The People of North Korea | China Hang-up

Photo © AP

Amid constant media reports about missiles, maniacal leaders and threats to the West, it’s easy to forget that North Korea is still home to some 25 million individuals—most of whom have the same basic human desires as the rest of us.

For today’s episode, we’re taking a break from our usual China focus to peer inside the “Hermit Kingdom” at the ground level, and catch some of the nuances that fall through the cracks of North Korea coverage.

Joining us are two people who spend about as much time as any foreigner can in the country. Simon Cockerell has been going in and out of North Korea for the past 12 years as an operator at Beijing-based Koryo Tours, and Andray Abrahamian is executive director of Choson Exchange, a nonprofit that provides educational training in business and economics for young North Koreans.

They tell us about the North Koreans they interact with, what it’s like visiting the country as a foreigner and discuss some of the surprising changes they’ve noticed over the past few years.

Have a question you’d like to hear discussed in a future episode? Record a brief Mp3 and send it to

Click here for the stand alone Mp3.

Click here for past episodes.

Click here to subscribe on iTunes.

Click here for RSS.

Click here to like us on Facebook.

BBC Panorama (John Sweeny)North Korea Undercover
Vice Guide to Travel (Shane Smith)Vice Guide to North Korea
Moranbong Band“Rocky” theme cover
Koryo Tours FilmsCrossing the Line, A State of Mind, The Game of their Lives
Mads BrüggerThe Red Chapel