Just a whole bunch of resources for MLs, ancoms, libsocs, and all the rest.

View the Project on GitHub zacanger/

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea reading guide


This document exists as a guide to help people learn more about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This document will be updated with new information as time goes on. September/October 2018  - added articles to the Korean war section, the Economy section, the Propaganda War section. Check them out!

Understanding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The Korean War

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Google books link to section on Korean War


Aggression towards the People’s Republic and building the case for war

DPR Korea wants peace

History of the DPRK

US-North Korea relations: experts weigh in on future course

The nuclear weapons program


Writings of Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, Kim Jong-Un

DPRK international relations etc.

Peace process

The Propaganda War

Human Rights

Debunking the dominant narrative


Assorted Anti-DPRK propaganda

Japan wants the Koreas to stop bringing up the sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of Korean women by the Imperial Japanese Army, saying that it’s in the past and the Koreans are just being petty.

Meanwhile Japan can’t manage to shut up, not for one single second, about a small handful of so-called “Japanese abductees taken to North Korea”, even though this was resolved well over a decade ago and there’s no evidence that any “kidnapped” Japanese citizens remain in the DPRK. In any case, there’s no evidence that any Japanese person was mistreated in the DPRK, unlike the Japanese army’s thousands of Korean sex slaves.

This whole thing was resolved quite a long time ago when Japan’s then-PM Koizumi met Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang and they discussed the issue. Japanese people in the DPRK returned home to Japan and that should have been the end of it. But right-wingers in Japan have never, ever stopped howling about it, because it’s emotionally manipulative propaganda that wins them votes that they can use for their remilitarization agenda, a large part of which depends on portraying the DPRK as a threat to the people of Japan.

One can say that the DPRK has made mistakes in its relations with Japan, and Kim Jong Il himself apologized for such mistakes, but from the DPRK’s perspective, the balance of injustice remains heavily on the side of Japan, which colonized, exploited, raped and tortured the people of Korea for decades. And unlike the DPRK, Japan has refused to even apologize for its actions, let alone to pay reparations. Not only were thousands of Korean women made into sex slaves for the Japanese army, but also, thousands of Korean workers were taken to Japan as slaves to do hard labor for the profits of Japanese industrialists. This is the cause of a lot of bad blood between Korea and Japan. Japan would rather forget this and pretend it didn’t happen, but Koreans haven’t forgotten it and they’re not going to. From the DPRK’s perspective, Japan owes Korea a heavy debt that it has always refused to pay.

One of the things the Japanese media and right-wing politicians have been doing is pretending that there are Japanese “abductees” in the DPRK to this day. They have no evidence for this at all. There was one case where there was a man who was claimed to have been kidnapped to the DPRK, and then he was found somewhere else in Japan; he had simply ditched his family and gone to live somewhere else. Politicians had baselessly claimed that he was in the DPRK. Often when there’s a missing-person case in Japan, especially if it’s somewhere on the coast of the Sea of Japan, it will be claimed that the DPRK has been kidnapping people. It’s convenient for Japan to do this not only for political reasons of feeding a right-wing nationalist agenda, but also to sweep the problem of crime in Japan under the rug. There’s no room for crime in the “beautiful Japan” conjured up by the LDP’s propaganda; any crime must be the doing of foreigners, especially Koreans and Chinese. Women who are kidnapped and raped and murdered in Japan by Japanese citizens aren’t politically convenient, in fact they’re quite inconvenient, and are ignored; unless what happened to them can be blamed on foreigners, particularly Koreans or Chinese.

Eyewitness accounts and travel logs

Life inside Korea


The food situation in DPRK

“The problem is that the claims about food rights violations in the 2013 UNHCR report are not congruent with the statistical indicators given by UN agencies that have the most experience of working in North Korea. Despite emanating from within the UN system in which access to data on the DPRK is straightforward, the UNHRC reporting on food violations demonstrates a problematic securitization of evidence and analysis though a heavy reliance on prior assumptions and a filtering of information through those securitized assumptions. The UNHRC reporting, of which the February 2013 report is representative, is self-referential, factually inaccurate, and seems unaware of the reports from the UN agencies that have worked in the DPRK for many years. This is somewhat surprising, especially as the weight of the UN agency reporting contradicts the UNHCR claims on food violations.

The 2013 UNHRC report is self-referential in that it draws almost entirely from previous UNHCR reports and resolutions on North Korea and often uses the same wording, that is, the 2013 report cuts and pastes from previous UNHCR reports.26 The practice of extracting from older reports is standard in governmental or international organization reports, but this practice can be misleading when, as in the 2013 UNHCR report, claims are made with a sense of irrefutable certainty despite the absence of conventional substantiation. What is most striking about the UNHCR reporting on the DPRK is the almost complete absence of reference to relevant data from other UN agencies, donor governments, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), to the extent that the UNHRC reporting seems unaware of the existence of reports on the DPRK from within the UN system itself. 27 The 2013 UNHRC report references only one report from the specialist UN agencies: a March 2011 FAO/WFP/UNICEF report

on food insecurity in the DPRK. Unfortunately, the citations are third-hand and the material quoted in the UNHCR report is taken so much out of context that it distorts the findings of the original report and misleads the reader.

The 2011 FAO/WFP/UNICEF report does not argue for the exceptional severity of a food and health crisis in the DPRK. It does not argue that there are famine-like conditions prevailing in the population. It does not argue that the government is solely responsible for food insecurity in the country. It does not mention or argue that international protection (i.e., human rights) mandates are being abjured by the DPRK government. This last point is important as UN agencies have an obligation under their protection of human rights mandates to report potential crimes against humanity. The UNHCR reporting does not mention that UN specialist agencies have never identified DPRK government food and health policy in these terms.

The 2013 report to the Human Rights Council referred to “the severity of the food situation” in support of the report’s claims that the government should be considered as violating the right to food. These claims contrast with those of the humanitarian agencies that reported in 2011—in the same and only report from the humanitarian agencies that the 2013 UNHCR report appears to cherry-pick quotes from—that the “nutrition situation…appears to be relatively stable.”28 In 2012 WFP and UNICEF concurred with an assessment that improvements in acute malnutrition show that the “situation is not critical and does not suggest emergency operations” and that the “Global Chronic Malnutrition or Stunting… is considered as of ‘medium’ public health significance according to WHO

Standards.” “


The Economy



Is the DPRK on the verge of collapse?

DPRK Society

Korean democracy


When he died, the position of President was abolished, as there was no longer a need for that position. So the position’s responsibilities were split up into the head of state, which was the new position of President of the Presidium, and the Chairman of the National Defense Committee. As Kim Il-Sung had already divested himself from being head of government, this position was left separate, as the Premier of the Cabinet.

Now, with separate positions, Kim Jong-Il can’t have inherited all of them; in fact the only position he “inherited” was Chairman of the NDC, appointed by the Central Committee. He was then elected General Secretary, but not of the Central Committee, of the party instead. Wheras Kim Il-Sung was in charge of the CC, Kim Jong-Il was not. So he had less power in this position than his father did, and his father had multiple positions.

When Kim Jong-Il died, the General Secretary of the WPK was retired as a position. His son then was elected to be First Secretary, an new position in which he shares more power than his father did. Kim Jong-un then became First Chairman of the NDC, as Chairman was abolished. Here again, he shares more power with people as compared to his father.

In 2014, the NDC was abolished. It’s replacement, the State Affairs Commission, is made up of the new head of military, Vice Marshall Hwang Pyong-so (Kim Jong-Un is marshall but has not been running the military in any capacity), the Premeir of the DPRK, and commission members. Weheras the NDC answered to Kim Jong-Il, and later cooperated wtih Kim Jong-Un, the SAC is not beholden to Kim Jong-Un’s orders. It is a committee where every vote counts.

In each successive step, power is diffused, with other members of the party having more of a say in how the DPRK is run. Right now the main responsibility Kim Jong-Un has is helping to run the country; notice i said help, and not run.

This is completely antithetical to how monarchies work: in monarchies all power is consolidated and preserved, as are property relations. The reason Kim Jong-Un gets these prestigious positions that lack power is because of the respect the DPRK has for the Kim family and its contributions to liberating Korea. Kim Jong-Un may be the last of the Kim family to hold such positions, and if this does happen, there are already mechanisms in place to replace him. He doesn’t have the power to roll back any of these reforms or give himself more power”

DPRK healthcare, education etc.


Is DPR Korea socialist?

What is life like in South Korea?

Recommended books and other sources

DPRK related films

Academic work on the DPRK