Seven, plus or minus two: or what the North Koreans do best

Foreign Policy is a terrific journal, but sometimes even it runs out of ideas for thought-provoking copy.

Take, for example, this morning’s little feature headlined “7 things the North Koreans are really good at”.

BTW, in case you’re interested, they are:

1. Building tunnels

Apparently, the Hermit Kingdom has constructed a massive network of clandestine tunnels underneath the so-called demilitarised zone (DMZ). “Designed as a means to mount a massive military invasion from the north, the tunnels are ‘large enough to shuttle through an entire military division per hour,’ according to Popular Mechanics. estimates that Pyongyang has built up to 20 tunnels that snake through the Demilitarized Zone.”

2. Counterfeiting US dollars. Foreign Affairs maintains that Kim Jong-Un & Co make the best fake dollars in the world.

3. Hacking (Really? In a country with no real Internet access.)

4. Doing more with less (i.e. absence of choice. Eric Schmidt told me that during his extended visit to North Korea, no public building he entered — except for his hotel — had any form of heating. It seems improbably that a state that cannot heat its buildings would be good at sophisticated software. But then again, they’ve built rockets and nukes.)

5. Cheap labour. (No surprise there.)

6. Massive co-ordinated propaganda displays. (Synchronized swimming was made for North Koreans.)

7. Seafood (Eh??