[The Guardian] ‘Luxury’ skiing in North Korea: the Russians allowed behind the border

9 Apr 2024

On March 31, 2024, the Guardian reported that Russian tourists have been permitted to enter North Korea for three ski trips from January to March, marking the first instance of foreign tourists in North Korea since the country closed its borders in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview, the tourists, though having visited luxurious ski resorts, expressed observing signs of poverty and the extensive control exerted by the North Korean regime over its citizens.

The approved entry of Russian nationals can be attributed to the close cooperation between Russia and North Korea. North Korea has emerged as a significant supplier of weapons for Russia, providing artillery shells, missiles, and other military equipment to support Russia's ongoing war with Ukraine. In exchange, Russia supplies North Korea with food, raw materials, and parts essential for weapons production, sidestepping international sanctions. 

Hanna Song, Executive Director at NKDB, characterizes North Korea's engagement in tourism as indicative of the state's prioritization of tourism over access to humanitarian aid. 

(NKDB Hanna Song) “It’s a telling reflection of the regime’s priorities that North Korea has opted to allow Russian tourists access, yet continues to rebuff appeals from humanitarian organisations pleading for entry.”

You can read the full article on the NK News website by clicking HERE.