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This is a Hamburger, According to North Korean Airlines

This is a Hamburger, According to North Korean Airlines

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Wait till you see what counts as a hamburger on North Korea's state-owned airline

This is North Korea's version of a "hamburger."

The country of North Korea might not be too fond of the United States, but that doesn’t stop its citizens from wanting to try American cuisine.

Recently, intrepid traveler Bobthewraith posted these sad photos on Reddit that show what counts as a hamburger according to the state-owned, national flag carrier airline of North Korea, Air Koryo.

Behold, the “hamburger,” according to the hermit kingdom:

One eagle-eyed viewer was able to locate the meat patty, or at least a hint of it, lying flat and nearly colorless beneath that sad piece of lettuce.

Here’s a description of the burger from Bobthewraith:

“It was so ground, scant, and tasteless that I couldn't tell, but it's definitely not beef or tofu. My guess is that it's either pork or heavily processed chicken.”

Have you ever felt so patriotic about American hamburgers in your entire life? Remember this feeling forever.

Check out our slideshow of American Foods the Rest of the World Thinks are Strange.

For the latest food and drink updates, visit our Food News page.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.

Unlike Eritrea, Sudan and to a certain extent Angola, North Korea has a modest but established market catering for tourists.

Culture vultures can choose from an array of architecture- or film-based trips. Adrenaline junkies can try their hand at extreme sports. The regime opened a multimillion-pound ski resort last year – commemorated with its own stamp collection – and this summer the first tourists rode the waves of the country’s east coast beaches.

Want to run a marathon with a difference? This is also possible in North Korea, where tourists were permitted to enter the Pyongyang Marathon for the second year in a row, as long as they completed the course under four hours.

Spectators watch as runners line up at the start of the Pyongyang Marathon. Photograph: David Guttenfelder/AP

There are also specific excursions tailored around moments of civic pride such as the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Korean Workers’ party, this Saturday. Young Pioneer Tours, which specialises in “budget tours to destinations your mother wants you stay away from”, promises “mass dancing, fireworks and a military parade”.

The Arirang Mass Games, used to be another show-stopping fixture in the country. But the event has not taken place for the last few years, reportedly because North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, wants to improve the country’s sporting prowess first. For football fans, the time to start thinking about World Cup 2026 could be now – North Korea also has ambitions to host the Olympics.

Enjoy this selection of North Korean songs …

Games Symbolic To North Korea

North Korea's demand to be a co-host of the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, is tied to its desire for reunification with South Korea, a senior North Korean sports official said Saturday night.

'ɿor us, the reunification of the countries is the most important thing,'' said Chang Ung, the secretary general of the North Korea Olympic Committee. In a rare hourlong interview with an American reporter, Chang reiterated the position his Government has taken over the past several years.

Speaking of South Korea's refusal to give North Korea a greater role in organizing the Games, he added: ''If they say O.K., these Olympic Games could make certain a contribution to the unifying of the countries. But if they say no, these Games may harm the issue. That is the fundamental problem.''

The issue of co-hosting the 1988 Olympics has been a point of controversy between North and South Korea since Seoul was awarded the Games in 1981. Initially, North Korea insisted that it be allowed to stage half the events. Then, through four rounds of negotiations with the I.O.C. and the Seoul Organizing Committee over several years, North Korea was offered five events: some early games of the soccer tournament, archery, the cycling road race, table tennis and women's volleyball.

Several days before the Jan. 17 deadline for countries to accept the invitation to the Games, North Korea announced it would only participate in the Games as a co-host. No further negotiations have taken place, although North Korea has proposed resuming them without I.O.C. involvement, an offer that South Korea has refused.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the I.O.C. president, said as recently as Friday night that each passing day makes the logistics of placing events in North Korea more difficult, should the country reconsider its decision. ''Time is not with us,'' he said. Chang, who is here accompanying North Korea's six-member team in the Winter Games, blamed part of the delay on the refusal by South Korea and the I.O.C. to discuss anything but the number of events that could be held in North Korea, ignoring other issues such as the name of the Olympics, the location of opening and closing ceremonies, the makeup of the organizing committee, the distribution of television rights fees and the ability of people to travel freely between the two countries.

''Up to now, we have discussed the number of sports only,'' he said. 'ɺ package discussion is much better. This way, we can make compromise to them and they can make compromise to us.''

Richard Pound of Canada, an I.O.C. vice president, said today that the I.O.C. has made its position clear throughout talks with the North Koreans: that it ''will not take on debate or discussion'' on any issue until the number of events is agreed upon.

''If we can get to that, we can proceed to the second stage, which, in our view, is even more difficult,'' he said. Many Unresolved Issues

Meanwhile, Chang said, officials of his country have told the I.O.C. that they believe the Olympic matter cannot be addressed apart from a larger discussion of the many other issues dividing the two countries.

To that end, he said, North Korea has offered to meet representatives of South Korea in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on Feb. 19 to discuss holding another meeting, at which government officials of both countries would discuss a variety of issues, including the '⟪sing'' of the military situation. The unresolved Olympic questions would also be addressed at that meeting, he said.

Both countries maintain a strong military presence along the demilitarized zone that separates them. In addition, the United States has 40,000 soldiers in South Korea, with 47,000 more in Japan. The countries have been divided since the end of World War II.

''Unless North and South Korea can solve their problems first, even though there could be a fifth round of discussions,'' Chang said, ''I don't see how any fruitful result could come.''

South Korea, Chang said, has not yet responded to the offer. Kim Un Yong, an I.O.C. member from South Korea and a vice president of the Seoul Organizing Committee, said he had only learned of the offer today.

''I just heard about it,'' he said, after the morning session of the I.O.C. executive board. ''So I don't know anything about it.''

Kim called the idea of reunification with North Korea 'ɺlways the wish of the Korean people.''

But the question, he added, is how to do it. ''South Korea has always wanted peaceful unification,'' he said. Visas Are Denied

Chang said the United States, which has virtually no relations with North Korea, made 'ɺ great mistake'' in denying visas to a team of North Korean speed skaters who had intended to compete this weekend in the World Sprint Championships in Milwaukee.

The visa requests were denied after the State Department in Washington placed North Korea on the list of countries that ''support international terrorism.'' The State Department believes North Korea was responsible for the mid-air bombing of a Korean Airlines jet in November, which killed 115 people. The North Korean Government has denied any involvement.

As a result of the visa denials, Chang said that North Korean sports officials would campaign against Anchorage's attempt to bring the 1994 Winter Games to Alaska.

Live Updates

The trade volume between South Korea and China was $79.3 billion last year, and officials in Seoul expect it to top $100 billion this year. China is South Korea's No. 1 trade partner and its leading destination for direct foreign investment.

Korean Air, formerly a state-run,heavily indebted airline that was taken over by Hanjin Group in 1969, carried 7,401 tons of cargo on its China routes in 1995, or about 1 percent of its total freight that year. In 2004, it carried 111,851 tons on those routes, or 8.7 percent of the total.

Korean Air's bid for a piece of the Chinese market comes amid festering labor relations in the Korean aviation industry.

At Asiana Airlines, a rival, unionized pilots went on strike for 25 days this summer, costing the company $163 million in lost revenue.

With so much of the country's exports relying on air transport, the government invoked a rarely used power to order an end to the strike in mid-August. The Asiana union is challenging the government order in court.

Korean Air averted a similar fate when unionized pilots and management made a last-minute deal that included an extended retirement age and longer rest periods between flights.

Over the next 10 years, Korean Air plans to invest $10 billion in new aircraft and other capital projects. It recently announced orders for 10 fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 5 Airbus 380 jumbo aircraft.

Korean Air got 2.37 trillion won from cargo transport last year, or 31 percent of its total sales.

Despite the challenges it faces, the airline is hoping it can improve on those numbers by betting on China and continued growth for South Korean exports.

On the Korean front, the picture has been positive this year. In the first four months, cellphone exports alone accounted for 13 percent of all Korean Air cargo. This year, Korean Air ran six chartered flights to India and Eastern Europe carrying only cellphones.

"South Korean cellphones, flat-panel screens and semiconductors are all global leaders," said Chang, of Goodmorning Shinhan Securities. "As long as these industries are doing very well, Korean airlines will be in good shape with their cargo business."

For North Korea and the U.S., it’s been threats, sanctions and vitriol. Whatever happened to negotiations?

Why can’t the United States and North Korea just sit down and talk about it?

Over the last year, glimpses of a breakthrough in the long impasse between the two countries have been obscured by anxiety-producing new events — missile and nuclear tests, a bizarre assassination and the cruel death of the American college student Otto Warmbier.

Even talking about what talking would look like has proved complicated.

Nine days after the U.S. presidential election, a pair of former U.S. State Department officials and two North Korean diplomats met discreetly at a hotel in Geneva for talks on how to get their estranged countries negotiating again.

Like others around the world, the North Koreans seemed to be expecting that Hillary Clinton would be the next president, but they were not unhappy with Donald Trump’s victory, according to one of the Americans at the meetings.

“They were surprised at the outcome of the election, but they had an open mind,” said Joel Wit, a veteran North Korea hand who was one of the former U.S. officials who participated. “They were willing to wait and see what the Trump administration would do.”

There was even a slight reason for optimism. During the presidential campaign, Trump had said repeatedly he would be willing to talk directly to leader Kim Jong Un.

“What the hell is wrong with speaking? And you know what? It’s called opening a dialogue,” Trump had said in June of 2016. “If he came here, I’d accept him, but I wouldn’t give him a state dinner like we do for China and all these other people that rip us off when we give them these big state dinners.”

He went on to suggest he would serve Kim “a hamburger on a conference table.’’

The hamburger never materialized.

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, plans were made for North Korean envoy Choe Son Hui to come to New York for back-channel talks about reopening a more formal dialogue. She was scheduled to arrive on March 1. But events intervened. Two weeks before, Kim Jong Nam, Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, was poisoned to death with VX nerve agent in the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, airport in an attack widely blamed on the North Korean government the State Department canceled the visa for Choe’s trip to New York.

In early May, a meeting finally took place in Oslo between Choe and a group of Americans led by Joseph Yun, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Japan and Korea. That meeting produced what in diplomatic parlance is known as a deliverable: North Korea agreed to release Warmbier, the American college student who had been held for 18 months after allegedly trying to swipe a propaganda poster from the Pyongyang hotel where he was staying as a tourist.

That was good news — except it turned out that the 22-year-old had suffered extensive brain damage while in North Korean custody — for reasons that are still unclear.

Warmbier died in June, shortly after his release. What had been billed by the North Koreans as a humanitarian gesture, intended to warm relations, instead had the opposite effect.

Since then, the North Koreans have conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that they say are capable of reaching the United States.

Quiet back-channel talks with the North Koreans have been taking place regularly for years, despite the collapse of official six-nation diplomatic talks in late 2008. But nothing official has been scheduled, in large part because of a disagreement about whether there would be preconditions for the talks set by the United States.

“We are stuck in this no-man’s land. They are not going to have a meeting with preconditions imposed on the meeting,’’ said Wit.

The Obama administration last year had agreed to drop the preconditions for talks to begin, but a tentative deal to negotiate fell apart after the United States in July put Kim Jong Un and 14 other top North Korean officials on a personal blacklist in response to a nuclear test conducted earlier in the year.

At that point, the North Koreans apparently decided that it wasn’t worth their while to bother with a lame-duck president and that they would instead wait for the new administration.

Despite the recent exchanges of threats and bombast, Wit believes the North Koreans are still willing to negotiate. “What they’ve said is that they are open to restarting a dialogue with the new administration and that they are willing to discuss denuclearization, but that these initial meetings have to be without preconditions,” he said.

The U.S. has asked that North Korea make some gesture to show its seriousness, such as pausing the relentless pace of weapons tests. The North Koreans have asked that the United States end its “hostile policy” toward their country by scaling back joint military exercises with South Korea.

Scott Snyder of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations said he believes that North Korea’s increased pace of weapons testing has been motivated partly by the desire to establish itself as a nuclear power in a position of strength before sitting down to negotiate.

“We are in a kind of pre-negotiating phase where both sides are trying to shape the environment for their own purposes,” Snyder said. “The problem is imagining how that transitions to actual negotiations.”

World's worst airline, North Korea's oddball Air Koryo, is still in business

Air hostesses on Air Koryo, the North Korean airline wait for passengers at Pyongyang International airport, 02 April 2005. Fewer than 2,000 Western tourists visit North Korea annually and must travel with government-approved agencies.

A view of Sunan International Airport from a Russian built Air Koryo airplane on February 23, 2008 in Pyongyang, North Korea. The airport received a makeover in 2012 and was completed in 2015.

Passengers are boarding on a plane. The Air Koryo plane will depart from Pyongyang to Beijing.

LightRocket via Getty Images Show More Show Less

5 of 29 A stewardess offers drinks aboard an Air Koryo flight. The airline operates aged Soviet-era Tupelov jetliners. Tim Johnson/MCT Show More Show Less

A flight attendant on an Air Koryo flight on its way from Beijing, China, on February 23, 2008 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

8 of 29 In this March 8, 2011 photo, North Korean flight attendants on a video screen bow at the end of the security demonstration before takeoff on an Air Koryo flight from Beijing to Pyongyang. David Guttenfelder/AP Show More Show Less

Interior of a Tu-204 airplane.

LightRocket via Getty Images Show More Show Less

Hamburger offered on a Tu-204 airplane. The Tu-204 aircraft are currently scheduled on all international flights out of Pyongyang. Air Koryo is the state-owned national flag carrier airline of North Korea, headquartered in Sunan-guyk, Pyongyang. Air Koryo is the state-owned national flag carrier airline of North Korea, headquartered in Sunan-guyk, Pyongyang.

LightRocket via Getty Images Show More Show Less

13 of 29 In this April 12, 2011 photo, a European tourist photographs a North Korean woman working at the airport as a North Korean Air Koryo flight arrives from Beijing, in Pyongyang, North Korea. David Guttenfelder/AP Show More Show Less

Customers talk with staff at the Air Koryo ticket office in Pyongyang on July 28, 2013. North Korea marked the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War, displaying its long-range missiles at a ceremony presided over by leader Kim Jong-Un.

Russian built jets that are flown by the North Korean airline Air Koryo at the Sunan International Airport in the North Korea capital, Pyongyang on February 25, 2008. The airline which was founded in 1954 is estimated to have a fleet of around 20 Russian built planes and flies to international 5 destinations. It is also on a list of air carriers banned in the European Union.

North Koreans check in prewrapped and unmarked boxes on an Air Koryo flight bound for Pyongyang, North Korea from Beijing International Airport in Beijing, China on May 3, 2016.

The Washington Post/Getty Images Show More Show Less

Four airline stewardesses of Air Koryo dressed in uniforms wait for security check in Pyongyang Sunan International Airport on October 12, 2015 in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Photo by Liu Xingzhe/VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Air Koryo Ticket in North Korea on April 13, 2008 - The company is black listed by European authorities, but it is the only way to go by air in North Korea. They operate on old Iliouchine planes.

Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images Show More Show Less

Government minders stand before an Air Koryo aircraft on the tarmac at Pyongyang airport on July 29, 2013.

In a photo taken on July 24, 2013 an Air Koryo staff member carries umbrellas from an aircraft arriving from Beijing on the tarmac at Pyongyang airport.

An aerial view shows the North Korean countryside from the window of an Air Koryo aircraft on approach to Pyongyang on May 5, 2016.

An airplane of North Korea's Air Koryo is checked by South Korean workers as the airplane waits for North Korea's head delegate Kwon Ho Ung and his delegation to head home to Pyongyang after a four-day cabinet-level meeting, at Incheon Airport, west of Seoul, 24 June 2005.

South and North Korean planes are parked next to each other on the tarmac at Beijing's airport, with the Air Koryo jet (R).

The worst airline in the world flies regularly to only four or five destinations, departing from the despotic nation of North Korea.

Air Koryo, the state-run Korean airline, rates as the only 1-star carrier listed on an airline-review site created by the flight consultancy firm SkyTrax. Much-maligned airlines like Spirit Airlines and RyanAir at least earn two stars, putting them on the same playing field as Iran Air and Cubana Air.

While Air Koryo stands alone &ndash at the bottom &ndash the issues with the North Korean airline stem more from comfort than safety. Although passengers complain about flight attendants skipping safety instructions or condensation from cooling systems splashing on seats, Air Koryo&rsquos only known fatal accident occurred in 1983.

Still, the enigmatic airline founded in 1955 has some clear downsides. The Associated Press described Air Koryo as the world&rsquos quirkiest airline in 2014, and the quirks were not exactly pleasant:

In-flight entertainment is usually limited to the popular Moranbong Band girl group singing patriotic odes to the leader. Or North Korean cartoons, shown on drop-down screens attached to the cabin ceilings. On the less than two-hour hop from Beijing, there is a meal of sorts. It resembles a hamburger.

It helps that Air Koryo updated its Russian-made fleet in 2010 with new Tupolev 204 aircraft after the European Union banned the airline in 2006 for &ldquoserious and repeated safety deficiencies.&rdquo The Russian planes are not known for amenities.

North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un also commissioned a makeover for Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport that was completed in 2015. Unlike his father, Kim Jong-Il, who was afraid of flying, his son has an interest in aircraft.

The airline run by the hermit nation known for nuclear threats and human rights abuses doesn&rsquot get out much. Air Koryo has regular routes to two cities in China, Vladivostok in Russia, and Bangkok. The enigmatic airline inside the secretive country also has a no-photography policy on flights. But apparently, as seen in the gallery, those restrictions can be relaxed depending on the flight.

See the gallery above for a look around Air Koryo (and see its infamous in-flight hamburger).

11 Crazy Things North Korea Has Claimed That Will Make You Facepalm

North Korea has for long manipulated its mainstream media and made claims that will make the rest of the world stare incredulously. It’s no secret that the country’s dictator Kim Jong-un loves making headlines. One bizarre story after another has been served to the world audience as ‘news’ stories.

Let’s look at the craziest things North Korea has claimed:

1. North Korea invented waterproof liquid

Yes, you read that right. North Korea’s state-owned website, KCNA claimed that it was the invention of a generation. The invention was allegedly, for the time, used as a floor sealant and has since then been widely used in the construction of apartment buildings in Pyongyang.

2. North Korea invented a drug to cure AIDS, Ebola

Kim Jong-un is proud of his nation's scientific breakthroughs. The wonder drug that they created can apparently cure AIDS, Ebola, and cancer! It was said that in a trial in Africa, 56 percent of the participants were completely cured while 44 percent showed a considerable improvement in their condition.

3. North Korea discovered mythical unicorn lair

In 2012, leaders claimed that they had discovered a mythical unicorn lair just a short distance away from a Pyongyang temple. The archaeologists from the Institute of Academy of Social Sciences confirmed the discovery after they found the words “unicorn lair” carved into stone.

4. Kim Jong-un climbed an active volcano

The North Korean dictator climbed the 2,744m active volcano Mt. Paektu to meet 100 soldiers who waited for him at the summit for a photoshoot. However, while climbing down, Kim Jong-un took an elevator ride.

5. Kim Jong-il invented the hamburger

The North Korean publication, Minju Joson, credited Kim Jong-il for inventing the hamburger. The leader reportedly created a brand-new sandwich and named it, “double bread with meat”. The burger was supposed to provide quality nutrition to teachers and students. Soon thereafter, the country set up a plant for mass hamburger production.

6. Kim Jong-il was an expert golfer

According to Kim Jong-il’s biography, the leader had his first tryst with a game of golf in 1994, at North Korea's only golf course. He shot a 38-under par round that helped him bag 11 holes-in-one. North Korea claimed that he broke a world record. The man retired from the game immediately after that round.

7. Kim Jong-il never used a toilet

Kim Jong-il’s biography also claims that the leader, given his supernatural abilities, never used a toilet. Apparently, he never felt the need to urinate or defecate. He could also control the weather because he was practically a God, given his supernatural birth. Even Kim II-sung apparently never used a toilet.

8. North Korea said the Japanese stole time

North Koreans believe that in 1919, the Japanese “imperialists” stole time. In 2015, Kim Jong-un decided that this could not be tolerated. So, he ordered to set the clock behind by 30 minutes. Everything became well in the world again.

9. Kim Jong-un could drive by the age of three

In 2015, reports emerged claiming that the leader had learned how to drive by the age of three and was an expert racer winning yachting races at the age of nine. He was also hailed as an exceptional artist and a musical composer.

10. North Korea created hangover-free alcohol

In 2016, the country had invented a new kind of alcohol - hangover-free alcohol. The Pyongyang Times explained how the booze was made from special ingredients that stopped it from causing headaches and sickness.

11. Kim Jong-il was a global style icon

In 2010, North Korea's official state news website claimed that Kim Jong-il's was a style icon and that his fashion was being imitated worldwide. Apparently, his modest gray suits left “a deep impression on people's mind in the world”.

From wonder drugs to hangover-free alcohol, we wonder if the North Korean leaders have left anything untouched. A huge round of applause for the imagination – because that’s all that was working here!

North Korean airline named world's worst

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- If an Air Koryo passenger ignores its no-photography rule, a flight attendant might take the camera and delete the pictures herself. Crumpling up a newspaper bearing the image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can earn travellers a stern lecture, or worse.

Those are among many quirks that may help explain why North Korea's airline has earned a singular distinction: It's been ranked the world's worst airline for four straight years.

Air Koryo is the only carrier to have been awarded just one star in rankings released recently by the UK-based SkyTrax consultancy agency. More than 180 airlines are included in the five-star ranking system, which is widely considered the global benchmark of airline standards.

Some experts and frequent Air Koryo passengers disagree with the "world's worst" title. The airline is a definitely a unique ride, but fairly reliable, they say. The SkyTrax ratings are focused on service and not safety.

"It's a bit of a giggle, actually. They are clearly not the world's worst airline," said Simon Cockerell, of the Koryo Group, a Beijing-based travel agency that specializes in North Korea. The agency has no relation to Air Koryo, though Cockerell and his tourists often fly on the airline.

Cockerell said Air Koryo's weaknesses tend to be the kind of thing SkyTrax focuses on: cabin attendants tend not to speak foreign languages very well, there is no in-flight magazine, the meals aren't going to win any awards and, on older planes, condensation from the cooling systems tended to dampen seats and drip on passengers.

"It's not Emirates," he said, referring to Dubai's Emirates Airlines, a four-star according to SkyTrax. "It's not quite the flying experience people are used to."

In-flight entertainment is usually limited to the popular Moranbong Band girl group singing patriotic odes to the leader, or North Korean cartoons, shown on drop-down screens attached to the cabin ceilings. On the less than two-hour hop from Beijing, there is a meal of sorts. It resembles a hamburger.

But Air Koryo isn't what it used to be.

Its four-plane fleet of aircraft used on international flights is surprisingly new -- acquired in 2008. Lax practices, like not announcing when the plane was about to land or skipping the safety demonstrations before takeoff, were fixed long ago. The new airport terminal, a vast improvement over the temporary, warehouse-like building used until recently, provides travellers with a business-class lounge.

At the same time, being the flag-carrier of a nation shunned by much of the West cannot be good for an airline's image. Air Koryo's only regular international destinations are Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang in China and the Russian port of Vladivostok.

"I'm not sure that I've ever seen or heard any references to Air Koryo being unsafe, only that its service is terrible," Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and author of the Ask The Pilot blog, said in an email to the AP before the latest ratings came out.

"Everything about North Korea is seen as a kind of running joke, so we should probably expect that its airline is seen this way too, right or wrong," he said, with the caveat that he has never actually flown on Air Koryo. "Some of the world's best and safest airlines are carriers the average American has never heard of."

Smith noted that Air Koryo's fleet is mainly Russian TU-204s and AN-148s, which may not be as comfortable or efficient as their American or European-built counterparts, but are not unsound.

In fact, getting its passengers where they are going -- in one piece -- might be Air Koryo's strong point.

The only fatal accident it suffered was in 1983 when the airline was still named CAAK, according to Harro Ranter, founder and director of the Aviation Safety Network, a private, independent foundation that has compiled detailed descriptions of over 10,700 incidents, hijackings and accidents going back to the 1950s.

Ranter cautioned that 32 years without a fatal accident does not necessarily mean an airline is safe.

"A big factor in the safety of an airline is the country's ability to conduct proper safety oversight, the level of implementation of international aviation standards and regulations," he said in an email to the AP. "It's very hard to rank airlines based on safety. The worldwide level of air safety has improved significantly over the years, so any comparison on the number of accidents or fatalities is impossible."

Still, he noted North Korea scored above the world average on most aspects in an audit of the level of implementation of international aviation standards and regulations conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization in 2008, the most recent data available.

"If these results are still valid, there is no reason to assume that Air Koryo would be unsafe," he said.

New North Korea sanctions will totally, maybe work

The U.N. Security Council on Monday night voted in favor of new sanctions against North Korea, proposed by the United States &mdash the closest gambit the Trump administration has to diplomacy when dealing with a state hellbent on developing long-range nuclear missiles.

After North Korea performed its nuclear test, Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, accused the isolated nation of &ldquobegging for war&rdquo and called for the harshest round of sanctions yet.

The sanctions, which cap the country&rsquos oil imports, ban textile exports, and phase out the use of overseas North Korean labor, were somewhat softened in order to win votes from reluctant China and Russia.

Whether they take effect in time to freeze or slow North Korea&rsquos missile programs is unknown. It&rsquos possible North Korea is either trying to run out the clock on the United States, betting on the unlikelihood of President Donald Trump resorting to the &ldquofire and fury&rdquo response he threatened in August.

North Korea promises retribution for Nikki Haley&rsquos &lsquofit&rsquo at the UN

U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday said the U.S. should be prepared to act alone, in a &ldquosupercharged&rdquo manner, to put maximum pressure on North Korea.

In a statement laced with urgent wording, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday emphasized working with global and regional partners, but added, &ldquoThird parties will not deter us from taking appropriate defensive measures in the face of the DPRK&rsquos [Democratic People&rsquos Republic of Korea] growing security challenge.&rdquo

But how effective will this round &mdash the ninth round in 11 years &mdash be in slowing down or freezing the country&rsquos nuclear and ballistic missile programs?

Jeong-Ho Roh, director of Center for Korean Legal Studies at Columbia University&rsquos Law School, said that past sanctions have had an incremental impact on North Korea.

&ldquoBut clearly, the sanctions have not had the kind of effect that the United States and other countries have wanted. And one of the reasons for that is that the North Korean economy is so primitive in the sense that sanctions would not have the kind of effect that they would have on developed countries,&rdquo said Roh.

In a piece published in July, Roh&rsquos colleague, Henri Féron wrote that several economic indicators &mdash including construction boom, trade, and food production &mdash showed that sanctions were not working in North Korea.

Féron considered a number of possibilities to explain the growth &mdash from the state paying below market wages to North Korea simply burning through its reserves. But this stands out:

Meanwhile, trade statistics from the Chinese customs office show that PRC [People&rsquos Republic of China]-DPRK trade went from 0.37 billion USD in 1999 to 5.37 billion USD in 2016. It then reportedly grew by nearly 40 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, despite the adoption of particularly harsh UN sanctions in 2016 (resolutions 2270 in March and 2321 in November).

Indeed, the extent of Chinese influence in the region makes it difficult for sanctions to be effective. It&rsquos been estimated that China is the target for one-third of North Korea&rsquos exports and between 92 percent of its two-way trade economy.

China also sells North Korea oil and petroleum products &mdash just how much is hard to know, according to Reuters:

China, which supplies most of North Korea&rsquos crude, no longer reports its oil shipments to the country, but according to South Korean data supplies it with roughly 500,000 tonnes of crude oil annually. It also exports over 200,000 tonnes of oil products, according to U.N. data.

The initial draft called for a complete oil ban and freezing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un&rsquos assets as well as those of the country&rsquos airlines, and although the new sanctions are watered-down, Roh said they send a crucial signal to North Korea: Their passage demonstrates a certain amount of unity between China, Russia, and the U.S. on the potential nuclear threat North Korea might pose.

If, he said, they&rsquod imposed the full oil embargo and frozen Un&rsquos assets, it wouldn&rsquot give China anywhere to go in &ldquotrying to change the behavior of North Korea&rdquo while letting North Korea know that things could get worse &mdash and not just in an abstract way.

Trump&rsquos strategy against North Korea has more holes than a sieve

&ldquoIt puts North Korea on notice that should they continue on this course, that the maximum sanctions initially proposed are still on the table and could invariably be imposed,&rdquo said Roh.

Will China and Russia sign off on them?

&ldquoThat scenario, I don&rsquot see happening. It&rsquos basically the leverage that the U.S. government will still try to exert &hellip but the amount of trade between North Korea and China is just incredible. And the last thing China wants is sort of a collapsed regime,&rdquo said Roh.

The area bordering North Korea and China is, he said, populated by ethnic Korean Chinese, and the last thing the Chinese want is &ldquoinstability which may fester into kind of a second Tibet situation, where the ethnic minority groups begin to say, &lsquoWe don&rsquot want to be part of China any more.'&rdquo

He said that the current round of sanctions &ldquohas teeth&rdquo &mdash but who will those teeth bite?

&ldquoAny sanctions you impose on a country like North Korea, the first people to suffer will be the people &mdash it&rsquos a trickle-up kind of scenario,&rdquo said Roh. The sanctions, he said, are needed to induce a behavioral change.

&ldquoPersonally, I don&rsquot think that&rsquos going to happen. They&rsquove suffered for 50 years, but surely, this round of sanctions &hellip will maybe, perhaps, force North Korea to think again,&rdquo he said.

Does Kim Jong Un Even Like Burgers? Everything We Know About North Korea's Appetite for Fast Food

North Korea is famously one of a handful of countries in the world that does not have a McDonald's. That may be about to change, as a CIA report seen by NBC News suggested that the hermit state is more likely to agree to the presence of a "Western burger joint" than fully give up its nuclear and missile development program.

The opening a Western fast food restaurant in a highly centralized economy, where virtually all businesses are under direct party and state control, would represent the most tangible shift yet in the economic policy of the regime. Just last year, North Korea issued a "death sentence" against South Korean reporters who reviewed a book by two British journalists about a sprawling underground capitalist economy in the secretive Communist state, for "insulting the dignity" of North Korea.

Kim Jong Un spent part of his teenage years studying abroad in Switzerland, where he grew to love the cheese and the rosti, a Swiss potato fritters that South Korean chefs prepared for him in occasion of the inter-Korean summit with President Moon Jae-in in April. His preferences in terms of American fast food remain unclear, but the North Korean elite has never had difficulty procuring food otherwise unavailable in the country&mdashit's been able to import foreign delicacies for decades.

One South Korean official told Yonhap news agency in 2011 that along with luxury goods&mdashwhich have since been banned by U.N. sanctions&mdashthe North Korean elite would fly McDonald's hamburgers from China through the country's airline Air Koryo. Kim Jong Un's father Kim Jong Il would also occasionally feel a crave for fast food. His personal chef Kenji Fujimoto told GQ in 2013 that he was once dispatched to Beijing for an order of Big Macs to go. Beijing's first McDonald's opened in 1992 and was, at the time, the burger chain's largest store in the world.

Fujimoto remains one of the best sources the outside world has for insights into the tastes of North Korean rulers. Describing himself as a "playmate" for Kim Jong Un while he was growing up, Fujimoto recalled the ruling Kim family's love of sushi, Japan's Kobe beef, as well as for French wine like bordeaux and Crystal champagne. They also enjoyed cooking shows, the chef said. The Kims had a trusted pizza chef, the Italian Ermanno Furlanis, who told The Daily Mail how Kim Jong Il banned anchovies on pizza, preferring cold meats like salami and pepperoni.

Regular North Koreans had to endure a devasting famine in the 1990s, believed to have killed up to 1 million people and are still largely unable to have regular access to a sufficient quantity of affordable nutritious food. But while they McDonald's meal remains off-limits to ordinary North Koreans, some have tasted the "Gogigyeopbbang," introduced in 2000 as "double bread with meat" to be served with French fries, as AFP reported, citing the state-run newspaper Minju Joson, which also mentioned the opening of a hamburger factory the same year. Gogigyeopbbang was described by state media as created by Kim Jong Il himself.

These hamburger became so popular North Korea's Air Koryo airline serves them as part of its in-flight meal. "It's not very nice and it's not clear what kind of meat it is," Simon Cockerell, the general manager of the tour company Koryo Tours, which specializes in trips to North Korea, told Vice's Munchies website earlier this year.


  1. Hershel

    Excuse me, I have removed this question

  2. Troyes

    Will handle somehow.

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