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behind the korean curtain

North Korea has made the news frequently during the past year, first with missile tests and then with a charm offensive. Some commentators doubt the sincerity of this upsurge in diplomatic gestures that the hermit kingdom recently extended to both South Korea and the United States.

After a failed April 5th satellite launch, a May 25th underground nuclear detonation, and July 4th ballistic missile tests, North Korea claims peaceful motives.

Having detained Asian-American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee in March and then sentencing them to 12 years of hard labor, Kim Jong-il waited for Bill Clinton's 20-hour August 4th visit to free the captive reporters.

Northeast Asia moves ever-so-slowly towards a conclusive end to the Korean War, which concluded with a mere armistice agreement in 1953. But North Korea refuses to resume six-party talks that could facilitate a viable peace treaty. Will South Korea, along with Russia, China, and Japan, move towards full reunification of the Koreas? And will the U.S. pursue better relations with the world's most isolated country?

Worldfocus explores the geopolitics of a Communist regime that exercises near total control over its population of 23 million. Multimedia producer Ben Piven recently visited North Korea, and he reports on the situation inside for the Worldfocus six-part multimedia series Inside the Hermit Kingdom

Behind the Korean Curtain

N. Korean paid informants risk lives but send dubious news

Perspectives

N. Korean paid informants risk lives but send dubious news

In North Korea, radio signals are jammed, internet connections blocked and cell phones monitored. Outside news organizations pay underground stringers to smuggle news out. Read how U.S. newspapers treat this info, and see our list of North Korean news websites.

Posted: February 4, 2010 16:21   Comments: 3
Worldfocus Radio: North Korea’s Economic Catastrophe

Worldfocus Radio

Worldfocus Radio: North Korea’s Economic Catastrophe

Martin Savidge hosts Barbara Demick of the LA Times and Leon Sigal of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project. They discuss North Korea's recent currency devaluation, how the state is closing underground markets, the grim economic reality for the North Korean people and the prospects of U.S. economic engagement with this rogue and isolated nation.

Posted: January 26, 2010 21:46   Comments: 3
S. Korean boxes way to top after defecting from North

Video

S. Korean boxes way to top after defecting from North

Choi Hyun-mi is a female boxer who has found popularity and success in South Korea after defecting from the North with her family in 2004. Now known as South Korea's "Million Dollar Baby", the 19-year-old has been the reigning WBA featherweight champion since 2007. Al Jazeera English's Rahul Pathak has more.

Posted: January 25, 2010 12:10   Comments: 0
Young North Korean defectors strive to assimilate in South

Perspectives

Young North Korean defectors strive to assimilate in South

Worldfocus is partnering with Pearl World Youth News, an initiative of Daniel Pearl Foundation and iEARN, to bring the voices of young reporters to our viewers. Ji Eun Lee writes about the challenge of integrating young North Korean defectors into South Korean society.

Posted: December 1, 2009 17:46   Comments: 6
North Korean economy sandwiched by the dragon and tiger

Web Original

North Korean economy sandwiched by the dragon and tiger

Part 6 of 6 in our Inside the Hermit Kingdom series on the people and culture of North Korea. Worldfocus multimedia producer Ben Piven writes about the stark contrast between the stagnant North Korean economy and the booming economies of China and South Korea to the north and south.

Posted: November 20, 2009 15:41   Comments: 3
In Seoul, Obama takes on North Korea’s nuclear challenge

Interview

In Seoul, Obama takes on North Korea’s nuclear challenge

The Obama administration is dealing with the thorny issue of North Korea's nuclear program. To take a closer look, Leon Sigal of the Social Science Research Council in New York speaks with Daljit Dhaliwal. They discuss Sigal's recent meeting with a North Korean delegation in New York -- and how willing the North Koreans are to negotiate.

Posted: November 19, 2009 17:53   Comments: 0
Kim Jong-il’s North Korea welcomes legal U.S. tourists

Web Original Video

Kim Jong-il’s North Korea welcomes legal U.S. tourists

Part 5 of 6 in our "Inside the Hermit Kingdom" series on the people and culture of North Korea. Multimedia producer Ben Piven's video chronicles his five-day trip in August. Watch original footage of the Pyongyang Metro, rural countryside, Demilitarized Zone and everyday North Koreans.

Posted: November 13, 2009 17:40   Comments: 6
Sweet dreams of Beyonce in N. Korean people’s paradise

Web Original

Sweet dreams of Beyonce in N. Korean people’s paradise

Part 4 of 6 of our Inside the Hermit Kingdom series on the people and culture of North Korea. Worldfocus multimedia producer Ben Piven writes about popular music, food and beer in the most isolated country on earth. Believe it or not, North Koreans know about Beyonce and Michael Jackson.

Posted: November 11, 2009 16:15   Comments: 2
Straddling the two Koreas: DMZ diplomacy with Major Im

Web Original

Straddling the two Koreas: DMZ diplomacy with Major Im

Part 3 of 6 in our series on the people and culture of North Korea. Worldfocus multimedia producer Ben Piven writes about his encounter with North Korean Major Im Dong-chul while on the northern side of the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas.

Posted: November 3, 2009 15:29   Comments: 10
Communist North Korea clings to ‘Juche’ ideology

Web Original

Communist North Korea clings to ‘Juche’ ideology

Part 2 of 6 in our series on the people and culture of North Korea, Worldfocus multimedia producer Ben Piven explains the powerful ideology of Juche -- which some call the isolated country's state religion. Photos show notable Juche monuments throughout the Hermit Kingdom.

Posted: October 30, 2009 16:32   Comments: 0
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