Monocolumn: North Korea’s Army Adds Gloss To Capital

Monocolumn: North Korea’s Army Adds Gloss To Capital

The North Korean People’s Army, or KPA, is one of the most feared fighting forces on the planet. Their latest mission, however, demands a decidely un-martial set of skills: they have been ordered to renovate Pyongyang.

  • 24 february 2011

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

Nuclear armed, highly motivated and a potentially destabilising force in Northeast Asia, the North Korean People’s Army, or KPA, is one of the most feared fighting forces on the planet. Their latest mission, however, demands a decidely un-martial set of skills: they have been ordered to renovate Pyongyang.

South Korean media reports that the KPA has been assigned the duty as 2012 approaches. Kim Jong-il has set a public goal of building a “strong and prosperous” nation by that year, the centenary of the birth of his late father, “Eternal President” Kim Il-sung.

But while nuclear-armed North Korea is militarily strong, prosperity has been elusive. The apparent solution is to merely create the appearance of prosperity.

Frequent visitors note that Pyongyang’s look has been improving in recent years, with a new theatre and clusters of modern apartments. “Most new buildings are constructed on major streets, designed to impress the rare visitor and uplift the spirits of Pyongyang citizens,” said Leonid Petrov, a North Korean Studies lecturer at Sydney University. “They want to pursue the image of a modern state, so they start with its showcase capital.”

With North Korea’s central philosophy being “Songeun” (“Military First”), the KPA’s be-medaled marshals, goose-stepping battalions and lethal commandos are commonly deployed on non-martial duties.

To continue reading, click here.


Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology Yesterday

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children Yesterday

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines


Get PSFK's Related Report: Innovation Debrief: Boston

See All
Travel Yesterday

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Related Expert

Tasha Blank

DJ / Dance Catalyst

Food Yesterday

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated Yesterday

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Fashion Yesterday

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work Yesterday

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing Yesterday

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Automotive Yesterday

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

Gaming & Play Yesterday

This Game Lets You Be A Pilot In The Drone Racing League

DRL Racing Simulator recreates actual courses in a virtual environment

Travel december 1, 2016

Hotel Chain Is Giving Away Its Not-So-Super Hotel Art At Art Basel

A lesson in how to advertise a kitschy-to-cool redesign in the middle of Miami Art Week

No search results found.