Tag

DPRK

Freedom’s Just Another Word For Nothing Left to Say

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  This is the eighteenth and final installment in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here One “special request” we filed with our minders was to be permitted to walk into Pyongyang unescorted, perhaps as far as the railway station and back. Much to our surprise, they said it was possible. They had already added several of the places we asked to see–a...

Cracking Up in the DPRK

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  This is the seventeenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here   We said goodbye to our brave military escort at the DMZ, thankful that they’d protected us from the imminent danger of American attack. We made one last stop on our way back to the capital, just outside Kaesong city. It was reputedly the tomb of an early Korean king and his Mongolian...

North Korea—The DMZ Too

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This is the sixteenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here     Our presence on the wrong side of the frontier caused a mild scramble among the South Korean forces. Frantic radio messages were dispatched. Binoculars were trained on us. Reinforcements jogged over to take up positions half-concealed by the corners of buildings, where they conducted a whispered...

Coming Down Hard in the Demilitarized Zone

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  This is the fifteenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here The highlight of my time in North Korea—the moment that made all the badgering and propaganda worthwhile—was our visit to the Demilitarized Zone and the truce village of Panmunjom. This thin line bisecting two worldviews is the last Cold War frontier, and the world’s most heavily defended border...

Propaganda Gets Me Down

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This is the fourteenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here   The Arch of Triumph commemorates North Korea’s liberation from the Japanese occupation at the end of World War Two. It looks an awful lot like the Arch in Paris, but of course Pyongyang’s Arch was deliberately built to be 3 meters taller…   North Korea doesn’t acknowledge...

Spending National Liberation Day in North Korea

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  This is the twelfth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here Our escorts chose National Liberation Day—the holiday celebrating Korea’s liberation from the Japanese occupation of the Second World War—to make our obligatory visit to the Grand Monument on Mansudae Hill. There were a lot more people than normal in the streets of Pyongyang, and the sun blazed down...

A North Korean Shopping Mall

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  This is the eleventh in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here It took me nearly a week to realize why Pyongyang felt so much like a stage set. It wasn’t just the marble monuments and the enormous public buildings, the empty ten-lane streets and the weird scarcity of people. It was the almost total absence of shops. In all our bus rides through the city...

Child Stars, and the North Korea Spy Ship Incident

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This is the tenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here   Any propaganda tour of Pyongyang is bound to include a visit to the American spy ship Pueblo, captured by North Korea in 1968. To most people 1968 is ancient history, the distant past. But the North Koreans are still gloating over it and the international incident it caused. Our site guide was a grizzled...

You’ll Never Guess What Kim Il-Sung and Jesus Have in Common

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  This is the eigth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here Any trip to Pyongyang involves extensive tours of the city. It’s North Korean’s showcase, a vast stage set carefully designed to promote the myth of the Fatherland and the success of Kim Il-Sung’s Juche philosophy. Our first stop was a house said to be the birthplace of Kim Il-Sung. It was...

Back in Metropolis, Circuses and Elephants

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  This is the seventh in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here When I got back to Pyongyang it was gray and overcast and just beginning to drizzle. I shook of my bus daze as we drove through the city’s silent streets. Our minders took us directly to the circus. Outside our private entrance, a group of Koreans practiced marching in the empty parking lot. Drill...

Ryan Murdock

Author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Columnist at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

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