With closed borders, a totalitarian regime, electricity blackouts and widespread poverty, North Korea is a brutal place to survive; even looking at a foreign media outlet can get a North Korean citizen sent to a concentration camp. So why, in 2011 did leader Kim Jong Il allow Jean Lee, a celebrated American journalist to set up a news bureau in Pyongyang?
In today's episode, Jean is Dan's guide to North Korea. She tells him about her extraordinary experiences living and working in North Korea as the AP bureau chief. She delves into the history of the Korean peninsula, the Korean War and what made North Korea the country it is today- including the mythology of the Kim dynasty and the famine of the 1990s.
She also talks about her hit podcast on the BBC World Service - The Lazarus Heist- that tells the dramatic story of an elite group of North Korean cyber hackers who not only infiltrated Sony pictures in 2014 but also attempted a one-billion-dollar heist at the Bangladesh bank two years later.