Foreign Currency is Now the Key to North Korea’s Survival 

Despite being closed off from the world, politically and economically, North Korea cannot survive without foreign currency. This, of course, applies to some degree to all countries in the international trading system. But ever since the 1994-1998 famine – which North Koreans refer to as the ‘Arduous March’ – foreign currency earning in the country has taken on a unique character. Not only has it become the key to the country’s continued survival. But the system itself that depends on it can no longer be considered normal.

DPRK’s Increasingly Vulnerable Regime Desperate to Block Cross-Border Information Flows

North Korea has a long history of blocking and suppressing information from the outside world, so after the country finally reopened its borders about three years after the threat of COVID-19 somewhat subsided, the regime’s subsequent attempts to further stem the tide of information flows have caused concern among North Koreans and others outside the country.

Enforced Silence

“We stay silent not because our life is good enough, but to survive.”  This was my response to a question from a member of the audience during my lecture on North Korea, who asked, “Aren’t the people of North Korea not protesting and staying silent because their life is good enough?”

To survive in North Korea, rules 1, 2, and 3 are “Watch your mouth.”

South Korea Bans Dog Meat but “Sweet Meat Stew” Still Cherished in North Korea

On January 9, 2024, South Korean legislators banned the breeding and slaughter of dogs for human consumption due to various factors like shifting cultural norms and international criticism of the consumption of dog meat.
Yet for many North Koreans and older generations of South Koreans, eating boshintang (dog meat stew) during the summer is an important culinary tradition.
For generations, Koreans have eaten nutritious, reinvigorating stews like boshintang during the hot summer months to restore energy, combat fatigue, and alleviate other symptoms caused by the summer heat.

Speculation About Kim Ju Ae’s Succession in North Korea Is Premature and Unsubstantiated

Recently, Kim Jong Un’s daughter, Kim Ju Ae, has received a lot of international media attention, and on January 4, 2024, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) determined that she is Kim Jong Un’s “most likely successor.”  

Speculation about the third succession within North Korea’s ruling family – fueled by hype and arbitrary interpretations – has been treated as if it were an established fact by both South Korean and international media.

However, North Koreans interviewed for this article are skeptical.

DPRK’s Reorganized Military Automation General Bureau to Manage Integrated Computerized Command Network for Entire Armed Forces

Recently, the North Korean military appears to have promoted the “Command Automation Bureau” under the General Staff to the “Military Automation General Bureau” as a solution to establish and manage an integrated computer system for the entire armed forces in light of the new deployment of strategic units within the military.

North Korea Has Cash Cards?

“There are cash cards in North Korea?” When I tell people that there are cash cards in North Korea, they look surprised.

In fact, North Korea has had cash cards since 2005, when the North East Asia Bank (a joint bank now called the KKG Bank) issued the Sili Card, which was mainly used by foreigners and the upper class when they paid merchants.

In fact, North Korea has had cash cards since 2005, when the North East Asia Bank (a joint bank now called the KKG Bank) issued the Sili Card, which was mainly used by foreigners and the upper class when they paid merchants.

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