More from NK News. Aram Pan is going to be speaking about his DPRK trips in Singapore this week, but I am pre-scheduled to take my International Security class out for oysters and martinis at Tanuki Raw, and so will sadly miss the event. It’s a hard life.
Singaporean photographer Aram Pan has released a set of pictures from inside the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, a visually impressive venue highlighting the North Korean view of the Korean War.
Constructed in the 1950s before being moved and updated in the 1960s, the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Musuem tells the story of the 1950-53 conflict. The exhibits use diaporamas, paintings, photographs, original memorabilia from the period to put across the DPRK’s unique take on the conflict.
Pan, who previously made headlines around the world with his GoPro footage of a car-ride through Pyongyang, has this time captured photos from a venue that, while never off-limits to foreigners, does officially forbid photos. Though this may not stop many tourists from sneaking one or two using camera phones, Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours pointed out that Pan’s photographs are officially endorsed.
Therefore, Cockerell said, they are “better than normal tourist pics taken in a bit of a naughty way.” In fact, Pan, who runs a business creating 360° virtual tours for hotels and property developers, first proposed his services to the North Korean authorities via foreign intermediaries outside the country. Surprisingly, perhaps, they agreed to his proposals and invited him to take a private, one-week tour of the country. He created panoramic images of the Juche Tower, the Nampo Dam and two of Pyongyang’s subway stations, among other tourist attractions.
Tour companies take care to warn Western visitors against contradicting their guides’ take on history, notably when they explain that the war was started by the South and UN forces were guilty of multiple war crimes during the conflict.
While the facts may be questionable, their presentation most certainly is not. The museum was renovated on the orders of Kim Jong Un for the 60th anniversary of Victory Day in 2012, and moved to a new building that overlooks the Taedong River, near the captured USS Pueblo. More than half the reviews posted on Tripadvisor give the museum the maximum five-star rating, with more than one visitor declaring it not merely the best museum in the DPRK, but one of the best in the world…