Experts Say

Pyongyang Speaks: An Interview Inside North Korea

September 26, 2017
By Doug Bandow

first visited the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea in 1992. The personality cult then built around “Great Leader” Kim Il-sung was suffocating. The emphasis on the military was significant. Pyongyang, though the country’s showcase, was plain and poor, lagging behind most any major South Korean city in notable ways; I spied, for instance, an ox-cart in the DPRK capital, and many of them in the countryside. Much has changed since then. In mid-June I visited North Korea at the invitation of the Institute for American Studies, which is part of the Foreign Ministry. Pyongyang today is much more prosperous than it was 25 years ago. There has been significant construction and reliance on more stylish architecture. The city hosts more activity normal for Westerners, from private cabs to cell phones. But the countryside is less well developed and the North’s dark underside remains mass repression.
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