North Korea News Podcast by NK News-logo

North Korea News Podcast by NK News

News & Politics Podcasts

A weekly podcast discussing all things North Korea, produced by NK News

A weekly podcast discussing all things North Korea, produced by NK News


United States


A weekly podcast discussing all things North Korea, produced by NK News






What the CIA knows (and doesn’t know) about North Korea – Ep. 255

North Korea is one of the hardest targets for U.S. intelligence, and the country’s border closure since 2020 has only increased the difficulty. State propaganda remains one of the only ways to learn about the regime and what’s happening in the country. A former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, Soo Kim has been working […]


Unplugging from the North Korean matrix – Ep. 254

Growing up in an elite DPRK family, Seohyun Lee enjoyed privileges available to few other North Koreans. But that all changed during a study abroad trip to China, when she says a seemingly innocuous question from a taxi driver led to her “waking up from the matrix.” Then when a close friend of hers disappeared, […]


How nuclear weapons help North Korea punch above its weight – Ep. 253

North Korea is a small country, with a tiny economy and rigid political system, squeezed between much larger, richer nations. And yet its nuclear weapons allow it to dominate discourse about the region, give it a seat at the table with the U.S. and propel leader Kim Jong Un to front-page headlines. To Dr. Sung-Yoon […]


North Korea declares COVID victory and lashes out at US-ROK drills – Ep. 252

In August, the U.S. and South Korea carried out large-scale field training exercises for the first time since 2018, while North Korea conducted a missile test for the first time in months. The DPRK declared “victory” over COVID-19 less than three months after reporting its first outbreak. And a South Korean man attacked the high-profile […]


Why it’s in America’s interest to withdraw troops from Korea – Ep. 251

How far should the U.S. go to protect its allies, and can South Korea do more to protect itself without outside help? Doug Bandow (@Doug_Bandow), a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, has spent decades considering this equation and has come to believe the U.S.-ROK alliance needs serious reimagination, starting with the withdrawal of U.S. […]


Why North Korean comic books don’t have superheroes – Ep. 250

Over the last four years, Jacco Zwetsloot has hosted 249 episodes of the NK News podcast, interviewing everyone from longtime Korea watchers and prominent defectors to Donald Trump’s point man for negotiations with Pyongyang. But the podcast’s 250th episode features a particularly special guest — the host himself. This week, Zwetsloot talks with NK News […]


When North Korea invited East German secret police to Pyongyang – Ep. 249

Before the mid-1980s, North Korea and East Germany did not have the most robust relationship despite both being allies of the Soviet Union and their similar situations as the communist half of a divided country. That all changed when founding leader Kim Il Sung decided to host one of the largest events in North Korean […]


North Korea threatens death penalty for illegal drug sales – Ep. 248

July was a busy month on the Korean Peninsula. The South Korean government launched an investigation into the 2019 forced repatriation of two North Koreans. DPRK leader Kim Jong Un slammed ROK President Yoon Suk-yeol as a “military gangster.” And Pyongyang expressed willingness to send laborers to breakaway Ukrainian regions. This week, the NK News […]


Up close and personal at the Demilitarized Zone – Ep. 247

This week, NK News podcast host Jacco Zwetsloot returns to what some call “freedom’s frontier,” better known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, for a special travelogue episode. Ret. U.S. Lt. Col. Steve Tharp. Ret. ROK Col. Jee Hong-ki, NK News founder and CEO Chad O’Carroll join the tour of the less-visited […]


Emerging North Korean threats in cyber and outer space – Ep. 246

Threat dynamics on the Korean Peninsula are rapidly evolving. North Korea has proven extremely capable in cyberspace, compromising sensitive systems around the world and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. The DPRK’s armed forces are also adopting unmanned aerial vehicles and developing hypersonic missiles that present new challenges to South Korean and U.S. […]


How Sweden created a safe space for North Korea talks – NKNews Podcast Ep. 245

As Sweden’s ambassador to South Korea from 2018 to 2021, Jakob Hallgren saw firsthand as the pendulum shifted from hope and optimism about the future of inter-Korean relations to pessimism and doubt about whether Seoul and Pyongyang could ever reconcile. This week, Hallgren joins the NK News podcast to discuss his country’s role in diplomacy […]


North Korea blames ‘alien things’ for COVID-19 outbreak – NKNews Podcast Ep. 244

June was a busy month on the Korean Peninsula. The leaders of the U.S., Japan and South Korea met for the first time in nearly five years as Tokyo and Seoul began to repair ties. North Korea blamed ‘alien things’ like anti-regime balloons for spreading COVID-19 into the country. And top DPRK military officials adopted […]


Life inside the pro-North Korea enclave in Japan – NKNews Podcast Ep. 243

Growing up in Kobe, Park Hyangsu lived in a world apart from most of the Japanese people around her. At school, her teachers spoke Korean. In the classroom, portraits of North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il hung on the walls. For educational field trips, students traveled to the DPRK. This week, […]


North Korea’s invented histories – NKNews Podcast Ep. 242

When the war in Ukraine broke out earlier this year, Russian leader Vladimir Putin justified his country’s invasion as an effort to “denazify” its smaller neighbor, a striking claim given that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish. Moscow has also compared its “special military operation” to the fight against Nazi Germany in World War II, […]


The untold story of Kim Jong Un’s older brother – NKNews Podcast Ep. 241

The assassination of Kim Jong Nam, Kim Jong Un’s older half-brother who was at one time believed to be in line to succeed their father, stands among the most shocking episodes of the current leader’s decade in power — all the more so for the manner in which it was done. According to reports, DPRK […]


Lured to North Korea on false promises – NKNews Podcast Ep. 240

From 1959 to 1984, some 93,000 ethnic Koreans voluntarily left Japan to go live in the DPRK. Driven away by discrimination in Japan, and lured by promises of free housing and health care in socialist North Korea, these migrants would arrive in a country far different from the “Workers’ Paradise” that they had been promised. […]


Debating nukes a stone’s throw from North Korea – NKNews Podcast Ep. 239

In late May, Korea Risk Group hosted a special three-day conference on South Korea’s east coast for NK Pro subscribers and other North Korea watchers. Called the East Coast Exchange, the event featured expert presentations, vibrant discussions and ample time for networking, as well as a unique opportunity to view the DPRK’s Mount Kumgang from […]


Inside North Korea’s Lazarus heist hack — NKNews Podcast Ep. 238

North Korea has rapidly expanded its cyber capabilities over the last decade, from marginal operations focused on distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to large-scale cyberwarfare capable of compromising hardened networks and stealing hundreds of millions in cash and cryptocurrency. Perhaps the most widely known of the DPRK’s cybercrime organizations is the so-called Lazarus Group, which has […]


Exploring North Korea from south of the DMZ – NKNews Podcast Ep. 237

When North Korea imposed strict pandemic border controls in Jan. 2020, the country simultaneously closed its door to international tourists and suspended a growing industry that brought in hundreds of thousands of travelers in 2019 alone. Yet while it’s unclear when the country will reopen, there’s still one way to explore North Korea as a […]


North Korea reports first-ever COVID-19 outbreak – NKNews Podcast Ep. 236

Two and a half years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea reported its first outbreak on May 12, with cases of “fever” quickly surpassing a million. How prepared is the DPRK to fight the spread of the virus and will the country finally accept foreign aid? This week, NK News and NK PRO founder […]