London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Past Progress: Time and Politics at the Borders of China, Russia, and Korea

While anxiety abounds in the old Cold War West that progress – whether political or economic – has been reversed, for citizens of former-socialist countries, murky temporal trajectories are nothing new. Grounded in the multiethnic frontier town of Hunchun at the triple border of China, Russia, and North Korea, Ed Pulford traces how several of … [Read More]

Passcode to the Third Floor: An Insider’s Account of Life Among North Korea’s Political Elite

Thae Yong-ho was a leading North Korean diplomat to the United Kingdom and Northern Europe—until his dramatic defection to South Korea in 2016. In this gripping tell-all, he reveals the inner workings of the North Korean regime and shares the story of his decision to leave. Thae spent nearly three decades working under three generations … [Read More]

Politics of the North Korean Diaspora

Politics of the North Korean Diaspora examines how authoritarian security concerns shape global diaspora politics. Empirically, it traces the recent emergence of a North Korean diaspora – a globally-dispersed population of North Korean émigrés – and argues that the non-democratic nature of the DPRK homeland regime fundamentally shapes diasporic politics. Pyongyang perceives the diaspora as … [Read More]

North Korea’s Mundane Revolution: Socialist Living and the Rise of Kim Il Sung, 1953–1965

When the crucial years after the Korean War are remembered today, histories about North Korea largely recount a grand epic of revolution centering on the ascent of Kim Il Sung to absolute power. Often overshadowed in this storyline, however, are the myriad ways the Korean population participated in party-state projects to rebuild their lives and … [Read More]

A Necessary Lie: Escape for Freedom and Love

This inspiring, unforgettable true story takes you on a journey through life in North Korea and the heart-wrenching decision two people make who will risk everything to escape. “Doohyun and Jiyeon’s extraordinary love story shows us that bravery and heart can triumph, even during the most unfathomable of hardships. It is an illuminating, gut-wrenching and … [Read More]

The Sister

The onset of Covid-19 has coincided with the dramatic rise of a young woman called Kim Yo Jong in North Korea. Stomping the world stage from the shadows of her secretive state, she is creating headlines and fevered speculation about her role and her future. She is the sister of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un … [Read More]

Black Girl from Pyongyang

In 1979, aged only seven, Monica Macias was transplanted from West Africa to the unfamiliar surroundings of North Korea. She was sent by her father Francisco, the first president of post-Independence Equatorial Guinea, to be educated under the guardianship of his ally, Kim Il Sung. Within months, her father was executed in a military coup; … [Read More]

Among Women across Worlds: North Korea in the Global Cold War

In Among Women across Worlds, Suzy Kim excavates the transnational linkages between women of North Korea and a worldwide women’s movement. Women of Asia, especially those espousing communism, are often portrayed as victims or pawns of a patriarchal Confucian state. Kim undercuts this standard analysis through detailed archival work in the international women’s press, and finds that … [Read More]

Hinge Points: An Inside Look at North Korea’s Nuclear Program

North Korea remains a puzzle to Americans. How did this country—one of the most isolated in the world and in the policy cross hairs of every U.S. administration during the past 30 years—progress from zero nuclear weapons in 2001 to a threatening arsenal of perhaps 50 such weapons in 2021? Hinge Points brings readers literally … [Read More]

A Mark of Red Honor

This autobiographical novel narrated by the author’s eponymous character candidly shares the story of his birth, childhood as a sensitive boy, school years marked by infatuations with a male friend and teacher, military service as superiors’ favorite, agony as a newlywed realizing that he is unfit for marriage, roving through China as a North Korean … [Read More]

The Rebel and the Kingdom: The True Story of the Secret Mission to Overthrow the North Korean Regime

A gripping account of an Ivy League activist-turned-fugitive and his clandestine effort to overthrow the murderous North Korean regime, a heart-pounding investigation into personal agency and the price of freedom from the New York Times bestselling co-author of Billion Dollar Whale In the early 2000s Adrian Hong was a soft-spoken undergraduate at Yale who, like … [Read More]

North Korean Women in Power: Daughters of the Sun

North Korean Women in Power is the first field report on North Korea written by a South Korean woman reporter in English. Chun Su-jin, who refers to herself as a “Korean-Korean (South Korean nationality with a North Korean heritage),” introduces four North Korean women who make Chairman Kim Jong-un complete—the one and only blood to … [Read More]

The Sorcerer of Pyongyang

Growing up amid the starvation and oppression of 1990s North Korea, 10-year-old Cho Jun-su stumbles upon a mysterious game, left behind in a hotel room by a rare foreign visitor. As Jun-su painstakingly deciphers the rules of the game in secret, he unlocks an inner world that is at first an antidote and then a … [Read More]

The Hard Road Out: Escaping North Korea

North Korea is an open-air prison from which there is no escape. Only a handful of men and women have succeeded. Jihyun Park is one of these rare survivors. Twice she left the land of the ‘socialist miracle’ to flee famine and dictatorship. By the age of 29 she had already witnessed a lifetime of … [Read More]

North Korean Defectors in Diaspora: Identities, Mobilities, and Resettlements

This edited collection investigates the mobilities, resettlement practices, and identities of North Korean defectors who have relocated to the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and South Korea. The contributors to this volume examine the complex nature of defection from North Korea, highlighting the ways in which defectors renegotiate their identities in order to adapt … [Read More]