Politics and International Relations
North Korea has treated globalization as “America-driven imperialism” or a new form of “colonialism,” and North Korean media exemplifies an extreme case of isolation. With the rule of Kim Jong-un, North Korean media has attempted to engender a global connectedness with the outside world. Slow but radical changes are captured in North Korean media today, for instance, DPRK Today, a newly launched media in 2014, is actively using SNS, including Facebook and Instagram, which mainly target audiences outside of the DPRK. Yet little work has been done to examine what happens to the mediascapes within these spaces of socialism and globality. This paper reveals the interconnections between building a powerful socialist state and globalizing media of North Korea and argues that North Korean media is a critical site that reshapes and renegotiates the meaning of “socialist state.” The visual texts on Facebook and Instagram in Kim Jung-un era, which are the key contexts that foster interconnections of socialist state building and its global imaginary, show the new image of socialist prosperity and civilization. Examining the dynamics of media in a socialist and global context, this study discusses the ways in which the Kim regime is transforming itself toward a global imaginary in its pursuit of segyejeok sujun (world level) and segyejeok chuse (world trend), refusing to follow the current of segyehwa (globalization). The findings also illustrate that the government-led media representation creates a new way that reinforces the identity of North Korean-style socialism in a global context.