North Korea

The incredible isolation of North Korea — In one map

The incredible isolation of North Korea — In one map

North Korea is often referred to as “The Hermit Kingdom” in the west — and one map demonstrates why.

The website MarineTraffic displays live data of cargo ships over 299 gross tonnage, and while South Korean ports of Incheon, Busan, and Ulsan are bustling with activity, shipboard cargo movement in the North barely registers, despite the country having eight major seaports.

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North Korean media sinks even lower, calls South Korean leader a “repulsive wench”

North Korean media sinks even lower, calls South Korean leader a “repulsive wench”

Barely a week after branding her a “blabbering peasant woman,” North Korea has labelled South Korean leader Park Geun-hye a “repulsive wench” via its state-run media. Not only that, but the same quoted source also alluded to the fact that the president has no children of her own, and said that she “makes a mockery of sacred motherhood.”

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Here’s the military exercise that has North Korea freaking out

Here’s the military exercise that has North Korea freaking out

A joint military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea has freaked out North Korean leadership.

The annual drill, named Foal Eagle, runs from Feb. 24 to April 18 and features Marines from both countries.

North Korea views the drill as a possible threat and has responded by ratcheting up its own military rhetoric.

Further, The Hermit Kingdom has announced military drills of its own, and launched hundreds of missiles toward a disputed maritime border with South Korea. The country has also promised a new kind of nuclear test in response.

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Is North Korea really forcing its young men to get Kim Jong-un’s haircut? Probably not…

Is North Korea really forcing its young men to get Kim Jong-un’s haircut? Probably not…

When it comes to North Korea it is almost impossible to tell the difference between truth and rumor. And, you know, the reclusive country really has to shoulder some of the blame here–it’s hard to do fact checking when your subject responds to questions with poorly aimed missile launches!

However, when news broke last week that Pyongyang was now requiring all male university students to cut their hair like Kim Jong-un, we couldn’t stop an eyebrow from rising and thinking, “Wait, really?” As for whether or not it’s true, well, we think we have a solid answer…or as close to a solid answer as you can get when it comes to North Korea.

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You ain’t seen North Korean calisthenics ’til you’ve seen it done to Final Fantasy IV boss music

You ain’t seen North Korean calisthenics ’til you’ve seen it done to Final Fantasy IV boss music

Every once in a while we experience pleasant beauty of synchronicity in life, whether it’s listening to Pink Flyod’s Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of OZ or just listening to The Police’s Synchronicity.

Another such case is the uncannily fitting combination of a North Korean calisthenics video for children with the background music to a Final Fantasy IV boss battle. A video of it was posted on YouTube quite a while ago, but it’s worth revisiting again and again.

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Wait, did North Korea really just call South Korea’s president a “blabbering peasant woman”?

Wait, did North Korea really just call South Korea’s president a “blabbering peasant woman”?

Yes. Yes, it did.

Relations between North and South Korea took a turn for the childish today as a spokesman for the notorious hermit nation labelled South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye a “peasant” and remarked that she ought to stop “blabbering” if she ever wants to see relations between the two countries improve.

Me, and indeed, ow.

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Kim Jong-un clones on the loose, hiding out in China【Photos】

Kim Jong-un clones on the loose, hiding out in China【Photos】

There may be only one murderous, sociopathic leader of North Korea, but with all the Kim Jong-un look-alikes we’ve found in China, we’re starting to wonder if he’s not actually the result of some bizarre cloning experiment. First, a “cosplayer” showed up on the streets of Hong Kong last October, posing for photos and looking as if he were on the verge of sentencing a village to three generations of hard labor. And now another look-alike has appeared in China…selling roast skewers on the street?

What the heck is going on here??

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Close call – Passenger plane passed through North Korean missile trajectory just 6 minutes later

Close call – Passenger plane passed through North Korean missile trajectory just 6 minutes later

At approximately 4:17 p.m. on Tuesday this week, North Korea fired seven short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast into the Sea of Japan. While this in itself is not especially unusual for the world’s most secretive and hardline dictatorship, a genuinely unsettling detail later emerged that reflects the seriousness of the situation and just how close one group of civilians came to danger: Just six minutes after its launch, a China Southern Airways passenger plane passed directly through the path one missile had taken.

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North Korea launches missiles into Japan Sea because it’s just that time again

North Korea launches missiles into Japan Sea because it’s just that time again

We’re used to seeing a lot of unbelievable-sounding coverage concerning the Cobra-style antics of North Korea’s totalitarian dictatorship. But the country’s tightly-closed borders make many reports difficult to verify, so a lot of patently false stories end up circulating through legitimate outlets. This means that, sadly, what you’ve read about North Korea putting a man on the sun and finding a unicorn lair are less than legit.

Some stories, however, are frighteningly real: Like the one about Pyongyang launching a series of Scud missiles over the Japan Sea recently as a show of military might.

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Survivor of North Korean gulags makes wrenching drawings of what happens inside

Survivor of North Korean gulags makes wrenching drawings of what happens inside

“Pump torture. After sitting, you stand about a hundred times.”

A United Nations panel has accused North Korea of crimes against humanity, including systematic extermination, “murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence … and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”

The report is based on a year of public hearings with about 80 witnesses as well as confidential interviews with another 240 victims, including people who’d spent time in North Korean prison camps and experts.

Kim Kwang-il, a 48-year-old man who spent two years in a prison in North Korea, defected to South Korea in February 2009 and subsequently had professional artists draw sketches based on his recollections of torture and the conditions of prisoner life. Some of these were included in the report.

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20 crazy facts about North Korea

20 crazy facts about North Korea

There are many fascinating countries around the world–in fact, we’d wager that there aren’t any truly boring places. But one of the most bizarrely “can’t look away from the train wreck” places in the world is North Korea. Now, there’s a lot of information (and misinformation) out there about the country, and sometimes it can be hard to separate the fact from fiction. Still, we like to try, right?

So, you can imagine how excited we were when we found a series of twenty photos and facts about North Korea have been making the Internet rounds! But we wanted to know more! Click below to see the 20 facts and some of the background information we dug up.

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Kim Jong-un allegedly orders entire extended family of executed uncle killed

Kim Jong-un allegedly orders entire extended family of executed uncle killed

Remember the good old days, when North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was just the right combination of diminutive, bumbling and evil to make the country at once problematic yet adorable? Well, Jong-il’s son and recently-ascended heir to the North Korean throne, Kim Jong-un, seems hellbent on making sure North Koreans are the go-to Hollywood antagonists for the next 20 years’ worth of action movies, with unpredictable and combative behavior towards the international community and human rights violations far more brazen and horrific than even his notoriously unpredictable father dared.

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North Koreans reportedly forced to memorize Kim Jong-un’s entire 26-minute New Year speech

North Koreans reportedly forced to memorize Kim Jong-un’s entire 26-minute New Year speech

All around the world, people celebrate New Year’s Day in different ways, most with a sense of optimism that a new year means a new chance at achieving their dreams. However, in North Korea it’s a time of enormous anxiety for the people. Reports out of China claim that North Korea’s New Year is rung in with a speech by Kim Jong-un, and by his order everyone in the country must commit the entire speech to memory.

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North Korean broadcast keeps it creepy with doll-like kids playing giant guitars 【Video】

North Korean broadcast keeps it creepy with doll-like kids playing giant guitars 【Video】

Okay, so technically the guitars are regular-sized and it’s the kids who are the small ones, but there’s something strangely creepy about this whole video, from the kids’ synchronised smiles and nods to the boys’ weird hairstyles and the fact that some of them look more like little old men than children.

Join us after the jump for the full video.

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Awesome Kim Jong-un cosplay in Hong Kong receives applause from South Korean netizens

Awesome Kim Jong-un cosplay in Hong Kong receives applause from South Korean netizens

It’s almost Halloween, and that means it’s once again time for the earth’s creepiest and most terrifying beings to come out of the shadows and walk amongst the living. Or perhaps that should be “come out of their self-imposed isolation and party with the rest of us”?

These photos, which show one Hong Konger’s exceptional Kim Jong-un cosplay, are currently setting South Korean bulletin board sites ablaze, with many applauding the cosplayer’s attention to detail and his striking similarity to North Korea’s rotund leader.

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North Koreans unsure how to handle 560 kg of potatoes in sudden ration flip-flop

North Koreans unsure how to handle 560 kg of potatoes in sudden ration flip-flop

North Korean potato farmers breathed a sigh of relief this month when they found out their monthly ration of the crop would be restored and not canceled as earlier reported. The announcement was soon met with confusion however when the workers in the northern Ryanggang Province found out that each of them would receive 560 kg—eight monthly rations-worth—of potatoes at once. Even a notorious eater like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might find it difficult to stomach that many carbs.

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Kim Jong-un visits children’s hospital, and we have photos that prove it!

Kim Jong-un visits children’s hospital, and we have photos that prove it!

On 6 October, Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Un had visited the Pyongyang Children’s Hospital which is still under construction. Of course, such a shocking story couldn’t be published without some photographs to corroborate it. So here you go!

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North Korea: A peek at daily life in the world’s most secretive country

North Korea: A peek at daily life in the world’s most secretive country

Ah, Kim Jong Un. Like his dad before him, his name repeatedly crops up in news stories so bizarre that readers find themselves wondering if it’s April 1 already. We’ve covered his bizarre possible execution of The Excellent Horse-like Lady and his dubious claim of a domestically produced smartphone on these pages. Did you also know that he is allegedly terrified of barbers and cuts his own hair? How about that he’s a huge LA Lakers fan? Madness!

But sadly, not everyone in North Korea can be a high-profile despotic ruler. Haven’t you ever wondered what daily life is like for the average folk living under the rule of the “Outstanding Leader”? One researcher combed the Net for clues.

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Kim Jong-un’s ex-girlfriend executed for making porn and possibly possessing a Bible

Kim Jong-un’s ex-girlfriend executed for making porn and possibly possessing a Bible

In one of the most shocking and bizarre stories we’ve heard all day, reports coming out of North Korea through China are claiming that on 20 August singer Hyon Song-wol of the Unhasu Orchestra was executed by firing squad along with other members and several performers from the Wangjaesan Light Music Band.

These musicians and performers were all reportedly charged with violating anti-pornography laws. Although prominent and distinguished musicians from these groups including orchestra leader Mun Kyong-jin were among those executed, Hyon Song-wol is the most notable due to her past relationship with the Supreme Leader of North Korea.

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