north korea

A highly-anticipated appearance in Beijing by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s favorite girl band was abruptly cancelled Saturday, hours before the group was set to perform and with no official explanation given. [...] the group — which was accompanied by an army orchestra, the State Merited Chorus – arrived in Beijing on Thursday and was expected to stay until next Tuesday on what the North Korean official news agency KCNA described as a “friendship visit” to China.

Moranbong Band is the latest (and maybe the only) soft-power export from North Korea. It is the favorite group of Kim Jong-un, the nation’s young authoritarian leader — and some reports say he handpicked each member. 

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has despatched his all-female dance troupe on a six-day mission to China in an effort to rebuild relations with their northern neighbor. This is the first time the all-girl band have been allowed out of the secretive state as Pyongyang attempts a diplomatic rapprochement with Beijing. 

From punk rock musicians to state-sponsored emojis, a look at the role of popular culture in PD communication.

Sun Mu trained as an artist in North Korea, where he painted propaganda posters that glorified the country's ruling dynasty. He fled in 1998 to escape famine and since then has used the same artistic style he learned in his homeland to lampoon those leaders. "I Am Sun Mu," by LA-based filmmaker Adam Sjoberg, is the story of his life and work, told around the lead-up to his first exhibition in China in summer 2014. 

Piracy, the scourge of Hollywood, may have become one of America's powerful diplomatic tools – is it the new propaganda? [...] "The last thing they think is that it [pirated movies] represents a tool of cultural diplomacy, involving a foreign culture or government, and that its illegality could even make this mainstream fare more alluring than originally planned.”

North Korea on Saturday rejected the idea of resuming talks to end its nuclear program, saying previous such attempts ended in failure, and reiterated its demand that the US come to the table to negotiate a peace treaty.

The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

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