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Kim Jong-nam should be the ruler of North Korea. Instead, he was the victim of the 21st century’s most bizarre assassination plot. A deep look inside a decades-long saga broiling with deceit, palace gossip, and political backstabbing—shedding light on the machinations of the most secretive nation on the planet.
 
North Korea certainly deserves its title of the Hermit Kingdom of East Asia. Even today, for many that country remains a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. Does North Korea really have no COVID-19 cases? Has Kim Jong-un really executed people with a flamethrower? Is everyone there forced to get a Kim Jong-un haircut? As a North Korea watcher, in this podcast I do my best to provide short but detailed responses to these and other most common questions about this country. The podcast is powered b ...
 
'My Mate Went on Holiday to North Korea' tells the story of exactly what its like to visit the so-called Hermit Kingdom - everything from booking your trip in the first place, through getting on the train in Beijing, to creaking across the boarder, an Alcatraz-like hotel and seeing the embalmed corpses of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il - as seen through the eyes of Luke Pearce, who travelled there on vacation in 2016. The interviewer is @Dave___Smith
 
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show series
 
Two and a half years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea reported its first outbreak on May 12, with cases of “fever” quickly surpassing a million. How prepared is the DPRK to fight the spread of the virus and will the country finally accept foreign aid? This week, NK News and NK PRO founder […]…
 
Two and a half years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea reported its first outbreak on May 12, with cases of “fever” quickly surpassing a million. How prepared is the DPRK to fight the spread of the virus and will the country finally accept foreign aid?This week, NK News and NK PRO founder and CEO Chad O’Carroll (@chadocl), lead corresp…
 
Several North Korean statues and other works of art are scattered across the African continent, a persistent presence that demonstrates North Korean influence in the region. While these works are often narrowly interpreted by the outside world as illicit revenue streams for Pyongyang, researcher OneJoon Che says North Korean art and sculptures cann…
 
Several North Korean statues and other works of art are scattered across the African continent, a persistent presence that demonstrates North Korean influence in the region. While these works are often narrowly interpreted by the outside world as illicit revenue streams for Pyongyang, researcher OneJoon Che says North Korean art and sculptures cann…
 
A four-hour ferry ride from South Korea’s west coast takes one to a remote island so far north that it seems like it would be in North Korea. Yet Baengnyeong Island remains, improbably, a part of the South, and this far-flung location on the country’s frontier has been at the center of several important events […]…
 
A four-hour ferry ride from South Korea’s west coast takes one to a remote island so far north that it seems like it would be in North Korea. Yet Baengnyeong Island remains, improbably, a part of the South, and this far-flung location on the country’s frontier has been at the center of several important events in inter-Korean history — including th…
 
The U.S. and South Korea have been trying to solve the North Korea nuclear issue for decades, yet Pyongyang continues to advance its weapons programs. This week, Christopher Green joins the podcast to talk about the past few years of diplomacy, missile tests and how to analyze the goings-on in the DPRK with a critical […]…
 
The U.S. and South Korea have been trying to solve the North Korea nuclear issue for decades, yet Pyongyang continues to advance its weapons programs. This week, Christopher Green joins the podcast to talk about the past few years of diplomacy, missile tests and how to analyze the goings-on in the DPRK with a critical eye.Christopher Green (@Dest_P…
 
North Korea celebrated the 110th birthday of Kim Il Sung in grand fashion last week, with thousands of pom-pom-waving citizens spelling out the founding leader’s name in massive characters, as a large float bearing a bronze statue of his likeness paraded across the square in central Pyongyang now named for him. It was a testament […]…
 
North Korea celebrated the 110th birthday of Kim Il Sung in grand fashion last week, with thousands of pom-pom-waving citizens spelling out the founding leader’s name in massive characters, as a large float bearing a bronze statue of his likeness paraded across the square in central Pyongyang now named for him. It was a testament to the longevity o…
 
North Korean spies recruit two unwitting women to kill Kim Jong-nam, going through elaborate means to avoid detection. But the ensuing calamity triggers a daring rescue — one that could, someday, change the face of North Korea. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy informati…
 
The Yongbyon complex located some 60 miles north of Pyongyang has been the center of North Korea’s nuclear program for decades, producing fissile material for multiple nuclear weapons tests. As the DPRK has not allowed independent experts to visit the site for years, analysts now pore over satellite imagery to divine the status of enrichment […]…
 
The Yongbyon complex located some 60 miles north of Pyongyang has been the center of North Korea’s nuclear program for decades, producing fissile material for multiple nuclear weapons tests. As the DPRK has not allowed independent experts to visit the site for years, analysts now pore over satellite imagery to divine the status of enrichment activi…
 
When Kim Jong-nam meets a mysterious American, were his brother's henchmen hiding in the shadows? How North Korea’s poisonous relationship with the United States contributed to Kim Jong-nam’s death — in more ways than one. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.…
 
A unique characteristic of North Korean life is that almost all citizens must be a member of an organization. This begins at a young age, when kindergarten students learn to bow in unison to portraits of the country’s leaders. It ramps up in adolescence through participation in the Boy and Girl Scout-like Korean Children’s Union. […]…
 
A unique characteristic of North Korean life is that almost all citizens must be a member of an organization. This begins at a young age, when kindergarten students learn to bow in unison to portraits of the country’s leaders. It ramps up in adolescence through participation in the Boy and Girl Scout-like Korean Children’s Union. And it continues i…
 
Plunge into the murky underworld of North Korea's dirty financial dealings, and you'll realize: Kim Jong-nam was not in exile. Inside the prince's secret get-rich scheme—and the mob-like motivations that made him ... a target. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy informatio…
 
North Korea tested one of its biggest weapons for the first time in years last week, launching a long-range missile that soared 15 times higher than the international space station before splashing down in waters west of Japan. The DPRK soon claimed that it fired a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with state media airing […]…
 
North Korea tested one of its biggest weapons for the first time in years last week, launching a long-range missile that soared 15 times higher than the international space station before splashing down in waters west of Japan. The DPRK soon claimed that it fired a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with state media airing a dram…
 
After a spontaneous encounter, the scoop of a lifetime falls into the lap of a Japanese journalist. The surprising friendship that follows reveals much more than just Kim Jong-nam's thoughts on succession. But did his big mouth get him in big trouble? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listen…
 
There’s no shortage of YouTube content on North Korea, from straightforward news reports on the latest missile launch to over-the-top travelogues promising a rare glimpse into the world’s “most depressing” country. While informative videos exist on the platform, it can be difficult to separate hard facts from misleading exaggeration or even outrigh…
 
There’s no shortage of YouTube content on North Korea, from straightforward news reports on the latest missile launch to over-the-top travelogues promising a rare glimpse into the world’s “most depressing” country. While informative videos exist on the platform, it can be difficult to separate hard facts from misleading exaggeration or even outrigh…
 
In a regime where image means everything, Kim Jong-nam's trip to Disneyland was a PR disaster. But is that why he was skipped over as successor? A deep dive into the country's history suggests that Kim Jong-nam and his family might have actually been punished for doing ... the unthinkable. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodca…
 
Mountains loom large in North Korea, not only dominating the topography but also much of the political symbolism of the regime. The country’s history books tell tales about the heroic exploits of Kim Il Sung and his revolutionaries battling against Japanese imperialists from mountain outposts. Mount Paektu on the Chinese border is the alleged birth…
 
Mountains loom large in North Korea, not only dominating the topography but also much of the political symbolism of the regime. The country’s history books tell tales about the heroic exploits of Kim Il Sung and his revolutionaries battling against Japanese imperialists from mountain outposts. Mount Paektu on the Chinese border is the alleged birth…
 
Journalists, experts and pundits have devoted significant time and energy to deciphering Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in late February, with many seeing the Russian leader as motivated by a desire to rebuild the Soviet Union and correct the historical mistake of its dissolution. The war has raised parallels with the situation on the …
 
In the cutthroat world of Pyongyang’s palaces, a pair of manipulative mothers drives two generations of Kims to claw for their father’s affection, sparking a ruthless succession race. Plus, the embarrassing mistake that may have cost Kim Jong-nam the crown—and his life. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See om…
 
Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine may be half a world away from the Korean Peninsula, but the implications of the two-week-old conflict are already being felt in Pyongyang and Seoul. North Korea has rallied behind its longtime friend Russia, while South Korea initially hesitated to sign onto economic sanctions against Moscow. ROK presidential c…
 
In North Korea, the Kim leaders are literal legends. But Kim Jong-nam’s youth was no fairytale: He’d be trapped in a gilded cage, hidden from the world. We explore the myths and machinations that shaped one of the craziest childhoods in modern history—and how it sparked a showdown between two warring families. Learn more about your ad-choices at ht…
 
During Kim Jong Un’s first decade in power, the North Korean state has executed at least 23 people for crimes ranging from prostitution and “obscene acts” to watching South Korea media, according to a recent report from the Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG), a Seoul-based human rights organization.This week, TJWG researcher Ahyeong Park joi…
 
When a man is mysteriously murdered at an airport, investigators discover a fake passport, $120,000 in cash, and traces of the world's most deadly chemical weapon. Who was this victim? And why was North Korea so hellbent on killing him? The answers spark a diplomatic crisis of international proportions—and lead police to a pair of unwitting prankst…
 
Tom McDevitt discusses Sun Myung Moon’s meeting with Kim Il Sung in 1991 and the importance of engaging North Korea. On the surface, the anti-communist leader of the Unification movement, commonly known as the Unification Church, and the leader of North Korea had little room for reconciliation. However, Moon traveled to Pyongyang to meet with Kim i…
 
More than 20 years ago, the senior North Korean official Hwang Jang-yop walked into the South Korean Embassy in China and declared his intention to defect. His actions triggered a diplomatic standoff with Beijing and brought forth a stream of attacks from Pyongyang’s state media. He was the highest-ranking defector ever from the DPRK, having previo…
 
Rupert Wingfield-Hayes had wrapped up a reporting trip in North Korea and was about to board a flight out of the country when the ordeal started. The authorities suddenly detained him and took him for questioning, demanding that he confess to crimes against the state in an interrogation that extended late into the night.This week, Wingfield-Hayes j…
 
North Korea rang in the lunar new year with a dramatic fireworks display this week, testing a ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam in its longest-range launch since 2017. The firing of the Hwasong-12 into the East Sea capped a busy January in which Pyongyang set a new record by conducting seven missile tests in a single …
 
Ever since the breakdown of talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump at Hanoi in 2018, prospects for denuclearization have grown increasingly dim. Yet there is historical precedent for a country to give up its nuclear weapons — South Africa — and some hold out hope that diplomacy might yet lead to a breakthrough…
 
The new year has been an eventful one so far for North Korea watchers. Pyongyang has already test-launched missiles on four separate occasions. A defector who had settled in the South dramatically crossed the demilitarized zone to return to the North. Conservative presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol voiced support for a preemptive strike to stop N…
 
Unification remains the official goal of inter-Korean policy on both sides of the Korean Peninsula, and the new Council on Diplomacy for Korean Unification (CDKU), founded by veterans of the country’s unification ministry, aims to keep the dream alive.This week, Kim Hyeong-seok and J.R. Kim join the podcast to discuss their organization, which brin…
 
This January marks 10 years since the Associated Press became the first U.S. news agency to establish a bureau in Pyongyang. The opening gave the organization a unique vantage point from which to report on notoriously secretive North Korea, but also raised questions about how operating in the country might influence coverage.As the AP’s Korean Peni…
 
North Korea began 2021 with a major party conference and is now ending it with a multi-day plenum. Somewhere in the between, a lot else happened: Disinfection centers sprang up. Kim Jong Un lost weight. Health officials in hazmat suits goose-stepped through Pyongyang. Both Koreas launched an assortment of new weapons.With 2022 right around the corn…
 
CNN International Correspondent Will Ripley has visited North Korea a whopping 19 times since 2014, reporting on missile launches and nuclear tests while inside the country and covering the DPRK’s release of Otto Warmbier in a coma as the only American reporter on the ground.On this week’s podcast, he talks about everything from his interviews with…
 
In his 24 years as a correspondent for CNN, Mike Chinoy had the opportunity to cover key moments in North Korean history from inside the country, from Jimmy Carter’s visit and the aftermath of Kim Il Sung’s death to a military parade held amid unprecedented famine. He joins the podcast to discuss what it’s like to report on the ground from a countr…
 
Recently, there have been reports that the Netflix hit “Squid Game” has made it into North Korea, and even that authorities have sentenced a man to death for smuggling copies of the violent drama. Yet experts have expressed doubt about these claims due to the DPRK’s ongoing COVID-19 controls.This week, NK News reporters join the podcast to weigh in…
 
North Korean propagandists have churned out a steady stream of cultural products for domestic and foreign audiences over the years — from films, TV shows and radio dramas to comic books and flashy music videos. While always laced with state ideology, these works also evolve in response to changing circumstances and leaders’ whims, providing another…
 
A North Korean delegation recently joined the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, one of the first times DPRK representatives have attended such an event in person since the pandemic began. Yet North Korea’s participation was no anomaly: The country has long joined international efforts to combat global warming, including the Paris A…
 
The Arduous March famine of the 1990s forced many North Korean women to engage in informal economic activity to support their families, even as the state required their husbands to continue reporting to official but unpaid jobs. The result was that many women came to be their families’ primary breadwinners in a traditionally patriarchal society. Ha…
 
South Korean President Moon Jae-in traveled to Europe late last month to attend the G-20 summit in Rome and COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, among other diplomatic meetings, and North Korea also made headlines by sending a delegation to the U.N. climate conference. But they weren’t the only ones in town: NK News’ own Jeongmin Kim (@jeongminnkim) and…
 
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