South Korea’s Sunshine Policy and the Mt Kumgang Tourist Region

In 1998 South Korean President, Kim Dae-jung, referenced one of Aesop’s fables, ‘The North Wind and the Sun’, in the creation of a new policy to improve relations with North Korea – essentially a shift from a failed coercion approach to one of co-operation. In the fable, the sun and the wind competed to remove a man’s coat. The wind blew strongly, but the man clutched his coat and kept it on. The sun shone warmly, and the man voluntarily took off his coat to enjoy the fine weather. 

Continue reading “South Korea’s Sunshine Policy and the Mt Kumgang Tourist Region”

National Gifts Exhibition House

Nearly everywhere in the world it is courteous and common practice to bestow gifts upon leaders and dignitaries on official visits. Also, gifts are commonly given and received on important national days, birthdays and such like.

While the North Korean Leaders (here I mean Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un and, oddly perhaps, Kim Jong-suk (wife of Kim Il-sung and mother to Kim Jong-il)) have travelled very little outside of North Korea and few leaders or high officials visit them from overseas they have managed to amass ‘hundreds of thousands’ of gifts since 1945. These have come from all corners of the world as well as from within North Korea – where the Leaders have travelled somewhat more, dispensing their trademark on-the-spot guidance on this, that and everything. Continue reading “National Gifts Exhibition House”

Korean Feature Film Studio (2) – The Film Sets


If you have not read the first part of this review – Korean Feature Film Studio (1) – I recommend that you do so before reading this part.

In the knowledge that the North Korean film industry only produces patriotic and revolutionary historical epics (no need for the masses to see Kim Jong-il’s private collection or anything else) the film sets at the studio are restricted to an ancient Korea village, a 1920s Japanese street, a 1950s South Korean street, a traditional rural village and a number of seemingly unrelated European buildings. Continue reading “Korean Feature Film Studio (2) – The Film Sets”

Have a Coke and Choco Pie

Coke Zero – Bought in North Korea

As my reader may be aware, North Korea is without doubt the most closed and secretive country on earth. For North Korea, arch enemy number one and the very devil incarnate is the United States which, we are told, is to blame for all the ills and woes of the country despite the heroic efforts of the Kim dynasty.

While the US and many other countries have very strict controls as to what their citizens/companies can export to North Korea, Continue reading “Have a Coke and Choco Pie”