Richard Lloyd Parry

Fifteen years ago, on one of my early visits to Pyongyang, I was taken to the Tower of the Juche Idea, the vertiginous propaganda monument on the south bank of the Taedong River. Peering acrophobically over the railing at the ground 560 feet below, I asked one of the local guides if people ever came here to commit suicide. The young woman, who spoke flawless English, appeared baffled. I rephrased the question. She still didn’t understand.

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