Kay Seok

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Today in Pyongyang, the New York Philharmonic, the most prominent U.S. cultural institution ever to visit North Korea, performs live on state TV and radio. Many observers have cautiously dubbed this a prelude to a thaw between Washington and Pyongyang. But for North Koreans, a very real thaw, unseen by the musicians, has been transforming life for years.

A famine that killed a million people in the 1990s has driven fundamental societal changes in North Korea. As people struggled to survive, they were forced to defy many restrictions imposed by the state, which has consequently lost much of its control.

Before the famine, North Korea could plausibly be called a hermit kingdom.…  Seguir leyendo »