This is the official FAQ for questions about North Korea. If your question is not on the list you can
firstname.lastname@example.org <– send us your question.
- 1. Can I get a signed photograph from Leader Kim Jong IL?
- 2. Can I send a letter to North Korea and get a penpal in North Korea?
- 3. Can I emigrate to North Korea and live in North Korea?
- 4. Can I work in North Korea as a teacher/interpreter/(other)?
- 5. Can I travel to North Korea? I heard it is impossible to travel to North Korea. Is it true?
- 6. I am a US citizen / I am a South Korean citizen, can I visit North Korea?
- 7. I am a journalist / news reporter and I’m interested in doing a documentary in North Korea. Can I?
- 8. Can I travel to North Korea as a backpacker? (Independant travel)
- 9. Can I join the Korean People’s Army?
- 10. I’ve heard that everbody starves in North Korea. How is the food situation?
- 11. I want to know why North Korea has nuclear weapons.
- 12. What does the DPRK want regarding the nuclear standoff?
- 13. Is North Korea a dictatorship?
- 14. Does North Korea suppress religion?
- 15. Can North Koreans travel abroad?
- 16. Has North Korea’s economy really collapsed?
- 17. I hear that North Koreans are very poor. Is this true?
- 18. Is North Korea a ‘Stalinist’ state?
- 19. Is North Korea ‘reforming’ its economy and moving towards capitalism?
- 20. What is North Korea’s stance on homosexuality?
- 21. What does your flag symbolize?
- 22. What is the symbolism of your emblem? In particular I want to understand what the red star means. In other communist/socialist countries the starts were yellow and not red.
- 23. What activities does the average person in a week for fun?
- 24. Is it true that all persons in the DPRK work for the government?
- 25. What is the favorite sport in the DPRK?
- 26. How does the DPRK respond to the flood of negative press in western media?
1. Can I get a signed photograph from Leader Kim Jong IL?
The KFA Shop is offering this article. Please visit the following webpage:
2. Can I send a letter to North Korea and get a penpal in North Korea?
You can send the letter if you have an valid address and contact person. We provide no service for penpal friends.
3. Can I emigrate to North Korea and live in North Korea?
It’s possible only in very special situations and having honor/merits. You must send a request letter stating your reasons, together with your complete CV, copy of your passport and certificates to email@example.com
4. Can I work in North Korea as a teacher/interpreter/(other)?
5. Can I travel to North Korea? I heard it is impossible to travel to North Korea. Is it true?
You can travel to North Korea only as a tourist, or as a part of a delegation invited to the country by the Government. The Korean International Travel Company (Ryogaengsa) can give more information about tourist trips, and the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) also arranges delegations to the DPRK every year. See for more information
6. I am a US citizen / I am a South Korean citizen, can I visit North Korea?
Special protocols are in effect regarding US and South Korean nationals. Contact your local embassy for more information. The Korean Friendship Association (KFA) organize trips and will allow visas for some US citizens that contributed for the peace and friendship between USA and the DPRK.
7. I am a journalist / news reporter and I’m interested in doing a documentary in North Korea. Can I?
Send your details to Special Delegate Mr. Alejandro Cao de Benos in the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Can I travel to North Korea as a backpacker?
No. You must travel as a group only, even if you are the only participant you must be with Korean guides at all times.
9. Can I join the Korean People’s Army?
No, only Korean nationals with DPRK citizenship
10. I’ve heard that everbody starves in North Korea. How is the food situation?
It is no secret that there was a crisis during the mid 1990′s in the DPRK. Because of the collapse of the Socialist market, and due to the isolation caused by US embargo and sanctions, the country suffered a difficult period. A natural disaster caused floodings, and combined with the other factors, it created a period which we now call the “Arduous March” where the DPRK had to recover from this situation, and the collapse of the Soviet union while still unduring hostilities by the US who continually to this day try to stifle and isolate the DPRK. Since the end of the 1990′s and around year 2000, the country has completely recovered from the “Arduous March” and has survived as a country which has now become even stronger and more independant than before.
11. I want to know why North Korea has nuclear weapons.
After the US failed to fulfill the terms in the Agreed Framework by supplying two light-water reactors to the DPRK as compensation for the discontinuing of Korean nuclear power, the DPRK withdrew in October 2002 from the NPT and thus restarted its own energy-producing program, and then started to recycle spent fuel-rods.
The DPRK has a nuclear deterrence as a life-insurance to protect the motherland. The US, who put the country inside the “Axis of Evil”, and is threatening with a nuclear holocaust pre-emptive strike has created this situation and made this neccessary. The situation is no less serious because the US side has nuclear weapons and other missiles stationed in South Korea.
12. What does the DPRK want regarding the nuclear standoff?
The DPRK wants a peaceful solution to the nuclear standoff by having unilateral talks with the US, and that the US side signs a non-aggression treaty. The DPRK is open and ready for a switchover in the hostile policy of the US.
13. Is North Korea a dictatorship?
No, the DPRK is a single-united-party constitutional democracy guaranteeing freedom of speech and assembly to all citizens. DPRK citizens play an active role in their nation’s political life at the local, regional and national levels, through their trade unions or as members of one of the nation’s three political parties, which include the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Chondoist Chongu Party and the Korean Social Democratic Party.
14. Does North Korea suppress religion?
The DPRK is a multi-confessional society with sizable Christian and Buddhist populations, for example. While most North Koreans are non-religious or atheist, all citizens of the DPRK enjoy full religious freedom under the Socialist Constitution.
15. Can North Koreans travel abroad?
In spite of accusations to the contrary, North Koreans enjoy the full freedom of travel. Many DPRK citizens travel abroad for scientific research, education, language training, religious conferences and trade fairs, for example. There are also thousands of DPRK citizens living abroad, in China and Japan, for example.
16. Has North Korea’s economy really collapsed?
On the contrary, the DPRK enjoys a highly diverse and productive economy with a wide array of thriving manufacturing industries that produce automobiles, computer hardware and software, electronics, textiles and processed foods, just to name a few. While the DPRK economy has historically been geared towards heavy industry, the country’s light industrial sector is quickly taking off. Korea’s specialized and educated workforce provides an ideal environment for joint-venture projects and investment.
17. I hear that North Koreans are very poor. Is this true?
By international standards, DPRK citizens enjoy a very high standard of living. In Socialist Korea, the state guarantees all citizens the right to quality healthcare, education, stipends for the disabled, retirement pensions and access to recreational facilities, as well as a wide array of other state-supported services. Indeed, DPRK citizens are guaranteed many provisions that are uncommon in many developed capitalist societies, which are home to real poverty. Unlike in many countries of the capitalist world, the DPRK is a state free of homelessness, unemployment, prostitution and starvation.
18. Is North Korea a ‘Stalinist’ state?
The term ‘Stalinism’ is highly loaded and is most frequently employed not as a descriptive term but as an insult. The DPRK political system is based on the Juche Idea, an original theory developed by the late President Kim Il Sung stressing national self-reliance and development according to the unique characteristics of individual nations. ‘Stalinism,’ on the other hand, was articulated as a universalistic political ideology. The DPRK is indeed a socialist state, meaning that all the means of production are socially owned. However, the central implication of the ‘Stalinist’ accusation–simply that the DPRK is a dictatorship–is inaccurate. Korea is a socialist democracy guaranteeing its citizens the full range of individual liberties and rights provided by many liberal regimes, and more.
19. Is North Korea ‘reforming’ its economy and moving towards capitalism?
While the comparison between the DPRK and ‘China in the 1980s’ is frequently evoked by many so-called ‘experts’ these days, it is completely incorrect and misleading. The DPRK remains a planned socialist economy and has no intention of embracing the capitalist developmental model.
20. What is North Korea’s stance on homosexuality?
Due to tradition in Korean culture, it is not customary for individuals of any sexual orientation to engage in public displays of affection. As a country that has embraced science and rationalism, the DPRK recognizes that many individuals are born with homosexuality as a genetic trait and treats them with due respect.
Homosexuals in the DPRK have never been subject to repression, as in many capitalist regimes around the world. However, North Koreans also place a lot of emphasis on social harmony and morals. Therefore, the DPRK rejects many characteristics of the popular gay culture in the West, which many perceive to embrace consumerism, classism and promiscuity.
21.What does your flag symbolize?
The North Korean National flag represents the history, economic and political situation of Korea. The red colour represents the blood shed by the anti-Japanese fighters and revolutionaries in the struggle against the Japanese (of whom the Korean peninsula was a colony for 45 years) and fight for national freedom. The white represents the long history and culture of the Korean people depicting that Korea is one homogeneous nation. The red star represents a prosperous future for the Korean people and their impeccable integrity while the blue means that Korea is a sovereign nation.
22.What is the symbolism of your emblem? In particular I want to understand what the red star means. In other communist/socialist countries the starts were yellow and not red.
The red star represents a prosperous future for the Korean people and their impeccable integrity.
23. What activites does the average person do in a week for fun?
Hiking, Bowling, Reading, listen to music etc – it differs from person to person.
24. Is it true that all citizens of the DPRK work for the government?
Government and people are one. There is no distinction of them.
25. What is the favorite sport in the DPRK?
That must be football, based on popularity, but traditionally native is Tae Kwon Do, but since so many sports are popular in the DPRK, it’s difficult to name just one.
26. The DPRK is being attacked with a flood of negative press and media. How does the DPRK respond to the so-called documentaries of the current despair in your nation?
We have an article that will shed some light on this: The DPRK and Western media fairy tales.