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It's Not a Hermit Kingdom, and 4 Other Myths About North Korea

Try Independent Minds free for 1 month See the options. You can form your own view. Subscribe now. North Korean soldiers march on Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean war armistice in Pyongyang. North Koreans wave the national flag. Kim Jong Un's distinctive hair cut. Missiles are displayed during a military parade in Pyongyang to mark years since the birth of Kim Il-Sung.

The skyline of Pyongyang. South Koreans wave unification flags as they cheer on the North Korean team in a game at the football world cup. Enter your email address Continue Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid Email already exists.

What does hermit kingdom mean?

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Managing the Hermit Kingdom

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They are the predictable response to new sanctions and U.

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North Korea is a failed state: The assumption is that Pyongyang desperately needs economic assistance from the outside world and the only way to get it is for the North to give up its nuclear weapons. Wrong again. North Korea did come close to being a failed state during the s because of mass starvation. But Pyongyang weathered that storm.

The regime is firmly in the saddle and its new leader has enacted measures to vitalize party control. The economy has stabilized and even improved. Despite sanctions, trade has expanded significantly, not just with China but also with South and Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe to the point where the North may have even enjoyed a current account surplus in Still, life in the North remains grim.

But conditions in Pyongyang are better and improving, certainly compared to stagnation in the countryside, where periodic and chronic food shortages persist. There is no comparison between the North and developed countries like South Korea. But it fits in if compared to developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. North Korea is a hermit kingdom: The United States may have very little to do with the North, but that does not apply to the rest of the world. Did you know that North Korea sends hundreds of students overseas for educational and business training?

Thousands of North Koreans work in China, in Mongolia where they produce goods for popular British clothing brands, in Kuwait where they work on construction projects, and in Russia where they labor in logging camps. A North Korean construction company is currently completing a museum near Cambodia's famed Angkor temples featuring computer-generated simulations of the ancient monuments.

Inside North Korea, just to give a few examples, the information technology sector is an outsourcing destination for other countries, even developing software and apps for the iPhone. Pyongyang's sophisticated cartoon industry is reported to have been involved in the production of "The Lion King. And residents and visitors to Pyongyang can now find Viennese coffee at the appropriately named "Viennese Coffee Restaurant. The first nuclear agreement between the U. A nuclear deal brokered by China in requiring Pyongyang to give up its weapons program faltered after the Bush administration imposed new economic sanctions on the North before the ink was dry.

Outside the WMD arena, the record is also mixed. For example, after private aid organizations began delivery of , tons of food assistance to the North in , while most of the assistance reached its intended destinations, they discovered that a small amount had disappeared. On the other hand, aid groups engaged in local projects to help increase food production found the North abided by its agreements.

The hermit kingdom and other metaphors

The author wrote:. Pyongyang is a master at getting something meaningful from the US and giving up something less meaningful or even meaningless in return… In the schoolyard, this is like the bully promising not to punch you in the face tomorrow in return for your pocket money today. Another piece in Fox News used similar language, talking about the country as if a narcissist stringing along a romantic interest with manipulation and deceit. So, North Korea is depicted as an isolated and backward country run by a tyrant with comically eccentric, excessive tastes.

And its leader is perceived as a liar and a cheat. Read more: Beyond the war of words: how might the Australian media's coverage of China affect social cohesion? The Australian media would be substantially enlivened by more stories illustrating individual and community life. This would give North Koreans a human face and offer the Australian public a less singular, monotonous depiction of a country so often written about with such a limited lexicon.

Access into North Korea can be tricky for journalists. But our analysis found even where human stories of refugees exist, they are often tied to negative metaphors.