New European Perspectives on North Korea

North Korean elites attend a football exhibition practice for German guests in Pyongyang, April 2011 - image courtesy Claudia Roth, German Green Party -- click image for her photo gallery from Pyongyang

North Korea watchers are having a bit of a dry spell of late: the biggest stories of Kim Jong Eun’s succession are now a year in the rear view mirror, 38North is precisely unlike a good methadone clinic (it acknowledges one’s addiction but is frustratingly irregular in slaking it), the Daily NK keeps churning out pieces about rice prices, and the reliably crotchety, pro-rollback, and better-read-than-most blog of choice — One Free Korea — appears to have vacated the trenches for the foreseeable.  What’s a North Korea watcher to do?

Well,that is, besides read Noland and Haggard’s outrageously-well-informed stuff, or hunt for Andrei Lankov, or peruse Richard Horgan’s Twitter feeds, or peck through Korean Central News Agency dispatches, or tail the Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang?

For solid analysis and copious links, I recommend the blog Nordkorea-info (today’s entry is on cellular and internet technology in the DPRK), a blog which recently carried a very interesting entry about a German football delegation to Pyongyang.

Although the aforesaid football delegation did its legwork back in April, the reports have just become public, and they are fascinating reading.  I did some interpreting of the report in English on Nordkorea-info, which can be accessed here.

Thanks to the serendipity of the Internet, I managed to run across this rather interesting combination-documentary about some foreigners in Pyongyang, which readers may find as interesting as I have:


  1. O-oh… Claudia Roth…, she’s nice, and knows hows how to keep political opponents at bay, and everything… but when it comes to foreign policy, she’s too simple, sometimes naive. She hoped in April that North Korea would “warm up” to Japan, because of the Fukushima disaster, and was disappointed, Die Welt wrote back then.

    Anyway, some East German families may have the chance of a reunion with some North Korean fathers. Somewhat like those reunions with South Korean relatives, probably.

    1. Thank you JR! I think I owe you more than a few things, so will be back in the metaphorical coal mines tomorrow digging for precious gems of facts (which will perhaps even be lodged into complete sentences).

  2. For North Korea watchers…It’s still very much a work in progress, but yesterday I opened the new NKnet English-language website:
    There’s still a lot of old content I haven’t migrated over and plenty of other ideas and new content in the works, but I think it’s past the point where the not-yet-complete new site is better than the complete old one.
    And speaking of new content, NKnet publishes a monthly magazine in Korean but struggles to get articles into English. Seeking more volunteer translators. 🙂

    ps, Adam, if you won’t or haven’t had a chance to toot your own horn (strum your own cello?) yet, allow me: (see p. 2 of article)

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