North Korea has been in the news quite a bit this year, first with the death of their leader and the succession of his son; and more recently, when our leader went to South Korea and up to the DMZ where he gazed across to North Korea.
This quick view from afar was enough for Mr Obama to issue a ritual condemnation of North Korea as a backward country 40 years behind the times and which can’t make anything that works (see, for example, this article).
This is a bit strange in view of North Korea being apparently poised to launch another high tech missile test, and being one of the few nuclear countries in the world. On the other hand, if it is true (and of course it is indeed correct in large part) it is interesting to ponder on the reasons for North Korea’s problems.
Why is North Korea so Backward
Some people might opine that it is actually ‘our’ fault that North Korea is backward – with the word ‘our’ meaning pretty much the entire western world. Surely our trade embargoes have massively prevented the country’s ability to adopt new technologies, and surely our trade embargoes have also denied the country access to markets in which it could sell any goods it can make.
People love to contrast North and South Korea. But what would South Korea’s economy look like if Ford had not invested in Kia and if the US did not then buy the cars jointly manufactured? Or if LG and Samsung were unable to source the raw materials for their electronics, and unable to then sell the finished goods they made?
For that matter, wouldn’t most countries in the world have food shortages if the rest of the world refused to sell them food?
Come See North Korea For Yourself
We raise these questions and make these comments not to excuse North Korea, but to explain that there’s a lot more than meets the eye at first glance when it comes to understanding North Korea.
The best way to get a more even handed impression is to go visit the country. Impossible, you might say? Not so, we reply! We make it possible and convenient for you.
Come on our Travel Insider tour of North Korea this early September. You’ll be joining a small elite group of fellow Travel Insiders (there are more than 30 of us already going on this tour). You will get a comprehensive exposure to Pyongyang and other parts of DPRK (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), and you’ll get to see the DMZ from a perspective extremely few other westerners ever experience – from the northern side.
Please visit our web pages for complete details of the tour, and then please visit North Korea with us this September.
Don’t get us wrong. There’s a lot to be concerned about when it comes to North Korea. We’re simply saying the situation isn’t as black and white as it is sometimes portrayed, and a better understanding can be gained by visiting the country and seeing for yourself. We’d even invite Mr Obama to come with us too, but suspect he’ll be a bit busy campaigning come September this year.
Oh – two last comments. First, North Korea is a relatively safe country to visit – indeed, it doesn’t make this list of the world’s top ten dangerous countries, although some of the countries that do make the list might surprise you.
And truly lastly, if you’d like to try and make sense of North Korea as it presently is, here’s an excellent extremely clear summary of the present situation regarding North Korea, its place in the world community, and why.