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The American-Korean Friendship and Information Center and North Korean Public Diplomacy, 1971-1976

Title: The American-Korean Friendship and Information Center and North Korean Public Diplomacy, 1971-1976Cover Page
Author: Brandon K. Gauthier
Affiliation: Fordham University
Issue: Law & Order – Volume 6 Issue 1
Publisher: Yonsei University Press
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While scholars of the “new diplomatic history” have extensively analyzed the role of culture and ideology in the history of American foreign relations, the historiography of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) reflects a complete lack of understanding of the cultural, intellectual, and political narratives that have long shaped how Americans imagine North Korea in a domestic and global context. Specifically, historians have yet to consider how American attitudes about North Korea were increasingly informed by a transnational flow of ideas in the 1970s. With this understanding, this paper details the history of the American-Korean Friendship and Information Center (AKFIC) in New York City, a North Korean funded “anti-imperialist peace organization,” that sought to generate public support for the DPRK and force the withdrawal of American troops from the Korean peninsula. Utilizing interviews with former members of the group and its journal: Korea Focus, this paper makes two arguments: first, the DPRK used its close relationship with the AKFIC—alongside other “friendship societies” across the world—to harness the power of globalization for its own ends in the 1970s; second, members of the AKFIC sought to manipulate public anger over the Vietnam War and promote North Korean demands that US forces should withdraw from the Republic of Korea (ROK).

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The Chinese Government’s Policy Toward North Korean Defectors

Title: The Chinese Government’s Policy Toward North Korean DefectorsFALL2013 COVER OUT IMAGE
Author: Eunbee Chung
Affiliation: Yonsei University
Issue: Changes & Transitions – Volume 5 Issue 2
Publisher: Yonsei University Press
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The Chinese government’s repatriation policy for North Korean defectors has been a topic of controversy. Due to deteriorating living conditions in North Korea, many flee North Korea to find food or work. Many of them go to China, and yet they are greeted by hostility. While humanitarian activists and organizations urge the government to issue refugee status, Beijing identifies them as illegal economic migrants and forcibly returns them to North Korea where severe punishments await. The current essay assumes that Beijing’s repatriation of North Koreans is a breach to international refugee law, and explores political, economic, and social reasons contributing to the decision.

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“Landscape as Political Project” – The “Greening” of North Korea, Sincerity or Otherwise? Investigating the Process of Ideological Incorporation in North Korea

Title: “Landscape as Political Project” – The “Greening” of North Korea, Sincerity or Otherwise? Investigating the Process of Ideological Incorporation in North Korea FALL2013 COVER OUT IMAGE
Author: Robert Winstanley-Chesters
Affiliation: University of Leeds
Issue: Changes & Transitions – Volume 5 Issue 2
Publisher: Yonsei University Press
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Environmental management and practical policy strategies relating to it have always been an important part of North Korea’s approach to what would be locally described as “revolutionary” industrial/economic development. However, since the collapse of the wider Soviet Bloc, and the famine period of the mid 1990s, it has been possible to determine a change in policies relating to the management of the natural world in North Korea. Pyongyang’s government and institutions have begun to respond to developing themes within the theory and policy of governments, strategists and theoreticians from the wider world inspired by concepts of “conservation” and “preservation,” derived from environmental or “green” movements. North Korea has sought to incorporate such governmental or strategic themes within its ideology—in ways that do not destabilize its own philosophical or governmental frameworks, but instead serve to strengthen them. Accordingly, projects within North Korea, whose focus is environmental management, have begun to resemble those of the wider world and in the closer East Asian neighborhood, but to what end: environmental rehabilitation or regime survival? This paper builds on previous research identifying historical narratives relating to environmental management within North Korea and the routes through which its institutions translate ideological or philosophical development into practical policy; it investigates the routes through which North Korea incorporates foreign or external ideas within its own theoretical construct—how these ideas and projects spurred by them are utilised for domestic and international propaganda needs. It seeks to evaluate if the sincerity or otherwise of such an incorporation can be established and ultimately whether this would prove useful in the development of analysis focused on construction or translation of theoretical development or institutional functionality within North Korea.

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