-class seat. Second-class seats cost 300 euros, and third-class 100 euros.
Most of the tickets are aimed at foreigners and intended to generate much-needed foreign currency amid biting sanctions.
By comparison, tickets for a concert by the legendary tenor Placido Domingo in South Korea in October cost W550,000 for a royal seat.
The first mass games in 2002 marked nation founder Kim Il-sung's 90th birthday.
[Mass Games] [Chagrin]
Unified Korean hoops team stuns Indonesians 108-40
Posted : 2018-08-16 13:43
Updated : 2018-08-16 17:37
Tweet Follow @koreatimescokr
Unified Korea's Kim Han-byul (top R) watches as the ball hits the hoop in their women's basketball preliminary game between Unified Korea and Indonesia during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 15, 2018. AFP-Yonhap
In a blowout victory over Indonesia to open its Asian Games women's basketball tournament Wednesday, the unified Korean team showed no issues when it comes to on-court communication.
It seems a tad ironic that athletes from South Korea and North Korea would have difficulty understanding each other because the two peoples speak the same language ? except when you consider that they're accustomed to different sets of basketball jargon. South Koreans are familiar with English terms, such as shooting, passing, rebounding and blocks. North Koreans are used to their own words that may sound foreign to South Korean ears.
And to hear South Korean guard Park Hye-jin tell it, trying to learn each other's vocabulary was no different than working on basketball skills. It required a lot of practice, and even some late-night quiz sessions organized by the coaching staff.
Combined Koreas Choi Eunsil takes the ball as Indonesia's Henny Sutjiono attempts to block her throw during their women's basketball at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. AP-Yonhap
"I think they had some difficulty with English words at first, and they'd be tested by the coaches on words like 'screens,'" Park said after Team Korea's 108-40 victory. "They're more used to them by now. During games, they may momentarily forget some words, but we understand a bit of their terms now."
[Asian Games] [Inter Korean] [Language] [US dominance]
North Korea National Day 70th Anniversary:
New flights added!
Koryo Tours is pleased to announce that as some extra flights have been added to the Pyongyang – Beijing – Pyongyang route on key days around the major September 9th holiday in the DPRK this year (to accommodate large delegations visiting the country), we are able to re-open some of our previously closed tours at that time.
Waiver restricts rights of South Koreans visiting Pyongyang for youth soccer tournament
Posted on : Aug.13,2018 17:14 KST Modified on : Aug.13,2018 17:14 KST
Questionable document shifts government responsibilities onto individual visitors
South Koreans visiting Pyongyang for a youth soccer tournament were made to sign a waiver that restricts their constitutional rights on Aug. 10. One of the waiver’s passages reads, “Individuals will take care of their personal safety during their visit to North Korea and will assume responsibility in the event of an accident or violation of relevant regulations.” (provided by a Hankyoreh reader)
A controversy has formed over a waiver that appears to excessively restrict the constitutional rights of 151 South Koreans who are visiting Pyongyang to participate in an international youth soccer tournament being held there from Aug. 13 to 18 and to shift government responsibility to the individuals.
The problematic passages in the waiver state that individuals must “assume responsibility” for accidents that may occur during their visit to North Korea and require individuals to “consult with the Unification Ministry before disclosing any facts learned or material acquired during their time in North Korea.”
The group that asked participants to sign the waiver was the South and North Korean Sports Exchange Association (Kim Gyeong-seong, president), which was authorized to visit North Korea by the Unification Ministry. Even so, this affair is ultimately tied to the Unification Ministry, since the association was following the Ministry’s “recommendation” when it issued the waiver.
“We’re on the bus before going through Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) on the Gyeongui Line, and they’re telling us to fill out the waiver. I’ve been visiting North Korea for nearly 20 years now, and this is the first time I’ve signed this kind of thing. There are lots of problems with what it says, too,” one member of the delegation told The Hankyoreh on Aug. 10.
The waiver that this person signed consists of a total of six clauses, along with a preface that says, “Being fully aware that my words and actions can have a profound impact on inter-Korean relations, I will faithfully abide by the following terms.” The particularly problematic clauses are the fifth and sixth. The sixth clause reads as follows: “Individuals will take care of their personal safety during their visit to North Korea and will assume responsibility in the event of an accident or violation of relevant regulations.”
The part of the waiver asking participants to confirm their responsibility for their personal safety opens up the government to criticism that it’s neglecting its responsibility.
The fifth clause states that individuals must “consult with the Unification Ministry before disclosing any facts learned or material acquired during their time in North Korea.” Unless there are concerns that the content in question may conflict with the National Security Act, demanding prior consultation with the government is liable to lead to an excessive infringement on the freedom of expression without any legal basis.
[Inter-Korean] [Fraternisation] [Surveillance]
Inter-Korean cruise travel under review
Posted : 2018-08-13 15:36
Updated : 2018-08-13 19:50
By Kang Seung-woo
The Incheon Port Authority (IPA) said, Monday, it plans to introduce an inter-Korean cruise program in a move to promote the nation's cruise ship tourism.
According to the IPA, it formed a taskforce recently to deal with economic cooperation between South and North Korea, and the cruise program is one of the team's three key projects. The two others are to modernize Nampo Port in the North and import North Korean sand collected near Haeju.
The plan comes as the nation's largest cruise terminal is due to open next April in Songdo, Incheon, 50 kilometers west of Seoul. The 430-meter-long pier for cruise ships will be able to accommodate 5,000 to 6,000 travelers and is believed it will bring huge changes to the domestic marine tourism market.
For the project, the IPA will encourage foreign cruise ships calling at the new South Korean terminal to make additional stops at North Korean ports such as Nampo in South Pyongan Province and Haeju in South Hwanghae Province.
There was a regularly scheduled cargo ship between Incheon and Nampo from 2002 to 2011.
Given that Nampo is located roughly 50 kilometers from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, the envisaged port calls of cruise ships could become an attractive tour program that enables tourists to visit the capital areas of the two Koreas, the IPA said.
"In the past, the Incheon-Nampo route accounted for 60 percent of inter-Korean trade. Incheon and Nampo are also gateways to each other's capital," an IPA official said.
"We'll make sufficient preparations for the resumption of full-scale inter-Korean economic exchanges."
Currently, any inter-Korean economic exchanges are on hold despite the improvement of relations between the two countries, due to multilayered international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang for its past missile and nuclear tests.
In January 2016, a Chinese cruise operator based in Shandong Province pushed to begin a five-day cruise travel service linking China's Qingdao, Nampo and Incheon, but was unsuccessful due to disapproval from the South Korean government.
Its initial plan was to introduce a 24,000-ton cruise ship that could carry 920 passengers and 350 crew members for the service at the price of 2,299 yuan (379,000 won) per person.
For a successful cruise program, the IPA plans to analyze the inter-Korean logistics environment and licensing procedures by the end of this year, followed by a joint study of the North's port infrastructure and sea routes by the first half of next year.
South's young football players arrive in Pyongyang to play with NK
Posted : 2018-08-12 16:34
Updated : 2018-08-12 17:59
A South Korean youth football delegation enters the immigration office in Paju, north of Seoul, Friday, to cross the inter-Korean border by using a land route on the western part of the peninsula to attend an international youth football event set for Aug. 13 to 18 in Pyongyang. Yonhap
By Park Ji-won
Young South Korean football players arrived in North Korea to take part in an international youth football event starting Wednesday, according to South Korean media going with them, Sunday.
Some 150 people, including athletes, journalists and other culture exchange members, arrived at Yanggakdo International Hotel Pyongyang on Friday night after crossing into North Korea on a land route by bus.
Using the land route comes seven years after a South Korean delegation last visited the North to express condolences to the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2011. Also, it is the first time for such a large number of civilians to visit North Korea by using the land route since President Moon Jae-in took office last year.
[Inter Korean] [Football]
The May Day Tour:
7 nights in North Korea for May Day
April 27 - May 4/5 2019
Day + Beijing-Pyongyang travel
Join in the May Day festivities in Pyongyang, see historic Kaesong and the DMZ,
industrial Nampo, and Pyongsong, centre of science and education. Round-trip by
train or upgrade to flight.
S.Korean Athletes to Head to Pyongyang for Youth Football Tournament
By Kim Myong-song
August 09, 2018 10:59
A large group of young South Korean footballers will travel to North Korea on Friday to attend an international youth football tournament in Pyongyang.
The approximately 150-member delegation, including athletes and Gangwon Province officials, will travel to the North through a land route.
The tournament will run from Aug. 15-18.
"Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon and other officials requested permission from the Unification Ministry to visit North Korea," a provincial official said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a series of inter-Korean events are scheduled to take place this month. The grand opening ceremony for a cross-border liaison office is scheduled for Aug. 17 in Kaesong, as agreed at the inter-Korean summit in April. Also, reunions of families separated by the Korean War will take place at Mt. Kumgang on Aug. 20-26.
NK workers to visit Seoul for goodwill football matches
Posted : 2018-08-09 16:21
Updated : 2018-08-09 20:40
By Kim Bo-eun
A series of football matches between workers of South and North Korea will be held in Seoul on Saturday, three years after the last event was held in Pyongyang.
It is the first civilian exchange between the South and North since the Panmunjeom Declaration was signed at the inter-Korean summit in April.
The football matches between the workers of the two Koreas began in 1999 in Pyongyang. Later events were held in Changwon, South Korea, in 2007 and in Pyongyang in 2015.
The events are organized by the North's General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea (GFTUK) and the South's two major umbrella unions, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU).
A 64-member delegation will arrive in the South on Friday, led by GFTUK chief Ju Yong-gil and including North Korean reporters of the Choson Sinbo.
The three labor unions will hold a joint press conference the same day. It is the first time a press conference will be held on the sidelines of the event.
[Inter Korean] [Union]
[Photo] Female flag bearer selected for jointly entering Asian Game opening ceremony
Posted on : Aug.8,2018 16:18 KST Modified on : Aug.8,2018 16:18 KST
The captain of the unified Korea women’s basketball team in the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, as well as the female flag bearer for the games’ opening ceremony, speaks at an inaugural ceremony in Seoul on Aug. 7. The 18th edition of the Asian Games are set to kick off on Aug. 18. The male flag bearer has yet to be decided by North Korean authorities.
[Asian games] [Joint Korean]
‘Banned’ shoes on N. Korean athletes point to sanctions breach
By Yoshihiro Makino/ Correspondent
August 7, 2018 at 15:50 JST
A North Korean player, center, wears a pair of red shoes that apparently bear the Nike logo at a training session for the joint woman’s basketball team for the Asian Games 2018, in Jincheon County of Chungcheongbuk-do province, South Korea, on Aug. 2. (Provided by The Dong-A Ilbo)
SEOUL--North Korea’s top athletes have found ways around the embargo on the nation, based on footwear they are sporting for training in South Korea--sneakers that appear to be by well-known U.S. and Japanese brands.
Female basketball players from the North are currently in South Korea’s Jincheon County, Chungcheongbuk-do province, to train alongside their southern counterparts ahead of the Asian Games 2018, where they will form a unified team.
The North Korean players became the center of attention when media were invited to cover the joint training on Aug. 2, not for their performance, but for the shoes worn by some players branded with logos of U.S. firm Nike and Japanese brand Asics.
Export of products by those brands to North Korea is restricted, and it is not known how the players acquired them.
According to a South Korean government source, the players brought the shoes with them from their homes in the North.
In South Korea, some say the shoes are proof of a loophole in the economic sanctions, while others are speculating that they could be counterfeit copies made in North Korea.
The athletes have been practicing together since Aug. 1, and the training is scheduled to last through Aug. 12.
Nike is the official sponsor of the South Korean team, but the Korea Basketball Association of South Korea has decided to use a different uniform without the sponsor’s logo for the joint squad. North Korean players wearing strips with the Nike logo may constitute a “breach of sanctions against North Korea,” according to the association.
The Asian Games 2018 will run from Aug. 18 through Sept. 2 in Indonesia.
[Sanctions] [Bizarre] [Asian games] [Joint Korean]
Hyundai hopes to resume NK business
Posted : 2018-08-03 20:29
Updated : 2018-08-03 20:29
Hyundai Group Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun answers reporters' questions at an immigration office in the border town of Goseong, Friday, after visiting the memorial event for his late husband and Hyundai Group Chairman Chung Mong-hun near Mount Geumgang on North Korea's eastern coast. Hyun said the group and the North hope to resume the tour program of Mount Geumgang within this year. Hyun and a 15-member delegation visited the North to participate in the event for Chung, who initiated the now-dormant tour program to the North Korean mountain. / Yonhap
By Park Ji-won
Returning from a visit to North Korea, Friday, Hyundai Group Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun said that she and officials she talked to there hope the suspended tour program to Mount Geumgang could resume within this year.
Hyun went to the North's Mount Geumgang to commemorate the 15th anniversary of her late husband Chung Mong-hun's death. Chung, the former Hyundai Group chairman, spearheaded the tour program to the North Korean mountain.
"We hope that the tour program to Mount Geumgang will resume within this year, so does the North's side. It has been 10 years since the halt of the tour, so now I would like to talk about hope rather than despair," Hyun said after arriving back in the South.
N.Korea Approves Hyundai Execs' Visit to Mt. Kumgang
By Lee Sung-hoon
July 31, 2018 10:17
Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun will visit Mt. Kumgang in North Korea for the 15th anniversary of her husband's death on Saturday.
Chung Mong-hun, who developed the mountain resort during the thaw of the late 1990s, jumped to his death amid a corruption probe in 2003.
"The trip has been approved by North Korea's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee," package tour subsidiary Hyundai Asan said Monday. "We've also applied for approval from the Unification Ministry, which we think will be given soon."
Hyun is expected to make the trip on Friday with 15 executives and other staff to hold a memorial service at Mt. Kumgang. It will be her first visit to the North since December 2014.
Hyundai has held a memorial service at Mt. Kumgang every Aug. 4 since Chung's death. A monument at the mountain resort honors his leading role in economic projects in the North.
The group is run by a different branch of the founding family from the better-known carmaker.
[Kumgangsan] [Detente] [Hyundai]
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Controversial Peace Dam to be converted into Peace Waterway
Posted on : Jul.30,2018 15:12 KST Modified on : Jul.30,2018 15:12 KST
Project would link inter-Korean watercourses and reignite Mt. Kumgang tourism
Gangwon Province and Hwacheon county has launched the Peace Waterway project, a tourism program that would link the Peace Dam with Inner Kumgang and North Korea’s Imnam Dam. (provided by Hwacheon County)
The Peace Dam, which has been lambasted as a fraud foisted upon the South Korean public, will be reborn as the starting point of a “Peace Waterway” set to link watercourses between South and North Korea. Attention is focusing on whether the Peace Waterway tourism project can replace the overland route to Mt. Kumgang in Goseong County, a previous North Korean tourism project.
Inspired by the recent improvement in inter-Korean relations, Gangwon Province and Hwacheon County announced on July 24 that they’re planning a “peace waterway” tourism program that will link the Peace Dam with Inner Kumgang, the western half of the mountain. The Peace Waterway will take travelers between South and North Korea along the water system of the North Han River, which has been divided between South and North Korea since the Korean War.
N.Korean Athletes to Come to S.Korea for Joint Training Ahead of Asian Games
July 26, 2018 11:35
North Korean athletes who will join a unified Korean team for this year's Asian Games in Indonesia will cross the border on Saturday for joint training here, the Unification Ministry said Wednesday.
They include 18 canoeists, eight rowers and four women's basketball players. Four support staff will accompany them.
The basketballers will practice at the National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, while the canoeists and rowers will join their South Korean counterparts at the training site at Tangeum Lake in Chungju near Jincheon.
[Joint Korea] [Asian Games]
[Photo] North Korean athletes for inter-Korean team to arrive July 28
Posted on : Jul.26,2018 18:15 KST Modified on : Jul.26,2018 18:15 KST
The North Korean athletes in the inter-Korean team set to compete in the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games are expected to arrive in Incheon International Airport via Beijing on July 28 to start training, the Ministry of Unification confirmed on July 25. Among them, 30 athletes will train and compete with South Korean athletes in women’s basketball, canoeing and rowing, while four have been allotted as backup athletes.
[Joint Korean] [Asian Games]
Indonesia to Invite Leaders of 2 Koreas to Asian Games
By Lee Min-seok
July 25, 2018 12:30
Indonesian President Joko Widodo will send special envoys to Seoul and Pyongyang to invite their leaders to the Asian Games that open in Jakarta and Palembang on Aug. 18.
"Indonesia had also hoped to host the U.S.-North Korea summit, which was held in Singapore in June," a government source here said. "Indonesia seems to be trying to bring itself into the international spotlight by hosting a fresh inter-Korean summit there and become a second Singapore."
Moon Jae-in (left) and Kim Jong-un
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi arrives in Seoul on Thursday to deliver Widodo's invitation to President Moon Jae-in, the Foreign Ministry here said Tuesday.
"Nothing has been decided yet. We should also take into consideration whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will accept the invitation," a Cheong Wa Dae official said. "We'll make a decision taking the president's schedule into account."
Indonesia is expected to send another special envoy to Pyongyang late this month.
[Asian Games] [Indonesia]
[Photo] Unified Korean dragon boat team prepare for Jakarta games
Posted on : Jul.24,2018 16:42 KST Modified on : Jul.24,2018 16:42 KST
Rowers in the unified Korean team set to compete in dragon boats races at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games were captured preparing for the event in Tangeum Lake in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, on July 23. The games are scheduled to launch in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 26. The unified dragon boat team is one of seven joint teams set to compete in the games.
N.Korea Opens Travel Agency in Taiwan
By Lee Kil-seong
July 23, 2018 13:13
North Korea is feverishly promoting tourism to the impoverished country now that international sanctions are starting to fray at the seams.
The North has recently formed a joint-venture travel agency with China to promote package tours to the North in Taiwan.
According to the Yomiuri Shimbun last Friday, a representative of the [North] Korean Heritage International Travel Company held a press conference in Taipei last Thursday to celebrate the opening of a branch there.
"Travel to North Korea is booming despite the continued UNSC sanctions," he said. "The number of Chinese tourists jumped from about 100 a day before May to about 1,000 a day now."
The company is the first North Korean-Chinese joint-venture travel agency, owned 51-49 by the North Korean cultural bureau and a Chinese travel union. It is openly promoting package tours despite the UNSC's ban of any joint venture with the reclusive country since Jan. 9 this year.
The head of the company said, "It seems that China's regulations have been disappeared as the international environment has turned favorable since the North's summits with China and the U.S."
"There is even a prospect of homestays with North Korean families from September," he added. This agency plans to open another branch in Australia.
Meanwhile, a visa-free market has been set up on the Chinese border to sell North Korean seafood to Chinese tourists although the trade is banned under UN Security Council sanctions.
Radio Free Asia reported last Thursday that the market was set up as a sort of no man's land in Wonjong-ri, Rason this month.
The regime recently repaired an old bridge near the Wonjong Customs Office so that Chinese tourists can get across.
Pyongyang International Film Festival Tour
This week our pick of our future tours is the Pyongyang International Film Festival Tour, which runs from September 18 to 22 (or September 23 if you come back on the train).
The biennial film festival is one of North Korea's cultural highlights, and is presented in conjunction with Koryo Tours. International and domestic films will be shown – Bend It Like Beckham and Atonement have both been screened in the past.
As well as attending the Opening Ceremony, this trip will take you to the Pyongyang Film Studio where you will get to meet people from the North Korean film industry. You'll also get to attend film screenings with locals!
And that's not all. The festival coincides with the Mass Games, which are sure to be just as if not more entertaining than the films. You'll also get to see the sights of Pyongyang, such as the Juche Tower and the Pyongyang Metro. Check out the itinerary on our website for full details.
[Photo] Unified again over table tennis
Posted on : Jul.16,2018 16:55 KST Modified on : Jul.16,2018 16:55 KST
Seo Hyo-won of South Korea and Kim Song-yi of North Korea trained together as part of the inter-Korean team set to compete in the 2018 Korea Open on July 16 in the South Korean city of Daejeon. The North Korean athletes scheduled to compete in the tournament had arrived in Incheon International Airport the previous day. South and North Korean athletes also competed as a unified team during the World Table Tennis Championship in Halmstad, Sweden, in May.
NK table tennis players in S. Korea
Posted : 2018-07-15 17:05
Updated : 2018-07-15 21:30
North Korean table tennis players and delegates arrive at Incheon International Airport, Sunday, to participate in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Platinum Korea Open. The North's 16 athletes and South Korean players will form a unified team for the competition that continues from July 17 to 22, and will return home the next day. Korea Times photo by Koh Young-kwon
North Korean table tennis players to arrive in Seoul on Sunday for int'l tournament
Posted : 2018-07-13 12:32
Updated : 2018-07-13 14:49
North Korean table tennis players will arrive in South Korea on Sunday for an international table tennis tournament, Seoul's sports officials said Friday, with the two sides looking to compete as a unified team in several events.
North Korea's 16 table tennis players and nine officials will land at South Korea's Incheon International Airport on Sunday via Beijing for the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Platinum Korean Open, which will be staged in Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul, from next Tuesday to July 22. North Koreans will leave South Korea on July 23.
Pyongyang Marathon & Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour
10-night tour from Beijing
Happy Thursday from Koryo Tours!
This week our pick of our future tours is the Pyongyang Marathon & Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour, which runs from April 6 to 16 (or April 17 if you come back on the train) next year.
The Pyongyang Marathon is back in 2019, and as ever we're proud to be the exclusive partners for this fantastic race. There are shorter tours available, but for those of you who want the full North Korea experience, our Pyongyang Marathon & Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour offers an unbeatable spring trip to the country.
As well as running the 5km, 10km, half or full marathon, you'll also enjoy the Munsu Water Park, the Ulim Waterfall, the spectacular Mt. Kumgang and return to Pyongyang for the Day of the Sun celebrations that mark the 107th birthday of President Kim Il Sung.
The Victory Day Tour
7-night tour from Beijing
This week our pick of our future tours is the Victory Day Tour, which runs from July 24 to 31 (or August 1 if you come back on the train).
Victory Day celebrates the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement, which brought about an end to the violence of the 1950-53 war, and took place on 27 July 1953. This tour will get you to Pyongyang for the celebrations, dancing in Moranbong Park, as well as visiting the DMZ, where the agreement was signed.
As well as the city tour, we'll also travel to Nampo on North Korea's west coast, plus we'll get out there for some light hiking around Myohyangsan, not to mention a visit to the International Friendship Exhibition.
There are only a few more days to sign up for this unique trip – bookings close on July 10!
Kim Jong-un to Miss Inter-Korean Basketball Event
By Kim Jin-myung
July 05, 2018 12:57
Thousands of North Korean fans crowded the Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium in Pyongyang on Wednesday for friendly basketball games between mixed teams of South and North Korean players.
It was the first such friendly in since 2003, when the gymnasium was dedicated with the help of the Hyundai Group and named after its founder.
Basketball players from two Koreas play a friendly in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a big basketball fan, did not attend the match and is likely to miss the one on Thursday as well.
Kim "is currently giving on-the-spot guidance, so he won’t be able to attend Thursday's match," said his right-hand man Kim Yong-chol in a brief meeting with South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon there. "He asked me to go instead."
Each mixed team had six players from both sides. The South Korean manager and coach took control of one team and the North Korean ones of the other.
Inter-Korean basketball games off to a great start in Pyongyang
Posted on : Jul.5,2018 15:33 KST Modified on : Jul.5,2018 15:33 KST
The first inter-Korean basketball games in 15 years kicked off on July 4. Each match involves six players each from the South and North Korean delegations, with the athletes playing in mixed teams. The teams for both the men’s and women’s divisions were aptly named “Prosperity” and “Peace.” The women’s division match concluded with a score of 103-102, the victory going to Prosperity. The men’s division game resulted in a tie of 102-102.
Inter-Korean basketball event held in 15 years
Posted : 2018-07-04 17:15
Updated : 2018-07-04 20:35
Basketball players in mixed North and South Korean teams compete in a game at the Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium in Pyongyang, Wednesday. / Pyongyang Joint Press Corps
By Kim Bo-eun, Pyongyang Joint Press Corps
South and North Korea held goodwill basketball matches in Pyongyang, Wednesday, for the first time in 15 years.
Teams comprised of players from both the South and the North competed against each other, under team names "Peace" and "Prosperity" at the Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium, which was filled with around 10,000 North Korean spectators and the sound of cheering.
"Through the Panmunjeom Declaration reached April 27, the South and North are marching toward a new era of peace and prosperity, and inter-Korean sports exchanges are leading the progress," Unification Minster Cho Myoung-gyon, who led the South Korean delegation to the North, said ahead of the games.
Inter-Korean basketball matches kick off with naengmyeon
Posted on : Jul.4,2018 17:19 KST Modified on : Jul.4,2018 17:19 KST
Upon arriving in Pyongyang for a series of inter-Korean friendly basketball matches, the 101 members of the South Korean delegation enjoyed a special dinner prepared for them by North Korean Sports Minister Kim Il-guk on July 3. In the above photos, members of the South and North Korean basketball players are seen toasting in celebration of the unified games; South Korean Minister of Unification, leader of the South Korean delegation, makes his supportive remarks; a platter of Pyongyang’s signature style of naengmyeon (cold noodles); and the South Korean coach Heo Jae greeting a North Korean official.
10,000 Illegal Aliens Stayed on After Winter Olympics
July 02, 2018 12:24
Some 10,000 foreigners stayed on illegally since they entered the country under a visa waiver during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Seoul permitted a visa-free, 90-day temporary stay to promote tourism during the Olympics from Feb. 9-25.
Some 351,739 foreigners took advantage of the waiver, according to a Justice Ministry report released by Liberty Korea Party lawmaker Jun Hee-kyung last week. And about 11,635 or 3.3 percent of them were still here illegally as of May 31.
They came from 135 countries, the biggest groups from Japan with 92,402, Taiwan with 54,010, Hong Kong with 39,120 and China with 38,375.
Many of the over-stayers are migrant workers who came looking for jobs or asylum seekers
[Winter Olympics] [Migrants]
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Moon Proposes 2 Koreas Co-Host 2030 World Cup
By Jeong Woo-sang
June 25, 2018 13:12
President Moon Jae-in proposed to FIFA President Gianni Infantino that the two Koreas as well as China and Japan co-host the 2010 World Cup.
Moon and Infantino met on the sidelines of a Korea-Mexico game in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday in the ongoing World up in Russia amid fears that the next one will be the last World Cup any country is willing to host on its own.
Moon told Infantino his proposal for the two Koreas to co-host the World Cup, which he made during their previous meeting last year, "is becoming a reality."
Infantino said there have been many developments since then and promised to come to Korea soon to discuss the matter.
At their meeting in Seoul last year, Moon told Infantino that Northeast Asian countries co-hosting the World Cup would "contribute to peace in Northeast Asia."
Cheong Wa Dae believes warming cross-border relations make that prospect more attainable. A Cheong Wa Dae official said, "Just as the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang early this year served as an opportunity for inter-Korean rapprochement, the co-hosting of the 2030 World Cup could help bring peace in the region."
Big international sporting events are proving increasingly wasteful, with venues falling into disrepair the moment the extravaganza is over and creating grim wastelands on the edges of towns, while the economic benefits to the host country grow increasingly dubious.
The number of nations competing in the World Cup will rise from 32 to 48 in 2026, making sharing the burden between neighboring countries an increasingly attractive prospect. The 2022 World Cup will be hosted by Qatar, which bought its win in a spectacular bribery scandal that brought the entire FIFA leadership down, but the 2026 World Cup will already be co-hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
For the 2030 World Cup, which marks the event's 100th anniversary, Northeast Asia would be competing against another group of would-be co-hosts, Argentina and Panama and Uruguay.
They have the edge because Uruguay hosted the first-ever World Cup and Asia already got its World Cup in Qatar.
[World cup] [Joint Korean]
North Korea's Mass Games are back.
Dates and prices now officially confirmed!
The Mass Games are back this September after a five-year hiatus. This North Korean art form, developed over decades, can involve up to 100,000 performers in massive synchronised displays of gymnastics and dance.
Here at Koryo Tours we're excited to announce that — as of today (Mon 18 June) — our partners in Pyongyang have now confirmed with us that this year's Mass Games will run from 9 Sep (North Korea's National Day — marking the 70th anniversary of the DPRK's foundation) and finish on 30 Sep.
Ticket prices will start from 80 euros. There is also a small chance the Mass Games may be extended to early October. See here for a full list of our tours this Sep that will allow you to see the Mass Games. Or click the button below.
Please note that we're also expecting a military parade on National Day itself (9 Sep), but that flight tickets in to the country around this period are already *extremely* limited, and that there is now a wait list on some days.
N. Korea's nominal head of state to attend Russia World Cup
Posted : 2018-06-10 17:45
Updated : 2018-06-11 10:06
By Yi Whan-woo
Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's nominal head of state, will join the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Russia this week, according to Pyongyang's state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, will soon visit the Russian Federation to attend an opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup," the KCNA said on June 9.
Kim's planned visit to Russia will come after Ivan Melnikov, a deputy speaker of the Russian lower house of parliament, said he was looking forward to meeting Kim while meeting the North Korean delegation on the sidelines of the Development of Parliamentarism forum in Moscow.
"We know the visit has been planned, and I am sure it will happen," he said.
The World Cup will begin on June 14 and run through July 15 in 11 Russian cities, including Moscow, Sochi and St. Petersburg.
North Korea is not among the 32 qualifiers but Kim will attend the opening ceremony on June 14 in a bid to maintain its friendship with Russia, according to diplomatic sources.
[World Cup] [Russia NK] [Kim Yong Nam]
South and North Korea form unified judo team
Posted on : Jun.9,2018 13:16 KST Modified on : Jun.9,2018 13:16 KST
Inter-Korean team will compete in 11th East Asian Judo Championships in Mongolia
The inter-Korean judo team and its coaching staff pose for a group photo at the Government Palace in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. (provided by the Korea Judo Association)
A South Korean all-star university judo team has formed a unified team with North Korean judokas.
“The South Korean team met with the North Korean team at the Government Palace in Mongolia and agreed to form a unified inter-Korean team for the 11th East Asian Judo Championships in Ulaanbaatar on June 9 and 10,” the Korea Judo Association announced on June 8.
“South and North agreed to form a unified team in this competition's team event and enter the opening ceremony jointly with a Korean Peninsula flag,” the association added. Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga was also present at the team's meeting that day.
Two Koreas to unite for East Asian competition
Posted : 2018-06-07 14:45
Updated : 2018-06-07 15:36
South Korea's Jeong Gyeong-mi, right, and North Korean Sol Kyong compete in the women's half-heavyweight judo event in the 2014 Incheon Asian Game on Sep. 22. Korea Times file
South Korea and North Korea will form a joint judo team to compete in an upcoming East Asian competition, Seoul's judo governing body said Thursday.
The Korea Judo Association (KJA) said the two sides agreed to field a unified team at the 11th East Asian Judo Championships, although details need to be further discussed. The East Asian Judo Championships will be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, from Saturday to Sunday, featuring eight nations, including Japan and China.
The KJA said the South will send college judokas selected by the Korea University Judo Federation to the East Asian Judo Championships.
Pyongyang Marathon 2019 — now open
Sign up today for Super Early Bird prices!
Hello world! Koryo Tours is once again the exclusive travel partner of the Pyongyang Marathon, and we can today reveal that the next edition of this incredible race has now been officially confirmed for 7 April 2019.
This event has become a firm favourite on the North Korean travel calendar, giving hundreds of local and foreign amateur runners the chance to participate in the DPRK's largest annual sporting event.
Running through Pyongyang’s streets, without guides, and alongside locals, is a particularly special experience. As is the chance to start and finish the race in front of a 50,000-strong crowd in Kim Il Sung stadium.
North Korea tourism revival expected in China as relations thaw
Posted : 2018-06-04 10:05
Updated : 2018-06-04 15:23
Tourists admire a hot spring on Changbai Mountain in Jilin. / Xinhua
By He Huifeng
The number of tourists entering North Korea from China is expected to rise significantly in 2018, with Chinese and overseas travellers eager to experience the hermit kingdom that may be on the brink of opening up, industry insiders and local officials say.
More cross-border tour routes and tourism sites in North Korea will be on offer by tour agencies in China's northeast province of Jilin, which borders North Korea, and there has already been a clear growth in tourists seeking travel information about the country, as geopolitical tensions have eased since Kim Jong-un's first visit to Beijing, in March.
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N.Korea Pulls out of Joint Taekwondo Demonstration at Vatican
May 28, 2018 11:58
North Korea last Friday canceled a joint taekwondo demonstration by athletes from the two Koreas at the Vatican.
The demonstration was to take place on Wednesday in front of Pope Francis ahead of the annual World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series in Rome, Italy.
The North Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation told South Korea-led World Taekwondo of its decision to withdraw from the event citing a joint South Korea-U.S. aerial drill dubbed Max Thunder that has irked the regime.
[Joint US military] [Max Thunder] [Protest]
Michael Palin films travel series in North Korea
Monday 21st May 2018, 10:27am
Michael Palin has visited North Korea to record a documentary series there
He travelled more than 1,300 miles from south to north. He celebrated his 75th birthday whilst there too
Michael Palin In North Korea will be shown on Channel 5 later in 2018
Michael Palin. Copyright: Channel 5.
Monty Python star Michael Palin has filmed a new travel documentary series in North Korea.
The actor and writer has now returned fro the trip, with the resultant series Michael Palin In North Korea set to be shown on Channel 5 later this year.
It's his first series for Channel 5, having previously made critically acclaimed shows such as Around The World In 80 Days, Pole To Pole and Full Circle With Michael Palin for the BBC.
Channel 5 explains: "The historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In generated front page headlines across the globe making it a unique time to visit the 'Hermit Kingdom'. As news filtered through the country Michael and the crew captured these historic days with the ordinary people of this secretive and little understood country. Michael visited sites and locations rarely, if ever, explored in his journey across the country, while spending time with citizens from all walks of life and witnessing the country's extraordinary annual May Day celebrations.
South Korea preparing to join table tennis contest in Pyongyang
Posted : 2018-05-10 10:15
Updated : 2018-05-10 14:29
South Korean table tennis players arrive at Incheon International Airport, Tuesday, after the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Sweden. They are now preparing to participate in an event in North Korea next month. / Yonhap
South Korea is preparing to participate in a table tennis event in North Korea next month, the sport's national governing body in Seoul said Thursday.
The Korea Table Tennis Association (KTTA) said it will soon submit entries to take part in the Pyongyang Open tournament in the North Korean capital for the first time from June 13 to 17.
"After talking with the unification ministry this week, we will submit entries for the Pyongyang Open," said Park Chang-ik, a KTTA executive. "Through the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), we've asked North Korea to send an invitation letter to us."
The deadline for the submission of entries for the Pyongyang Open is Monday. The KTTA plans to send 10 players who are also set to compete at this year's Asian Games in Indonesi
[Inter Korea] [Sports diplomacy]
Winners at heart stand unified
Posted on : May.5,2018 14:48 KST Modified on : May.5,2018 14:48 KST
The Unified Korean women’s team in the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden, competed passionately on May 4, but lost 0-3 against the Japanese team to win the bronze medal. The South and North Korean teams had announced only the day before that they were going to form a unified team instead of playing against each other in the quarterfinals, and even put on an exhibition game in the spirit of unity that’s prevailed on the Korean Peninsula since the Inter-Korean Summit on Apr. 27. Despite the defeat, however, the unified Korean players rejoiced in their ability to stand united during a historically significant period for both Koreas. (AFP)
N Korea and S Korea combine rather than play each other
Sport continues to build bridges in North and South Korea, almost three months since the so-called 'Peace Olympics' were held in the South.
Just days after leaders of the two countries pledged to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons, the two nations have unified in the table tennis hall - rather than compete against each other amid a backdrop of inter-Korean reconciliation.
The two countries - who are technically still at war - were due to meet in the quarter-finals of the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden but decided to instead lay down their bats and shake hands in order to form a unified team.
Joint Inter-Korean Teams Mulled for Asian Games in August
May 02, 2018 08:41
South Korea is pushing for unified inter-Korean teams at the Asian Games in Jakarta in August.
During their summit at Panmunjom last Friday, the leaders of the two Koreas agreed to jointly participate in international sports competitions.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that it has asked some 40 sports officials and relevant sports bodies whether they would be willing to form a unified team at the Asian Games. Those from seven disciplines, including table tennis, basketball and judo, have shown interest in the proposal.
The move comes after the two Koreas formed a joint women's ice hockey team at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February.
[Sports diplomacy] [Asian Games]
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Introducing our experts; adventures in Asia; a very special sale; latest Mass Games news
Greetings once more from Koryo Tours!
This April has been an exceptionally busy month for us — mainly involving the hundreds upon hundreds of people who we took to this year's Pyongyang Marathon on April 8. A thousand thanks if you travelled with us for that. We trust you enjoyed it!
But now spring has finally sprung it's time to refresh things, and look forward not back. With that in mind, we spend some time in this month's newsletter meeting Koryo's top experts, and learning about the exciting destinations and tours they specialise in.
There's also info about our special Spring Sale (21-22 April) that will take place at our Beijing HQ — with unique items from our private art collection reduced by 50% for a one-off sale. Not to mention the latest breaking news surrounding the anticipated return of the Mass Games this September. Scroll down and read on for more!
And if none of that interests you, then here's a link to an 8 Bit remix cover version of Never Gonna Give You Up. Because why not?! Bye for now. All best. More next time. Team Koryo
Backpacking Expeditions in North Korea August 18 to 27, 2018
My company HIKEKOREA has a unique opportunity to conduct for the first time in history,
overland hiking expeditions of the Paektu Highlands in the northern province of Raynggangdo,
This inaugural hike will be conducted for 6N/7D inside a 9N/10D
visit, from August 18 to 27, 2018.
Anniversary of the Formation of the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
In September this year the Korean People will celebrate the 70
anniversary of the formation of their republic and the
Oceania Preparatory Committee is organizing a delegation to visit the DPRK for this historic and significant event.
he delegation will need to depart Australia no later than the 5
of September for Beijing (two nights in Beijing to collect
sas). We expect to arrive in Pyongyang, capital of DPRK on September the 8
one week stay and returning to Beijing on the 15
New Zealanders who are interested are invited to contact Peter Wilson of the NZ DPRK Society
[Photo] “If they come to North Korea, we’ll give them 100 bowls of naengmyeon”
Posted on : Apr.10,2018 17:17 KST Modified on : Apr.10,2018 17:17 KST
North Korean members of the unified Korean women’s hockey team sent greetings to their South Korean counterparts through the “Chosun Shinbo,” a newspaper published by the General Association of Korean Residents (Chongryon) in Japan. Three of the team’s players, Ryo Song-hui, Kim Hyang-mi, and Hwang Chung-gum told the paper that, “South and North are definitely one,” and invited their teammates to visit North Korea. “If they come to North Korea, we’ll give them 100 bowls of naengmyeon (Korean traditional cold noodles),” joked Ryo.
[Joint Korean] [Olympics18]
Korean sports ministers agree to joint South-North entrance at Asian Games
Posted on : Apr.3,2018 17:02 KST Modified on : Apr.3,2018 17:02 KST
Following a meeting at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on Apr. 2, South Korean Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan and his North Korean counterpart Kim Il-guk, Minister of Physical Culture and Sports, announced that Korean athletes will make a joint entrance to the Asian Games in Indonesia later this year. This will be the second joint entrance to a major sporting event this year, after the two sides marched together under the Unification Flag in the Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony in February. The Asian Games are set to run from Aug. 18-Sept. 2.
[Asian Games] [Joint Korean]
Cryptocurrency for use in the North Korea tourism industry released!
Koryo Tours is excited to be the first to announce the creation and release of a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency exclusively for use in the DPRK tourism industry.
Get ready for the Koryo Coin!
Riding the wave of alternative currencies that have proven popular over the last few years, this new payment/investment option will be available via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) from today, April 1st, and market analysts are already predicting that this could quickly become one of the big success stories of the digital-currency world.
The initial value of this innovation is predicted to be around 8,888 DPRK Won to one Koryo Coin, thereby making it an attractive option for those looking for a flutter and some low-risk speculation. Reputable travel companies working in the North Korea tourism industry are all expected to accept this payment method, starting soon, and it's thought that even some of the main tourist shops in Pyongyang will also accept the Koryo Coin.
Koryo Tours celebrates 1st April
IOC President Thomas Bach visits North Korea
Posted on : Mar.30,2018 20:34 KST Modified on : Mar.30,2018 20:34 KST
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach arrived in North Korea on Mar. 29 to discuss the participation of North Korean athletes in future international tournaments. Bach departed from the IOC headquarters in Switzerland the previous day and transferred to an Air Koryo flight bound for Pyongyang at Beijing Capital International Airport. The question of whether Bach will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his visit is currently a matter of speculation.
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Summer Tours to North Korea & Beyond
from Koryo Tours, Beijing
In North Korea the weather is beautiful at this time of year – warm during the day but not too hot. Summer is also great time for seeing some of the places that are not frequented by tourists, particularly along the East coast. Therefore our summer tours to North Korea will see opportunities to travel to industrial port cities of Hamhung and Wonsan, relax at the beach, and hike along the trails of beautiful Mt. Kumgang.
There will also be plenty of fun and interesting summer activities in Pyongyang, as some tours will be able to cycle around the city, mingle with locals at the Munsu Water Park, or end the day at the outdoor pool of Pyongyang's most retro-futuristic hotel.
We're also excited to announce that this year, for the first time ever, it will be possible to improve your Korean and experience life in the capital at our inaugural Pyongyang Summer School. A fantastic chance to be among the first Westerners studying Korean in North Korea!
By Koryo Tours
BREAKING NEWS! We're hearing word from multiple and different sources within the DPRK that the Mass Games will return in 2018!
"Will I be able to see the Mass Games?" is a question that we get asked ALL THE TIME by people interested in travelling to North Korea. But the last edition was way back in 2013, and ever since then the answer to that question has been: sadly, not.
Don't know what we're on about? A quick aside for those in need of a primer, then. The Arirang Mass Games were a mass artistic performance/festival held from Aug until Oct in 2002–2005, and then again from 2007–2013.
This extraordinary spectacle of gymnastics, acrobatics, and dance featured some 100,000 participants, and drew spectators from all over the world, for what was the biggest and most elaborate human performance on Planet Earth.
But then, after 2013, they abruptly stopped — discontinued without word, or explanation. Let's just say North Korea's not exactly great when it comes to information flow...
WHICH BRINGS US TO TODAY'S BREAKING NEWS. We're hearing word from multiple and different sources within the DPRK (North Korea) that:
...the Mass Games will return in 2018!
South Korea's taekwondo team to visit North Korea next month
Posted : 2018-03-16 14:13
Updated : 2018-03-16 15:34
World Taekwondo hopes its demonstration team's performance in Pyongyang will bring South and North Korea closer. / Courtesy of World Taekwondo
By Jung Min-ho
In an effort to maintain a peaceful atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea will send a team of taekwondo athletes to North Korea next month.
A high-ranking official at World Taekwondo (WT), which is helping the government organize the event, told The Korea Times Friday that the team would go to Pyongyang as early as the middle of April ahead of a South-North summit later that month.
"A departure date and how long the team will stay there have not been determined yet," the official said. "We will make an official announcement soon."
The preparation came after North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-un asked for such an event when he met South Korea's special envoys in Pyongyang last week.
A South Korean art troupe will also visit North Korea's capital, but it is unclear whether the troupe will go at the same time as the taekwondo team.
North Korean athletes set to arrive for Pyeongchang Paralympics on Mar. 7
Posted on : Feb.28,2018 17:18 KST Modified on : Feb.28,2018 17:18 KST
No mention of North Korean cheerleading squad returning to South Korea for the event
Lee Joo-tae (right), director-general of inter-Korean exchanges for the Unification Ministry, shakes hands with Hwang Chung-song, director of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, ahead of working-level talks held at Panmunjeom of Feb. 27 to discuss North Korean participation in the Pyeongchang Paralympics. (provided by Unification Ministry)
North Korean athletes and representatives will be arriving in South Korea through the Gyeongui railway line on Mar. 7 to attend the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics on Mar. 9–18. South and North Korea made the agreement about North Korea’s participation in Pyeongchang Paralympics during working-level talks on the morning of Feb. 27 at the Tongilgak Pavilion on the North Korean side of Panmunjeom, the South Korean Ministry of Unification announced later that day.
North Korea indicated an interest in sending a delegation of four representatives and 20 athletes, with the final number of participants to be decided upon discussions with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The North Korean delegation is to be led by Hwang Chung-song, director-general of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland along with three other officials.
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Pyeongchang Olympics Come to a Close
By Jun Hyun-suk, Seok Nam-jun
February 26, 2018 09:38
The Olympic flame went out in Pyeongchang on Sunday night as the 17-day Winter Olympics came to a close.
The winter sports festival attracted about a million spectators to the alpine city since it opened on Feb. 9 and ended with a promise to meet again in Beijing in four years. It was the biggest winter Olympics in history with 2,920 athletes from 92 countries competing for 102 gold medals. Neither gale-force winds nor severe cold prevented them from giving their best.
Fireworks explode over the main stadium of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang at the end of the event's closing ceremony on Sunday. /Yonhap
Korea finished seventh overall with five gold, eight silver, and four bronze medals. Although it failed to achieve its goal of ending in fourth place, Korea expanded its horizons in winter sports and laid the groundwork for further growth thanks to athletes' stellar performance in the sledding, snowboarding and curling events.
At the closing ceremony, President Moon Jae-in shook hands with guests including Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, while first lady Kim Jung-sook sat beside U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka. In the back row sat Kim Yong-chol, the head of North Korea's United Front Department.
No major incidents disrupted the Olympics, which were also relatively clean with only two athletes testing positive for doping.
Highlights included the formation of the unified Korean women's ice-hockey team, and South and North Korean athletes marching together during the opening ceremony delivered a powerful message of peace to the whole world, Bach said.
The closing ceremony was a gala show mixing traditional Korean and modern arts, with K-pop boy band EXO and singer CL giving cheerful performances. The finale swelled to a spectacular dance music performance.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
North Korea IOC member says 'possible' to co-host Asian Winter Games with South Korea
Posted : 2018-02-20 14:21
Updated : 2018-02-20 16:40
Chang Ung, the North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said Tuesday that it is "possible" for the two Koreas to jointly hold the 2021 Asian Winter Games.
Chang also said that if that happens, the Masikryong Ski Resort on the outskirts of the North's eastern city of Wonsan could be used as one of the venues.
He made the remarks days after Gov. Choi Moon-soon of South Korea's Gangwon Province said Saturday that he is considering a bid to co-host the Asian Games with North Korea and that the North's ski resort could be used. Gangwon Province is the location of the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Olympics, currently under way.
[Sports diplomacy] [Joint Korean]
How Did N.Korean Cheerleaders Get Tickets to Olympics Matches?
By Jun Hyun-suk
February 19, 2018 13:11
North Korean cheerleaders visited a men's hockey match last Thursday to show their support for the South Korean team, which competed against the Czech Republic in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Tickets for the game were nearly sold out because it was the first match of the men's ice hockey team and many fans came as the day was the start of the Lunar New Year break. But some 220 North Korean cheerleaders could get the most expensive seats right behind the goal, which cost W150,000 (US$1=W1,079).
Earlier in the day, North Korean cheerleaders also attended a figure skating event to root for North Korean pair Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik and sat all together in seats that cost W400,000. Tickets for figure skating events are usually very hard to get as they are most popular winter sport.
North Korean cheerleaders attend the ice hockey match between South Korea and Czech Republic in Gangneung, Gangwon Province last Thursday. /Yonhap
North Korea announced it was sending 229 cheerleaders to the Winter Olympics on Jan. 9, and at that time it was already impossible to book any group tickets. So how did the cheerleaders secure them?
The organizing committee claims it gathered tickets that had not been sold because they were so expensive. It says it also "sought the cooperation" of various sports organizations that had bought group tickets.
Some provincial governments donated tickets they had reserved for low-income people.
For the inter-Korean women's ice hockey matches on Feb. 10, 12 and 14, the 220 North Korean cheerleaders had to sit separately in groups of 20 to 50 because the organizing committee failed to secure group seats.
A Unification Ministry official said, "The tickets for North Korean cheerleaders will be paid using the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund." They are estimated to cost the government more than W1 billion.
[Olympics18] [Cheerleaders] [Conservatives]
From PyeongChang to Lasting Peace on the Korean Peninsula
By Hyun Lee
Global Research, February 16, 2018
Perhaps the most moving moment in the opening days of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics was when Kim Yong-nam, the president of the Presidium of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly, quietly wiped his tears as North and South Korean singers sang in unison at a concert celebrating the winter games. South Korean k-pop star SeoHyun held hands with North Korean singers as images of tearful North-South family reunions played in the backdrop of the finale of the North Korean Samjiyeon Orchestra’s historic performance in Seoul on February 11. As the concert came to a close, they sang, “Be well, let us meet again. Go safely, let us meet again,” and waved their hands as the audience waved back and Kim silently wept.
Joint Ice Hockey Team to Face Sweden After Loss to Switzerland
By Kang Ho-chul
February 12, 2018 10:35
Korea lost to Switzerland 8-0 in its first match at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Saturday.
Ranked sixth in the world, Switzerland outclassed the inter-Korean team, which included three North Koreans.
The gap between the teams was evident as Switzerland outshot Korea 52 to 8. Forward Alina Müller scored three goals in the first period alone
IIHF World Ranking
The IIHF World Ranking is a ranking of the performance of the national ice hockey teams of member countries of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). It is based on a formula giving points for each team's placings at IIHF-sanctioned tournaments over the previous four years. The ranking is used to determine seedings and qualification requirements for future IIHF tournaments. The current leader in rankings is Canada in men's play and the United States in women's play.
N.Korean Cheerleaders Leave Audience Cold
By Jun Hyun-suk
February 13, 2018 12:17
Around 220 North Korean cheerleaders supported the unified Korean women's ice hockey team on Monday, chanting "between brethren!" no matter how the match against Sweden went.
Despite their strenuous support, the inter-Korean team failed to advance to the quarterfinals losing 0-8 to the ice hockey powerhouse.
The cheerleaders entered the rink in Gangneung 30 minutes before the match began, and the North Korean flag was vividly revealed on the chest of their outfits when they took off their padded jackets.
North Korean cheerleaders chant during the unified Korean women's ice hockey team's match against Sweden in Gangneung, Gangwon Province on Monday. /Newsis
Some spectators rushed to take selfies against the rare backdrop, but few sang along with their motivational songs.
A Night Out With North Korea’s Cheerleaders: Matching Snowsuits, Military Discipline and Chaperoned Bathroom Trips
By Andrew Keh
Feb. 12, 2018
North Korean cheerleaders, arriving at a hockey game on Monday night, have stolen the show at some Olympic events. They are being praised as human olive branches and criticized as cogs in a North Korean propaganda machine. Credit James Hill for The New York Times
GANGNEUNG, South Korea — A collective murmur rolled through the stands of Kwandong Hockey Centre here late Monday night. Camera phones were held high.
The North Korean cheerleaders had arrived.
The presence here of the all-female squad of cheerleaders — 229 strong, as part of the larger North Korean delegation at the Olympics — has been politically charged, provoking divided reactions among spectators at the Games and those watching from afar.
It's not Olympics but Polympics
By Oh Young-jin
Posted : 2018-02-12 12:31
Updated : 2018-02-12 13:58
Different from the case of NBC, the U.S. main Olympic broadcaster which mistook the host city, PyeongChang, as being in North Korea, there is a conspicuous reason that the quadrennial event in the South Korean city is not what is expected of a typical Olympics.
It deserves to be called "Polympics" with a capital P standing for politics of a complicated brand ? with fierce, divisive, unifying and confusing elements ? which may reset the existing order on the Korean Peninsula and affect the global one, as well.
The fierce element was made in plain sight when South Korea put all it had on the line and persuaded the United States and by extension Japan to delay the annual ROK-U.S. military drills that would have occurred during the Olympics. U.S. President Donald Trump reluctantly conceded to the combination of pleas and threats by President Moon Jae-in to delay the drills until after the PyeongChang Games.
Some powerful images out of Pyeongchang
As CP pointed out to me today, international sport has taken the place of religion when it comes to dealing with international political issues. How so? In the middle of the nineteenth century in Prussia, the only language in which one could engage in political issues was religion, or more specifically theology. This was due to the heavy censorship over political debate in Prussia, so all of the issues were expressed in and through religion. The youthful Marx and Engels were no exception.
In an analogous fashion, international sport – for better or worse – seems to have taken on that role. For example, Russian athletes cannot be banned for overtly political reasons, so the excuse of ‘doping’ is used. And of course, the complex issues of Korean unification can be broached much more readily through the avenue of the Winter Olympics than other forms. Obviously, these images are as much social and political as they are focused on sport, but they take place in the context and language of sport.
Olympics open with dazzling spectacle and warm gestures between the Koreas
Athletes from North and South Korea wave flags during the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, on Friday. (Jae C. Hong/AP)
By Anna Fifield February 9 at 6:30 PM Email the author
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — It was a moment that may well define these Olympic Games: First came smiling athletes walking side by side under a flag of Korean unity. Then the air was filled with a well-known ballad of sorrow and separation.
And finally, the stadium was full of people standing and cheering Friday in what the Olympic hosts hope could stir a movement toward easing the hair-trigger tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula.
Every Olympics has its share of geopolitical backstories. But organizers of the Winter Games in PyeongChang — which opened Friday in a spectacle laden with lore and symbols binding North and South Korea — have billed them as a generational chance to find a new path for neighbors frozen in a Cold War-era standoff.
Yet obstacles were evident even amid the outreach. The top U.S. envoy to the Games, Vice President Pence, sat stone-faced as the crowd erupted in cheers for the unified Korean team — showing the rift between Washington and its South Korean ally over how to deal with the North’s nuclear and military ambitions.
[Olympics18] [Detente] [Pence]
The Two Sides of Korea March Again at the Olympics
The two Korean teams (South and North Korea) marched together side by side, under one symbolic flag (unifed Korea) at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea on February 9, 2018. The last time that the joint entry at the Olympics opening ceremony occurred was thirteen years ago, during the "sunshine policy" period of inter-Korean thaw and cooperation.
Moreover, North Korea seem to have swallowed its pride and is attending the games held in its arch-rival South Korea, together with unprecedented attendance of high-level government/party officials (including nominal head of state Kim Yong-nam and Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong) -- perhaps suggesting its flexibility and willingness to resume negotiations for inter-Korean rapproachement. The question is, are Washington and Tokyo willing to seize this apt opportunity to pursue a path of negotiated peace settlement in the Korean Peninsula?
N.Korean Orchestra Performs in Gangneung
By Jun Hyun-suk, Jung Sang-hyuk
February 09, 2018 11:35
North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra performed at the Gangneung Culture and Art Center in Gangwon Province on Thursday, a day ahead of the opening of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The last time a North Korean troupe gave a concert in the South was in 2002. The orchestra played a variety of songs ranging from South Korean pop to classical pieces.
Members of North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra sing at the Gangneung Culture and Art Center in Gangneung, Gangwon Province on Thursday. /Yonhap
The performance kicked off with North Korean songs but moved on to South Korean favorites as well as Western pieces while five dancers in red sleeveless shirts and black shorts performed. The concert lasted about 100 minutes.
Biggest Ever Winter Olympics Open in Pyeongchang
By Kang Ho-chul
February 09, 2018 13:35
The Olympic torch will light up the night sky over the Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province on Friday after a 100-day relay across the country.
Beginning with the opening ceremony at 8 p.m., the Winter Olympics will attract millions of viewers from all over the world until Feb. 25. It will be the biggest Winter Olympics ever with a total of 2,925 athletes from 92 countries competing for a record 102 gold medals.
Pyeongchang has waited for 20 years to realize its ambition of hosting the Olympics, making its first bid in 1999, It suffered two defeats, losing the 2010 Winter Olympics to Vancouver, Canada and the 2014 games to Sochi, Russia. In both bids, Korea came first in the first round of voting but was defeated by an underdog in the second round at the International Olympic Committee.
PyeongChang 2018 kicks off with ceremony themed around peace, future
By Yoo Jee-ho, Joo Kyung-don and Kang Yoon-seung
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- The 2018 Olympic Winter Games kicked off in PyeongChang on Friday with an opening ceremony themed around peace and future. The two-hour ceremomy was highlighted by a rare joint march by athletes from the two Koreas.
The opening ceremony of the first Winter Olympics in South Korea took place at the 35,000-seat PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, celebrating traditional and modern Korean characteristics of harmony and convergence, and underscoring the Korean people's hope for peace.
Aljazeera clip on Olympics
Celebrating 25 Years of Koryo Tours
Do you remember 1993? Bill Clinton became US president; the Maastricht Treaty officially came into force — thereby formally establishing the European Union; the first face-to-face agreement between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization was made; oh, and Koryo Tours took its first-ever group to North Korea!
That's right, fact fans, we turn 25 this year, which makes us as old as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, who also date back to 1993. But perhaps twice as powerful. Turns out Koryo's founder, Nick Bonner, was also once a ranger — working as a countryside ranger in the UK before moving to China in the 1990s to teach at uni. From there, he travelled to Pyongyang after meeting a North Korean living in Beijing; the rest, as they say, is history.
Kim Jong-un's Sister to Attend Opening of Pyeongchang Olympics
By Lim Min-hyuk, Kim Myong-song
February 08, 2018 09:23
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong will come to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
The delegation also includes sports official Choe Hwi, and Ri Son-gwon, who chairs the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland and headed the North Korean delegation to the latest cross-border talks.
Pyongyang sent the list on Wednesday, according to the Unification Ministry. The North Korean delegation will be led by Kim Yong-nam, the titular head of state, and will stay here from Friday to Sunday.
[Olympics18] [Kim Yo Jong]
N.Korean Cheerleaders Arrive
By Jun Hyun-suk
February 08, 2018 12:48
No fewer than 280 North Korean bell-ringers and hangers-on to the small athletes' contingent participating in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics arrived in South Korea on Wednesday.
They include a vast cheerleading squad of handpicked women, a taekwondo demonstration team, and reporters for the state media.
They came by the land route through Dorasan Station in the civilian control zone near the border. The last time such a large North Korean delegation came to the South was in 2005 for an Asian track and field competition in Incheon.
Asked about what they have prepared, one cheerleader said, "You'll find out. It would take the fun out if I told you now."
The cheerleaders brought traditional instruments with them, while some members are apparently part of a band.
North Korean cheerleaders clap at a welcome dinner in a hotel in Inje, Gangwon Province on Wednesday.
Some 114 members of North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra arrived a day earlier in Donghae, Gangwon Province by ferry but initially refused to come off the boat. They finally emerged on Wednesday morning to rehearse for their upcoming performance, the women in bright red coats and the men in black coats and fur hats.
The orchestra traveled by chartered bus to the Gangneung Culture and Art Center and wrapped up their morning rehearsal at around midday, when they went back to the Mangyongbong-92 for lunch. They did the same for afternoon rehearsal.
The aim of the grueling two-hour round-trip commutes was apparently to minimize contact with South Koreans, though their repertoire seems to include some South Korean pop songs besides classical and folk songs.
North Korean cheerleaders clap at a welcome dinner in a hotel in Inje, Gangwon Province on Wednesday.
The musicians will move on to Seoul for another concert on Sunday and head back to the North next Tuesday.
The Unification Ministry, meanwhile, hosted a dinner for the North Korean delegation in Inje, Gangwon Province, with Vice Minister Chun Hae-sung and around 30 South Korean officials taking part.
North Korean musical performance group arrives in Gangwon Province
Posted on : Feb.7,2018 19:12 KST Modified on : Feb.7,2018 19:12 KST
The group will hold two performances in Seoul and Gangneung during the Pyeongchang Olympics
The Mangyongbong ferry carrying a North Korean musical performance group arrives in Mukho Harbor in the city of Donghae on Feb. 6, where it was greeted by throngs of police and hundreds of demonstrators from conservative groups. (by Park Jong-shik, staff photographer)
At 4:20 pm, with the temperature down to -2 degrees Celsius, the North Korean flag on the smokestack of the Mangyongbong 92 came into view between the breakwater and the pier at Mukho Harbor in Donghae, Gangwon Province. As the Mangyongbong drew closer to the pier, the members of conservative groups near the passenger terminal became more boisterous, and their shouting grew louder and louder. Mistaking the 300 or so conservative protesters as a welcome party, North Koreans came out of their cabins and waved at the protesters. When the North Koreans saw them burning the North Korean flag, however, they started taking snapshots with their cameras.
The Mangyongbong put in at Mukho Harbor at 5 pm on Feb. 6, carrying more than 140 members of North Korea’s Samjiyon Band, a musical performance group led by Hyon Song-wol. The last time that the ship entered a South Korean harbor was 16 years (5,611 days) ago, when it made a call at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan. At the time, the Mangyongbong carried a North Korean cheerleading squad of more than 300 people and docked at Dadaepo Harbor in Busan, where it remained for two weeks, providing the North Koreans with a place to eat and sleep.
North Korean leader's sister, No. 2 man to arrive in Seoul on chartered flight Friday
Posted : 2018-02-08 14:14
Updated : 2018-02-08 15:43
By Park Si-soo
North Korea's high-level delegation, including leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister and the regime's No. 2 man Kim Yong-nam, will arrive in South Korea on a charted flight on Friday, Seoul's unification ministry said.
The flight will land at Incheon International Airport about 1:30 p.m. , the ministry said. The delegation will stay in South Korea until Sunday.
Expectations are running high that South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet either the younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, or Kim Yong-nam, the North's nominal head of state, during their stay here.
The plane will return home without standing by at Incheon International Airport and will come back to the South to pick up the delegation on Sunday evening, the ministry said.
[Olympics18] [Kim Yong Nam] [Kim Yo Jong]
N. Korea's star skaters
Posted : 2018-02-07 18:01
Updated : 2018-02-07 19:59
Figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik of North Korea practice their routine during a training session at the main Olympic ice rink in Gangneung, South Korea, Sunday.
By Do Je-hae
The North Korean figure skating pair of Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, who arrived here last week as part of their country's Olympic delegation, are emerging as the stars of PyeongChang 2018.
The pair is unlikely to medal in PyeongChang but have been making a splash in the media. The local press has been hounding them during the practice sessions and will surely focus on them on the day of the pairs competitions Feb. 14-15. When the North Korean athletes arrived at the athletes' village, the reporters could not take their eyes off Ryom. Unlike her stone-faced teammates, the 19-year-old's friendly smile left a strong impression on the South Korean public.
In this Olympic season, they have been skating to the North Korean song "Pangapsumnida," meaning "nice to meet you" in their exhibition program. The well-known tune is about joy, hugs and tears during a reunion of the peoples of the two Koreas. The song fits the mood for the "Peace Olympics" the Moon Jae-in administration has tried to create by getting the North to participate at the last minute in Korea's first Winter Olympics.
Most recently, they performed this routine at a gala after winning a bronze medal at the Four Continents Championships in Taiwan, an International Skating Union (ISU) event, last month. They are expected to repeat the routine at the gala after competing in PyeongChang.
The selection of this song was probably intended to please South Koreans and make a good impression with the international community by promoting their country as peace-loving and friendly. For some South Koreans, lyrics like "the day we celebrate unification with a party is not far away," stir up strong emotions about a country that shares a culture and history, but remains divided.
Since the retirement of the 2010 Olympic champion Kim Yuna, few skaters from the Korean Peninsula have attracted as much international media attention as Ryom and Kim. They are the first skaters from North Korea to win a medal at an ISU competition.
Technically and artistically, they are far above any pair South Korea has produced. A New York Times article published Jan. 11 described them as possessing "some of the dynamism seen in Chinese pairs and also some of the classic, balletic style of Russian skaters. " They worked with Bruno Marcotte, a pairs coach, in Montreal last summer. In an interview with the Cosmopolitan, Marcotte lauded them as a "crowd favorite," saying "they have a lot of charisma on the ice."
Curious About the Lives of North Korea’s Isolated Athletes? Here’s a Glimpse
By Motoko Rich
Feb. 7, 2018
Only two North Korean athletes — the figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik — qualified for the Pyeongchang Olympics on merit. Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
TOKYO — The arrival of 22 athletes from North Korea to compete in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, has been greeted by a predictable news media scrum, with journalists scrambling to coax comments from these emissaries of one of the world’s most reclusive countries.
Like many things known about North Korea, its state athletic program is obscured by propaganda and limited access. But cobbling together information from the country’s state news media, analysts, defectors and athletes who have competed alongside North Koreans has given us some insights.
A Korean Olympic Dilemma: Do Hockey Sticks Violate U.N. Sanctions?
By Choe Sang-Hun
Feb. 7, 2018
Anti-North Korea activists protesting on Tuesday at Mukho Port in Donghae, South Korea, near a ferry that brought musicians, dancers and singers from the North to perform at the Pyeongchang Olympics. North Korean ships are usually banned from the South’s waters. Credit Woohae Cho/Getty Images
SEOUL, South Korea — To give, or not to give?
That question has been tormenting South Korean officials, who are struggling to be good Olympic hosts for the North Korean delegation without violating the international sanctions punishing the North for its nuclear weapons program.
The issue arose on Wednesday, after a North Korean ferry took musicians, dancers and singers to the South for performances during the Winter Olympics, which open on Friday in the town of Pyeongchang.
The North announced only this week that it would be sending the group by ferry rather than, as expected, over land, and the South had already made one accommodating move, by granting an exception to its ban on North Korean ships in its waters.
Then North Korean officials said the ship, called the Mangyongbong-92, was low on fuel, and asked the South to refuel it.
South Korean conservatives were furious. They said the request summed up exactly what the North was hoping to achieve by participating in the Games: weakening South Korea's resolve to stick with its American allies and strictly enforce the sanctions, which include a curb on fuel exports.
As of Wednesday evening, the South had not decided whether to supply the fuel. “We will closely discuss with the United States and other related nations the matter of providing convenience to the Mangyongbong ferry so that no problem regarding sanctions would occur,” said Baik Tae-hyun, a spokesman for the Unification Ministry, which is in charge of relations with the North.
[Olympics18] [US dominance] [Friction]
N.Korean Orchestra Refuses to Come off the Boat
By Jun Hyun-suk, Kim Myong-song
February 07, 2018 09:38
North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra arrived in South Korea by ferry on Tuesday but did not get off and refused to attend a welcome dinner hosted by the South Korean government. They also refused to look around the venue in Gangneung, Gangwon Province where they are scheduled to perform on Thursday.
The Unification Ministry did not say exactly why the North Koreans behaved with such bad grace, but they may have been upset by anti-North Korean protests in Mukho port, where their ship is docked.
Kim Jong-un's sister coming to Olympics
Posted : 2018-02-07 16:48
Updated : 2018-02-07 16:50
By Oh Young-jin
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong will visit PyeongChang as part a high-level delegation to the Winter Olympics, the Ministry of Unification said Wednesday.
The 22-member delegation also includes Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country. North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam will lead the delegation.
Kim and Choe are subject to international sanctions imposed on North Korea.
Kim is the younger sister of leader Kim and vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department.
[Kim Yo Jong]
Kim Jong Un to send his sister to South Korea as part of Olympic delegation
By Anna Fifield February 7 at 10:19 AM Email the author
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — South Korea’s dream of making the Winter Olympics the “peace games” began taking shape Wednesday, with bus loads of North Koreans arriving and an announcement that Kim Jong Un’s sister would follow soon.
Almost 300 North Koreans — including 229 young women in fur-trimmed red coats, members of a “cheering squad” — crossed the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas. They were driven through Seoul, along clogged highways past a forest of apartment towers, to the east coast.
There, the cheering squad, North Korean reporters and taekwondo demonstrators were housed not far from the 140-member North Korean orchestra members who arrived earlier by ferry. They will perform Thursday.
“Coming from a formerly divided country and having competed for a divided country into two different teams, this is very special and also an emotional moment,” Thomas Bach, the German who leads the International Olympic Committee, said Wednesday.
[Olympics18] [Kim Yo Jong]
N.Korea Wants to Defy Sanctions by Sending Orchestra by Ferry
By Lim Min-hyuk
February 06, 2018 09:23
North Korea has tested the waters by telling South Korea that it will send the 140-member Samjiyon Orchestra by ferry even though sanctions ban ships from the North.
North Korea's Mangyongbong-92 cruise ship would not only bring the performers to South Korea but serve as their accommodation during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
South Korean sanctions imposed on May 24 ban all North Korean ships from South Korean ports, but the government said it will make an exception this time.
North Korean officials arrives in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Monday. /Yonhap
Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said, "North Korea informed us that the main group of North Korean performers will arrive on Tuesday aboard the Mangyongbong-92." The ferry docks at Mukho port in Gangwon Province on Tuesday evening.
A maritime police boat and a helicopter will provide close escort for the ferry, and a team of special forces has been assigned to the task as well.
North Korea seems to have made a deliberate decision to see if it can win an exception from sanctions. The spokesman said, "We are considering making an exception to the sanctions to ensure the success of the Olympics. We will consult closely with the U.S. and the international community so that no rules are broken."
The orchestra members were originally to come through the border truce village of Panmunjom, but then the North changed its plans in a message on Jan. 23, shifting the route. It then changed its mind again on Sunday night.
[Olympics18] [Sanctions] [US dominance]
36,000 foreigners banned from entering Korea over potential danger to Olympics
Posted : 2018-02-05 14:57
Updated : 2018-02-05 15:17
By Park Si-soo
South Korea has banned 36,000 foreigners from entering in a pre-emptive anti-terror action for the upcoming winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) selected the foreigners in collaboration with its foreign partners, Rep. Lee Wan-yong of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party told reporters after an NIS briefing.
The ban is the latest in a series of anti-terror actions implemented ahead of the Olympics, which will begin on Friday. In December, the government deported 17 foreigners, including unidentified ones from Southeast and Central Asia, over their potential threat to the Games.
"An ad-hoc anti-terror department including officials from 17 government bodies has been operating since Jan. 29," the lawmaker said. "They are collecting and analyzing intelligence regarding international terror groups in cooperation with foreign spy agencies.
"In the process, we have singled out about 36,000 ‘dangerous' foreigners and banned them from entering the country."
He said 60,000 people, including 5,000 armed forces personnel, will guard venues, athletes' villages and other Olympics-related facilities during the Games.
The government has also tightened security at airports and train stations across the country.
[Olympics18] [Hysteria] [Terrorism] [Tribute]
North Korean art troupe to arrive South on ferry Tuesday
Posted : 2018-02-05 11:43
Updated : 2018-02-05 15:18
North Korea has proposed sending its art troupe to South Korea this week on a ferry for performances to mark the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Seoul officials said Monday, amid concerns that such sea travel could violate Seoul's unilateral sanctions.
The North notified the South on Sunday that it plans to send the 140-member Samjiyon art troupe on the Mangyongbong-92 on Tuesday and use it as accommodation for the group, according to Seoul's unification ministry.
[Olympics18] [Sanctions] [US dominance]
NK's ceremonial leader to lead high-level delegation to S. Korea
• Published : Feb 5, 2018 - 00:37
North Korea's ceremonial leader Kim Yong-nam will travel to South Korea this week leading its high-level delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Seoul officials said Sunday.
North Korea informed the South that Kim, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, will head a 22-member delegation in the trip from Friday to Sunday for the Feb. 9-25 games, according to Seoul's unification ministry.
North Korea said the team will include three delegates and 18 supportive staffers, without providing details, the ministry said.
[Olympics18] [Kim Yong Nam]
N.Korean Ski Resort Overflowing with Luxury Goods
By Kim Myong-song
February 05, 2018 11:59
North Korea's Masikryong Ski Resort was overflowing with luxury products last week despite international sanctions than ban their export to the isolated state.
Foreign cigarettes, liquor, perfumes and track suits were all freely for sale in the shops, according to South Korean reporters who visited last week to cover joint training of junior skiers from the two Koreas there.
A cigarette kiosk on the first floor of the ski resort sold Dunhill and Rothmans International as well as Perdomo cigars. Yamaha drums as well as Chivas Regal cognac, Ballantine’s whiskey and Heineken beer could be spotted in a ballroom in the basement, while stores on the second floor sold Nike and Adidas shoes and track suits and North Face backpacks as well as Burberry bags, Lancôme cosmetics and Kenzo perfumes.
Products sold at the Masikryong Ski Resort in Wonsan, Kangwon Province
Store clerk Kim Il-sim told the reporters, "We put these products on display because we get many guests from abroad."
[Masikryong] [Media] [Tourism] [Unique]
North Korean official delegation to attend Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony
Posted on : Feb.5,2018 17:14 KST Modified on : Feb.5,2018 17:14 KST
SK government hopes the Olympics can lay the groundwork for bilateral US-NK dialogue
A high-level North Korean delegation led by Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium Kim Yong-nam will visit South Korea from Feb. 9-11 and attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics. Kim is shown attending the 60th anniversary of the Asia Africa Conference in Jakarta in April 2015.
A North Korean delegation of around 20 members to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Feb. 9 has been finalized, with Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium presented Kim Yong-nam as leader. With the announcement coming on the heels of similar delegation decisions by the US and Japan, attention is now turning to the members’ plans during their South Korea visit. The Blue House, White House, and Prime Minister’s Office of Japan already appear to be working to shape the agenda and climate of the approaching “Pyeongchang meetings,” availing themselves of opportunities to actively state their positions.
[Olympics18] [Kim Yong Nam]
[Photo] Unified Korean women’s hockey team hits the ice for debut match
Posted on : Feb.5,2018 17:05 KST Modified on : Feb.5,2018 17:05 KST
The unified Korean women’s hockey team played a warm-up match against Sweden on Feb. 4 at the Seonhak International Ice Rink in Incheon. The Korean team lost to the 5th-ranked Swedes by a score of 1-3, with South Korean forward Park Jong-ah scoring for the host nation. Arirang was played as the unified Korean team’s anthem prior to the match, and the crowd waved Unification flags and gave passionate support to the team throughout. Coach Sarah Murray seemed pleased with the team’s performance saying afterward, “Being added 12 days ago and not getting to practice together all that much, [the North Koreans] played our system pretty well, so I’m proud of them.” Pak Chol-ho, the North Korean coach who is assisting with the team said that the game showed that Koreans “can do anything if they do things as one.” (Photo Pool)
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
Inter-Korean cheering team established for Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Posted on : Feb.3,2018 16:30 KST Modified on : Feb.3,2018 16:30 KST
Team will support athletes at 11 different events, including unified Korean women’s hockey team
Participants of the inter-Korean cheering team hold a banner that says, “We are one” during a press conference announcing the group’s establishment at the Gangwon Gamyeong historic site in Wonju, Gangwon Province on Feb. 2. (Yonhap News)
An inter-Korean cheering team has been established to direct support for South and North Korean athletes at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The joint cheering team was officially launched at a press conference on the afternoon of Feb. 2 at the Gamyeong historic site (which was a provincial government office during the Joseon Dynasty) in Wonju, Gangwon Province. Attendees holding Korean Peninsula and signs with messages such as “Make Pyeongchang a stepping stone to unification! Let’s go!” affirmed their commitment to making the Olympic games a festival of peace.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
N. Korea art troupe, cheering squad to visit South this week
Posted : 2018-02-04 11:57
Updated : 2018-02-04 11:57
North Korea's art troupe and cheering squad for the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics will travel to the South this week, with details about its high-level delegation yet to be confirmed, officials here said Sunday.
The 140-member Samjiyon art troupe, which includes an orchestra, will cross the inter-Korean border Tuesday. Its advance team, mostly technical staffers, will arrive here a day earlier.
The troupe's first performance will be held at Gangneung Arts Center on Thursday, followed by a concert at the National Theater of Korea in Seoul on Feb. 11.
A 230-member cheering squad and a taekwondo demonstration team will come to the South via a land route Wednesday.
The cheering squad is expected to root not only for its national athletes but possibly for South Korean teams. A total of 22 North Korean athletes are set to compete in five sports, including women's ice hockey and figure skating, during the Feb. 9-25 Olympic Games.
The North's taekwondo athletes will hold four joint demonstrations with its South Korean counterparts, starting Feb. 9 in a warmup event at the opening ceremony of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul.
Seoul Lavishes Money on N.Korean Olympics Delegation
By Lee Yong-soo
February 02, 2018 11:11
The government had already diverted more than W250 million from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund as of Thursday to help North Korea take part in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (US$1=W1,072).
That is expected to snowball once all 500 members of a massive cheerleading squad, an orchestra, and a Taekwondo demonstration team arrive here around the time the Olympics open.
The government is not saying what the money has been spent on, despite fears that its support could violate UN and U.S. sanctions against the North Korean regime.
North Korean athletes and officials board a charted airplane at Kalma Airport in Wonsan, Kangwon Province on Thursday. /Newsis
In a closed-door session on Jan. 25, the Unification Ministry earmarked W53 million just for the launch and operation of a government support team and another W95 million for control rooms in Pyeongchang and Seoul, according to an opposition source on Thursday.
The ministry spent W90 million sending a chartered Asiana plane to the North for joint ski training of junior skiers at Masikryong Ski Resort there. It also reportedly spent W11 million on a special KTX bullet train for a group of North Korean officials led by bandleader-cum-apparatchik Hyon Song-wol.
The ministry kept the meeting secret and admitted it only after media reports Thursday.
"The government is diverting money for the North Korean delegation from the budget of the organizing committee of the Olympics," a government official said. "We need to make up for the expenses from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund later."
The expenses the 47 North Korean athletes who arrived by Thursday will be borne by the International Olympic Committee.
But the expenses for hundreds of North Korean cheerleaders and other support officials, including accommodation, transportation and meals "will likely exceed W2 billion," a former ministry official said.
[Olympics18] [Sanctions] [Conservatives]
Successful inter-Korean ski training eases concerns prompted by cancellation of Mt. Kumgang cultural event
Posted on : Feb.1,2018 17:15 KST Modified on : Feb.1,2018 17:15 KST
US government grants exception for Asiana chartered aircraft to be used in transporting the team
The Asiana Airlines flight transporting the South Korean ski team to Masikryong Ski Resort in Wonsan, North Korea, for a two-day, one-night joint training takes off from the Yangyang International Airport on Jan. 31. (Yonhap News)
Skiers from South and North Korea plied the slopes together at the Masikryong Ski Resort in Wonsan, located in the North Korean half of Gangwon Province. The two-day joint training program for South and North Korean skiers on Jan. 31 proceeded without any issues, easing concerns prompted by the cancellation of a joint cultural event at Mt. Kumgang.
It was during the same vice minister-level talks on Jan. 17 that South and North Korea agreed to hold both the Masikryong joint training program and the Mt. Kumgang cultural event to celebrate the hosting of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. According to this agreement, a South Korean advance team arrived in the North on Jan. 23 and reviewed facilities at Mount Kumgang, the Masikryong Ski Resort and Kalma International Airport during a three-day visit.
Since it took three or four hours to travel on the East Sea overland route to the Masikryong Ski Resort via Mount Kumgang, the South Korean advance team concluded that it would be better to travel by air. When they arrived at Kalma International Airport, they found its equipment, safety measures and facilities such as the runway, taxiway and terminal to be in acceptable condition. As a result, the government began working to arrange a flight, finally settling on a chartered flight from Asiana, a South Korean airline.
The US’s independent sanctions against North Korea were another obstacle that had to be cleared. It was necessary to carry out preliminary deliberations with the US because of a provision that bans airliners that stop in North Korea from landing in the US for 180 days. In addition to the lack of time, there were reportedly practical difficulties that lasted through the weekend. It was not until the morning of Jan. 31, the day of the departure, that the Americans finally announced that they would consider the trip an exception to the North Korean sanctions.
[Olypmpics18] [Masikryong] [US dominance]
More than 60 percent of South Koreans approve of NK participation in Pyeongchang Olympics
Posted on : Feb.1,2018 17:21 KST Modified on : Feb.1,2018 17:21 KST
Two-thirds of respondents also thought the Olympics would contribute to peace on the Korean Peninsula
Contributions of the Pyeongchang Olympics to different areas of society
Sixty-one percent of South Koreans hold favorable views on North Korea’s participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a survey shows. The Korea Press Foundation (KPF) media research center announced results on Jan. 31 from a survey of 1,074 male and female South Koreans over 20, who were asked about their awareness of information on the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, their preferred medal count method, predictions for competition outcomes, and issues regarding North Korea’s participation.
The results showed two-thirds of respondents, or 66%, saying they believed the Pyeongchang Olympics would contribute to peace. Sixty-one percent expressed positive views on North Korea’s participation, while 53% predicted that inter-Korean relations would “improve as a result of the Olympics.” Fifty-eight percent expressed approval of joint cheering, while 54% said they supported use of the Korean Peninsula flag. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said the Olympics would also contribute to cultural advancement, while 70% said they anticipated a positive impact on IT development, 62% on economic development, and 48% on the environment.
[Olymics18] [Inter Korean] [Public opinion]
Joint performance schedule agreed for inter-Korean taekwondo performances
Posted on : Feb.1,2018 17:18 KST Modified on : Feb.1,2018 17:18 KST
Four separate events are scheduled to coincide with the Pyeongchang Olympics
Members of a North Korean taekwondo demonstration team give a performance at the opening ceremony of the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, North Jeolla Province last June. (provided by World Taekwondo)
A joint performance schedule has been decided for a North Korean-led International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) demonstration team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
The South Korean-led federation World Taekwondo headed by WT President Choue Chung-won announced on Jan. 31 that “six officials including ITF president Ri Yong-son will be arriving on Feb. 7 at Gimpo Airport from Beijing, while 28 members of the ITF demonstration team, including chief Pak Yong-chil, will be arriving in South Korea the same day by bus over the west overland route.”
The six officials are scheduled to leave for Beijing on Feb. 15 for their return trip, while the 28 demonstration team members will be traveling back over the same route. Demonstration teams for the two federations will be participating jointly in a preliminary performance before the Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony on Feb. 9.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
Joint inter-Korean ski training begins in Masikryong Ski Resort
The South Korean skiers arrived on a charter flight at Kalma International Airport in Wonsan
South Korean alpine and cross country skiers wave as they prepare to depart from Yangyang International Airport in Gangwon Province for a two-day, one-night joint training session with North Korean skiers at the Masikryong Ski Resort. On the return flight to South Korea, 10 North Korean athletes who are participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics will join the South Korean skiers. (Photo Pool)
Skiers from South and North Korea have begun their two-day joint training program at the Masikryong Ski Resort in Wonsan. South Korean skiers traveled to North Korea on an airplane on Jan. 31, which means that not only the three overland routes between South and North Korea – at Panmunjeom, on the Gyeongui Line and on the East Sea Line – but also the aerial route on the East Sea have been opened for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
On the afternoon of Feb. 1, a North Korean delegation of 32 people, including 10 North Korean athletes, will join the returning South Korean contingent on a direct flight to the South, as inter-Korean direct flights resume after a hiatus of two years and three month
[Olympic18] [Joint Korean] [Masikryong]
Protecting an Olympics Held in North Korea’s Nuclear Shadow
By Amy Qin
Feb. 1, 2018
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Security is a top concern at every Olympics, where athletes and fans in scattered venues can be difficult to protect. But rarely do they take place in the shadow of a nuclear standoff, as is the case with the Winter Games that open next week here in South Korea.
Nearly 3,000 athletes from 92 nations and 100,000 spectators per day are expected to converge on the area around Pyeongchang, 50 miles from the North Korean border, for what organizers say will be the largest-ever Winter Games. The South has mobilized tens of thousands of security personnel — including 50,000 soldiers — in what may be the most militarized security force in Olympic history.
[Olympics18] [Security] [Hysteria]
N.Korea Lays on Banquet for S.Korean Skiers
February 01, 2018 13:44
South Korean junior skiers were treated to a 19-course lunch at Masikryong Ski Resort in North Korea on Wednesday, but the North Korean skiers ate separately and had to make do with more frugal fare.
Many of the young South Koreans said they were impressed by the quality of the food.
After lunch, skiers took the lift up the hill for training. North and South Korean skiers shouted, "We are one!" during a group photo session but did not speak to each other once the picture was in the can.
There is a rest area with a capacity of 200 people at the top of the slope. Chong Myong, who is in charge of the North Korean team, said, "We get hundreds of visitors per day in winter. Many families come here on a day trip."
South Korean skiers were generally satisfied with the facilities. "There are not many things lacking here compared to resorts in South Korea," said one of them, Park Je-yun.
[Olympics18] [Masikryong] [NS-NK comparison]
S.Korean Skiers Head to N.Korean Resort
By Kim Myong-song
January 31, 2018 10:10
Plans for cross-border events coinciding with the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang were in disarray Tuesday, little more than a week after the two Koreas agreed on them.
Up-and-coming skiers from North and South Korea will still train at the North's Masikryong Ski Resort, even though Pyongyang a day earlier called off a cultural performance at Mt. Kumgang scheduled for Feb. 4. By late Tuesday night the government was still unable to get official confirmation.
The Unification Ministry sent a message to North Korea earlier in the day calling the cancellation of the Mt. Kumgang performance "very regrettable." A ministry official said the message urged the North to follow through on the agreed terms as the two sides "take the first step toward improving inter-Korean relations."
South Korean officials look around North Korea's Masikryong Ski Resort in Wonsan, Kangwon Province, in this photo released by [North] Korean Central Television on Tuesday.
Cheong Wa Dae appeared rattled by North Korea's action but opted to take a wait-and-see approach.
Unification Ministry spokesman Baek Tae-hyun told the Chosun Ilbo, "There is nothing that needs to be mediated with the North" regarding the ski training plans. "Discussions with the U.S. are being delayed due to the time difference, but we hope to fine-tune details soon."
The "fine-tuning" the spokesman was talking about refers to the use of an airplane to transport South Korean skiers to North Korea and carrying North Korean athletes aboard South Koreans aircraft, which would violate U.S. sanctions against the North.
South Korean athletes nonetheless headed to Yangyang, Gangwon Province en route to Masikryong while awaiting the U.S.' response.
Overnight, Washington agreed to make an exception, so the South Korean skiers boarded a chartered plane at Yangyang on Wednesday morning to fly to the North. They are to be shuttled by bus to the resort for training and fly back to South Korea on Thursday.
North Korean Olympic skiers are to board the same aircraft to take part in the Winter Olympics.
[Olympics18] [Sanctions] [US dominance]
South Korean skiers head to North for joint training at Masikryong
Posted : 2018-01-31 10:13
Updated : 2018-01-31 10:13
South and North Korean skiers will train together at a major ski resort in the North this week as scheduled, as the U.S. has approved the cooperation project despite its sanctions on the nuclear-armed communist nation, the Ministry of Unification announced Wednesday.
The South's delegation will head to the Masikryong Ski Resort later in the day on a chartered jet and return to the South on Thursday, a ministry official said at a press briefing. It's comprised of 31 skiers and coaches, as well as about a dozen supporting staff and pool reporters.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean] [US dominance]
North Korea's cancellation overshadows future talks
Posted : 2018-01-30 18:40
Updated : 2018-01-31 14:24
By Kim Bo-eun
The government is taking a cautious stance on North Korea's sudden cancellation of a joint cultural event at Mount Geumgang ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Being wary of the possible negative impact the North's decision may have on the future inter-Korean exchange programs for the Olympics, Cheong Wa Dae and the Ministry of Unification are refraining from any "emotional" reaction. In a message to Pyongyang, the ministry only expressed mild regret, stating the remaining inter-Korean agreements must be followed through with.
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N.Korea Cancels Performances at Mt. Kumgang
By Lee Yong-soo
January 30, 2018 09:34
North Korea has abruptly canceled cultural performances with South Korea that were planned for Feb. 4 at the Mt. Kumgang resort.
According to the Unification Ministry, the cancellation came at around 10 p.m. Monday night in a fax from Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.
Ri said the North had "no choice but to cancel the agreed event" since the South Korean media "continues to propagate popular opinion that insults the sincere measures we are undertaking in relation to the Pyeongchang Olympics."
In talks on Jan. 17, the two sides agreed to hold cultural performances in Mt. Kumgang and send up-and-coming skiers from both sides to train at the North's Masikryong Ski Resort.
A South Korean delegation visited Mt. Kumgang and Masikryong last week and agreed on a schedule for the performances. But the South Korean press soon raised concerns that the money and fuel supplies required for the event could violate international sanctions against North Korea.
[Olympics18] [Concert] [Sanctions]
North Korea calls off joint cultural event with South
Posted : 2018-01-29 23:47
Updated : 2018-01-30 15:36
By Park Si-soo
North Korea abruptly called off a joint cultural event with South Korean artists ahead of the forthcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics, blaming Seoul's media for encouraging "insulting" public sentiment regarding the North, Seoul's unification ministry said on Monday.
In a telegram, the North said it was canceling the event planned to be held at Mount Gumgang on Feb. 4, the ministry said.
The ministry said in a statement issued Monday night: "The North, in the notice, said our press was fanning public opinion that insults the North's sincere efforts made for the PyeongChang Olympics, and even took issue with the North's internal celebratory event, leaving the North no choice but to cancel the agreed-upon event."
The "internal celebratory event" apparently refers to a military parade the North is expected to hold one day before the Olympics' opening ceremony or Feb. 8 to mark the 70th anniversary of its military.
Seoul to Ship Diesel to Mt. Kumgang for Pre-Olympics Event
By Kim Jin-myung
January 29, 2018 09:28
South Korea will ship about 10,000 liters of diesel to North Korea's Mt. Kumgang resort for a celebration on the eve of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a government official here said Sunday.
But supplying refined oil products like diesel to the North could violate UN Security Council sanctions.
"North Korean officials said that it's hard for them to ensure a stable power supply to the venue for a joint cultural event, because it's a facility built by South Korea,'" the government official said. "I think we should ship diesel there."
[Olympics18] [Sanctions] [US dominance]
N.Korean Apparatchiks Startled by K-Pop Gig
By Lee Yong-soo
January 29, 2018 10:46
Eight North Korean apparatchiks were shocked to the core of their puritanical souls on Saturday when they stumbled on a rehearsal by a skimpily clad South Korean girl band.
The officials, who sported Soviet-style fur hats, were visiting MBC in northwestern Seoul on Saturday afternoon, and in one studio they were unexpectedly greeted by girl band Oh My Girl rehearsing for a live TV show two hours later.
The officials' expressions grew stern as South Korean movies, TV dramas and music are banned as a "capitalistic scourge" in the North, and those caught watching them are sometimes executed.
Pyeongchang Olympics Party at Davos Forum Flops
By Jun Hyun-suk
January 29, 2018 11:45
Turnout was sparse for a party hosted by the Foreign Ministry on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last Thursday.
The ministry and Olympics organizers advertised a "Korea Pyeongchang Night" in Davos and expected 525 major foreign dignitaries. They booked a top hotel for the event and hired musicians. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said the government put "a lot of effort" into the event.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha speaks at a party promoting the Peyongchang Winter Olympics at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last Thursday. /Yonhap
But only around 300 people turned up in dribs and drabs. WEF founder Klaus Schwab could not make it and sent his son. The biggest names were Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters and Mongolian Foreign Minister Damdin Tsogtbaatar. Participants said most of the guests were Korean officials.
Some blamed a dinner U.S. President Donald Trump was hosting at the same time for stealing the Korean event's thunder, but only around 15 big business leaders attended that.
Read this article in Korean
[Olimics18] [Davos] [Sidelined]
Inter-Korean joint cultural event likely to be held at Mt. Kumgang in early February
Posted on : Jan.28,2018 18:07 KST Modified on : Jan.28,2018 18:07 KST
A South Korean advance team sent to review the venues for the inter-Korean musical performance at Mt. Kumkang and the joint ski training at Masikryong Ski Resort checks the stage at the Mt. Kumkang Cultural Center on Jan. 23. (provided by the Unification Ministry)
South Korean skiers will participate in two days of joint training with North Koreans at Masikryong Ski Resort
The inter-Korean joint cultural event celebrating the hosting of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is likely to be held at the Mt. Kumgang Cultural Center in early February.
On Jan. 26, a senior official from the Unification Ministry who had returned from a visit to North Korea from Jan. 23 to 25 with the South Korean advance team met with reporters. “We’re actively considering the cultural center as the location for the cultural event. Since the cultural center was built to host cultural events, its stage has the appropriate width and length, and it has a green room, too,” the official said.
In regard to the cultural event program, the official said, “South Korea is thinking about contemporary music, traditional music and cultural events. The North Koreans are apparently focusing on traditional music.” The official added that South Korea had also told the North Koreans about the possibility of featuring a K-pop act in the concert. The concert will consist of separate performances by South and North Koreans, followed by a joint performance.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean] [Concert]
NK women hockey players will arrive ahead of schedule to take part in unified team
Posted on : Jan.24,2018 17:16 KST Modified on : Jan.24,2018 17:16 KST
A South Korean advance review team arrives at the Donghae Highway Transit office at the border of South and North Korea. The team will review venues at the Mt. Kumgang Joint Cultural Festival and Masikryong Ski Resort. Lee Joo-tae, director-general of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation at the Unification Ministry, speaks to reporters about the team’s schedule and plans in North Korea. (Yonhap News)
Logistics set for North Korean performances during Pyeongchang Olympics
The schedule and venues have been set for performances by North Korean performers to celebrate the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Athletes from the North Korean women’s hockey team are also scheduled to arrive in the South around a week earlier than expected for joint training as part of the first-ever unified Korean team in Olympic history.
In an “announcement on performance group issues” sent on the evening of Jan. 23, Pyongyang said the two celebratory performances for the Pyeongchang Olympics by the roughly 140-member Samjiyon performance group would be taking place on Feb. 8 and 11, the South Korean Ministry of Unification announced. The announcement also revealed that the Feb. 8 performance on the eve of the Olympic opening ceremony would be held at Gangneung Art Center, while the Feb. 11 performance would take place in Haeorum Theater inside of the National Theater of Korea in Seoul’s Jangchung neighborhood
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
Unified Korean women’s hockey team to play warm-up game against Sweden on Feb. 4
Posted on : Jan.23,2018 16:42 KST Modified on : Jan.23,2018 16:42 KST
The match will be the first and only chance for the team to play together before the Pyeongchang Olympics
Sarah Murray, coach of the unified Korean women’s hockey team, answers a question during a press conference held at the Jincheon National Training Center in North Chungcheong Province on Jan. 22. (Yonhap News)
Sarah Murray, 30, coach of the South Korean women’s hockey team, said that the unified inter-Korean team would hit the ice starting with the warm-up match against Sweden on Feb. 4.
“We only have 16 days left until the Olympics. That’s not enough time for the unified inter-Korean team to learn how to play together. The North Korean athletes need to get here in a hurry,” Murray said during a press conference at the Jincheon National Training Center in North Chungcheong Province on Jan. 22.
“The warm-up game with Sweden at the Seonhak Ice Rink in Incheon on Feb. 4 is the final and only warm-up game before the main Olympic events. The unified inter-Korean team will compete,” Murray added.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
South and North Korean advance teams set to begin review of Olympic training and performance venues
Posted on : Jan.23,2018 16:39 KST Modified on : Jan.23,2018 16:39 KST
North Korea’s external publicity outlet, “Joseon Today” shows North Korean citizens skiing at Masikryong Ski Resort on Jan. 22. (Yonhap News)
Both groups will be travelling along newly reopened inter-Korean overland routes
With the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics just 17 days away, advance teams from South and North Korea that will be crossing the border to prepare for the arrival of athletes and officials from both sides will be starting their itineraries on Jan. 23.
“An advance team of 12 people under Lee Joo-tae, director of the Unification Ministry’s Bureau of Cooperation and Exchange, will be visiting North Korea from tomorrow until Jan. 25 in line with agreements reached in high-level and working-level inter-Korean talks,” South Korean Unification Ministry Spokesperson Baik Tae-hyun said during the daily briefing on Jan. 22. The advance team is planning to review facilities near Mount Kumgang and the Masikryong Ski Resort, which are the sites of a joint inter-Korean cultural event and a joint training program for South and North Korean skiers. The advance team is supposed to travel to and from North Korea along the East Sea Line overland route.
Will S.Koreans Go Crazy Over Some N.Korean Apparatchik?
By Chosun Ilbo Columnist Kim Ki-chul
January 23, 2018 13:16
A ship carrying 290 North Korean cheerleaders docked in Busan when the southern port city hosted the Asian Games in 2002, and South Koreans were mesmerized by the tall pretty women, who had been handpicked by the regime. With their synchronized applause and cheers they even spawned their own fan clubs in the South. North Korean state TV claimed that the women's clothing and makeup sparked fads in the South.
That gave the North its first taste of the publicity pretty women can generate even if they represent a murderous regime. It promptly sent more than 300 of them to the Universiade in Daegu the following year. But this time things did not go as smoothly, and one rainy day the women were spotted sobbing uncontrollably when they saw a banner featuring then-leader Kim Jong-il getting soaked in the street. The cheerleaders got off their bus and collected the precious item, and at least some South Koreans did start to wonder if they were completely mad.
A similar craze threatens to develop now Hyon Song-wol, a bandleader-cum-apparatchik, has visited South Korea, where she was mobbed by press and gawkers at Seoul Station en route to Gangneung. The government deployed 720 police officers to protect her, and it would be no exaggeration to say she stole the show. Why the government has been going all out to accommodate Hyon is a mystery.
[Hyon Song Wol] [Olympics18] [Conservatives]
N.Korean Delegation Returns Home
By Ahn Jun-yong
January 23, 2018 09:42
A North Korean delegation led by bandleader-cum-apparatchik Hyon Song-wol wrapped up their two-day inspection of potential concert venues on Monday.
Hyon's Samjiyon Orchestra are likely to perform at the National Theater in Seoul when they visit South Korea for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month.
She visited the National Theater on Monday and spent about an hour there. She also looked around Jamsil and Jangchung gymnasiums, but only for 15 minutes each. North Korean musical groups also performed at the National Theater back in 1985 and 1990.
[Samjiyon] [Hyon Song Wol]
IOC announces decision to allow unified Korean hockey team
Posted on : Jan.22,2018 16:50 KST Modified on : Jan.22,2018 16:50 KST
IOC President Thomas Bach holds a press conference in at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland after holding a four-party meeting to discuss North Korea’s participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Bach is flanked by North Korean Sports Minister and Olympic Committee President Kim Il-guk (left), and South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan. (Yonhap News)
The Committee will also provide credentials for 46 North Koreans to participate in the Pyeongchang Olympics
The International Olympic Committee’s declaration on Jan. 20 that it will allow a unified Korean women’s hockey team to compete in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics for the first time in history and to give credentials to 46 North Koreans (22 athletes and 24 officials and team staff) shows that using sports to ease inter-Korean tensions coincides with the spirit of the Olympics.
“The Olympic Games are always about building bridges. They never erect walls. The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding. The Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula,” said IOC President Thomas Bach after a four-party meeting between the IOC, South and North Korea’s Olympic committees and the Pyeongchang Olympics’ organizing committee.
The IOC’s decision enables the North to send its largest ever team of athletes to the Winter Olympics. In addition to requalifying figure skating duo Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, who were disqualified after they missed the deadline for confirming their participation, an invitation has been extended to three cross-country skiers, three alpine skiers, two short track skaters and 12 women’s hockey players who had not qualified to begin with. While the IOC has the authority to extent special invitations to athletes from countries with less developed sports programs, this was an unusually generous decision.
Unified Korea team to jointly enter opening ceremonies under Korean Peninsula flag
Posted on : Jan.22,2018 16:53 KST Modified on : Jan.22,2018 16:53 KST
The South and North Korean athletic delegations make their first unified joint entrance at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. (Photo Pool)
Culture Minister reassures public that the Taeguekgi flag will be featured prominently at Olympics venues as symbol of the host country
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Jan. 20 that the country of the South and North Korean athletes entering jointly at the Pyeongchang Olympics would be listed as “Korea,” while the three-letter country code for the unified women’s hockey team would be “COR.”
“During the joint entrance at the opening ceremony, the athletes will have Korean Peninsula flags on their chests and ‘Korea’ written on the back of their uniforms,” explained Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan at a press conference soon after his arrival at Incheon Airport on Jan. 21.
Do also responded to concerns that the Pyeongchang event may be first Olympic Games where the flag of the host country (South Korea’s Taegeukgi) does not make an appearance.
“Once the opening ceremony begins, there will first be a large Taegeukgi flag, and a chorus will sing the [South Korean] national anthem,” he said.
“The large Taegeukgi will be displayed throughout the Olympics,” he added.
The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee plans to make the necessary adjustments to the athletes’ uniforms.
[Olympics18] [Unification flag]
Composition of unified women’s hockey team a product of difficult negotiations
Posted on : Jan.22,2018 16:54 KST Modified on : Jan.22,2018 16:54 KST
The South and North Korean women’s hockey teams pose for a photo with members of the IIHF following their match at the Women’s World Championship Division II in Gangneung in April 2017. (Yonhap News)
12 North Korean hockey players will join the original team of 23 South Koreans
It turns out that it wasn’t easy to reach an agreement about setting up the unified inter-Korean women’s hockey team.
“The composition of the unified women’s hockey team was the hardest part” of the four-party talks between South and North Korea’s Olympic committees, the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics’ organizing committee, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan said during an interview with the press on Jan. 20, following IOC President Thomas Bach’s announcement about the Olympics.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
South Korean delegation visits North to inspect venues for joint Olympic events
Posted : 2018-01-23 10:11
Updated : 2018-01-23 15:07
A South Korean delegation went to North Korea on Tuesday to inspect the venues where the two Koreas will hold joint cultural and sports events ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The visit by 12 officials follows a North Korean team's two-day stay in South Korea, which ended Monday. The North Korean team came to the South to inspect art performance venues in Seoul and Gangneung, a sub-host city of the Olympics.
Led by Lee Joo-tae, director-general for the inter-Korean exchange and cooperation in the Ministry of Unification, the South Korean team crossed the border through the East Sea Line, one of the two inter-Korean passes, which has not been used since October 2015.
They will visit the Mount Kumgang area, Masikryong Ski Resort and an airfield, all in the east of North Korea.
Sensitivities flare in South Korea over North Korean visit
Seoul is devoting significant resources to enable the last-minute participation of North Korea at next month’s Winter Olympics. The process is not without its critics
By Andrew Salmon January 23, 2018
Hyon Song Wol, head of North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra, arrives at the South's CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) as she heads back to North Korea, on January 22, 2018. Photo: Yonhap via Reuters
While the majority of the South Korean population seems to be behind the tension-easing attendance of North Korea at next month’s Winter Olympics, not all is well, with conservative sensitivities south of the DMZ pricked by the rushed participation.
[Olympics18] [Hong Song Wol]
N.Korean Glamor Girl Makes Splash on Arrival in S.Korea
By Ahn Jun-yong
January 22, 2018 09:51
North Korean glamor girl-turned-apparatchik Hyon Song-wol turned many heads on arrival in South Korea on Sunday ahead of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Some 1,000 police and security personnel were mobilized to protect Hyon as she and her six-member entourage traveled by train from Seoul Station to Gangneung in Gangwon Province. Security personnel pushed back reporters, who had turned out in droves at Seoul Station as Hyon boarded the KTX train.
Hyon, who was here in her official capacity as a Workers Party apparatchik and leader of a cheerleading orchestra, wore a blue overcoat and fur muffler and appeared tense but smiled from time to time.
Police moved homeless people out of the station. South Korean reporters shouted questions at Hyon, but she remained silent.
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[Olympics18] [Samjiyon] [Hyon Song Wol]
North Korean delegation inspects concert venues in Seoul [PHOTOS]
Posted : 2018-01-22 14:39
Updated : 2018-01-22 16:15
Hyon Song-wol, head of the North Korean delegation, returns to Seoul Station on Monday morning after a one-day inspection of possible sites for a North Korean art troupe's performance in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
Conservative activists protest at Seoul Station Monday against the North's participation in the Winter Olympics. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
A conservative activist sets fire to a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the North's flag in front of Seoul Station Monday in protest against the North's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
Hyon Song-wol, head of the North Korean delegation, enters the Lotte Hotel in Jamsil, southeastern Seoul, for lunch on Monday. / Yonhap
A motorcade, including a chartered bus carrying the North Korean delegation, heads toward central Seoul Monday. / Yonhap
Conservative activists wave South Korean and U.S. flags and chant anti-North Korean slogans as a chartered bus carrying the delegation arrives at the Jangchung Gymnasium in central Seoul, a possible site for a North Korean art troupe's performance, Monday. / Yonhap
Hyon Song-wol is escorted into Jangchung Gymnasium in central Seoul, a possible site for a North Korean art troupe's performance, Monday. / Yonhap
A North Korean delegation led by the powerful female head of a national orchestra moved to Seoul on Monday morning from the eastern city of Gangneung, on the second day of their two-day visit to inspect candidate venues for its planned art performances during next month's PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
On Sunday, the seven-member team, led by Hyon Song-wol, the head of the Samjiyon Orchestra, visited two candidate auditoriums in Gangneung, a sub-host city of the games, 260 kilometers east of the capital.
They are scheduled to inspect a few more concert halls in central Seoul on Monday and will cross the inter-Korean land border to go back to North Korea.
North Korea agreed in recent working-level talks with the South to send a 140-member art troupe to hold two concerts, in Seoul and Gangneung.
The delegation is expected to report the results of their inspection to the North Korean government, which will make the final decision on when and where its proposed art performances will be staged.
A crowd of people gathered in front of the hotel in Gangneung as the delegates were having breakfast on Monday morning.
Hyon responded with only a subtle smile as journalists approached her and asked about her breakfast as the North Korean delegation boarded a train heading to Seoul earlier in the morning.
The window blind of Hyon's train seat was drawn as the train departed for Seoul. The police barred access to Hyon's train compartment. (Yonhap)
[Olympics18] [Hyon Song Wol] [Samjiyon]
South Korean delegation to visit North on Tuesday
Posted : 2018-01-22 14:44
Updated : 2018-01-22 14:49
By Park Si-soo
A South Korean delegation will visit North Korea on Tuesday to inspect venues for a joint cultural event and a training center for skiers ahead of the Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony on Feb. 9
Seoul's unification ministry said Monday the 12-member delegation would cross the inter-Korean border on Tuesday morning on a three-day visit to the reclusive state, during which they will inspect Mt. Kumgang and the Masikryong Ski Resort.
The high-profile visit, agreed at the latest inter-Korean talks on Jan. 17, will begin a day after a North Korean delegation ended its two-day inspection of possible sites for a North Korean art troupe's performance in the South.
South Korea believes the planned exchanges of cultural and sports events will help ease heightened military tension on the Korean Peninsula and possibly pave the way for a breakthrough in dealing with the North's nuclear and missile programs.
"In accordance with the agreement made between the two Koreas, a 12-member (South Korean) delegation will visit North Korea from tomorrow to Thursday," said ministry spokesman Baek Tae-hyun.
"The delegation will be led by Lee Joo-tae, director general of the Unification Ministry's Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Bureau. They will cross the inter-Korean border via a land route along the east coast and will return through the same route."
The spokesman said North Korea would pay for the delegation's visit, as the South did for the North's delegation led by Hyon Song-wol, head of the Samjiyon Orchestra.
He said the countries were discussing a request for the delegation to inspect Galma Airport in North Korea's port city of Wonsan. The delegation wants to inspect the airport in case the South's ski team has to enter or leave the North via the airport.
Joint ice hockey team turns young South Koreans hostile toward North
Posted : 2018-01-21 15:38
Updated : 2018-01-22 13:42
By Lee Min-hyung
Young South Koreans have a growing sense of hostility toward North Korea, viewing a recent decision by the two Koreas to form a joint ice hockey team as giving the North a "free ride" in the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
According to an opinion poll by Gallup Korea, President Moon Jae-in's approval rating dropped to 67 percent last week (Jan. 16 to 18), the lowest in 16 weeks, largely affected by the controversy over the joint ice hockey team.
By age group, the figure among those in their 40s declined by the biggest margin, from 84 percent to 75 percent, followed by those in their 30s and 20s.
The decline is attributable to the government's recent decision to form a joint women's ice hockey team, which aroused a sense of distrust against the Moon administration especially from the younger generation.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean] [Public opinion]
2 Koreas speed up exchanges of Olympic delegates
Posted : 2018-01-21 17:07
Updated : 2018-01-22 11:30
By Yi Whan-woo
A North Korean delegation headed by Moranbong Band leader Hyon Song-wol arrived in South Korea, Sunday, to discuss preparations for performances by the North's top arts troupes during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
This was the first visit by North Korean officials to the South since October 2014 when three aides of leader Kim Jong-un -- Hwang Pyong-so, Choe Ryong-hae and Kim Yang Gon -- attended the closing ceremony for the Incheon Asian Games.
The Hyon-led delegation's trip also comes as the two Koreas are scheduled to send delegates to each other's country this week in joint preparations for South Korea's first Winter Games.
N. Korea may televise PyeongChang Olympics
Posted : 2018-01-21 14:51
Updated : 2018-01-22 11:26
The Masikryong Ski Resort, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's pet project near the port city of Wonsan on the country's east coast, is open only to a limited group of people, including those from the elite class. / Korea Times file
By Yi Whan-woo
North Korean media outlets will broadcast the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, according to sources familiar with Pyongyang.
If this happens, North Koreans will get a rare glimpse of South Korea's first Winter Games amid a thaw in cross-border relations.
"The country will intensively cover events involving their athletes as well as the activities of its cheerleading squad on TV and radio," a source said.
It did not specify whether Pyongyang's state-controlled media would broadcast the Winter Games live or make relevant reports including recorded and censored footage.
A North Korea expert in Seoul said he believed North Korean coverage of the Olympics was "very likely."
N.Korean Delegation in S.Korea to Inspect Concert Venues
By Jung Chul-hwan
January 21, 2018 16:35
A North Korean delegation led by Hyon Song-wol, the head of Samjiyon Orchestra, arrived in Seoul on Sunday to check the venues for their performances scheduled next month during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The seven-member delegation crossed the border through the inter-Korean Gyeongui railway line at the western part of the demilitarized zone around 10 a.m. Hyon and her entourage moved to Seoul Station by bus and boarded on a KTX bullet train bound for Gangneung, Gangwon Province, some 260 km east of the capital.
Hyon Song-wol (center), the leader of a North Korean delegation, arrives at Seoul Station in the capital on Sunday. /Yonhap
Hundreds of reporters gathered at Seoul Station to cover the first visit of the North Koreans since the shutdown of the Kaesong industrial complex in February 2016. Accesses to them on the train were strictly screened by the police. Some passengers protested for the strengthened security measures.
They arrived at Gangneung at around 1:00 p.m. and had lunch at a hotel in the resort city. The North Koreans then toured the concert venues and other facilities. They plan to return to Seoul on Monday to inspect other venues in Seoul.
Samjiyon Orchestra is one of the most famous orchestras in North Korea. Hyon was supposed to visit Seoul on Saturday, but her visit was abruptly canceled at the last minute on Friday night and re-arranged.
North Korea said earlier it would send the 140-member Samjiyon Orchestra to perform in Seoul and Gangneung.
Culture Ministry announces plan for additional joint inter-Korean entrance at 2018 Asian Games
Posted on : Jan.20,2018 15:27 KST Modified on : Jan.20,2018 15:27 KST
South and North Korean athletes make the two sides’ first joint entrance at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. (Photo Pool)
The ministry plans to push for joint staging of the 2030 World Cup in South and North Korea, China, and Japan
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) announced plans to coordinate a joint inter-Korean entrance and cheering at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia this August. The announcement came during joint progress reports on the “diplomatic and security situation and improvements in inter-Korean relations” with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Unification, and Patriots and Veterans’ Affairs at the Central Government Complex in Seoul on Jan. 19, with Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon in attendance.
New aerial route may open to Kalma International Airport in Wonsan
Posted on : Jan.20,2018 15:39 KST Modified on : Jan.20,2018 15:39 KST
South Korean ski team could use the airport to reach the Masikryong Ski Resort for joint training with North Korea
South and North Korea’s agreement to use the Masikryong Ski Resort is prompting expectations that a new aerial route may open to the Kalma International Airport in Wonsan, near the resort. During vice minister-level talks on Jan. 17, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed that their skiers would train together at the Masikryong Ski Resort prior to the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Toward this end, Seoul will be sending an advance party to the resort from Jan. 23 to 25 to review the facilities.
50% of South Korea against unification flag at Olympics
Posted : 2018-01-18 16:09
Updated : 2018-01-19 13:57
By Lee Min-hyung
Half of South Koreans are against South and North Korean athletes using a "unification flag" at the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics, a survey showed Thursday.
According to a poll by RealMeter, 49.4 percent of 500 people aged over 19 voted against athletes from the two Koreas marching under the flag symbolizing a unified Korea for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics set to begin next month. They said South Korean athletes should hold the South Korean national flag, the Taegeukgi, and North Koreans should hold their country's flag.
Forty percent of the respondents agreed on the use of the unification flag.
[Olympics18] [Unification] [Public opinion]
2 Koreas to Celebrate Olympics at Mt. Kumgang
By Jun Hyun-suk
January 18, 2018 09:27
North and South Korea will hold a celebration in the North's scenic Mt. Kumgang resort on the eve of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and have skiers from both sides will train in Masikryong Ski Resort on North Korea's east coast.
South Korean officials made the proposal during talks in the border truce village of Panmunjom on Wednesday and North Korea agreed. The latest agreement raises fears that package tours to Mt. Kumgang could resume and provide the North with cash for its nuclear and missile programs, and that Seoul could weaken economic sanctions against North Korea.
The two Koreas also agreed to form a joint women's ice hockey team, to be finalized in a meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland on Saturday. South Korea proposed adding three North Korean women to the 23-member South Korean women's ice hockey team, but North Korea wants to send six.
[Olymics18] [Joint Korean] [Kumgangsan]
N.Korea to Stage Military Parade on Eve of Pyeongchang Olympics
By Pak Soo-chan
January 18, 2018 11:45
North Korea will stage a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the standing army on Feb. 8, just a day before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics start in South Korea.
Travel agencies specializing in North Korea tours are capitalizing on the events.
Paektu Cultural Exchange, a Canadian organization in China promoting exchanges with North Korea, advertises a five-day package tour to the North to attend the parade. Tickets will be on sale until Jan. 31.
Visitors will depart from Dandong, China on Feb. 5 and tour Kaesong and the border truce village of Panmunjom before watching the parade in Pyongyang on Feb. 8.
The five-day train tour costs a hefty 1,190 euros per person. An added option is to fly back to Shenyang, China and then fly to South Korea for the Olympics on Feb. 9.
Diplomatic sources said North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra has told South Korea that it will hold a concert in the South on Feb. 16, which is the birthday of former leader Kim Jong-il.
The orchestra seems to be a reincarnation of the Samjiyon Band, launched in 2009 at the orders of Kim senior, which specializes in patriotic and revolutionary tunes.
Equipment at N.Korean Ski Resort 'Hopelessly Outdated'
By Kim Myong-song, Lee Soon-heung
January 18, 2018 11:25
North and South Korea agreed Wednesday that skiers from both sides will train in the North’s Masikryong Ski Resort, but the equipment at the prestige facility appears to be hopelessly out of date.
Nam Sung-wook at Korea University and other North Korea experts have criticized the agreement as giving the resort undeserved international exposure and warned that paying for use of the facilities could violate UN sanctions.
Located in North Korea's Kangwon Province on the east coast, the 14 million sq.m ski resort has 10 slopes and a 250-room hotel. North Korea started building it in March 2013, a year after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rose to power. It opened later the same year after Kim personally visited the site to urge workers to speed things up. He boarded one of the ski lifts himself at the grand opening.
But the rushed construction apparently caused safety problems. North Korea planned to buy a US$7.5 million ski lift from Switzerland, but sanctions threw a spanner in the works, so the regime simply moved ski lifts from a nearby resort built in the 1970s and 80s.
A source said the lifts have repeatedly been shut down due to accidents.
People ski at Masikryong Ski Resort in North Korea (file photo). /Yonhap
Kim is desperately seeking new sources of hard currency by promoting leisure and tourism projects and has invited foreigners living in Pyongyang to ski at the resort. But it is mostly empty except for a few visitors from China and Russia. Ordinary North Koreans cannot afford the high fees.
One source said it costs up to $34 a day for ski rentals and almost 10 times more for a hotel room. "That is unimaginable for North Koreans except for a few elite officials," the source added.
Vice Unification Minister ChunHae-sung told reporters that the athletes scheduled to train in Masikryong are not Olympic skiers, but promising athletes. But critics wonder what benefits South Korean athletes could gain.
A source at the South's Korea Ski Association said, "Our ski facilities are among the best in the world, so what could we possibly gain from training in outdated facilities that don't even meet international standards?"
[Skiing] [Masikryong] [Sanctions] [Conservatives]
N.Korea's Army of Cheerleaders Needs to Stay at Home
By Sonu Jong from the Chosun Ilbo's News Desk
January 17, 2018 13:24
Ambush marketing has become a major source of controversy during each Olympics event. It refers to companies associating themselves with, or "ambushing," a big event without being its actual official sponsors. SK Telecom was guilty of this practice during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup and is now stirring up controversy again, but this time it has met the mother of all rivals in North Korea.
North Korea has the advantage of total shamelessness. It does not care whose toes it treads on, certainly not if they are South Korea's, and is determined to snatch the limelight from the hands of the host. First, the national flag of the host country will be phased out of the picture to be replaced by a "unification flag" during the opening and closing ceremonies. South Korea made the suggestion before the North even asked for it, and now it is in the same situation as poor Taiwan, which can never hoist its own flag at international events due to mainland China's global clout.
North Korea proposes that Samjiyon musical group cross into South Korea via Panmunjeom
Posted on : Jan.17,2018 16:44 KST Modified on : Jan.17,2018 16:44 KST
The Samjiyon musical group gives a performance on Nov. 17, 2016, which is Mother’s Day in North Korea. The group will perform during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung and Seoul. (Yonhap News)
South Korean officials will deliberate the idea with the UN Command
Interest is focusing on North Korea’s proposal for the musical group that will be performing during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to cross into South Korea overland at Panmunjeom. Considering that it is highly unusual for such a large group – more than 140 members in this case – to cross the border at Panmunjeom, experts are offering various interpretations of Pyongyang’s intentions.
During the working-level inter-Korean talks held on Jan. 15 to arrange a visit by the North Korean musical group, the North announced that it intended for the Samjiyon members to travel overland via Panmunjeom to Seoul and Pyeongchang and asked South Korea for help with transportation. The South Korean government is reportedly planning to make its final decision about an overland visit to the South following deliberations with the UN Command, which has jurisdiction over the military demarcation line.
[Olympics18] [Samjiyon] [US dominance]
[Reporter’s Notebook] IOC president grants wild card for North Korean participation in Pyeongchang Olympics
Posted on : Jan.17,2018 16:45 KST Modified on : Jan.17,2018 16:45 KST
Members of the North and South Korean women’s ice hockey teams pose for a photo along with representatives from the International Ice Hockey Federation at the 2017 Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships in Gangneung, Gangwon Province last April. (Yonhap News)
The actions of Thomas Bach reflect a commitment to upholding the fundamental principles of the Olympic Games
“The goal of the Olympics is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” The fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter state that peace is central to the Olympics movement. It is a profoundly political motto that suggests using sports, the most apolitical of fields, to heal conflicts, strife, and enmity and achieve a better world.
It is in reflection of this mission that International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach granted North Korea a wild card to participate in the figure skating pairs event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after it missed the deadline for eligibility, and is committing great efforts to allow North Korean athletes to complete in other events such as short track speed skating, Alpine skiing, and cross country. The active efforts to field a unified Korean team in ice hockey, a team event, reflect the conclusion that efforts to reduce inter-Korean tensions conform more to the Olympic spirit of peace than Western individualism or rationalism.
North Korea to compete in four sports at PyeongChang Games
Posted : 2018-01-18 14:12
Updated : 2018-01-18 14:13
The two Koreas have agreed on four sports in which North Korean athletes will compete at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the event's top organizer revealed Thursday.
Lee Hee-beom, head of the organizing committee for PyeongChang 2018, said North Korea will send athletes in pair figure skating, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and women's ice hockey.
Lee said the agreement was reached during working-level inter-Korean talks on Wednesday. But he declined to disclose the number of North Korean athletes as agreed on by the two sides because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will have the final say on the matter.
N.Korean Media Fudges Cross-Border Olympic Deal
By Kim Myong-song
January 19, 2018 09:31
North Korean media on Thursday broadcast only part of a joint press release issued after the latest cross-border talks about the North's participation in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The two Korea met at the truce village of Panmunjom on Wednesday and agreed to hold a celebration in the North's Mt. Kumkang resort on the eve of the Olympics and have skiers from both sides train in Maskiryong Ski Resort. But those were the only points the North Korean state media focused on.
They omitted key points like the two Koreas' Olympic teams marching together in the opening and closing ceremonies and the formation of a joint women's ice-hockey team. That suggests the regime's interest is less in the Olympics than in touting the ski resort and resuming lucrative package tours to Mt. Kumgang.
The official [North] Korean Central News Agency did not even mention the South Korean host city of the Olympics.
There was no mention of the skewed composition of the North Korean delegation, which consists of a handful of athletes but a vast army of cheerleaders, let alone how and when they will travel to the South.
January 19, 2018 13:41
Strange things are happening on the Korean Peninsula just three weeks before the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. North Korea is preparing a massive military parade on Feb. 8, marking the 70th anniversary of its standing army, a day before the Olympics starts. One Canadian-owned organization in China that pushes exchanges with North Korea has already started selling package tours for the parade, with the option of moving on to South Korea for the Olympics. It must appeal to an interesting niche market. Normally North Korea celebrates the army anniversary on April 25, so it is blatantly obvious what it is up to. It wants to flaunt its nuclear power and try to steal the show, with a strong message that it has no intention of giving up its nukes, Olympics or no Olympics.
Government asks for public understanding on creation of unified women’s hockey team
Posted on : Jan.19,2018 17:25 KST Modified on : Jan.19,2018 17:25 KST
Do Jong-whan (left), Minister of Sports Culture and Tourism, Lee Hee-beom, President of the Pyeongchang Olympics Organizing Committee, Ryu Seung-min, member of the International Olympic Committee, and Lee Ki-hong, Chairman of the Korea Sports Council depart from Incheon International Airport on Jan. 18 to take part in the discussions regarding the creation of a unified Korean women’s hockey team that will be held at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo Pool)
The unified Korean team is viewed as an important component of the “Peace Olympics”
While the Blue House said on Jan. 18 that it “completely understands” the criticism about the creation of a unified women’s hockey team for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, it asked people to look at the bigger picture of creating the “Peace Olympics.”
“We completely understand the criticism that the creation of a unified Korean women’s hockey team is unfair and unjust. Young people want a country in which the processes are fair and [the results] are just, and we definitely understand why they would think that the process was unfair [this time]. I don’t think we can give young people the explanation that it’s okay for [the athletes on the South Korean women’s hockey team] to suffer a little harm because creating a unified team is more important,” a senior Blue House official said during a press conference on Jan. 18.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean] [Conservatives]
Inter-Korean cultural event to be held at Mt. Kumgang prior to Olympics
Posted on : Jan.18,2018 18:02 KST Modified on : Jan.18,2018 18:02 KST
Chun Hae-sung, South Korea’s Vice Minister of Unification, and Jon Jong-su, Vice Chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland meet to discuss the details of North Korea’s participation in the Olympics during a meeting at Panmunjeom on Jan. 17. (provided by Unification Ministry)
The two sides will also field a combined women’s hockey team and have skiers train together
South and North Korea seem poised to send an even louder message of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The two sides agreed to hold a joint cultural event at Mount Kumgang prior to the Olympics opening ceremony and to have their skiers train together at the Masikryong Ski Resort, two sites located in North Korea.
The two sides will also field a unified women’s hockey team in the Olympic Games and march into the opening ceremony under the Unification Flag. In addition to its delegation to the Olympics (taking place between Feb. 9 and 25), the North will be sending a delegation of more than 150 people to the Paralympics (taking place between Mar. 9 and 18) and sending more than 230 cheerleaders to the Olympics.
Celebration at Mt. Kumgang to be an unprecedented symbol of “Peace Olympics”
Posted on : Jan.18,2018 18:04 KST Modified on : Jan.18,2018 18:04 KST
North Korean citizens enjoy the Masikryong Ski Resort in Gangwon Province. (Yonhap News)
Joint event is part of the five point plan laid out by Moon Jae-in during last year’s presidential campaign
The celebration at Mt. Kumgang and the ski training at the Masikryong Ski Resort that South and North Korea agreed to hold during their vice-minister level talks on Jan. 17 about the North’s delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are likely to be remembered as unprecedented events symbolizing the “Peace Olympics.” It is also symbolic that both Mt. Kumgang and the Masikryong Ski Resort are located in the North Korean half of Gangwon Province, which is divided between the two Koreas.
The Mt. Kumgang celebration will be organized by South and North Korea and held on the stage at Mt. Kumgang prior to the Olympics. It will essentially be an inter-Korean event on the eve of the Olympics. North Korean authorities are also supposed to open up the Masikryong Ski Resort so that athletes from the two sides can train together there prior to the main opening ceremony at Pyeongchang. South Korea has agreed to send an advance party to inspect the resort facilities from Jan. 23 and 25, and South Korean skiers are expected to visit North Korea shortly afterward.
The celebration at Mt. Kumgang on the eve of the Olympics and the training at the Masikryong Ski Resort were part of the five-point plan for the “Peace Olympics” at Pyeongchang that then-presidential candidate Moon announced during a meeting with Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon while Moon was campaigning in the province in Apr. 2017.
[Olympics18] [Kumgangsan] [Joint Korean] [Masikryong]
Unified Korean team to make a joint entrance to Pyeongchang Olympics
Posted on : Jan.18,2018 18:09 KST Modified on : Jan.18,2018 18:09 KST
The unified Korean team makes a joint entrance to the opening ceremony of the Athens Summer Olympics in 2004. (Olympics Photo Pool)
This will be the first time since the 2007 Asian Winter Games
The sight of a unified South and North Korean team making a joint entrance under a Korean Peninsula flag will be returning for the Feb. 9 opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The event will also include joint cheering by South and North Korean squads and members of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon).
During inter-Korean working-level talks at Panmunjeom on Jan. 17, South and North Korea agreed to have their respective athletes make a joint entrance under a Korean Peninsula flag at the opening ceremony. It will be the first joint entrance by South and North Korean teams in the 11 years since the 2007 Asian Winter Games in Changchun.
The Korean Peninsula flag, which the two sides agreed upon as a “unified flag,” was first developed at athletic talks held at Panmunjeom during the Roh Tae-woo administration in Oct. 1989 to discuss the two sides fielding a unified team at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing. The flag was decided after the South Korean side accepted the North’s suggestion of a blue silhouette of the Korean Peninsula against a white field. The flag ended up unused after negotiations on the composition of the unified team broke down.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
Will S.Korea's Olympics Become N.Korean Propaganda Tool?
January 15, 2018 13:49
The government proposed last week that South and North Korea march together in the opening and closing ceremonies and form a unified women's ice hockey team. The North and the International Olympic Committee hailed the proposal. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said South Korean athletes will not suffer any disadvantages as long as the existing 23 South Korean ice hockey players get to compete. But it is impossible to boost the 22-woman roster that can actually compete in matches, so the South Korean athletes will lose valuable playing time to accommodate the North Korean lame ducks. This must come as a shock for athletes who have trained so hard for so many years.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean] [Conservatives]
2 Koreas to March Together at Pyeongchang Olympics
By Lee Yong-soo
January 16, 2018 09:15
Athletes from the two Koreas could march together behind a "unification" flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-whan said Monday.
"Athletes from both Koreas marched together at international sports events about nine times so far," Do said in the National Assembly. "Peace on the Korean Peninsula through sports is a value that the Olympics are pursuing."
But the issue needs to be discussed not only between Seoul and Pyongyang but also with the International Olympic Committee.
Meanwhile, officials from the two Koreas met in the truce village of Panmunjom and agreed that North Korea's 140-member Samjiyon Orchestra will perform in Seoul and Gangneung during the Olympics.
The venues are to be decided.
They will meet again on Wednesday to discuss other details of North Korea's participation in the Olympics.
The Unification Ministry admitted it has no idea what exactly the Samjiyon Orchestra is. A ministry official said it could be a new name for the Samjiyon Band, which belongs to the Mansudae Art Troupe "or was hastily launched ahead of the ongoing cross-border talks."
The Samjiyon Band was launched in January 2009 at the orders of former leader Kim Jong-il
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
What Is N.Korea's Moranbong Troupe?
By Kim Myong-song
January 15, 2018 12:07
The leader of North Korea's Moranbong troupe has been included in the country's delegation to cross-border talks scheduled for Monday. This suggests that the entertainers will be dispatched to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Hyon Song-wol is rumored to be North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's ex-girlfriend and is believed to be in her 40s. Last year, her name was included among candidates for the powerful Central Committee of North Korea's Workers Party, which suggests she still enjoys Kim's trust.
In December 2015, she abruptly canceled a performance in Beijing just four hours before it was to start and flew back to North Korea. Chinese officials apparently demanded a change to the repertoire and objected to plans to project a North Korean missile launch on the backdrop. Instead of complying, Hyon ordered her charges to pack up and leave.
Hyon Song-wol (in a red circle), the leader of North Korea's Morangbong troupe, applauds behind North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju in July 2012, in this screen grab from the [North] Korean Central News Agency (file photo).
Formed in 2012, when Kim was taking power, the outfit is modeled after a western girl band and has 10 members.
The performers made international headlines at the time by wearing short skirts and tank tops and playing Western tunes. They are known as Kim Jong-un's favorite troupe and have performed at most major North Korean events. They have been touring the North since last year.
If they come to South Korea, they could perform in Seoul or Gangneung, though it remains to be seen whether they will agree to cut out the martial aspects of their show.
in any form or by any means without prior written permission.
North Korean women’s hockey players may train with South Korean counterparts
Posted on : Jan.15,2018 17:01 KST Modified on : Jan.15,2018 17:01 KST
Members of the North and South Korean women’s ice hockey teams pose for a photo along with representatives from the International Ice Hockey Federation at the 2017 Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships in Gangneung, Gangwon Province last April. (Yonhap News)
Six North Koreans would be added to the team if the International Olympic Committee approves the proposal
After North and South Korea agreed during high-level talks at Panmunjeom on Jan. 9 to field a unified women’s hockey team at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Hankyoreh reporters have learned that the two sides are working on a plan for 15 or 16 North Korean female hockey players to visit South Korea before the rest of North Korea’s athletes to train with their South Korean counterparts.
On Jan. 14, the Hankyoreh spoke on the phone with a source who is familiar with the efforts to set up a unified inter-Korean team. “North and South Korea agreed during the high-level talks on Jan. 9 that if the IOC approves the creation of a unified women’s hockey team, 15 or 16 North Korean female hockey players will come to South Korea at the end of January for joint training with the South Korean team. They agreed to choose about six of the more talented North Korean athletes who play well with the South Korean athletes and add them to the Olympic roster,” this source said.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
Can South Korea stomach North Korea's girl band?
Posted : 2018-01-15 15:35
Updated : 2018-01-15 17:51
The Moranbong Band and other North Korean perform during a key function in Pyongyang, December. / Yonhap
By Oh Young-jin
Can South Korea stomach North Korea's Moranbong Band, whose performances focus on glorifying dictator Kim Jong-un while belittling the Seoul government and antagonizing the United States?
The band sometimes features mockups of North Korean tanks and performers in military uniforms, describing South Korea and the U.S. as helpless enemies. Its music and lyrics reflect the North's military-first policy.
A Youtube video shows the band performing at a concert to praise the test-firing of intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 and Kim Jong-un's role in it.
The two Koreas are conducting talks about the North's participation in the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Games, setting aside their hostile stances over the North's missile and nuclear development.
South and North Korea make proposal for unified ice hockey team
Posted on : Jan.13,2018 15:03 KST Modified on : Jan.13,2018 15:03 KST
The South Korean women’s ice hockey team will compete in the Pyeongchang Olympics next month.
The issue will be discussed when Korean representatives meet with the IOC next week
South and North Korea made a proposal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to field a unified women’s ice hockey team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, it was recently confirmed. The team now appears likely to be a key topic at a four-party meeting of South and North Korean Olympic Committee members and officials from the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee that will be held by IOC President Thomas Bach on Jan. 20.
A senior official with the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) said on Jan. 12 that the two sides had “submitted a joint proposal to the IOC to form a unified women’s ice hockey team.” In a Jan. 10 message on its website, the IOC said South and North Korea’s joint proposals would be discussed on Jan. 20.
If a unified women’s hockey team is formed, it will be the first unified Korean team in the 27 years since the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships and FIFA World Youth Championship, and the first ever in Olympic history.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
No Major Leaders to Attend Pyeongchang Olympics
By Kang Ho-chul, Jeong Woo-sang
January 12, 2018 12:43
No major world leaders are expected at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month. President Moon Jae-in has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but neither is likely to turn up.
Moon had hoped to celebrate the next three Olympics together with the Chinese and Japanese leaders, who host the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
In a phone conversation on Thursday, Moon asked Xi to attend the closing ceremony but Xi did not give an immediate answer. Instead, China is expected to send a high-level delegation.
U.S. President Donald Trump told Moon this week that he will send Vice President Mike Pence at the head of a U.S. delegation.
"The underlying message is the president is sending us there to make it clear that we stand with South Korea, we stand with our allies in the region," Pence told Fox News on Wednesday. "And we will continue to bring maximum economic and diplomatic pressure to bear until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs that threaten the United States of America."
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono last month said Abe will decide whether to attend the Olympics taking his parliamentary schedule and "all circumstances" into consideration. But amid a fresh bilateral spat over a deal compensating wartime sex slaves, the Sankei Shimbun reported Thursday that Abe decided not to attend.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a press briefing that nothing has been decided and Abe is "still contemplating." He could still change his mind because Japan is a winter sports powerhouse and wants to promote the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also staying away because his country has been barred due to state-sponsored doping in the 2012 Olympics, although some Russian athletes can still compete under a neutral flag.
There was a time when Olympic Games played a huge role in international diplomacy and conferring prestige on the host, but now they have lost their luster to the extent that several Western cities have voted against their own governments' efforts to put them forward.
[Olympics18] [Softpower] [Russia confrontation] [Tribute]
North and South Korean Sports Officials to Meet Next Week
By Kang Ho-chul
January 12, 2018 09:50
Sports officials from North and South Korea will meet with International Olympic Committee officials to discuss the North's participation in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
They will meet in Lausanne, Switzerland on Jan. 20, the IOC said Thursday.
Chang Ung, Pyongyang's representative to the IOC, visited Lausanne on Wednesday and met with officials there. "We will talk with the IOC about the size of delegation including athletes participating in the Olympics," he said.
North Korean athletic delegation at Pyeongchang Olympics expected to be around 20
Posted on : Jan.12,2018 16:17 KST Modified on : Jan.12,2018 16:17 KST
Ri Son-gwon, chair of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, reads a joint press statement during the inter-Korean talks held at the Peace House in Panmunjeom on Jan. 9. (Photo Pool)
The list will likely include 10 athletes and 10 officials
The number of the North Korean athletic delegation for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics appears likely to be around 20 members. North Korea has also reportedly requested that some of them be allowed to arrive in South Korea by airplane. Explaining the outcome of recent inter-Korean talks in a Jan. 11 meeting with ruling and opposition party leaders, Minister of Unification Cho Myoung-gyon said the number of North Korean athletes and staff members at the Pyeongchang Olympics would “be around 20 people,” attendees reported. This likely includes 10 athletes and 10 staff members.
IOC meeting may lead to creation of unified Korean Olympic team
Posted on : Jan.12,2018 16:16 KST Modified on : Jan.12,2018 16:16 KST
South and North Korean athletes make a joint entrance to the Sydney Olympic games in 2000 led by South Korean women’s basketball captain Jung Enun-soon (center right) and North Korean judo captain Park Jong-chol (waving the Korean Peninsula flag.)
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will meet with Korean representatives in Lausanne next week
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach’s arrangement of a four-person meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Jan. 20 with the chairpersons of North and South Korea’s Olympic committees and the head of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics organizing committee may be aimed not only at discussing North Korea’s participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics and North and South Korea’s joint entrance to the games but also at ultimately setting up a unified Korean team, a sports website says.
On Jan. 10, Inside the Games, a news website focusing on the Olympics, analyzed the joint proposal submitted by North and South Korea on Jan. 9 and concluded that Bach’s coordination of the four-party meeting is aimed at creating a unified inter-Korean women’s hockey team. Remarking that unified teams had been created for the table tennis and youth football events in the past, the website even provided concrete figures, suggesting that between three and eight North Korean female hockey players could join the South Korean team. The website went on to say that the four-person meeting would discuss not only a combined women’s hockey team but also issues such as marching into the stadium together, the composition of the team of athletes, uniforms and banners.
[Olympics18] [Joint Korean]
N.Korean Olympic Team Creates Headache Over Uniforms
By Seok Nam-jun
January 11, 2018 11:59
Officials here met on Wednesday to quell fears that North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang will somehow compromise the flying of the South Korean flag.
The two Koreas have agreed that they will march together in the opening and closing ceremonies, but the uniforms, which are naturally heavy on South Korean symbolism, have already been paid for, and the question is how the North Koreans are to be dressed.
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North Korean Olympic delegation expected to number between 400 and 500 people
Posted on : Jan.11,2018 17:07 KST Modified on : Jan.11,2018 17:07 KST
Group set to include athletes, cheerleaders, observers, reporters, and performance groups
On Jan. 10, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said that North Korea is expected to send a massive delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, numbering between 400 and 500 people. The delegation will be divided into groups of high-ranking officials, members of the national Olympic committee, athletes, cheerleaders, observers, reporters and performance artists. Lee made this prediction during a New Year’s meeting for corporate sponsors of the Pyeongchang Olympics, which was held at the Federation of Korean Industries building in the Yeouido district of Seoul.
“I hope that deliberations about a variety of issues, from the North Korean delegation’s route to its method of transport, amenities, and technical matters, and from the athletes’ participation in the games to the question of broadcasting their performance to the North, will go according to plan, which will contribute in a major way not only to the success of the Pyeongchang Olympics, but also to improving the dilemma facing the Korean Peninsula and several challenges facing the entire world,” Lee said.
Attention focuses on joint entrance for Korean athletes at Pyeongchang Olympics
Posted on : Jan.11,2018 17:09 KST Modified on : Jan.11,2018 17:09 KST
South and North Korean athletes make a joint entrance to the Sydney Olympic games in 2000 led by South Korean women’s basketball captain Jung Eun-soon (center right) and North Korean judo captain Park Jeong-cheol (waving the Korean Peninsula flag).
Two sides likely to enter the stadium to the anthem, “Arirang”
Given the increasing likelihood that North and South Korean athletes will march into the stadium together at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018, attention is focusing on the format that the march will take, including the uniforms, anthem and flag bearers.
The first time that North and South Korea made a joint appearance on the international sports stage was at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. “Korea” was chosen to be the name of the inter-Korean team of athletes at those games. The banner under which the Korean athletes marched was the Unification Flag, and their anthem was “Arirang.”
[Olympics] [Joint Korean]
Gangwon governor welcomes North Korean participation at Pyeongchang Olympics
Posted on : Jan.11,2018 17:10 KST Modified on : Jan.11,2018 17:10 KST
Choi Moon-soon, Governor of Gangwon Province, speaks at a press conference at the Gangwon Provincial Office on Jan. 10. Choi promised to make available every accommodation for the North Korean Olympic delegation. (provided by Gangwon Province)
Choi Moon-soon proposed sending a cruise ship to transport and house the NK delegation
The governor of Gangwon Province announced that he welcomes North Korea’s decision to send a large-scale delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and plans to do whatever it can to accommodate its members.
“With the participation of the North Korean athletes, the Pyeongchang Olympics will be a festival embodying peace and reconciliation,” Gov. Choi Moon-soon said in a morning press conference on Jan. 10 in the Gangwon Provincial Office briefing room.
Two Koreas to meet at IOC over PyeongChang Games
Posted : 2018-01-11 17:34
Updated : 2018-01-11 18:37
By Baek Byung-yeul
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has called a meeting with the two Koreas to discuss North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The IOC said Thursday that Bach will convene a meeting Jan. 20 at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The participants will include a delegation from the PyeongChang Olympics Organizing Committee and delegations from the National Olympic Committees of both Koreas as well as IOC members of both North and South Korea.
The announcement came after North Korea's offer to send a delegation to the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. High-level officials from the two countries held inter-Korean talks for the first time in nearly two years Tuesday.
What will be decided at the meeting in Switzerland includes the number and names of athletes and officials from the North Korean delegation, as all the deadlines for registration have already passed.
Should Seoul cover costs for North Korean athletes?
Posted : 2018-01-11 16:11
Updated : 2018-01-11 18:45
By Kim Bo-eun
Attention is growing to the extent South Korea will cover the expenses of the North Korean delegation for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, as this could conflict with U.N. Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on Pyongyang.
The joint press statement issued after the two Koreas held high-level talks at the truce village in Panmunjeom, Tuesday, stated that "the South will provide necessary assistance for delegates from the North." The North and South agreed to arrange the details of logistics in follow-up talks.
[Olympics18] [Sanctions] [US dominance]
North Korean Games athletes to stay at secluded hotel in Inje: report
Posted : 2018-01-11 14:21
Updated : 2018-01-11 19:17
A local broadcaster said on Thursday that North Korea's cheer squad and performance troupe would stay at a secluded hotel in Inje, Gangwon Province. / Captured from TV Chosun
By Park Si-soo
With North Korea set to participate in next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, attention is now on who will represent the delegation and athletes, when they will come, where they will stay and what they will eat during the global event.
Everything is up in the air and details will be fixed at inter-Korean meetings following the first high-level talks in two years between the two countries on Tuesday.
Against this backdrop, a local broadcaster said on Thursday that North Korea's cheer squad and performance troupe would stay at a secluded hotel in Inje, Gangwon Province.
Citing an unidentified government source, TV Chosun reported that the hotel is one of the accommodation candidates. The government has reportedly paid a deposit to occupy the hotel before and during the Olympics. The eight-story twin-tower hotel has 250 rooms that can house up to 650 people, TV Chosun said.
The hotel is in a sparsely populated town about 120 kilometers from the Olympics' main stadium in PyeongChang and is surrounded by mountains, ideal for tight security and surveillance.
Observers said if the plan is true, the North Korean delegation and athletes would stay close to the hotel.
N.Korea Agrees to Send Athletes to Olympics
By Lee Yong-soo
January 10, 2018 09:34
North and South Korean officials met in the border truce village of Panmunjom on Tuesday and agreed that North Korean athletes will take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
North Korea will also send a delegation of cheerleaders and observers. The two sides also agreed to hold military talks but failed to agree on talks to resume the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
North Korea's chief delegate Ri Son-gwon complained about South Korean media reports about the North's nuclear weapons program.
Ri said the reports are "extremely regrettable" since North Korea's nuclear weapons are "thoroughly aimed at the U.S." He added that the talks got off to a good start, but the outcome "leaves something to be desired."
[SK NK Negotiations] [Olympics18]
What Will Be Gained by N.Korea Joining the Olympics?
January 10, 2018 13:27
North Korea officially confirmed at Tuesday's cross-border talks that it is taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. In a joint press release, South and North Korea said they agreed to three terms to ease tensions -- cooperation to ensure the success of the Winter Olympics, military talks and a resolve to deal with inter-Korean issues through dialogue. The two sides also agreed to resume contact at lower levels of government, and a military hotline that was severed after the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex was reconnected.
Everyone knows why the North suddenly decided to come to the Olympics. It wants to use the sports extravaganza an opportunity to drive a wedge between Seoul, which hopes for dialogue to resume, and Washington, which seeks to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
[SK NK Negotiations] [Wedge]
IOC extends deadline for North Korean participation at Pyeongchang Olympics
Posted on : Jan.9,2018 17:51 KST Modified on : Jan.9,2018 17:51 KST
North Korean pair figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik
Decision opens the door for NK figure skaters to compete in pair events
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has extended the deadline for North Korea to register for the 2018 Pyeongchang winter Olympics. This makes it officially possible for North Korean athletes to take part in the games. In a statement on Jan. 8, the IOC said it is holding open the door for North Korea to participate in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. To make that possible, the statement added, the IOC has taken the step of extending the registration deadline for the North to join the games.
At the moment, not a single North Korea athlete is eligible to participate in the Pyeongchang Olympics. The figure skating pair Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik were the only North Korean athletes who earned a spot in the games, but they forfeited this to Japan, the next candidate in line, after they failed to express their intention of competing by the end of last year.
Would N.Korean Olympic Participation Violate Sanctions?
January 05, 2018 13:06
If North Korea really takes part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, would that technically violate UN Security Council resolutions sanctioning the regime over its nuclear and missile programs?
The government believes paying for a North Korean Olympic delegation's trip would be permissible. Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon met with North Korea's sports chief Mun Ung in China and offered to ferry them to South Korea aboard a cruise ship. The International Olympic Committee has also said it is willing to shoulder their expenses.
When South Korea balked at footing the bill for North Korean athletes during the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, the North threatened a boycott, and the Unification Ministry ended up providing W550 million from an inter-Korean support fund.
But the UN sanctions explicitly ban support for "non-humanitarian purposes." It is unclear to what extent the term "humanitarian" can be stretched, and Cheong Wa Dae and the Unification Ministry are being cautious about the plans.
Choe Ryong-hae, a vice chairman of the North Korean Workers Party, talks with sports officials at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016. /Yonhap
Another problem could be that several top North Korean officials are on a UNSC blacklist. They include Hwang Pyong-so, Choe Ryong-hae and Kim Yang-gon, who made a surprise appearance at the Asian Games.
But North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yeo-jong, who has rapidly risen through the ranks, is not yet on the blacklist and could lead the delegation.
[Olympics18] [Sanctions] [Double standards] [UNUS]
Kim Jong-un Wants to Send Delegation to Pyeongchang Olympics
By Kim Jin-myung, Kim Myong-song
January 02, 2018 11:03
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday claimed he has a nuclear button installed in his office and is ready to strike at any time.
"The entire mainland of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear weapons, and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office," Kim said in a televised New Year's address. The U.S. "should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality."
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a New Year's address in Pyongyang on Monday, in this grab from [North] Korean Central Television. /Yonhap
But he also hinted at diplomatic overtures to South Korea amid increasingly crippling sanctions. Kim said he is willing to send a North Korean delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and added both Koreas "could urgently meet" to discuss the matter.
North Korea willing to send delegation to PyeongChang Olympics: leader
Posted : 2018-01-01 11:08
Updated : 2018-01-01 11:08
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a New Year's message broadcast by the state-run TV station, Monday. / Yonhap
North Korea is willing to send a delegation to the upcoming PyeongChang Olympics to be held in South Korea, its leader said in his New Year's message Monday.
Kim Jong-un's remarks came as a surprise as Seoul is pinning hopes on the North's participation in the games because the South believes that the move could help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
"The Winter Games to be held in South Korea will be a good occasion for the country. We sincerely hope that the Winter Olympics will be a success," Kim said in his speech broadcast by the state-run TV station.
"We are prepared to take various steps, including the dispatch of the delegation," he said.
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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
2019 calendar captures face of North Korea [PHOTOS]
Posted : 2018-11-02 17:40
Updated : 2018-11-02 21:05
May | Four North Korean children take a peek at life outside their playpen in South Hamgyong Province. It is common for parents to send their children to daycare centers and nurseries and for households with working parents to send sick or malnourished children to local institutions until they recover. Courtesy of NK News
By Jung Da-min
A 2019 calendar showing the everyday life of North Koreans is available from an online shop run by NK News, a subscription-based North Korea monitoring website.
Calendar photographer Pierre Depont snapped the images in different parts of North Korea, including Pyongyang, Wonsan, Masikryong, South Hamgyong Province, Rason and Kaesong in 2017 and 2018.
US-based journalist releases more photos from North Korea
Posted on : Sep.4,2018 17:29 KST Modified on : Sep.4,2018 17:29 KST
US-based journalist Jin Chun-gyu, who recently published a book titled “Pyongyang Time Flows with Seoul Time” based on his time in the North Korean capital in Oct. 2017. This was when international and inter-Korean tensions related to North Korean nuclear weapons were intensifying. The book contains a number of photographs that show Pyongyang residents going about their daily lives. On Aug. 15, Jin took another visit to Pyongyang, his seventh trip to North Korea. His stay lasted for 16 days and 15 nights and concluded on Apr. 29. He not only visited Pyongyang but went to Kaesong, where the joint industrial complex operated before its shutdown in 2016, and Panmunjom, where the inter-Korean summit was held on Apr. 27. The above photos show images taken from the North Korean side of Panmunjom as well as in the city of Kaesong.
American Friends Service Committee in North Korea
Dan Jaspers and the Quakers team, with some fine photos. The initial video is quite inspiring for anyone who thinks they are old
Faces of North Korea
Reuters photos 12 March 2018
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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