Around the World #43: Talking North Korea with Jeremiah Jenne

North Korea: Picture of Dan and Jeremiah.

Pondering about North Korea.

Tensions have been rising on the Korean peninsula. What are our options?

My guest Jeremiah Jenne is a historian based in Beijing. He has been to North Korea multiple times, including just a few weeks ago (I have been there as well). Jeremiah laid out three potential military strategies for the US to intervene in North Korea; unfortunately, all of these options are various shades of terrible. He also talked about diplomatic strategies, which also are controversial and risky.

Jeremiah has several other projects in Beijing. He runs a small company called Beijing by Foot, which gives walking tours of historical sites around the city. I went on one of these tours to the Summer Palace and thoroughly enjoyed it; highly recommended for anyone interested in Chinese history.

Jeremiah's blog is Jottings from the Granite Studio. This includes the writing he does for other publications, as well as his Podcast, “Barbarians at the Gate.”

This was an awesome show, so lets get to it:

Download this Episode (right-click and choose “save as”)

Show Notes:

  • Jeremiah's email address is Feel free to send him your questions about the tours he runs.
  • Jeremiah's blog is Jottings from the Granite Studio.
  • Jeremiah's podcast is Barbarians at the Gate. He and his co-host and guests talk about their favorite characters in Chinese history, as well as more recent events in China. I especially appreciate the way he gives historical context to what is happening in China today.
  • Jeremiah's tour company is Beijing by Foot.
  • After you have listened to Barbarians at the Gate, Jeremiah recommends that you check out Laszlo Montgomery's excellent China History Podcast and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms Podcast, which tells the story of the classic Chinese novel of the same name.
  • The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about the Hutong construction project that is currently taking place in Beijing. Of particular interest to me is San Tiao (3rd alley) in the Beixinqiao neighborhood, which I mentioned during the podcast. A few weeks ago there was so much debris in the road, you coould barely walk through it. Katie and I returned more recently and found that, while there were many brick walls where there had been entrances to restaurants, the alley was still a relatively lively place.
  • China is in the middle of a bike-sharing revolution. Shanghai alone has 450,000 shared bikes. New York City, by constrast, has only 10,000.
  • Finally, an “only in China” moment happened a year and a half ago when the government enlisted monkeys to dismantle bird nests ahead of the country's military parade.
North Korea: Picture of Kim Il Sung Square.

Last year Katie and I traveled to North Korea. Here is Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang.

North Korea: Picture of the Pyongyang subway.

Pyongyang subway. And then the actors lined up... Just kidding.

Picture of Angkor Wat.

When I went to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, all of these people were vying for position to capture a photo of the iconic sunrise over the temple.

Picture of Angkor Wat from the top of Phnom Bakheng.

The next morning, we arguably got a better view of Angkor Wat from the top of Phnom Bakheng.

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