Pyongyang as a Crossroads for Afro-Asian Cooperation

Contrary to popular perceptions of North Korea as a hermit kingdom, its capital city used to be a hotspot for international travel. During the Cold War an eclectic mix of politicians, soldiers, journalists, and students travelled to Pyongyang for conferences, meetings, and training courses. Of particular importance was the stream of African visitors to North Korea, a largely overlooked but nonetheless important phenomenon in the history of the Global South. The connections that were forged between Africans and North Koreans were part of a larger framework of Afro-Asian cooperation that sought to change the global order, Tycho van der Hoog writes in The Newsletter of the International Institute for Asian Studies.

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This article appeared in The Newsletter, no. 97, Spring 2024, IIAS.


Photo: Kim Il-sung's 80th birthday ceremony with international guests, in 1992; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Chile).

Author(s) / editor(s)

Tycho van der Hoog

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Tycho van der Hoog is a PhD candidate at the African Studies Centre Leiden and an assistant professor at the Netherlands Defence Academy.

(Photo credit: Simone Both).