North Korea’s engagement with the outside world has taken a few rather interesting turns of late. In the wake of last year’s partial push to normalize diplomatic relations with France, North Korea has been hosting delegations of German parliamentarians as well as a high-profile visit by the American head of Associated Press. A group of American academics led by Charles Armstrong will visit North Korea this June (8-18) and North Korean performers and athletes continue their foreign peregrinations.
One of the best guideposts to the pro-German turn in Pyongyang has been the enchantingly erudite Nordkorea-info, a German-language North Korea blog whose author, of late, is just simply pouring it on.
This entry on North Korea’s tourism strategy is particularly interesting.
Even if you don’t read German, or if you love the language but still find that it melts your eyes, the blog’s links are quite often to English material, the abundance and quality of which alone has value. Unlike many other Korea blogs, the author takes the time to synthesize material in a painstaking fashion; he is careful with his conclusions and scrupulous with his documentation. Nordkorea-info isn’t as flashy or as self-aggrandizing as some other North Korea blogs, but it just may be one of the best out there at the moment in a Western language.
In other North Korea-Europe news:
- the British Ambassador blogged a recent trip to Pyongyang in mid-March,
- a new and highly useful North Korean website list is growing, and includes a link to a German communications joint venture in Pyongyang whose motto is “Secrecy, Skills, Dedication”,
- North Korean exports to Europe nearly doubled in 2010, while imports rose just slightly
- CanKor, a Canadian resource focusing on EU and Canadian relations with North Korea, carries an interesting piece on possible Paektu volcanic cooperation between the Koreas,
- North Korean beer, at least Taedonggang, can be imported and sold legally in the USA since 30 September 2010,
- Le Monde carries a look at a Swiss soccer/football coach working with the DPRK men’s team
And oh yes! I read an article about a recent visit by a German delegation to Pyongyang here on YouTube.