Talking With the 'Hermit Regime'| North Korean Media Penetration and Influence in Chinese and Russian Media: Strategic Narratives During the 2017‒2018 Nuclear Confrontation

Robert Hinck, Skye C. Cooley


Research on North Korea’s internationally oriented media remains sparse, with most studies conducting comparative framing analyses of its nuclear program with other nations’ national media. While these studies find national press agencies differentially framing the issue along their national interests, questions remain regarding whether such coverage influences others to shift their perspectives and, if so, why. To address these questions, we evaluate North Korean narrative penetration in Russian and Chinese news through the framework of strategic narratives. We conducted a quantitative and qualitative narrative analysis of 1,045 news articles from eight Russian and Chinese news sources for references made to North Korean sources from May 2017 to August 2018. The findings indicate that increasing voice was granted to North Korean narratives as North Korean actions aligned with Russian and Chinese interests; the results of this coverage included legitimizing the Kim regime, bolstering Russian and Chinese international influence, and reducing U.S. influence and support for denuclearization.


North Korea, strategic narratives, nuclear weapons, global media

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