North Korea is no stranger to propaganda. In addition to a constant stream of threats and warnings of strikes on various areas and rumored nuclear developments, the reclusive nation has had no shortage of officially produced propaganda videos that hope to rouse national pride among citizens.

Now, men’s lifestyle magazine GQ has obtained the fourth issue of 2013, a year known to the Koreans as Juche 102, of the North’s English-language propaganda magazine, Korea Today. The magazine is given to travelers flying to Pyongyang, along with a translated copy of the Pyongyang Times.

While the magazine still features scathing criticism of the U.S. and South Korea, the 50-page monthly publication looks notably different from the fiery propaganda videos: It’s meant for foreigners, not North Koreans. The state’s official media branch, Naenara, is behind the production of Korea Today, which also prints issues in Russian and Chinese.

The publication is a combination of historical context and travel guide but still predominantly features not-so-discreet propaganda. The GQ report explains some of the more aggressive and threatening quotes, which are sandwiched between colorful pages of Kim Jong-Il’s old stamp collection.


The magazine sounds like an expanded and more coherent version of the nation’s official state media outlet, the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, which is known for its flowery and convoluted prose. What remains the same is the anti-American rhetoric that repeats itself throughout, in bizarrely stilted English.

Some excerpts include:

“Korea Makes No Empty Talk!” (p.17): “We have on hand multistage carrier rockets, smaller and lighter atomic bombs with a high explosive power and a multifarious nuclear deterrent, so we are not afraid of any strong enemy and we will surely win,” an article by Dr. Ju Chang Il, dean of Kim Il-Sung University, states.

“Real Nuclear Culprit” (p.48): “It is most shameless of the U.S. and the South Korean puppets to try to conceal their nuclear crimes and talk about 'nuclear threats' from the North, the victim of the crimes. Nothing can cover up the true colors of the U.S. as the real nuclear culprit that has intensified the nuclear crisis in the peninsula and the rest of the northeast Asian region century after century.”

Additional photos and excerpts can be viewed here