North Korea's isolation deepens (2023)

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In the past year, North Korea has become even more isolated from the world. It can be dangerous.

vonDaminov Ildar

(Video) Tillerson intensifies efforts to isolate North Korea

07. June 2021

North Korea's isolation deepens (1)

(Video) Where Is Kim Jong-un? Speculation Intensifies Over North Korean Leader’s Health | TODAY

Even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea had a reputation for being one of the most (if not the most) isolated societies on Earth. It was as if North Korea was already living under the conditions of a permanent COVID-19 lockdown. In fact, it was hard to imagine the hermit nation becoming even more withdrawn than it already was. But as COVID-19 rages around the world, North Korea appears to be entering a new, unprecedented level of isolationism. Why does this happen and what are the consequences?

The government's COVID-19 measures became a key trigger for North Korea's iron curtain to become nearly impenetrable. Already at the end of January 2020 North Koreaacted quickly against the virus, while other countries were still discussing possible measures. The borders are completely closed. All tourists were not allowed to enter; those already in the country were kicked out. All other foreigners living in North Korea have been quarantined for one month. This rule applied to staff inlocal embassiesand international organizations. Some said they were literally trapped in their buildings despite arriving in North Korea well before the pandemic.

Pyongyang's paranoia is not surprising. North Korea is known to take pandemics very seriously – similar measures have been taken against themEbola and SARSwhich were not as contagious and transmissible. North Korea is willing to make all financial sacrifices to prevent COVID-19 from entering the country. North Korean leaders are aware that once the virus emerges, their country's healthcare system will simply collapse. Even Kim Jong Un openly admitted that there is no full-fledged medical infrastructure in North Korea that meets modern requirements and can cope with the pandemic. Therefore, hermetic isolation from the outside world was the North Korean government's only rational decision.

Of course the elite understand thatfinancial costs of their decisionsBut they also saw a number of potential political benefits, like many other authoritarian regimes. Because new restrictions can now be explained by the need to fight the pandemic. Today, for example, it is impossible to move across the North Korean border - which means no defectors, no migration and no dangerous outside intelligence from abroad. This restored control of the government over the crumbling ideological system, which was not entirely immune to outside influences. For example, new censorship measures were introduced after Kim ordered the Youth League to crack down on 'everyone'.non-socialist behavior"among the youth. There are also tighter border restrictions preventing the intrusion of outside information. Additional barricades with armed guards have been placed along North Korea's land borders to prevent anyone or anything from entering the country. Every product that entered in North Korea in 2020, was thoroughly controlled and paranoid decontaminated, while most goods were not even allowed in. Therefore, today it is almost impossible for a North Korean to get their hands on a South Korean TV drama.

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Surprisingly, South Korea has also contributed to the isolation of the North. This was done by cracking down on the human rights activists who released balloons over the Korean border. The activity that made Pyongyang very angryBanned by South Korean law in 2020. Violators face up to three years in prison or a $27,400 fine. Although the exact degree of effectiveness of these balloons is not entirely clear, they succeeded in reaching the population just over the border.according to some statements by North Korean defectors.From this perspective, South Korea's anti-folder law actually deepens North Korea's isolation from the outside world.

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There are also worrying signs of economic isolation. For years, Kim Jong-un slowly pushed his country toward pro-market reforms, but the pandemic changed that. The government is now desperate for a solutionEliminating the country's dependence on imported materials and equipment for the manufacture of basic goods.For example, both metallurgical plants in North Korea are installing coke-free iron smelting equipment because the country does not have coking coal, according to the Russian Embassy. In addition, construction of the C1 chemical plant is being pushed forward, reportedly with the aim of helping North Koreans produce liquid fuel from the country's abundant lignite reserves. It is unclear how fruitful these efforts will be, but the clean discussions are instructive. The official party line continuescentralization and isolationwas announced in early 2021 at the Eighth Congress of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. This approach could also contribute to the aforementioned political goal of increasing ideological control over social life. Greater surveillance of the country's economy could limit the internal circulation of illegally smuggled South Korean dramas, pop music, banned books and other material.

There are also no positive signals to observe on the diplomatic level. Pyongyang recentlywithdrew from the Tokyo Olympics;gave up qualification for the World Cup in 2022after mentioning possible effects of coronavirus; and banned his delegations from leaving the country - all in the name of fighting the pandemic. However, North Korea has shown little willingness to engage in diplomatic contacts with anyone. It has largely ignored diplomatic efforts by the Biden administration, occasionally insulting South Korean President Moon Jae-in or dismissively dismissing his proposals for inter-Korean cooperation.

(Video) Air China suspends flights between Beijing and Pyongyang

North Korea is becoming more and more isolated. But why is this important?

First, the problem has a fundamental humanitarian dimension: the North Korean people are suffering. This isolation has a negative effect on the country's economy and trade in Russian diplomats confirmed in spring 2021. Pyongyang's level of trade with Chinadecreased by 80-90 per centAll of 2020. According to some local embassies, it has become a challenge even for them to buy basic necessities such as pasta, flour, vegetable oil or sugar. There are also no proper clothes or shoes for sale. Many businesses stopped and people lost their jobs because there were no imported materials or raw materials. Rumors of possible famine circulate almost continuously, although they have not been confirmed.

Second, North Koreans have less and less contact with the outside world, which further limits the flow of information and increases the power of the Kim regime. Looking at the historical examples of communist regimes such as the Soviet Union or its Eastern European satellites, the interaction of their people with the Western world, as well as other forms of external information penetration, is rarethe key factors for subsequent transformationthis cure. Therefore, limiting North Korea's interaction with the outside world today is detrimental to the freedom of the people. Unfortunately, the 13 remaining foreign embassies in Pyongyang are the last link between North Korea and the international community. But even this connection is getting weaker and weaker. Given North Korea's strict and sometimes absurd quarantine rules, aThe emigration of diplomats and staff from international organizations continued in 2020-2021. Very symbolic was a photo of several Russian diplomats leaving North Korea in February 2021 on a train car specially built for one-way traffic. It is currently unclear when Pyongyang will allow more diplomatic personnel, humanitarian aid workers and businessmen to enter the country.

After all, precise information about North Korea has always been scarce – now the situation is even worse, as the number of defectors and people traveling to and from North Korea has dropped to virtually zero. Diplomats, humanitarian aid workers and other foreigners could provide impartial reporting on actual events in the country; Now these sources are even rarer. This lack of information will further hamper research activities and informed policymaking in Seoul, Washington and other world capitals when it comes to North Korea. For example, if the socio-economic situation were to deteriorate drastically and there would be another famine (and it is very bad).unlikely, yet possible) the international community would not be able to quickly assess the extent of the problem. ThatDeparture from the World Food Program and other humanitarian organizationsThis means that if North Korea needs large-scale food aid, it will be very difficult to rebuild the distribution systems from scratch.

(Video) Air China suspends flights between Beijing and Pyongyang

On a positive note, it doesn't look so bleak. Apparently, Pyongyang is looking for new ways to increase trade with China. has limitshas begun to reopen for merchandisewhile North Korea continues to build key disinfection facilities at its border checkpoints with China and Russia. This could do something to alleviate the fragile humanitarian and economic situation in the Nordic region. Unfortunately, the political and social implications of this isolationist trend are likely to be long-lasting, especially since Pyongyang is not among the first candidates on the list of countries to receive COVID-19 vaccines under the World Health Organization's COVAX initiative. Therefore, as the pandemic continues, we must find new ways to make Pyongyang visible to the outside world and promote positive social change in North Korea.


How did North Korea become so isolated? ›

However, Gorbachev's reforms and diplomatic initiatives, the Chinese economic reforms starting in 1979, and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc from 1989 to 1991 increased North Korea's isolation.

Does North Korea let you escape? ›

The country seals its borders. And, unless you go to sea, you can only escape to two neighboring countries, South Korea or China. Those who reached China have reached the territory of North Korea's only friend.

How long would it take a nuclear missile to reach the US from North Korea? ›

Chinese study: North Korean missile could reach US in 33 minutes.

How many nukes does North Korea have 2023? ›

More and More Missiles: North Korea's First Quarter of 2023

Other estimates suggest North Korea could have more than 100 nuclear weapons by now. This year, Kim has repeatedly called for the country to “exponentially” increase its nuclear weapon production.

Which is the most isolated country in the world? ›

Nauru is the world's least visited country, and is a tiny island known by the aptly name "Pleasant Island". With only 160 visitors a year, chances are you will experience a small island paradise without being surrounded by other tourists. It is the world's smallest republic, but there is still plenty to do here.

How much will $1.00 US dollar buy in North Korea? ›

1 USD = 900 KPW Jun 04, 2023 01:42 UTC

Check the currency rates against all the world currencies here. The currency converter below is easy to use and the currency rates are updated frequently. This is very much needed given the extreme volatility in global currencies lately. Sending money abroad is as easy as ever.

What happens if you get caught leaving North Korea? ›

If the defectors are caught in China, they are repatriated back to North Korea, where rights groups say they often face harsh interrogations and years of punishment, or even death, in kwalliso prison camps (such as the Pukch'ang camp), or in kyohwaso reeducation camps (such as the Chungsan camp or Chongo-ri camp).

What happens if you try escaping North Korea? ›

It's illegal for North Koreans to leave their country without the government's permission. North Koreans who do attempt to leave the country illegally and are caught can face severe consequences including torture, forced labor, and life-imprisonment in a political prison camp.

Is North Korea capable of nuking the US? ›

North Korea claims its nuclear forces are capable of destroying its rivals, and often follows its provocative weapons tests with launch details. But many foreign experts call the North's claims propaganda and suggest that the country is not yet capable of hitting the United States or its allies with a nuclear weapon.

Could the US destroy North Korea? ›

There is little doubt that the United States and South Korea together possess the military capability to bring about the collapse of North Korea through force of arms, but few if any American or South Korean officials would advocate such an approach--with its enormous costs--so long as there are viable alternatives.

How long would it take for a missile to go from Russia to the United States? ›

It would take a land- based missile about 30 minutes to fly between Russia and the United States; a submarine-based missile could strike in as little as 10 to 15 minutes after launch.

How many nukes does USA have? ›

CountryDeployed StrategicTotal Inventory(b)
United States1,670(g)5,244(k)
2 more rows
Mar 31, 2023

Which country has the most powerful weapons in the world? ›

Russia Has The Most Nuclear Weapons In The World—Here Are The Other Countries With The Largest Nuclear Arsenals.

How many nukes does usa have 2023? ›

As of 2023, there were estimated to be approximately 4,223 nuclear warheads belonging to three NATO allies, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. The majority of these belonged to the United States, which had 3,708 nuclear warheads.

What is the most isolated area in the USA? ›

In the lower 48 mainland, the place furthest from a road - and therefore the remotest spot on the United States mainland - is in the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

What is the most remote habitable place on Earth? ›

Tristan Da Cunha, South Atlantic Ocean

The volcanic island of Tristan Da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean has the honor of being the most remote point on Earth inhabited by humans.

Which is the hidden country in the world? ›

Location. Tuvalu is a 26 km² Polynesian country located below the equator in the Central Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia.

What is not allowed in North Korea? ›

North Korea has strict laws about what you can bring into the country. It's illegal to bring in religious, pornographic or political items. Declare all published material and electronic devices when you arrive. It's also illegal to knowingly or unknowingly possess items that breach North Korean law.

Can anyone leave North Korea? ›

North Korean citizens usually cannot freely travel around the country, let alone travel abroad. Emigration and immigration are strictly controlled.

What do South Koreans think of North Korea? ›

According to a 2014 BBC World Service poll, 3% of South Koreans viewed North Korea's influence positively, with 91% expressing a negative view, making South Korea, after Japan, the country with the most negative feelings of North Korea in the world.

How much is $100 of American money worth in Korea? ›

Are you overpaying your bank?
Conversion rates US Dollar / South Korean Won
10 USD13052.50000 KRW
20 USD26105.00000 KRW
50 USD65262.50000 KRW
100 USD130525.00000 KRW
8 more rows

How much is $10,000 dollars in North Korea? ›

Convert US Dollar to North Korean Won
1,000 USD899,954 KPW
5,000 USD4,499,770 KPW
10,000 USD8,999,540 KPW
50,000 USD44,997,700 KPW
7 more rows

How much is $2000 US dollars in Korea? ›

Are you overpaying your bank?
Conversion rates US Dollar / South Korean Won
500 USD652985.00000 KRW
1000 USD1305970.00000 KRW
2000 USD2611940.00000 KRW
5000 USD6529850.00000 KRW
8 more rows

What happens if you go to North Korea as an American? ›

North Korea - Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel to North Korea due to the continuing serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. nationals. Exercise increased caution to North Korea due to the critical threat of wrongful detention.

Who was the last person to escape North Korea? ›

Shin Dong-hyuk (born Shin In Geun, 19 November 1982 or 1980) is a North Korean-born human rights activist. He claims to be the only prisoner to have successfully escaped from a "total-control zone" grade internment camp in North Korea.

Are North Koreans allowed to go to China? ›

Much like in other Soviet, socialist, or Eastern Bloc countries, North Koreans can travel abroad with permission from the government.

How many people escape North Korea every year? ›

There are about 76% to 84% of defectors have fled to China or South Korea. Every year, there are over 1,000 people escape from North Korea to some of the most secretive countries in the world.

How many people have escaped North Korea? ›

“You are left to survive on your own.” Nearly 34,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since figures were first collected in 1998.

Does North Korea have Internet? ›

Nearly all of North Korea's Internet traffic is routed through China. Since February 2013, foreigners have been able to access the Internet using the 3G telecommunications network provided by Koryolink. Permission to access the Internet remains tightly restricted.

Which country has the best missile technology in the world? ›

The most powerful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) developed in China is The DF-41 which is one of the deadliest ICBMs in the world. Based on an 8-axle launcher vehicle its first test launch took place in 2013 and the second followed in 2014.

How many nukes does Russia have 2023? ›

As of early 2023, we estimate that Russia has a stockpile of approximately 4,489 nuclear warheads assigned for use by long-range strategic launchers and shorter-range tactical nuclear forces.

How many nukes does North Korea want? ›

Leader Kim Jong-un now claims that he plans to put 180 tactical nuclear weapons on just one of his new types of short-range ballistic missiles.

What did Biden say to North Korea? ›

"Look, a nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its allies ... or partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of whatever regime to take such an action," Biden said during a press conference with Yoon.

Did the US lose the war in Korea? ›

After three years of a bloody and frustrating war, the United States, the People's Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea agree to an armistice, bringing the fighting of the Korean War to an end. The armistice ended America's first experiment with the Cold War concept of “limited war.”

How much of North Korea did the US destroy? ›

During the campaign, conventional weapons such as explosives, incendiary bombs, and napalm destroyed nearly all of the country's cities and towns, including an estimated 85 percent of its buildings.

Where would Russia nuke in the US? ›

A Russian nuclear attack would likely focus on high-value targets in North Dakota or Montana.

Where is the best place to live in the US if there is a nuclear war? ›

Some estimates name Maine, Oregon, Northern California, and Western Texas as some of the safest locales in the case of nuclear war, due to their lack of large urban centers and nuclear power plants.

What state has the most nukes stored? ›

The location with the most nuclear weapons by far is the large Kirtland Underground Munitions and Maintenance Storage Complex south of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Which bomb is the most powerful bomb in the world? ›

It has also been referred to as RDS-220 in a number of relatively recent western publications. Unofficially, the bomb would later become known as "Tsar Bomba" and "Kuzka's mother" (Кузькина мать, Kuz'kina mat').

Who has most powerful nuclear weapons? ›

Russia has the most confirmed nuclear weapons, with 5,997 nuclear warheads. The United States follows behind with 5,428 nuclear weapons, hosted in the US and 5 other nations: Turkey, Italy, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

Which is the No 1 weapon in the world? ›

Of course, nuclear weapons surpass all other weapons made to date, because they have enormous destructive power and can cut down an entire city and a large part of the population, and radiation after a nuclear attack would be present for decades.

Does Russia have better weapons than the US? ›

Russia possesses a total of 5,889 nuclear warheads as of 2023, the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the world; the second-largest stockpile is the United States' 5,428 warheads. Russia's deployed missiles (those actually ready to be launched) number about 1,674, second to the United States' 1,770.

How many nukes does Mexico have? ›

World Nuclear Arsenal
CountryNuclear Weapon Possession
Marshall IslandsNo
213 more rows

Where does the US keep all its nukes? ›

The current ICBM force consists of Minuteman III missiles located at the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming; the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; and the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

When was the last time the US used a nuke? ›

Image from Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images. The reason we didn't have any more mushroom clouds over the Vegas strip wasn't because they stopped — it's because they started setting the bombs off underground instead. The 1,030th — and last — American nuclear test took place under the Nevada desert on Sept. 23, 1992.

Why is Korean isolated? ›

Since there is no obvious genealogical relationship of Korean to another language, most linguists believe Korean did not descend from any other language. This qualifies Korean as a Language Isolate, or single language family.

How do most North Koreans escape? ›

To escape from North Korea, the defectors cross the Chinese border into Jilin and Liaoning provinces and landed in northeast China. There are about 76% to 84% of defectors have fled to China or South Korea.

Why we Cannot enter North Korea? ›

Avoid all travel to North Korea due to the uncertain security situation caused by its nuclear weapons development program and highly repressive regime.

Why did North Korea and South Korea separate? ›

To avoid civil war, both Korea and Vietnam split in half, with pro-communists organizing a government in the North and anti-communists organizing a government in the South.


1. Three years in power, Kim Jong-un′s N. Korea in deeper diplomatic isolation 김정
(Arirang News)
2. Park urges North Korea to renounce nuclear ambitions
(AP Archive)
3. EU seeks to ramp up pressure on North Korea by imposing fresh sanctions of its own
(Arirang News)
4. Rival parties concerned over escalating tensions on Korean peninsula 새누리, 북한 적
(Arirang News)
5. China, Russia ban entry of 27 vessels under North Korea's Ocean Maritime Management Company : Seoul
(Arirang News)
6. N. Korea launches intermediate-range ballistic missile eastward over Japan
(Arirang News)


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