KEY POINTS

  • Videos have been posted YouTube and Twitter with an English-speaking woman touring North Korea's capital of Pyongyang
  • The Twitter account has been flagged and was "temporarily restricted, but remains available to view
  • The social media posts have drawn suspicion for their apprent intent to dispel ideas about North Korea being poor and ruled by a dictatorship

North Korea has stepped up its propaganda efforts with new videos posted Twitter and YouTube promoting the image of an ideal life in the notoriously isolated country to foreigners.

“Every building in Pyongyang is going through general cleaning to shake off winter dust,” a woman identified as Un A says in a video titled, "What's Up Pyongyang?"

The video series from the YouTube Channel “Echo of Truth” shows the young woman exploring North Korea’s capital, presenting an idyllic life for the residents of the city. One video has Un A showing off Pyongyang’s shopping district while another has her discussing how North Koreans generally spend their free time.

“Today I'm going to show you what Korean people do in their free time, OK?” she says in the video. “I would say the most popular way of spending time for us is doing sports. When I say sports, I mean all kinds of sports like basketball, volleyball, table tennis.”

All the videos posted on YouTube link to a Twitter account with the handle @coldnoodlefan and features another image of Un A. She is described in the account’s bio as a “peace advocate” sharing “unbiased news” about North Korea. Twitter has subsequently flagged the account as “temporarily restricted” for “unusual activity,” but users are still free to access the account.

However, the videos have drawn obvious suspicion given North Korea’s well-documented history and dictatorship under the Kim family.

“Not everything in the videos looks free and spontaneous,” Anthony Kuhn, a reporter working out of Seoul, South Korea, told an NPR radio show

“Supermarket prices and an entire building on a Pyongyang street are pixelated out without explanation,” Kuhn added.

Kuhn’s suspicions were echoed by Rachel Minyoung Lee, a former North Korean media analyst for the U.S. government.

“I think that there is some sort of backing by the regime for this to be possible, but of course, that is not to say that this is state-run,” Lee told NPR.

The Pyongyang General Hospital is under contruction in a prime location in the capital across the Taedong river from Mansu hill The Pyongyang General Hospital is under contruction in a prime location in the capital across the Taedong river from Mansu hill Photo: KCNA VIA KNS / STR