north korea

South Korea faces off against the northern neighbor it is still technically at war with at Olympic table tennis on Saturday in what is sure to be one of the most politically charged contests at London 2012. Uncertainty about secretive North Korea and its new leader and rumored development of nuclear weapons have created a tense backdrop for the six players preparing to meet in the team event.

The British Foreign Office was left in a spin when forced to explain how a relatively junior diplomat had enjoyed an amusement park ride with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un. Proving that international relations with a pariah state have their ups and downs, the British charge d'affaires, Barnaby Jones, was firmly strapped into the seat in front of the dictator and his wife, Ri Sol-ju.

The revelation that the North Korean leader is married raises questions about the announcement's significance and whether it is a sign of change in the reclusive country. Kim Jong Un's spouse was revealed in low key fashion during a broadcast in Pyongyang Wednesday.

London 2012 organisers have apologised and blamed human error for Wednesday's wrong flag mix-up when South Korea's flag appeared alongside North Korea's women's football team on stadium screens as players warmed up before their opening match. The team left the pitch in protest at the blunder and initially refused to play but the game with Colombia at Hampden Park, Glasgow, eventually kicked off more than an hour late after hurried corrections to the video rectified the spectacular mistake.

But much has changed since the “soft power” strategy of covertly educating North Koreans began in earnest two decades ago. North Koreans are no longer completely in the dark. We can’t quantify the amount of information that has leaked into the country, because we can’t conduct public opinion surveys in North Korea.

North Korea's new young leader must transform his impoverished country for the better or face a backlash from its oppressed people, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Thursday.

Based on a real event, the film retells how South and North Korea formed a unified national sports team for the 41st world table tennis championships held in Chiba, near Tokyo in 1991...The film reminds of the "ping pong diplomacy" in the early 1970s, which saw the exchange of table tennis players between the United States and the People's Republic of China.

A classic case of disaster diplomacy, where a disaster – here, leading to humanitarian aid – is used to move forward with diplomacy. As with North Korea, active decisions are usually made to scuttle any hope of disaster diplomacy. Without more commitment from all those involved in disaster and diplomacy efforts, disaster diplomacy is doomed to failure.