These are some terms that I will refer to in posts. I recognize the lay reader may not be familiar with some, and even I get confused with the initialisms and transliteration.

To that latter point I would like to note that transliteration is a loosey-goosey kind of game. In my posts I am deciding on my own standardized usage of Hangul-to-English spelling—it may or may not resemble various interpretations used by other journalistic outlets (e.g., Kim Jong Eun vs. Kim Jong-un), and that’s permissible.

Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party.
Chosun Ilbo
One of the major South Korean newspapers.
Chosŏn Rodongdang
Korean name for “Korean Workers’ Party”.
Detention Facilities
kwan-li-so: political penal-labor colony (format: kwan-li-so No. 14)
kyo-hwa-so: long-term re-education camp
jip-kyul-so: short-term labor/detention camp
rodong-danyron-dae: mobile labor brigade
ka-mok/gamok: jail
ku-ryu-jang: interrogation facility
kyo-yang-so: labor/detention facility for women defectors
Kim Il-Sung’s doctrine of self-reliance, that “man is the master of everything” and the strength of the nation relies upon its people. Juche is utilized both to bolster North Korea’s isolation and to encourage citizens to solve their own problems (i.e., to discourage asking for help). It is also the name of the North Korean calendar, counting up from the year of Il-Sung’s birth: 2014 is Juche 103.
Korean Central News Agency. North Korean state media agency representing the DPRK and the KWP.
Korean People’s Army.
Leader (title)
Kim Il Sung is “Great Leader”; Kim Jong Il is “Dear Leader”; Kim Jong Eun is “Supreme Leader”.
Ministry of People’s Security
Formed in 1972, as a result of revisions to the North Korean Constitution. Headed by the late Jang Song Taek and in charge of police and law enforcement. Was in charge of investigating defection and anti-party leads until 1973.
Ministry of State Security
Established in 1973 and overseen by the OGD, this autonomous ministry reports directly to Supreme Leader and is in charge of the secret police and concentration camps. It is rivaled by the Ministry of People’s Security.
National Intelligence Service, South Korea. They regularly release intel or confirm news on North Korea.
Organization and Guidance Department of the KWP; controls the Ministry of State Security.
Rodong Sinmun
Official North Korean newspaper of the KWP.
A three-tiered caste system where citizens are marked as “core,” “wavering” and “hostile,” with over 50 subcategories. An individual’s position/worth may be estimated by the political, social and economic status of their ancestors.
Son’gun Korea, also: Songun, Seon’gun
The “military first” Korea, the priority of the KPA above other national interests; pet-phrase of Daniel Pinkston.


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