From politics to economics, from leadership succession to the introduction of fast food restaurants, there is a lot going on inside North Korea.
On one training trip to North Korea this year with Choson Exchange, I enjoyed less-than-tasty fried chicken washed down with copious amounts of beer with North Koreans at a joint venture fast food restaurant. On the rooftop, chickens ran around in what might be the only locally-sourced fast food restaurant in the world. Outside, traffic was [...]
The question consistently asked by journalists over the past weeks is whether the weeping and wailing that accompanied the death and funeral of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is the product of stage management or a genuine outpouring of grief. In other words, how real are the tears? To our secular and cynical Western sensibilities, it seems [...]
I remember my first close encounter with Kim Jong Il in July 2000 in Pyongyang, when he briskly walked into the room in Paekhwawon Guest House, where Russian President Putin and his entourage, of which I was honored to be a part, was waiting for him. He energetically shook hands with everyone without looking them in the eyes. My first real-life [...]
European companies are increasingly outsourcing IT-related projects to low-cost countries such as India, China, Vietnam or the Philippines. North Korea also wants to be an outsourcing destination, and has specific advantages. The combination of very low tariffs, combined with a high level of quality, is its main attraction. Various local service [...]
It’s February and I’m chatting with Karin Lee, the Executive Director of the National Committee on North Korea in her Washington, DC office. We’re ruminating on the usual things, I’m banging on about my Ph.D. research, talking about Choson Exchange, offering my cautious opinion on the Korea-watching scene, and general public opinion in [...]
A bus bumps and bruises its way along the unpaved road, carrying would-be investors to Rason’s First Rason International Trade Exhibition which ran from August 21-25, 2011, in Sonbong. The windows are open, until a crimson humvee barrels past, its powerful suspension dancing on the road, leaving behind a plume of beige dust. The bus windows snap [...]