A friend who contacted me about my visiting North Korea wrote an article about visiting North Korea. He traveled extensively, spoke Korean, and ate meat, so he had a chance to experience something different and communicate more.
It’s hard for me not to notice how experiencing North Korea differed from his expectations, which led him to understand more about his culture — mainly the press (perhaps the government). Also that the North Korean people made the difference.
Besides his article, the comments showed what I would call short-sightedness and ignorance in people’s knee-jerk responses. They criticized his visiting without considering the pros and cons of people visiting. I’ve written on the ethics of visiting North Korea so you can find out I find value in visiting. No other strategy — not isolation, military, aid, or sanctions — has improved people’s lives there, but I see increasing trade and communication as having a chance.
I don’t see anyone offering a more effective alternative. Yes, money goes to the regime, but you also communicate and undermine any stories saying foreigners or Americans are worse than we are.
Anyway, check out the article.
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