More to Life than Kim Jong-un: Reflections on Robert Collins’ Report on the Organization and Guidance Department

  Today the NK News website published a 1600-word essay I wrote in response to Robert Collins’ extensive new report on the Organization and Guidance Department of the Korean Workers’ Party. A short series of extracts follows: More than ever since January 2017, ‘North Korea watchers’ have been wrestling with a dilemma typical for analysing autocracies: Does one take a personalist interpretation of the DPRK’s diplomacy and … Continue reading More to Life than Kim Jong-un: Reflections on Robert Collins’ Report on the Organization and Guidance Department

Inside North Korea: French Edition

I found this French film, apparently shot in spring 2010, to be better than most treatments of the North Korean tourist experience.  Among other things, a young North Korean “rapper” is encountered in an amusement park (at 12:31), North Korean rallies are accompanied by music by Philip Glass, and the piece benefits from the use of some selected extracts from North Korean film archives. In … Continue reading Inside North Korea: French Edition

Smartphone Border Run Shamaness North Korea Remittance China Friendly Kim’s New Family KCNA Pastiche

KCNA, the North Korean “news” agency, has a fascinating piece on problems caused by smartphones in US prisons (thus simultaneously bashing America and reminding readers that mobile technology is potentially criminal), reminds us that Japan is on the warpath to imperial expansion in Asia (even as Japan still has, in a rare admission from KCNA, a peace constitution), that cadre and everyone else is bucking … Continue reading Smartphone Border Run Shamaness North Korea Remittance China Friendly Kim’s New Family KCNA Pastiche