Topic: RE: Foreign Airline To North Korea: Air China
Posted 2008-03-05 08:41:45 and read 2580 times.
What does North Korea want with visitors? Outsiders bring (a) ideas of freedom, capitalism, and disturbing-the-status-quo, and (b) information that there's a world outside the Dearly Departed Great Leader's Paradise.
Oh wait...they bring hard currency.
Hmmm...tough call for North Korean officials.
Sorry, that was obligatory.
Aeroflot's days of flying "prestige" routes to Communist friends' capital cities while making absolutely no profit are LONG gone. In fact, barely 20 years after the shoot-down of KAL 007, Korean Air now flies to Vladivostock and Moscow, something that would have been unthinkable during the cold war. Russia, while still remaining on somewhat friendly terms with North Korea, has recognized that it is South Korea that has something to offer, and business ties between the two countries are growing. North Korea, on the other hand, exports nothing of real value to Russia, so there is no real reason for a direct or non-stop flight to Pyongyang.
China, on the other hand, is the last nation on earth with any real influence on the North Koreans, but even that is tenuous. While the Chinese have somewhat embraced capitalism and Deng Xiaopeng's "to get rich is glorious!!" theme, North Korea remains slaveishly devoted to the isolationism of Kim Il-Sung and his "Junche" policy of self-reliance that has resulted in starvation and misery for those not privileged enough to live in one one of the cities. As a result, China has decided that Air Koryo can be the main air link between Pyongyang and the rest of the world, and Chinese carriers are free to fly there if they wish.
In my 1995 edition of the book "The World's Most Dangerous Places" from the Lonely Planet company, the author discusses the fact that the employees of the last of China's airlines to fly to Pyongyang took to growing vegetables in the bathtub of their apartment because of food shortages.
I know I've ranted and raved, but the only way any increase in air service will occur is if the North Koreans allow more outsiders into their country. However, this would only result in a loss of control of the population, so the military and the "Dear Leader" (facing the loss of power and their American movies and alcohol) will never let this occur.