Why Web Design Matters for North Korea

A revamped design breathes new life into one of the world’s online views of North Korea.

The flag of North Korea is portrayed in a photo of a “card stunt” during the Arirang Mass Games in a screen capture from http://www.korea-dpr.com.

This new one is not actually the official website of the DPRK—that’s naenara.com.kp, which exhibits credentials as the official portal of North Korea by its possession of the top-level domain “.kp” that was officially granted to North Korea in 2007 by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (although the use of the commercial domain signifier “.com” within the URL is curious, it has nothing to do with where the site is actually hosted). “Naenara” means, roughly, “my country.”

Korea-dpr.com, on the other hand, has the familiar “dot-com” ending to it and is hosted on a Spanish server, making it clear that it does not represent a direct connection to North Korea. In fact, the site is run by the Korean Friendship Association, which is headed up by a Spaniard but operated under the auspices of the DPRK’s Committee for Cultural Continue reading

In the News – Defense reform bills fail to pass in parliament

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In the News – Defense reform bills fail to pass in parliament

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) — A South Korean parliamentary committee dealing with national defense failed Friday to pass a set of reform bills aimed at bolstering military readiness against North Korean provocations, as the meeting lacked a quorum.

Only six of the minimum nine lawmakers needed to reach a quorum attended the meeting of the National Defense Committee, making it unlikely the bills will pass in the outgoing National Assembly before its term ends next month. The committee has 17 members.

The reform plans centered on making the military’s command structure more efficient, and giving the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff more power to control the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Reforming the military has been one of the government’s top policy goals, especially since North Korea’s two deadly attacks on the South in 2010.

“(We) tried to pass urgent bills such as those related to defense reforms during our final meeting today, but it is regrettable that the meeting could not proceed smoothly due to the aftereffects of the April 11 parliamentary elections,” said Rep. Won Yoo-chul of the ruling Saenuri Pary, who chairs the committee.

The defense reform bills had been pending in parliament for 11 months mainly due to fierce opposition from opposition parties over their possible destabilizing effects.

 

Original article can be found here.

An Insider’s Guide to MOU’s Internship

Michelle wrote a great article about the MOU Internship, and I wanted to write about what kinds of advice I would give to future applicants to the Overseas Correspondent Program and add a little bit about my experience at MOU. Continue reading

The MOU Internship: Pt. 1

Imagine an internship where your interests are a priority. Now add being treated with respect. And then add on top of that field trips every week to some of the most interesting places in South Korea. And as a bonus, go ahead and add the opportunity to eat some of the best food in Seoul with some of the most important people within the Ministry of Unification. Sound too good to be true? Usually, it would be. But, believe it or not, all of this, and so much more, is what the MOU summer internship was like for me. Hopefully I have your attention by now, so let me give you some more details. Continue reading

On the Streets of Insadong

With my heart pounding, I looked apprehensively at passersby in Insadong as I stood on the street with a sign around my neck. To create a promotional video for the Public Relations department of the Ministry of Unification (MOU), Kelly, Jay, and I decided to conduct a survey on reunification and MOU to both foreigners and Koreans. However, this was easier said than done, especially because I had no such experience of approaching strangers and asking them to answer questions. Continue reading

North Korean Refugees in the United Kingdom

Big Ben (Photo Credit: Mohammad Albeloushi/Flickr)

With their number increasing, many North Korean refugees are spreading all over the world after escaping through China and Southeast Asian countries. Many of them, about 25,000 as of 2010, settle in South Korea, where the government supports them throughout their first few years in their new homes. About 100,000 to 200,000 North Koreans are estimated to be in China, waiting to go to a different country, as they will be repatriated to North Korea if the Chinese police arrest them. They also go to different parts of the world: they go to the United States, other Asian countries, and Western Europe. Continue reading