A gaggle of young North Koreans in neon chased me down the mountain on skis, expertly skidding to a stop at my feet as I sat on the slope tightening my bindings.
They peppered me with questions: “What’s your name? How old are you? Where are you from? Are you married?”
It was 2014 and we were at Masikryong Ski Resort, a pet project of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The resort, a multimillion-dollar facility featuring luxury lodges and pristine slopes about 100 miles east of Pyongyang, had opened a few weeks earlier and I was there on a reporting trip — and to get a little snowboarding in.… Seguir leyendo »
A few years ago, when I was a reporter working in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, I went to visit a kindergarten. While I was there, I picked up a children’s book called “A Hedgehog Defeats the Tiger.” It was a tale, a North Korean told me, about a feisty little hedgehog that bests a much larger and fiendishly ravenous tiger using the only weapons at its disposal: the small but sharp quills on its back. The tiny but clever hedgehog pounces on the big nose of the blundering tiger, blinding him into submission.
“Do you know who the tiger is?” the North Korean asked me, an American, with a slight smirk.… Seguir leyendo »
After the 14th-century Korean ruler Taejo, founder of the Joseon dynasty, chose the youngest of his eight sons to succeed him, a spurned son killed the heir apparent and at least one of his other half brothers and eventually rose to the throne. Today, rumors of royal fratricide are again swirling, this time around the court of Kim Jong-un, the ruler of North Korea.
Last week, Mr. Kim’s estranged older half brother, Kim Jong-nam, died in Malaysia, the apparent victim of a nerve-agent attack in the Kuala Lumpur airport. The Malaysian police named several suspects, including a North Korean diplomat. Many South Koreans, without needing proof, are calling it a political assassination directed by Kim Jong-un.… Seguir leyendo »