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Diplomatic roller coaster

Diplomatic roller coaster

Andrei Lankov – The Korea Times China is routinely described in the world’s media as “North Korea’s sole ally,” but this statement is rather misleading: the relations between Beijing and Pyongyang have never been easy, and the friendly official rhetoric all too often has served as a thin veneer, masking a great level of mistrust […]

Large, moody and dangerous

Large, moody and dangerous

Andrei Lankov – The Korea Times It is clear, that since mid-July, the relations between South Korea and China, which in recent years had been quite friendly, have begun to deteriorate quickly. The reason for this crisis is widely known: in July, despite stern warnings from Beijing, the South Korean government decided to deploy the […]

Alliance of convenience

Alliance of convenience

Many, if not most, Westerners with a passing interest in North Korea tend to believe that in the bygone days of the Communist bloc the Soviet Union and North Korea were close allies. This is a gross mistake. While relations between Moscow and Pyongyang were initially quite close, from the late 1950s they deteriorated rapidly […]

North Korea’s foreign trade

North Korea’s foreign trade

Recent economic sanctions created serious problems with exports of minerals from North Korea. Technically UN member countries are banned from importing North Korea minerals even though in practice it remains to be seen to what extent this ban will be observed by China. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the share of minerals of North […]

Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia unlikely to meet leader’s expectations

Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia unlikely to meet leader’s expectations

Much attention has been attracted recently by the media reports about Kim Jong Un’s likely decision to come to Moscow in May. If such a visit does indeed happen, it will be an important turning point for a remarkably reclusive North Korean leader whose unwillingness to hold summits is, indeed, unusual. There is little doubt […]

Marshal Kim Jong-un, what if he dies?

Marshal Kim Jong-un, what if he dies?

Marshal Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, in person was last seen in public on 3rd September attending a concert of his favourite girl group, the Moranbong ensemble, together with his beautiful wife. Since then, he has not been seen in public and North Korean media has not reported on any of his […]

North Korea’s failing diplomacy in Europe, Russia and Japan

North Korea’s failing diplomacy in Europe, Russia and Japan

By Andrei Lankov Kang Sok-ju, Korean Workers’ Party secretary for international issues, has departed for a trip to a number of European countries. He visits Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany where he meets local politicians from assorted political parties. There is little doubt that the expected visit of a high level North Korean dignitary is […]

How to solve the divided families between South and North Korea?

How to solve the divided families between South and North Korea?

According to official statistics produced by the Ministry of Unification, as of 30th June 2014 there were 129,553 South Koreans registered as ‘members of divided families’. This is an official status and it means that the registered person is eligible to apply for a family reunion with their relatives in the North. Such reunions are […]

Kim Jong Un trying to cleanse South Korean TV films

Kim Jong Un trying to cleanse South Korean TV films

It seems that Kim Jong Un is getting serious about ideological threats – at least, this is what a number of reliable and unconnected sources have claimed to be the case in the last few months. Indeed, a significant number of North Korean contacts have complained, that since last year it has become far more […]

Korean Central News Agency and ‘Comrade Mr Miller’

Korean Central News Agency and ‘Comrade Mr Miller’

In April 2014, North Korean border guards at Pyongyang international airport were treated to an unusual sight: a 24 year old American named Matthew Todd Miller tore up his North Korean tourist visa and submitted his American passport while requesting an asylum in North Korea. This event was promptly reported by the Korean Central News […]

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