Chollima Morphs To Mallima Under Kim Jong-un

If you have read some of my Panmunjom entries you will be aware that the Korean War, which started in 1950, continues to this day. However, hostilities, barring a number of minor and not so minor infractions, came to an end in 1953 with the signing of a military Armistice Agreement outside Panmunjom, a small village, in what is now the Demilitarised Zone, around the border with South Korea. Continue reading “Chollima Morphs To Mallima Under Kim Jong-un”

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The Ryugyong Hotel In A Whole New Light

For a country that can build buildings in a day or two (for example, the Armistice Signing Hall in Panmunjom in the DMZ) and whole streets full of high rise buildings in a year the 330 metres high, 105 story Ryugyong Hotel (Ryugyong – ‘capital of willows’– a former name for Pyongyang) remains uncompleted after 27 years and until 2018 has been a major embarrassment for North Korea. Continue reading “The Ryugyong Hotel In A Whole New Light”

No Horns Or Tails Were Removed – A Pictorial Review

When many people think of North Korea, due to propaganda in the press, sensationalised blogs/ other social media and other biases and preconceptions they often think only of a wicked dictatorship now in possession of nuclear weapons and readying itself to take over the world while its people are brainwashed, starving and sent to gulags and re-education camps for the most trivial of offences or no offence at all. A growing number of people believe that the best way of dealing with these problems is to blow North Korea of the face of the earth. Continue reading “No Horns Or Tails Were Removed – A Pictorial Review”

Getting to North Korea by Air and Pyongyang Airport

Two airlines fly into North Korea (officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), the national airline, Air Koryo and Air China. Invariably you will fly in from Beijing to Pyongyang though a few tourists enter from Vladivostok and there are on again off again flights from Shanghai. The airline also has a (very) small number of other international routes (not currently used by tourists). Continue reading “Getting to North Korea by Air and Pyongyang Airport”

What Do North Koreans Think Of Americans?

In the introductory review on my September 2018 visit to North Korea I noted that the US President, Donald Trump, had entered into an amorous relationship with Kim Jong-un. On 29 September, 2018 at a political rally in Wheeling, West Virginia, President Trump declared that he and Kim Jong-un “fell in love” after the North Korean leader wrote him “beautiful letters”.

“I was really being tough, and so was he,” President Trump said of Marshal Kim. “And we were going back and forth, and then we fell in love, OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they’re great letters. We fell in love.” Continue reading “What Do North Koreans Think Of Americans?”

Ri Chun-hee And Television In North Korea

While I watch very little television at home and I would seldom ever watch it while travelling, after my 2014 trip to North Korea I urged future visitors to actually watch a little television. Television, like many other things, in North Korea – or rather the programming content – is not quite like the television most of us are accustomed to at home. North Korea is not your everyday normal location. Continue reading “Ri Chun-hee And Television In North Korea”

The Flowers Of The Leaders – Why Doesn’t Kim Jong-un Have One?

Should you visit North Korea it will not take you long to realise that anything of any importance is named after Kim Il-sung or more recently, since his death in 2011, Kim Jong-il. Very little, at this point is named after the current leader, Kim Jong-un.

It will thus come as no surprise that the most important flowers (trumping the national flower, the magnolia) in North Korea are the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia. Yes indeed, that is what they are called – I kid you not.

Continue reading “The Flowers Of The Leaders – Why Doesn’t Kim Jong-un Have One?”

Rules Around Photography in North Korea and Their Enforcement – With a Side Comment on Mobile Phones

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A Totally Acceptable Photograph in North Korea

There are numerous rules for tourists in North Korea. The ones around photography are the most complicated, confusing, inconsistent and inconsistently applied. While the rules themselves seem to have been relaxed only very marginally, if at all,  since my last visit in 2014 the enforcement of the rules seems not to be as strict – apart from in more remote and less visited parts of the country.

Very few visitors, apart from those who have no camera, make it through a tour of North Korea without being counselled on their photography – or rather, being told off for taking a photo when they should not have. Continue reading “Rules Around Photography in North Korea and Their Enforcement – With a Side Comment on Mobile Phones”