Talking With the 'Hermit Regime'| Close Encounters of the Nonnuclear Kind: The North Korean Public Relations Campaign in U.S. Media of the 1970s

Ria Chae


Seeking to add a missing, nonviolent page to the history of U.S.–North Korea relations, this study examines Pyongyang’s initiatives in the area of public relations. It systematically organizes North Korea–related material from five major U.S. newspapers to reconstruct a complex public relations campaign that North Korea implemented during the 1970s through the U.S. media. The campaign was similar to those of other developing countries in its objective of gaining U.S. attention and influencing its policy making through mass media, but it differed from them in the intentional projection of a belligerent image. An analysis of frequency and contents of the coverage of North Korea as well as related policy debates demonstrates that the campaign enjoyed a qualified success. Although it did not lead to U.S. adoption of specific policies desired by North Korea, it helped a peripheral North Korea break through the hierarchies of information flows.


U.S.–North Korea relations, 1970s, public relations, U.S. media, international information order

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