When North Korea invited East German secret police to Pyongyang – Ep. 249


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Before the mid-1980s, North Korea and East Germany did not have the most robust relationship despite both being allies of the Soviet Union and their similar situations as the communist half of a divided country. That all changed when founding leader Kim Il Sung decided to host one of the largest events in North Korean history. In this episode of the NK News Podcast, Bernd Schaefer talks about how East Germany’s secret police helped facilitate the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang, similarities between East Germany and North Korea and the lessons of a divided Germany for the two Koreas today. Bernd Schaefer is a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center’s Cold War International History Project and a professor at George Washington University. In the past he was a visiting scholar at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul and has held various other appointments across Asia and Europe. About the podcast: The North Korea News Podcast is a weekly podcast hosted by Jacco Zwetsloot (@JaccoZed) exclusively for NK News, covering all things DPRK — from news to extended interviews with leading experts and analysts in the field, along with insight from our very own journalists.