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The Pro-North Korea Movement in America Today

Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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3 Comments
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Stalin had his Comintern. Mao had his “Magic Weapons.” The Kim family regime has its own pro-North Korea movements in a number of foreign countries—most specifically including the United States.

Although few pay much attention to it or know much about it, the pro-Pyongyang movement in America is alive and well today.

Each of these “influence operations” embodied the same crucial revolutionary insight. They all recognized, per their great common teacher V.I. Lenin, that it is perilous for relatively weak radicals to confront much more powerful foreign adversaries directly; on the other hand, immense revolutionary promise awaits from penetrating enemy states and influencing their policies and decisions from within. By attempting to get a seat at the table in the domestic politics of hostile countries, Lenin-inspired regimes have always aimed—and still aim—at reaping concessions and gaining victories against international opponents that they could never win on the battlefield.

Just as with the earlier Soviet and Maoist overseas influence efforts, the current pro-North Korea influence movement abroad is akin to an orchestra—with different pieces playing their own roles in a political symphony ultimately conducted by the would-be maestro. Each of these bands always includes the same instruments: agents/directors from the motherland—and from the infiltrated target country, an assortment of true believers and fanatics; cheerleaders and activists; fellow-travelers and “useful idiots.”

The voices in the USA who evince sympathy or even enthusiasm for Pyongyang and its goals, or conversely animus for North Korea’s opponents or critics, are not simply a cacophonous chorus of disconnected malcontents and misfits. An animating logic links them together into a sort of “operating system.” In other words, apparently disparate pieces in the pro-North Korea movement in America actually comprise something like a functioning network. Call it a “United Front”, to use the famous old Leninist term.

Last month AEI was pleased to host two lectures on the pro-North Korea movement in America by Lawrence Peck. So far as we can tell, these were the first lectures on this topic ever delivered at a think-tank or university in Washington DC. You can listen to Mr. Peck’s lecture here, and read a transcript of it here.

Peck has been monitoring the pro-North Korea movement in America for over two decades. In spellbinding detail, Peck laid out the background, the makeup, the workings, and the objectives of the pro-NK movement in America today. He also named some names.

One of these names is Pak Chol, an operative once based at the North Korean mission to the UN in New York. A member of the North Korean Worker Party’s “United Front” Department, this “America watcher” figured prominently in the team of “Trump handlers” the North deployed for the Kim-Trump summits of 2019.

Before that assignment, however, he was busy helping with the launch of a 2015 march across South Korea’s DMZ border with the North by a group called “Women Cross DMZ”—an ostensibly feminist organization whose women always seems to come down on Pyongyang’s side in any Korean question.

The head of the group, Ms. Christine Ahn, is a presence of sorts in Washington nowadays, lobbying most recently for “a peace agreement” to end the Korean War. But as a North Korea escapee now in South Korea’s parliament, Rep. Ji Seong-ho, has pointed out, Ahn and her “phony Korean peace movement” only want Americans to stop defending the South—rather than genuine denuclearization or détente from the North.

Ahn, perhaps now to her regret, has left a paper trail online of her many debts to Pak Chol in bringing the 2015 cross-border march of “Women Cross DMZ” to life—proffering thanks for Pak’s advice, guidance, and support.

She is hardly the only Korea activist who almost never says an unkind word about Pyongyang. And today the “phony Korean peace movement”—which even includes such hardcore fanboys of the North Korean regime as the pro-Hamas group Nodutdol—enjoy an increasingly warm and increasingly respectful reception in Washington, both at think tanks (including Quincy Institute) and in offices of Congress. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), the ostensibly moderate Democratic sponsor of the current proposal for Congress to declare peace in Korea unilaterally, has by no means distanced himself from the pro-North Korea movement’s praise. The pro-NK movement gains strength from joining cause with other radical or anti-American groups with no extant Korea focus: think pro-PLO and –Iran activists; old fashioned Israel- and Jew-haters like Code Pink. Through Code Pink, CCP propagandists too. And now that Kim Jong-un has wished Putin a “great victory” in his invasion of Ukraine, look for the pro-NK movement in America to be aligning itself with Kremlin apologists, as well.

Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he researches and writes extensively on demographics and economic development generally, and more specifically on international security in the Korean peninsula and Asia. Domestically, he focuses on poverty and social well-being. Dr. Eberstadt is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR).

Reprinted with Permission from AEI.org – By Nicholas Eberstadt

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Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
6 months ago

Well Done with writing this article Mr. Eberstadt, the research is obvious and impressive. This writing should be appreciated by everyone who realizes the importance of understanding how various groups that are hostile to the United States operate, how they think and what to do about them. The history of Korea sure is one story of philosophical – political adventure that gets more interesting decade by decade. Not enough attention has been given to Korea here in America, I am 73, just thought I should mention that ; had one relative ,an uncle in Korea , during 1950 – 1953 period , U.S. Army officer . So, some insight gained from his experience there was part of my knowledge base growing up . I became interested in the Korean language , several years ago , I have never been there . This pro- North Korea movement here , I reckon is something that should be understood as much as possible, you certainly did a great deal to bring this topic out of the obscure category and that is good. I believe in the foundation of what we have here in America, — the Declaration of Independence , the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, and you are probably familiar with The American’s Creed — just recently refamilierized myself with the latter — very inspirational and uplifting ( that sort of thing is always good to remember ,to have a sense of purpose ,to have the right perspective on what this Country is all about ) So, Nicholas again Praise for your work with this subject , I do sincerely hope that many people will read, and think about this subject . In the spirit of God bless America, land of the free and the home of the brave. Thanks for helping to keep people on guard with this knowledge , Let Liberty be the watchword .

PaulE
PaulE
6 months ago

We have many people and organizations in the United States that openly or covertly support both the Marxist movement in general, as well as individual socialist and communist countries around the world. Think of them as Trojan Horses that are hiding in plain sight. Some are members of the press and MSM. Some are members of Congress or state and local government. Some even are part of the current administration in Washington or part of the expansive administrative state that runs the country. This is a result of decades of public apathy and indifference that has allowed this faction to permeate all sectors of society. So, while the author’s article points out some specific examples, that is like ringing the alarm bell to warn people after the house has already pretty much burned down.

The undertaking required to ferret out these people is huge, and it is extremely doubtful the vast majority of the American people today would be up to the long-term efforts necessary to remediate the problem. As we as a country get nudged further and further along the path towards becoming an openly socialist country, I have little doubt that people like Ahn will be popping out of the woodwork on an ever more frequent basis.

Steven
Steven
6 months ago

We made both China and South Korea very $$$Rich plus we allow countries that are anti America to send their young people to attend US universities and to migrate to the US unvetted!!! I served in the Army on the DMZ of Korea years ago when we had a chance to stop North Korea and their allies China but the President, Congress, Senate and Pentagon did not want that. It’s very profitable to have US bases all over the world but very expensive to American taxpayers.

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