The Impossible State
‘We killed Americans. We are killing Americans. We will kill Americans.’ North Korean schoolchildren conjugating verbs In North Korea, citizens found humming South Korean pop songs risk being sent to a gulag for six months of hard labour. Jail sentences are handed out if portraits of the late Kim Jong-il are not properly dusted. Shoot-to-kill orders are in effect for anyone caught trying to cross the Yalu or Tumen Rivers into China. Yet despite this, an oppressed, starving populace clings fiercely to its new Dear Leader, Kim Jong-un, and signs with the revolutionary slogan WE HAVE NOTHING TO ENVY line the streets of Pyongyang. So how did North Korea become this Impossible State? What does the future hold for a regime with terrifying nuclear ambitions and a seemingly endless war with its southern counterpart? Former White House adviser Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on the world’s most isolated country to provide an unprecedented and timely insight into North Korea’s history, present and future.