I’m not sure I’ve read a more revolting pair of paragraphs this year. Just gawp at the casual glibness of waving aside the horrors of a gulag-famine state in this fashion, all so the world-weary “romantic” can be cheered-up by the refreshing local colour that makes North Korea so charmingly unique.
And, as a commenter at Samizdata notes, it’s not as though Winchester’s hideous admiration for North Korea qua Korean culture is in any way accurate either. There’s precious little “authentically” Korean about the Kims’ dreadful totalitarian prison. Most of it is borrowed from the USSR and China, albeit then lacquered in the vulgar Pyongyang style.