[KS] Answers about Pyongyang

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Mon Sep 24 09:23:16 EDT 2012

>> PY is booming!
(Rüdiger Frank)

Yes, and I may add--but maybe my view is too focused (limited) 
here?--to me all looks like this could be an economic boom nurtured by 
the new Internet and Intranet structures that the North Koreans are 
continuing to build, with the assistance of Egypt's Orascom, mostly, 
but certainly not only them. It suddenly turns out to be a very 
promising market, and the strange-stranger-strangest experiences are 
quickly being replaced by the-early-bird-catches-the-worm approaches. 
In addition, South Korea, even if the past should erroneously be 
elected in December, seems now finally to get ready to deal with the 
North on economic terms. They have done a great deal in applying 
alternative networking, networking without too much of a landline 
network, by using satellite telecommunications infrastructure to an 
extent that is topping many other countries (where the usual landline 
network is being used for transmission). Satellite cell phones seems at 
the two million mark in the North. All that is quite impressive. AND, 
if I may come back to that original theme Benjamin Joinau posted (also 
referring to his article "La Flèche et le Soleil"), nicely demonstrates 
(or soon will so, I take the freedom to predict) that government 
planned and imagined 'topography' is in the 21st century by no means 
anymore just a mirror image of state ideologies. Or is it in China? 

Anyway, Alexander Mansourov published last November a great and long 
paper full of facts and pointed analytical observations on this 
fascinating topic that provides almost everything one needs to be 
Alexander Mansourov,"North Korea on the Cusp of Digital Transformation" 
(Nov. 2011)
Download link:
Related discussion:

Another highly (!) informative source on technology in the North is: 
These are Martyn Williams's reports and sharp analytical commentaries. 

Frank Hoffmann

On Mon, 24 Sep 2012 10:49:51 +0200, Ruediger Frank wrote:
> Dear all,
> I would add that the history museum in Hamhùng (located in a 
> building that the East Germans helped erecting in the 1950s; with its 
> yellow glazed wall tiles it resembles the simultaneously built Stalin 
> Allee in Berlin) feels like a miniature copy of the history museum in 
> PY. In other words, what we see there is not just a museum but the 
> official version of history. At least visitiors are allowed to take 
> photos there, unlike in the Party Foundation Museum or in the Fine 
> Arts Gallery (they have a few really nice Kim Hongdo's there).  
> As for the coffee shop, it is called "Ryòn'gwang Ch'ajip"; in 
> English it is referred to as "Viennese Coffee House". It is part of a 
> franchise called Sacher's Kaffee (founded 1929 in Vienna) and is run 
> by a German who lives a few blocks away from me in Vienna's 19th 
> district. I first met the gentleman at a trade fair in PY in 2010 and 
> never thought he would be able to get the project off the ground, but 
> he did although he had to struggle over the smallest things. The 
> prices are hefty, yet one should consider the prime location and the 
> fact that everything except labor is imported. I had my last melange 
> there two weeks ago and can confirm that the quality is good. But the 
> competition doesn't sleep, with dozens of new siktang and sangjòm 
> (previously called pongsa sent'o; a combination of shop, restaurant, 
> and sauna) seemingly having emerged in the past few months alone. PY 
> is booming!
> Best,
> Rudiger Frank

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