Unless you’ve been living under the rock, it feels like North Korea has been in the news every single day.
I wanted to use this post to walk through several things: A brief history, news articles and documentaries, China’s concerns. and what the media is NOT reporting.
North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.
Korea was annexed by Imperial Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into two zones. The north was occupied by the Soviet Union, and the south was occupied by the United States. Attempts at reunification failed. In 1948, separate governments were formed – The socialist Democratic People’s Reublic of Korea to the north, and the capitalist Republic of Korea to the south. An invasion by the north led to the Korean War, from 1950-1953. The Korean Armistice Agreement brought a ceasefire, but no peace treaty.
The North Korean army is the fourth largest in the world. With 1.21 million active duty personnel, it is only behind China, the United States, and India. Its population is estimated, in 2016 numbers, to be over 25 million people. The country shares land borders with China and Russia.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a strip of land, 160 miles long and about 2.5 miles wide. It separates the two countries. It was established in 1953 by an agreement between North Korea, China, and the United Nations.
The country functions as a highly centralized, one-party state. They are governed by the Ten Principles for the Establishment of a Monolithic Ideological System. The Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) dominates all North Korean politics, and has an estimated three million members.
Kim Jong-un is the current Supreme Leader, or Suryeong, of Korea. He is part of the Kim dynasty, which has ruled North Korea since 1948.
Aside from general media coverage, there have been several interesting documentaries made about North Korea.
- The Game of Their Lives (2002)
- Crossing the Line (2006)
- The Red Chapel (2009)
- The Defector: Escape from North Korea (2012)
- The Propaganda Game (2015)
- Under the Sun (2015)
Al and I watched The Propaganda Game several years ago. I think we watched it through Netflix. It was incredibly compelling, eye-opening, and frustrating. I was so angry after we watched it.
In addition, multiple movies have featured North Korea, including The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Die Another Day (2002), Stealth (2005), Salt (2010), Red Dawn (2012), The Interview (2014), and Northern Limit Line (2015).
Over the years, concerns have arisen regarding the Kim dynasty, their treatment of their citizens, and nuclear weapons.
More recently, although North Korea has announced their intent to fully denuclearize, there are significant concerns from the Chinese government. North Korea has been blowing up and destroying some of their nuclear weapon facilities, and China has been very concerned about the radiation dust, and other environmental hazards. But, of course, the media here in the United States isn’t talking about that. But, they should be.
There’s a lot about China and North Korea that hasn’t been reported in the United States. It’s infuriating, really. I learned about investigative journalism early on in my education at Longwood. But, the current reporting has a certain strategy and angle. Not that any of that is an excuse. It’s crappy reporting, crappy journalism. I also believe there is a culture of fear now. Especially since Donald Trump is the President of the United States.
For more information, check out the links below. As always, I try to gather my news sources from a variety of United States and international news organizations.
- Trump: Nuclear Deal Would Be Good For North Korea
- Is Kim Jong-un really dismantling his nuclear test site… or is he just hiding evidence? UN offer to visit North Korea to investigate after expert warns it could be a ruse
- North Korea cancels high-level talks with South Korea
- A timeline of North Korea’s backtracking on denuclearization talks
- North Korea Summit With Trump In Doubt Because Of Military Exercises
- How to Deal with North Korea
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂