[KS] ABC and Pyongyang

Tracy sayyes2korea at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 9 14:10:03 EDT 2005

Dear Dr's Frank and Petrov, and all other list members:

 I really appreciate hearing what people have to say on this matter. 


I believe we are witnessing  regime 'transformation' in the earliest of stages and that there is no need to argue on behalf of regime collapse or for that matter regime maintenance.   I understand the need to be cautious and not get too excited over reform
. that being said, I believe the media holds a very important role with regards to change in North Korea (see websites below).  There have been several documentaries  in recent years:   Last year a British team was allowed (after 4 years of asking) to film the 1966 DPRK soccer team in  "The Game of their Lives", and young gymnastics performers in "A State of Mind" and then there is the Dutch Independent film "A Day in the Life" about a North Korean family, a documentary that includes clips of an English class.  The young North Korean University students joked and chided each other in American English while later in the film they outwardly blamed the Americans for their lack of electricity and other problems.  The symbolism of
 nuclear weapons popped up everywhere from the numerous murals to a plastic teddy bear holding a nuclear warhead as one would a baby outside a daycare center.  No matter how much they are controlled by the North Korean government, I believe they give us an unprecedented look into  the DPRK.     I believe the American crew yesterday reporting from Pyongyang as casually as if they were in South Carolina is just one more crack in the cocoon.  No dignitary had visited the country (i.e. Sec. Albright, Former Pres. Carter) it was just a simple broadcast. 

I believe we should be discussing how to handle this new, more unpredictable transforming regime.   This to me is very promising, I believe that the United States can mold  what the new regime will act and look like by setting the example. 


Am I wrong in my assessment that the DPRK mimics the actions of the United States politically and otherwise?


I appreciate everyone’s patience with me as I continue to learn as much as I possibly can about the Korean Peninsula and for that matter the United States.  I look forward to hearing your comments.  




Tracy Stober

MA-International Studies-Korea

Univ. of Washington-Seattle



Documentary websites:  


Very Much So Productions: http://www.verymuchso.co.uk/  


            “The Game of their Lives”,  http://www.thegameoftheirlives.com/ 


            “A State of Mind” http://www.astateofmind.co.uk/



Golden Monkey Productions:   “A Day in the Life” http://www.goldenmonkey.nl/index2.htm








petrov at coombs.anu.edu.au wrote:Dear Tracy,

Please do not be overexcited by the first LIVE broadcast from the
Secretive Kingdom to America since October 2000, when Madeleine Albright
visited Pyongyang. North Koreans will make sure that Bob Woodruff and his
crew will see only what they want them to see – the great monuments (to
symbolize the “invincibility of peoples’ spirit”), the nuclear plants with
empty cooling pools (guess where all the graphite rods are gone?), and the
blooming city markets abundant with cheap Chinese goods (a sign of reform
designed to resuscitate the centrally planned economy without really
changing anything).

Should a foreign journalist find anything more than that, the chief editor
back at home will expurgate unessential stuff from the report. That is why
the coverage of North Korea by Western media (after a handsome sum of
money is paid to the regime following the "aggressive talks") rarely goes
beyond a childish surprise about the absence of traffic lights in
Pyongyang and people working in the fields in summer.

Last month the international conference "U.S. Public Opinion Regarding the
Korean Peninsula & ROK-U.S. Relations", organised by the Institute for Far
Easter Studies, Kyungnam University, discussed the issue of hackneyed
images of North Korea customarily reproduced by American media (for the
list of topics and presenters see:
> )

It is a miracle that ABC News was allowed to report from the DPRK.
However, the ongoing economic reform in North Korea has nothing to do with
this exclusive reporting. As before, foreign (particularly American)
journalists are rarely welcome in the DPRK. But if they are allowed to see
something, it does not really matter whether the reporting is LIVE or
edited because both sides have already decided what to show to the
viewers. No surprises are expected.

Yours sincerely,

KF Post-Doctoral Fellow
The Academy of Korean Studies

>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

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