South Korea’s Park rains on Kim Jong Un’s coronation parade

Special to By Donald Kirk, Kim Jong-Un celebrates his “coronation” in Pyongyang Friday while forgetting about one unpleasant reality that deepens North Korea’s isolation in an already hostile world. He presides over North Korea’s biggest-ever party, the Seventh Workers’ Party Congress, while Iran, his longtime partner in nuclear crime, vastly improves its ties […]

Religious freedom report: Worldwide upheaval encouraging ‘systematic’ intolerance

Special to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty The latest report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom says religious freedom across the world deteriorated in 2015. According to the report released on May 2, the global refugee crisis, political strife, and economic dislocation have contributed to an increase in “societal intolerance.” The […]

South Korean leader in Iran for first bilateral summit

Special to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty South Korean President Park Geun-Hye has arrived in Iran for the first bilateral summit since Seoul and Teheran established diplomatic relations more than 50 years ago. Park’s office said the three-day visit will focus on business and trade issues between the two countries as well as […]

A filmmaker’s stealth coup: Zooming in on North Korean mind control

Special to By Donald Kirk, Russian documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky has managed to bamboozle his North Korean hosts in a confidence game that’s one of the greater journalistic coups ever scored against the regime. Mansky, having given the North Koreans the clear impression that he wanted to collaborate fully with them, totally deceived […]

By ‘invitation’ only: North Korea’s blunt force approach to foreign language education

Special to By Donald Kirk, North Koreans some years ago had an unusual way of acquiring professional expertise in teaching people foreign languages. Rather than advertise for teachers, they kidnapped native speakers. Most of them were Japanese, but they also captured likely candidates from Europe and the Middle East. Robert Boynton, a professor […]

Do North Korean propaganda writers really want to channel Abraham Lincoln

Special to By Donald Kirk, WASHINGTON – Credit someone in North Korea with a sense of historical irony. Who would have thought anyone up there would have dreamed of writing an imaginary letter from Abraham Lincoln to President Obama berating him for endorsing harsh UN sanctions and failing to halt the U.S. nuclear […]

Pop quiz: Is North Korea a terrorist state? Yes or no?

Special to By Donald Kirk, WASHINGTON ― Here’s a question people here keep asking: Is North Korea a terrorist state? Forget about the missile shots. They’ve all landed in the sea and harmed no one. What about the nuclear tests? They dislocated some rocks deep underground but were otherwise harmless. So what does […]

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