This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Ben Young. They speak about North Korea’s outreach efforts to the Third World, and other small non-state actors, during the Cold War. Touching on various case studies – from Puerto Rican independence activists, to the Black Panthers, Fidel Castro in Cuba, German Neo-Nazi’s, Grenada, and large sections of the African continent – a picture comes together of North Korea selling its cult of personality, acquiring hard currency, seeking to cause unrest for America and its allies, and competing against South Korea for United Nations votes and international recognition.
Ben Young achieved his PhD in Asian history at George Washington University, with a dissertation focussed on North Korea’s global outreach and international diplomacy during the Cold War. He has been a Fulbright junior researcher in Seoul, South Korea, and his academic work has been published in the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, the Journal of Northeast Asian History, and the British Association of Korean Studies (BAKS). Ben’s journalistic work has featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, Reuters, and NKnews.org.
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