My Brush with ‘Mansudae Korea’

Red Flag of the Workers’ Party of Korea

Mansudae Korea

As the Red Flag of the DPRK contains the ‘scholar’s brush’ – I thought this an apt title for this article. As someone who broadly supports the DPRK, and supports its right to self-determination in the face of US neo-imperialism and aggression, I was interested to hear of a US news platform that is attempting to present North Korean news to the average American without as little distortion a possible. It was suggested to me that perhaps I could offer my expertise – something I am prepared to do, but which lack of time often prevents me from doing to any great extent. I decided in this case to send a quick email with links to some of my published work and assumed the Editor would be in-touch and an entirely new and beautiful friends would blossom! Alas, it was not to be. It turns-out that Mansudae Korea is thoroughly bourgeois and by and large pursues the derogatory Western trend in reporting North Korean news, but without the accompanying hyperbole. Below is the email of the reply I received from Benjamin Weston – the founder of Mansudae Korea – who appears to be writing as if the CIA is stood watching what he is doing, and that he shouldn’t be talking to what he perceives to be a ‘Communist’. Of course, although I initially gave him the benefit of the doubt – but received neither apology nor clarification – I have decided to make public the antics and trajectory of his website. This will reach my friends in the DPRK (as well as China), and if Benjamin Weston really does have ‘connections’ in North Korea – as he suggests he does – he will soon find doors shutting rather rapidly! 

On Mon, Oct 14, 2019, at 03:26, Mansudae Korea wrote:

Dear Adrian,

Thanks for your swift reply – apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

Due to the nature of the website and the sensitive nature of this industry – we must keep as non-bias as possible in our publications. Many of our affiliates, including myself, work closely in and around the DPRK and also with various organizations who are non-political. Therefore, any writing must remain as such.

If you feel that you are able to oblige then we’d be happy to see what topics you’d be keen to write about – however, as with many applicants, there is an obvious personal conflict related to writing objectively and I would totally understand if you would rather not work with us.

Kind regards,

Benjamin Weston
Editor, Mansudae Korea

My Reply:

Monday, October 14, 2019 09:02

Dear Benjamin

I find this interesting:

https://kknews.cc/zh-cn/world/mny99l2.html

I mention this as I read this article penned by yourself:

https://www.mansudae-korea.com/post/the-mystery-of-kim-hyok-chol

I notice in one of the versions you refer to the South Korean media as ‘rightwing’. 

Best Wishes

Adrian

Answer: No Reply.

My Reply:

Thursday, October 17, 2019 20:49

Dear Benjamin 

Further to our correspondence, I now have a free moment from my heavy academic work schedule in the UK and China (and various other personal projects) to write a more in-depth reply. As I understand you are busy, I do not require a response. Due to my experience and expertise I am often asked to assist various projects, usually of a leftwing orientation. But I must admit that I did not check the background of your ‘Mansudae Korea’ news organisation, and had no idea of its actual basis and position in the media. I mistakenly assumed that you were a left of centre news group dedicated to exposing the inaccurate, racist and prejudicial reporting that emanates from South Korea, and which is fully supported and disseminated by the United States media throughout world and without question or scrutiny. This is the a priori reporting of DPRK news that is fetishizing and demonising of an entire ethnic group, and which appears default-set to prepare the Western mind to be filled with such hatred and distrust toward North Korea, that a full-scale military attack by the West upon the DPRK would be relatively easy to organise, carry-out and justify.  

I am sure you can appreciate that I was surprised by the tone and content of your response dated the 14.10.2019, as I have not been approached in this manner since I was a teenager undergoing training whilst still subject to guidance. I now understand that ‘Mansudae Korea’ is a centrist US-style news agency that resists the obvious rightwing bias of the South Korean media, but which falls short of a) openly acknowledging this bias, or b) extending this observation to include the mainstream US media.  

Furthermore, I fully understand your position now I am aware of it (and you reply), but obviously there has been a misunderstanding and we are talking at cross-purposes. I do not consider the exposure of US racism to be ‘bias’ in anyway, but rather a journalistic duty, even if it is true that at times such a function must be carefully presented, justified and packaged to the broader world. You must forgive me when I state that I disagree with your statement that ‘Mansudae Korea’ is ‘apolitical’ whilst operating within an environment that is entirely ‘politicised’, with this underlying ‘politics’ being the motivation for the existence of ‘Mansudae Korea’ (as I assume – like me – you oppose this poor treatment of the DPRK). Finally, I have direct contact with people in the DPRK, but this has come about through my interaction with Mainland China (I have Chinese relatives who fought against US Aggression in Korea). In recent years, I have been active in the translating of Chinese language news articles about North Korea into English as a means to educate Western audiences. In this regard I am not officially attached to any of the DPRK Support Groups in the UK (although I fully support and applaud their work). 

Thank you for your time in this matter. 

Yours sincerely

Dr Adrian Chan-Wyles 

Sutton – London  

Answer: No Reply

Conclusion: It is better to support the numerous North Korean Griendship Groups and Associations existent around the world and not bother with these obviously ‘bourgeois’ outfits that have been developed because a White, middle class male happened to visit North Korea ‘once’, and was confronted with the reality that his country of the US systematically lies to him about the DPRK. Mansudae Korea makes not attempt whatsoever to a) highlight this situation by exposing the aggression and racism of the US, or b) do amything about this situation, and so the root of the problem remains untouched and still functioning throughout the world.

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