Archive for the ‘Football (soccer)’ Category

North Korea on Google Earth v.18

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

North Korea Uncovered version 18 is available.  This Google Earth overlay maps North Korea’s agriculture, aviation, cultural locations, markets, manufacturing facilities, railroad, energy infrastructure, politics, sports venues, military establishments, religious facilities, leisure destinations, and national parks.

This project has now been downloaded over 140,000 times since launching in April 2007 and received much media attention last month following a Wall Street Journal article highlighting the work.

Note: Kimchaek City is now in high resolution for the first time.  Information on this city is pretty scarce.  Contributions welcome.

Additions to this version include: New image overlays in Nampo (infrastructure update), Haeju (infrastructure update, apricot trees), Kanggye (infrastructure update, wood processing factory), Kimchaek (infrastructure update). Also, river dredges (h/t Christopher Del Riesgo), the Handure Plain, Musudan update, Nuclear Test Site revamp (h/t Ogle Earth), The International School of Berne (Kim Jong un school), Ongjin Shallow Sea Farms, Monument to  “Horizon of the Handure Plain”, Unhung Youth Power Station, Hwangnyong Fortress Wall, Kim Ung so House, Tomb of Kim Ung so, Chungnyol Shrine, Onchon Public Library, Onchon Public bathhouse, Anbyon Youth Power Stations.


Legea sponsors DPRK men’s 2010 and women’s 2011 World Cup teams

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

UPDATE 5 (2011-3-28): Radio Free Asia updates us on the Legea deal.  According to the article:

Officials of North Korea’s team and Legea met last week at the company’s headquarters in the Italian city of Pompeii and discussed details of a new jersey design under a four-year sponsorship agreement initiated at the end of the last World Cup tournament.

Two “key stakeholders” from the North Korean team discussed new designs for the team uniform and an expansion of their successful partnership during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, according to Lorenzo Grimaldi, the company’s marketing and sponsorship manager.

“Two core members of the North Korean soccer team met with company officials over the course of the two days mostly to discuss new [uniform] collections,” resulting in a decision to move forward, Grimaldi told RFA.

During the meetings, the two sides are believed to have exchanged ideas about Legea’s newly-launched Saga soccer uniform line and related supplies, as well as what support would be provided for the North Korean team.

Specific details of the arrangement were also discussed ahead of the North Korean women’s national soccer team’s participation in the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany. Legea will be sponsoring the women’s team for the tournament.

Originally, North Korean national soccer team officials and Legea had scheduled the meetings in February, but Grimaldi said they were rescheduled due to visa approval and flight delay issues.

Key sponsor

Legea has sponsored the North Korean national soccer team since the 2010 FIFA World Cup and has agreed to continue as a key sponsor for the next four years. The sponsorship for the period was valued at U.S. $4.9 million, including products for the national women’s and youth teams.

Last year, Legea sold a substantial amount of North Korean team replica jerseys, team-related merchandise and other apparel from a selection of more than 2,000 items, and Grimaldi said continued sanctions on the country have only increased the popularity of the merchandise.

He said Legea confirmed a global interest in the North Korean soccer team through its surprisingly high sales of replica jerseys last year, despite the team’s early exit from the World Cup.

Legea said the soccer team’s sportswear was popular in countries including the U.K., Spain, the U.S., and South Korea.

In Spain, Legea recorded sales of nearly 1 million Euros (U.S. $1.35 million).

Itagoal, a Legea product retailer in New York, confirmed high numbers of sales in the U.S. last year.

A representative of Itagoal said the company is eagerly awaiting a new shipment of North Korean team products from Italy.

Here (2008 Olympics), and here (2010 FIFA) are past stories on sponsorship of North Korean athletic teams.

UPDATE 4 (2010-6-2): According to Bloomberg/Busiessweek:

North Korea is returning to the World Cup after 44 years, and venturing into the sports marketing industry that evolved in its absence.

Ahead of the June 11 start of the tournament, the soccer team of Kim Jong Il’s regime has snared a 4 million-euro ($4.9 million) jersey contract over four years, according to Daniele Nastro, marketing director of Pompeii, Italy-based sports apparel maker Legea s.r.l. North Korean soccer association assistant general secretary Ri Kang Hong confirmed the deal with Legea, without giving financial details.

“Perhaps it’s a sign of incipient capitalism,” Jim Hoare, a retired British diplomat who served in Pyongyang, said from London. Although western sports leagues aren’t covered by the media in North Korea, officials “would be aware of the value of sports sponsorship,” Hoare said.

The deal is timely as North Korea faces trade restrictions. South Korea halted business last month after blaming the communist nation for a torpedo attack on a warship that killed 46 sailors in March. Japan has tightened controls on sending money to the North, which was already under United Nations sanctions for nuclear testing.

Kim’s regime is “hungry” for foreign cash, according to Scott Snyder, director of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at The Asia Foundation in Washington. “The economy is in a very difficult situation,” he added.

1,000-to-1 Chance

Ranked No. 105 in the world, North Korea takes on the Nike Inc.-clad Brazil, the record five-time world champion, in its opening game on June 15 in Johannesburg. Ladbrokes Plc, a U.K. oddsmaker, rates North Korea a 16-to-1 chance to defeat Brazil, meaning a $1 bet would yield $16 in profit.

The communist state is given a 1,000-to-1 chance of winning the tournament, according to Ladbrokes.

At the 1966 World Cup in England, when brand names were absent from even European team uniforms, North Korea wore plain red shirts when it upset Italy 1-0 to reach the quarterfinals and won the affection of the English, who “probably felt sorry for them,” Hoare said. England now commands about 34 million euros a year from Nike Inc.’s Umbro brand, making it the top earner of the 32 teams that will play at the World Cup in South Africa, according to Sport + Markt AG.

No Apparel Market

North Korea’s team is getting an amount similar to what might be paid to a low-ranking team in the English Premier League, the world’s richest soccer league, according to Simon Chadwick, a sports business professor at the U.K.’s Coventry University. Ri, in an interview in Tokyo last week, said it was hard to find a jersey sponsor as there’s “no market” for sports apparel in North Korea.

“If it doesn’t result in sales, there’s no point” for some sporting-goods companies, Ri said.

Legea will provide North Korea with branded World Cup jerseys and training gear, Nastro said. That will help raise the Italian brand’s international profile, although the marketing bet could backfire, Chadwick said.

Legea “will be working overtime to put clear blue water between the team and the regime,” Chadwick said. “It could get to the stage when people stop buying the brand if they’re being seen as propping up a dictatorship.”

While not breaking trade sanctions, Legea is “swimming against the tide” with its sponsorship because of the perception of North Korea, Snyder said. “It’s a bit like sponsoring Tiger Woods at the moment,” he said.

Nastro said he isn’t worried. “In the World Cup, politics will be out,” he said by telephone from Pompeii.

Rival Chinese Bid

North Korea received other bids. It declined an offer by China Hongxing Sports Ltd., the Singapore-listed company that provided its jerseys for qualifying games, according to Kelvin Yeung, chief financial officer of the Chinese company.

European brands might have bid more, Yeung said, without saying how much China Hongxing offered. Ri said the agreement with the Quanzhou, China-based company had expired and declined to comment on why it wasn’t renewed.

North Korea rejected Legea’s first design for its shirts as too modern, frowning upon a white line across a red shirt, Nastro said.

“As a people, we don’t like flashy designs,” Ri said. “For home games, the jerseys are white, which we regard as noble, and it reflects our spirit. For away games, we go with red, which is used in our national flag. It also symbolizes our passion and heart. A simple design expresses that more purely.”

As part of the shirt deal agreed in March, there is a kicker for North Korea: it will get a 10 million euro bonus if it wins the World Cup, Nastro said.

“That’s probably not going to happen,” he added.

UPDATE 3 (Date N/A): You can see the DPRK men’s 2010 football kit here.

UPDATE 2(2010-6-3): Apprarently Italian sports apparel firm Legea snagged the DPRK men’s and women’s football contracts. According to the Economist:

Bloomberg reports that North Korea has signed a four year – 4 million-euro Legea kit deal, according to Daniele Nastro, marketing director of Pompeii, Italy-based sports apparel maker Legea.

North Korean football association assistant general secretary Ri Kang Hong confirmed the deal with Legea, without giving financial details.

North Korea received other bids. It declined an offer by China Hongxing Sports Ltd., the Singapore-listed company that provided its jerseys for qualifying games, according to Kelvin Yeung, chief financial officer of the Chinese company.

European brands might have bid more, Yeung said, without saying how much China Hongxing offered. Ri said the agreement with the Quanzhou, China-based company had expired and declined to comment on why it wasn’t renewed.

North Korea rejected Legea’s first design for its shirts as too modern, frowning upon a white line across a red shirt, Nastro said.

“As a people, we don’t like flashy designs,” Ri said. “For home games, the jerseys are white, which we regard as noble, and it reflects our spirit. For away games, we go with red, which is used in our national flag. It also symbolizes our passion and heart. A simple design expresses that more purely.”

It should be pointed out that Italy is a World Cup football rival with both Koreas following the DPRK’s victory over Itlay in 1966 and the ROK’s victory over Italy in 2002.

UPDATE 1 (2009-6-21): The Western media has picked up on this story and added a few details.  According to the Los Angeles Times:

Since sponsorship for North Korean teams began, Hongxing’s domestic presence has grown to nearly 3,800 retail outlets across China from about 100 in 2000. And with the World Cup qualification, Erke is confident its investment in an overseas market versus competing for domestic sponsorships with Adidas and Nike will pay off.

“Football is one of the areas which we feel have a lot of potential for development and we hope to be able to raise our brand visibility … in major events, such as the World Cup,” Yeo said.

In 2008, the company expanded its scope of international sponsorships to include the International Table Tennis Federation Pro Tour and its tournaments in Qatar, Austria, Germany and France.

Read the additional stories here:
North Korean Soccer Unfazed by Sanctions
Radio Free Asia
Borah Jung

North Korea Profits From Brazil World Cup Game With Jersey Deal
Alex Duff and Makiko Kitamura

North Korean soccer brings success to Chinese apparel company
Los Angeles Times
Chi-Chi Zha

ORIGINAL POST (2010-4-4): Chinese sportswear firm to sponsor DPRK team at football World Cup, by Michael Rank

The Chinese sporting goods company Hongxing, which sponsored the North Korean Olympics team in Beijing (here and here), will do the same for the North Korean squad at the football World Cup in South Africa in June, a Chinese website reported.

The Singapore-listed company, which markets its products under the brand Erke , sponsored the North Koreans to the tune of $3 million at the Olympics, which resulted in “very good publicity results”, the website added. The company has over 3,000 shops in China, it said.

The firm will kit the team out in clothes, boots and luggage as well as providing training, but the report did not give a value for the World Cup sponsorship.

A company official was quoted as saying: “Ever since [North] Korea qualified for the World Cup in South Africa, the fame of the brand on the Chinese mainland has gradually reached a peak. We expect the publicity results of the [North] Korean team will help promote a rise in sales.”

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 that the North Koreans refused to wear Erke’s logo at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies for fear it would compete with their country’s flag.

It quoted Wu Rongzhao, deputy chief executive of China Hongxing Sports, as saying sponsorship of the North Korean team was “a very painful process.” Erke had to scrub plans for a marketing event timed to the Games’ opening because of red tape and bureaucracy. For instance, Pyongyang’s Olympic officials would communicate only by email, not by phone, the paper added.

Wu said sponsorship of the North Korean team was aimed at the domestic Chinese market. It “will allow us to capture a bigger share of the growing PRC sporting goods market in the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics.”

Asked to comment on the latest report, an Erke spokesman told North Korean Economy Watch in an email that “we are unable to confirm the content from the link provided by you at this moment. Please check our official press release regarding all sponsorship issues.” Hongxing is based in the coastal city of Quanzhou in Fujian province.

Apart from sponsoring the North Korean Olympics team, Hongxing also sponsored the country’s women’s football team in the FIFA Women’s World Cup held in China in 2007. North Korea were knocked out in the quarterfinals to Germany, who went on the win the tournament.

North Korea will be making their second-ever appearance at the World Cup this summer, after unexpectedly making it into the tournament in Britain in 1966, when it shocked the world by defeating Italy en route to the quarterfinals.

Drawn in a fearsome-looking Group G in South Africa alongside five-time world champions Brazil, European heavyweights Portugal and African powerhouses Côte d’Ivoire, the North Korean Chollima  squad kick off their campaign against Brazil on 15 June in Johannesburg.

Assistant coach Jo Tong-Sop said in January after winning the International Friendship Football Tournament in Qatar: “Given the teams we’ve been drawn against, we face a difficult task at South Africa 2010, though I hope that this win will boost our confidence.”

“Our group will be very tough as it includes some of the highest-ranked teams in the world. They have some fantastic individual players, not to mention their teamwork and tactical ability, all of which will make life very hard for us in South Africa,” Jo told

There’s a North Korea World Cup blog here and football kit fetishists may enjoy the discussion of the North Korean World Cup shirts here .

North Korea’s chances in the World Cup seem slim and it is a footballing minnow compared with the South. South Korea is the only Asian team to have qualified for the World Cup for seven times consecutively and currently holds the best FIFA World Cup record in Asia, according to Wikipedia.

South Korea and Japan co-hosted the World Cup in 2002, the first time the championships had been held in Asia and the first time the tournament had been hosted by more than one country.


North Korean footballers in Europe

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

(Big hat tip to Werner who located this information)  For some time now now, DPRK football players have been earning hard currency and training with European pro-football teams.
– Choe Myong Ho (in Russian: Tsoi Min Ho) is playing for the Russian Premier League’s team Krylia Sovetov Samara–which has a player from both North and South Korea (read more here)
– Hong Yong Jo is playing for Russia’s Rostov:

Hong plays his club football at FC Rostov in the Russian First Division, following a short spell with Serbian outfit FK Bezanija. Unlike those days at his first club April 25 of Pyongyang, for whom he scored 41 goals in four seasons, Hong has had to fight for his place in the European leagues while frequently flying back home to join the national team for their South Africa 2010 qualifiers. The time change and distance has to cover is considerably greater than those of team-mates An Yong Hak or Jong Tae Se, who ply their trade in Korea Republic and Japan respectively.

There has, in fact, been signs of fatigue: Hong was uncharacteristically unimpressive during the UAE game and he was replaced in the 71st minute. His substitute Kim Kum Il made an instant impact with a neat through ball that resulted in Korea DPR’s opening goal. But it took only four days for Hong to redeem himself, winning and converting a crucial penalty against Korea Republic (

– Pak Chol Ryong and Kim Kuk Jin are playing for FC Concordia Basel (2nd Swiss division).  Read more in German here.
Additionally, two DPRK women football players are training with the FFC Turbine Potsdam (a leading German women’s team from Potsdam). The players, Jon Myong Hwa and Kim Un Hyang, are both from the 2008 FIFA women’s championship team.  The managers of the German football club said that they did not actively seek out the North Korean players, but rather they were approached by a North Korean who has been living in Cologne for several years who asked Potsdam to invite the women players to train with them. (Read more in German here).
Also, the DPRK men’s national team is attending a training camp in Switzerland right now. (Read more in German here).  Last week they played a friendly match against FC Concordia Basel (2nd division) and lost (Read more in German here)


North Korea Google Earth

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

North Korea Uncovered v.16
Download it here


The most recent version of North Korea Uncovered (North Korea Google Earth) has been published.  Since being launched, this project has been continuously expanded and to date has been downloaded over 32,000 times.

Pictured to the left is a statue of Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  This statue, as well as many others identified in this version of the project, was built by the North Koreans. According to a visitor:

From the neck down, the Kabila monument looks strangely like Kim Jong Il: baggy uniform, creased pants, the raised arm, a little book in his left hand. From the neck up, the statue is the thick, grim bald mug of Laurent Kabila (his son Joseph is the current president). “The body was made in North Korea,” explains my driver Felix. In other words, the body is Kim Jong Il’s, but with a fat, scowling Kabila head simply welded on.

This is particularly interesting because there are no known pictures of a Kim Jong il statue.  The only KJI statue that is reported to exist is in front of the National Security Agency in Pyongyang.  If a Kim Jong il statue does in fact exist, it might look something like this.

Thanks again to the anonymous contributors, readers, and fans of this project for your helpful advice and location information. This project would not be successful without your contributions.

Version 16 contains the following additions: Rakwon Machine Complex, Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory, Manpo Restaurant, Worker’s Party No. 3 Building (including Central Committee and Guidance Dept.), Pukchang Aluminum Factory, Pusan-ri Aluminum Factory, Pukchung Machine Complex, Mirim Block Factory, Pyongyang General Textile Factory, Chonnae Cement Factory, Pyongsu Rx Joint Venture, Tongbong Cooperative Farm, Chusang Cooperative Farm, Hoeryong Essential Foodstuff Factory, Kim Ki-song Hoeryong First Middle School , Mirim War University, electricity grid expansion, Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground (TSLG)” is also known as the “Musudan-ri Launching Station,” rebuilt electricity grid, Kumchang-ri suspected underground nuclear site, Wangjaesan Grand Monument, Phothae Revolutionary Site, Naedong Revolutionary Site, Kunja Revolutionary Site, Junggang Revolutionary Site, Phophyong Revolutionary Site, Samdung Revolutionary Site, Phyongsan Granite Mine, Songjin Iron and Steel Complex (Kimchaek), Swedish, German and British embassy building, Taehongdan Potato Processing Factory, Pyongyang Muyseum of Film and Theatrical Arts, Overseas Monuments built by DPRK: Rice Museum (Muzium Padi) in Malaysia, Statue de Patrice Lumumba (Kinshasa, DR Congo), National Heroes Acre (Windhoek, Namibia), Derg Monument (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), National Heroes Acre (Harare, Zimbabwe), New State House (Windhoek, Namibia), Three Dikgosi (Chiefs) Monument (Gaborone, Botswana), 1st of May Square Statue of Agostinho Neto (Luanda, Angola), Momunment Heroinas Angolas (Luanda, Angola), Monument to the Martyrs of Kifangondo Battle (Luanda, Angola), Place de l’étoile rouge, (Porto Novo, Benin), Statue of King Béhanzin (Abomey, Benin), Monument to the African Renaissance (Dakar, Senegal), Monument to Laurent Kabila [pictured above] (Kinshasa, DR Congo).

DPRK culture update: sports and film

Monday, November 17th, 2008

In football, North Korea won the under-17 women’s football World Cup yesterday with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the United States in Auckland, New Zealand.

According to a New Zealand sports web site:

The Koreans fell behind after two minutes to a freak own goal from a throw-in, but drew level through Kim Un Hyang with 13 minutes of regular time remaining.

Jang Hyon-Sun netted the winner in the second period of extra time, seven minutes away from a penalty shoot-out.

North Korea now boast both age-group women’s World Cup titles, having taken the under-20 version in Russia two years ago.

In film, the Daily NK reports that the popularity of South Korean films is giving way to American, Thai, and Chinese films:

In North Korea, the fervor of the South Korean Waves is on the wane; Korean dramas, which have spearheaded the spread of South Korean culture and progress since 2000, are no longer generating huge interest among North Korean citizens. The prevailing response of the citizens has been “I have seen enough” and “I have had my fill.”

A source form North Hamkyung Province said in a phone conversation with the Daily NK on the 2nd, “Nowadays, a Thai movie, “Ong-Bak (2003), Muay Thai Warrior,” is immensely popular among the younger generation. Chinese or American movies have become more popular than South Korean movies.”

The source added, “When South Korean dramas were first popular, adoration, curiosity, new storylines and exotic scenes generated a wave of interest, but people seemed to have had their fill.”

“Previously, Chinese people would bring back South Korean films when (North Korean) people requested DVDs, but now, and they mostly bring American or Chinese martial arts movies. According to smugglers working along the border, South Korean DVDs cannot be found in the homes of the Chinese.”

He evaluated thus, “More than anything, we like clarity and accuracy, but South Korean movies tend to be ambiguous. It frustrates me that they take and twist around words when the reality of the situation is clear.”

Gwon Myung Chul (pseudonym), who visited his relatives in China at the end of October, noted, “In Pyongyang, people can mostly acquire South Korean songs. With the rising popularity of South Korean songs, CDs containing these songs have come out, but they did not generate much interest.”

Gwon explained, “Recent Korean songs have not resonated with us emotionally and they have been difficult to understand. I don’t know what the people there (in the South) think, but rap or Pansori (traditional Korean narrative songs) are really difficult to listen to.”

He observed that “South Korean songs were better in the past” and listed off the Korean songs which he could sing, such as Noh Sa Yeon’s ‘Meeting’ and Kim Jong Hwan’s ‘For Love.’

Read the full article here:
South Korean Movies Not Popular Anymore in North Korea
Daily NK
Lee Sung Jin


KCNA reports Kim Jong il appearance

Monday, October 6th, 2008

According to KCNA, Kim Jong il made his first public appearance this weekend since going “off-line” August 14, 2008.  Kim’s failure to preside over the September 9 celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of DPRK’s founding unleashed a flood of speculation in the Western media that Kim is in bad health—prompting a rare public denial from North Korean government officials.

The North Korean people, however, have been kept in the dark about Kim’s absense from the 60th anniversary festivities.  The average North Korean knows almost nothing about Kim Jong il or his family, and most are probably too busy trying to make ends meet to pay much attenention to his health.  In Pyongyang, though, his absesnce at the celebrations was very visible.  No doubt the Pyongyang rumor mill went into effect shortly after the second parade participant set foot in Kim il Sung Square.  

So this weekend, KCNA issued the following report—no doubt intended to assure the DPRK citizenry that their leader is just fine:

Kim Jong Il Enjoys Student Football Match
Pyongyang, October 4 (KCNA) — General Secretary Kim Jong Il enjoyed a student football match on the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of Kim Il Sung University, the highest institution of Juche-based education and science.

There was the football match between teams of Kim Il Sung University and Pyongyang University of Railways that day, at which the former beat the latter 4-1.

After watching the match, Kim Jong Il congratulated the players on their good results, saying that the revolutionary and militant students in our country are good at art and sporting activities while devoting all their wisdom and enthusiasm to the study of science for the country and the people.

He noted with great satisfaction that the above-said universities have produced a large number of able cadres and technical personnel for the nation who play a leading role in the revolution and construction, thus positively contributing to the cause of building a great prosperous and powerful nation, and highly praised the achievements made by them over the past years.

It is of weighty significance in accomplishing the revolutionary cause of Juche and building a rich and powerful nation to train the students who will shoulder the destiny of the country in the future to be able talents with ample knowledge and good physique, he said, advancing highly important tasks that should be regarded as guidelines in developing the intellectual and ideological education and sports at universities.

Accompanying him were First Vice Department Director Ri Jae Il and other leading officials of the C.C., the Workers’ Party of Korea and officials concerned.

Skepticism in the western media appeared moments after this report hit the internet (here and here). 

This morning, I did a quick search of KCNA reports (using the STALIN search engine) and it turns out that KCNA has never reported (in English) that Kim Jong il has attended a football match (though records only go back to 1996).  If the KCNA report is true, this would be the first football match Kim has attended in over 12 years!

The Daily NK offers a summery of Kim’s activities this year right up until he went dormant:

According to the analysis of North Korean media released on September 17th by the South Korean Ministry of Unification, Kim Jong Il had been involved in 75 public appearances this year, up until August 14th.

He participated in 42 military related activities, 5 diplomatic affairs and various other events. He viewed at least one or two artistic performances, but not once did he observe a sports game.

From August 1st to 14th, when the National Intelligence Service made public the claim that Kim Jong Il had had a stroke, he had appeared publicly 13 times. 11 were military inspections, one time was an economic inspection and one was an artistic performance.

Since Kim Il Sung’s death, this has been the third-longest term of sequestered life, around 50 days. Each time, he finally released news of his wellbeing through the press.

The longest one was after his father’s death, on September 8th, 1994; he disappeared from the North Korean media for 87 days. At the time, North Korean media reported that he was spending 100 days mourning for his father.

Second, at the time, around January 10, 2003, when North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and March 20, when the Iraq war broke out, Kim Jong Il was not seen for a total of 49 days. The withdrawal from the NPT triggered the start of a crisis; after participating in a banquet for a Russian delegation on February 12, Kim disappeared from the public sphere. After 49 days, a report was released that Kim had taken part in an onsite inspection at Kim Hyong Jik College, a military medical college.

Read other stories here:
North Korea Says Kim Jong Il May Be `Tired,’ Yonhap Reports
Heejin Koo

Playing the Game of Spot North Korea’s Kim Jong Il
Rosett Report
Claudia Rosett

Doubts Arise Over N. Korean Leader’s Appearance
Donga Ilbo

North Korea Reports First Kim Jong Il Appearance
Heejin Koo

One for Sports among Kim Jong Il’s Public Activities
Daily NK
Yang Jung A


North Korea on Google Earth

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

North Korea Uncovered: Version 12
Download it here

mayday.JPGAbout this Project: This map covers North Korea’s agriculture, aviation, cultural locations, markets, manufacturing facilities, energy infrastructure, political facilities, sports venues, military establishments, religious facilities, leisure destinations, national parks, shipping, mining, and railway infrastructure. It is continually expanding and undergoing revisions. This is the 12th version.

Additions include: Tongch’ang-dong launch facility overlay (thanks to Mr. Bermudez), Yongbyon overlay with destroyed cooling tower (thanks to Jung Min Noh), “The Barn” (where the Pueblo crew were kept), Kim Chaek Taehung Fishing Enterprise, Hamhung University of education, Haeju Zoo, Pyongyang: Kim il Sung Institute of Politics, Polish Embassy, Munsu Diplomatic Store, Munsu Gas Station, Munsu Friendship Restaurant, Mongolian Embassy, Nigerian Embassy, UN World Food Program Building, CONCERN House, Czech Republic Embassy, Rungnang Cinema, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, Pyongyang Number 3 Hospital, Electric Machines Facotry, Bonghuajinlyoso, Second National Academy of Sciences, Central Committee Building, Party Administration Building, Central Statistics Bureau, Willow Capital Food House, Thongounjong Pleasure Ground, Onpho spa, Phipa Resort Hotel, Sunoni Chemical Complex (east coast refinery), Ponghwa Chemical complex (west coast refinery), Songbon Port Revolutionary Monument, Hoeryong People’s Library, Pyongyang Monument to the anti Japanese martyrs, tideland reclamation project on Taegye Island. Additionally the electricity grid was expanded and the thermal power plants have been better organized. Additional thanks to Ryan for his pointers.

I hope this map will increase interest in North Korea. There is still plenty more to learn, and I look forward to receiving your contributions to this project.

Version 12 available: Download it here


China Hongxing sponsors 2008 DPRK Olympic team

Monday, August 18th, 2008

UPDATE 3 (2010-6-3): China Hongxing bid to sponsor the DPRK’s 2010 World Cup football team, but was beat out by Italian firm Legea.

UPDATE 2 (2008-8-14): The Wall Street Journal did a follow up story on China Hongxing:

During the Opening Ceremonies, for instance, the North Koreans refused to wear Erke’s logo for fear it would compete with their country’s Communist red-starred flag.


The North Korean sponsorship cost Erke $2 million to $3 million, said Wu Rongzhao, deputy chief executive at China Hongxing Sports, which owns Erke. The Singapore-listed Hongxing reported net profit of $59 million for fiscal 2007.

Yet Erke’s sponsorship of the North Korea team has been “a very painful process,” said Mr. Wu.

Erke had to scrub plans for a marketing event timed to the Games’ opening because of red tape and bureaucracy, said a person familiar with the matter. For instance, Pyongyang’s Olympic officials would communicate only by email, not by phone.

Nor are North Korean athletes a sports marketer’s dream. Most are conditioned to be self-effacing and to credit their victories to the North Korean regime and its leader, Kim Jong Il. Weightlifter Pak Hyon Suk, who won North Korea’s first gold in Beijing on Tuesday — wearing Erke — said her victory was the “the best present for the president, for the people, for the country and for myself,” according to Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency.

UPDATE 1 (2008-7-28): Reuters follows up with China Hongxing:

Hoping to achieve what Michael Jordan did for Nike, a little-known Chinese sportswear brand is banking on the North Korean Olympic team for publicity.

“[The Chinese] tend to watch the North Koreans compete in the events that the Chinese are also strong in, so sponsoring North Korea will get a lot more eyeballs,” [Jenny Yeo, company spokesperson] said.

North Korean athletes in the Beijing Games will be sporting a stylized swan logo from China Hongxing’s “Erke” brand, which means “you conquer” in Mandarin.

China Hongxing will be kitting out the team with leotards, soccer boots and the red windbreakers the athletes will wear to the August 8 opening ceremony. Erke will be selling some of this sportswear in China and expects buyers seeking novelty value.

ORIGINAL POST (2007-7-25): Since China’s star Olympic athletes have signed endorsement contracts with western sports apparel firms, their Chinese competitors have looked to the DPRK to help them cash in on the ’08 Olympics (and beyond).

China Hongxing Sports Limited is one such companies, and they have issued a press release here (PDF) announcing their deal with the DPRK Olympic team and the women’s football team.

Slate has more on the retail strategy:

Chinese companies can’t compete with the world powers when it comes to locking up megastars. Olympic gold-medalist hurdler Liu Xiang, who will likely emerge as the biggest Chinese star of the Beijing games, has a deal with Nike. One of China’s leading sports-marketing consultants told me that every starter on the national basketball team has a deal with a foreign brand. Yi Jianlian, whom the Milwaukee Bucks selected with the sixth pick of the NBA draft, had a Nike contract by the time he was 16.

At the same time, Chinese shoe companies’ Billy Beane-like quest for hidden value has led to a few questionable decisions. Most sneaker companies would shy away from sponsoring the North Korean Olympic team. At the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, the DPRK won a grand total of five medals, none of them gold. Besides, the Hermit Kingdom doesn’t exactly conjure up the kind of brand associations most shoe companies are looking for. But Erke’s [China Hongxing] sponsorship of North Korea has a simple explanation. North Korea’s strongest sports include gymnastics, table tennis, and diving, all of which draw huge support and TV audiences in China.

Read the full stories here:
Chinese Companies Sponsor Countries Others Won’t Touch
Wall Street Journal, Page A14
Mei Fong

North Korea’s Olympic outfitter hopes for publicity gold
Melanie Lee

Female Weightlifters, Spanish Basketball Stars, and Kim Jong-il
Jacob Leibenluft


Download glitch fixed: North Korea Google Earth (version 11)

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

The most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth
Download it here

This map covers North Korea’s agriculture, aviation, cultural locations, markets, manufacturing facilities, railroad, energy infrastructure, politics, sports venues, military establishments, religious facilities, leisure destinations, and national parks. It is continually expanding and undergoing revisions. This is the eleventh version.

Additions include: Mt. Paegun’s Ryonghung Temple and resort homes, Pyongyang’s Chongryu Restaurant, Swiss Development Agency (former UNDP office), Iranian Embassy, White Tiger Art Studio, KITC Store, Kumgangsan Store, Pyongyang Fried Chicken Restaurant, Kilju’s Pulp Factory (Paper), Kim Chaek Steel Mill, Chongjin Munitions Factory, Poogin Coal Mine, Ryongwun-ri cooperative farm, Thonggun Pavilion (Uiju), Chinju Temple (Yongbyon), Kim il Sung Revolutionary Museum (Pyongsong), Hamhung Zoo, Rajin electrified perimeter fence, Pyongsong market (North Korea’s largest), Sakju Recreation Center, Hoeryong Maternity Hospital, Sariwon Suwon reservoir (alleged site of US massacre), Sinpyong Resting Place, 700 Ridges Pavilion, Academy of Science, Hamhung Museum of the Revolutionary Activities of Comrade Kim Il Sung, South Hamgyong House of Culture, Hamhung Royal Villa, Pork Chop Hill, and Pyongyang’s Olympic torch route. Additional thanks go to Martyn Williams for expanding the electricity grid, particularly in Samjiyon, and various others who have contributed time improving this project since its launch.

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the authenticity of many locations since I have not seen or been to them, but great efforts have been made to check for authenticity. These efforts include pouring over books, maps, conducting interviews, and keeping up with other peoples’ discoveries. In many cases, I have posted sources, though not for all. This is a thorough compilation of lots of material, but I will leave it up to the reader to make up their own minds as to what they see. I cannot catch everything and I welcome contributions.  Additionally, this file is getting large and may take some time to load.


British football association donates sportswear to DPRK

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

From Yonhap:

The British Football Association has donated some 600 items of sportswear such as gym suits and sweat pants to North Korea, a pro-Pyongyang daily in Japan said Tuesday.

The sportswear was delivered to the North Korea’s football association in a ceremony held in Pyongyang on Thursday with the British Ambassador to the country John Everard attending, the Choson Sinbo newspaper said.

Read the full article here:
British football association donates gym suits to N.K.: report