The Ethics of Visiting North Korea

In the wake of the U.S. travel ban to North Korea which took effect on September 1, the Condé Nast Travelogue podcast looks at the morality behind visiting the country. The hosts grapple with the idea of tourism to the "Hermit Kingdom" and discuss what it means for those who choose to do so.

The hosts have differing opinions towards the topic: on one hand, curiosity about the lives of North Korean citizens can constitute a form of empathy and can help change how North Koreans think of Americans; on the other hand, this curiosity may take the form of voyeurism.

Brad Rickman argues that travel to North Korea can result in "humanizing [the North Koreans] for us and running a counter-narrative or at least providing the foundation for a counter-narrative against what we [as Americans] mostly hear about, which is the regime." Sebastian Modak counters this view, suggesting that this task should be left to "the diplomats, the journalists and the subversive documentarians."

You can listen to the full podcast at the Condé Nast website. Note: The podcast includes some strong language, so parental discretion is advised.

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