[KS] RE: ABC and Pyongyang

Jim Hoare jim at jhoare10.fsnet.co.uk
Thu Jun 9 07:09:00 EDT 2005

The DPRK is indeed undergoing some changes, slowly and cautiously - if I 
were part of the DPRK elite, I would be slow and cautious too. The US and 
other Western countries could assist this process, but have effectively 
decided not to until the nuclear issue is settled. My own belief is that the 
real way to solve the nuclear issue is to do as the ROK is doing - show the 
North the alternatives to confrontation, accept that it is a slow and often 
one-sided process, but equally accept that changing the DPRK gradually is 
better than trying to do so by force.

I do not think that the ABC broadcasts are a first. There were certainly US 
journalists at Kumho in 2002 for the concrete-laying ceremony at the KEDO 
site, and they were broadcasting live. Were there not also journalists with 
Secretary of State Albright in 2000? APTN (Associated Press Television News) 
had a presence in Pyongyang (sorry - I do find that easier to pronounce more 
or less correctly than the weird version that the Yale system of 
romanization throws up) for several months in 2002, covering Arirang and 
much more - if there had not been a spoiling article in the Far Eastern 
Economic Review, they might have had a permanent slot on the basis that they 
were a British-registered company.

But having got a journalist to the DPRK, what a pity that ABC merely 
reported that there were few cars on the roads and that there were pictures 
of leaders all over the place. Hardly the cutting edge of reporting, though 
I suppose it helps to counterbalance last year's stories that the portraits 
had disappeared.

Jim Hoare

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rüdiger Frank" <rfrank at koreanstudies.de>
To: <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 8:10 AM
Subject: [KS] RE: ABC and Pyongyang


concerning real, concrete change/reform: this is what I and a growing
number of colleagues keep emphasizing since at least autumn 2002 (after the
7.1 reforms and the Kim-Koizumi summit). Some more knowledgeable analysts
started pointing at the changes already in 1998 (new constitution,
restructuring of governmental organization and functions). In South Korea,
this optimistic (and, as I would argue, realistic) view now seems to be the
mainstream opinion and the reason why surveys in the ROK indicate a reduced
NK threat perception - despite the of course remaining serious concerns
about a number of issues, including security and the humanitarian question.
Please take a look at some of my writings on that matter (list and links

As for media reports, I am not sure about live coverage. However, also
since 2002, it appears to be increasingly easier to report from NK. There
is a plethora of often quite interesting documentaries made/commissioned by
European companies such as ARTE. As a matter of fact, North Korea still
perceives Western journalists as having kind of official status, even if
they work for a private media company, so their treatment is part of the
overall diplomatic approach towards their respective home country. My
impression is that you have to be in the right place at the right time,
i.e., there are times when the leadership tends to be more open to requests
my (certain) foreign media, and sometimes they simply refuse everything.
The level of receptiveness seems to differ according to country of origin.
Europeans had it quite easy in autumn 2002, and now - who knows - there
seems to be a positive attitude towards teams from the U.S. The latter
would be nice. Many people are working hard for this. It's also great that
finally, a broader audience in the U.S. might get a chance to understand
that there are promising non-military options to resolve the tense
situation on the Korean peninsula. In this context, since you are based in
the States, you might want to get in touch with my friends and colleagues
from the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea (ASCK, see


Ruediger Frank

Pukhanùi Pyònsin: Kyòngje Pyònhwawa Sasangjòk Twit'patch'im (North Korean
Transition: Economic Changes and Ideological Backup)

North Korea: Gigantic Change and a Gigantic Chance,
Nautilus Institute Policy Forum Online 03-31, May 09, 2003,

The End of Socialism and a Wedding Gift for the Groom? The True Meaning of
the Military First Policy,
NAPSNET Special Report and DPRK Briefing Book (Transition), Dec. 11th,

The New Image of Kim Jong-il: The First Step towards a New Leadership Model,
Nautilus Institute Policy Forum Online 04-49 B, Nov. 19th, 2004,

Failure or Success of a Hybrid System? Nautilus Institute Policy Forum
Online 05-11a, Feb. 10, 2005,

A New Foreign Policy Paradigm: Perspectives on the Role of South Korea as a
Nautilus Institute Policy Forum Online 03-35 A, April 25th, 2005,

Pukhanùi Kyòngjejòk, Inyòmjòk Chònhwan: Pop'yònjògin Wòllidùlgwa
Kuch'ejògin T'ùkchingdùl (Economic and Ideological Transition in North
Korea: Universal Principles and Specific Features), in: Korea National
Strategy Institute Hyònanjindan (Diagnosis of Pending Problems) No. 6, May
2005, pp. 1-16, see http://knsi.org/bbs/view.php?id=politics&no=108

At 08:56 08.06.2005 -0700, you wrote:
Dear List Members:
This morning on ABC news, world correspondant Bob Woodruff reported "LIVE
from the Secret Kingdom" in Pyongyang.
  See Link: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/International/story?id=828300

Has this ever happened before?  I don't recall reading or witnessing a live
report by an American news company.  What does this symbolize?
Could there be real, concrete change/reform going on in North Korea?

Tracy Stober
MA-International Studies-Korea
Univ. of Washington-Seattle

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ruediger Frank
East Asian Political Economy
University of Vienna, East Asian Institute
AAKH Campus, Hof 5.4, Spitalgasse 2-4
1090 Vienna, Austria
Phone: +43-(0)1-4277 43822
Fax: +43-(0)1-4277 9438
Cell phone: +43-(0)699-19229 802
email: ruediger.frank at univie.ac.at

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