DPRK Business Monthly Volume III, No.10

The DPRK Business Monthly, an international business report edited in Beijing, has been made available to CanKor readers by its editor, Paul White. Please check the  current October 2012 edition here:  DPRK Business Monthly Vol III, No.10

Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • N. Korea signs air service deal with UAE
  • Knowledge Sharing Promotes Growth, Understanding
  • NK Missing `Golden Moment’ to Stem TB
  • North, South Groups Remember Independence Fighter
  • NK Cabinet “Flexing Muscles”
  • New Consumer Culture Seen Emerging in NK
  • NK Has 1.5 Million Mobile Subscribers
  • More Chinese Inroads into Rason?
  • ROK May Build 2 More Daycare Centers at Kaesong

…plus a number of other items, including a selection of North Korean tours by various tour operators. Read the rest of this entry »

Pyongyang’s Worrisome Problem with Multiculturalism

New National Assemblyperson Jasmine Lee

The recent National Assembly elections in South Korea produced two results that may be of interest to North Korea watchers. The first and more obvious is the election of Cho Myung Chul as a proportional representative. Cho, running for the GNP/NFP slate, is most likely the first North Korean to ever be elected through a genuine democratic process. (Although if I’m wrong please feel free to leave a comment correcting me) A long time North Korea watcher himself and founder of the North Korea blog at the Chosun Ilbo, Cho’s ascendance to the National Assembly signals a step in the right direction for the North Korean refugee community in the ROK. Having had a chance to meet and interpret for Cho at a conference in Ottawa many years back, I can attest that he’s a genuinely humble person and wish him the best of luck.

The other result is less obvious. Also elected as a proportional representative on the NFP slate is Jasmine Lee, a Filipino-Korean actress. Her election, a landmark event in what was once racially homogenous South Korea, has sparked quite the controversy: a substantial number of netizens have posted racially inflammatory remarks about Ms. Lee. Read the rest of this entry »

Books: “Nothing to Envy” by Barbara Demick


NOTHING TO ENVY: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2009. xii, 314 pp. (Maps, B&W photos.) US$26.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-385-52390-5. This book review by CanKor Editor-in-chief Erich Weingartner was published in Pacific Affairs, Vol. 83, No. 4, December 2010, pp. 809-810.


Nothing to Envy

It is said that the devil is in the details, but there are plenty of angels in the details as well. It is the details that interest Barbara Demick, Beijing bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, as she profiles personal triumph in the midst of the multiple tragedies that have engulfed the people of North Korea. Nothing to Envy reads like a novel, though Demick is a stickler for historical accuracy and has added chapter notes for academic interest.

Having interviewed a hundred North Korean “defectors” in South Korea and China, Demick selected an assortment who represented different social strata in the highly layered class system of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The author weaves a tapestry of contemporary history by means of the personal stories of six North Korean protagonists: a teacher, a doctor, a housewife, a broadcaster, a student and a homeless orphan. Read the rest of this entry »

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