Korean Friendship Association
|Korean Friendship Association|
Korean Friendship Association logo
|Formation||August 8, 2000|
|Purpose/focus||official government cultural liaison agency for North Korea|
|President||Alejandro Cao de Benós de Les y Pérez|
|Remarks||hymn Song of National Defense|
The Korean Friendship Association (Spanish: Asociación Coreana de Amistad), headed by Spanish citizen Alejandro Cao de Benos de Les y Pérez, is an organization working with the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), as well as an organ of promotion/public relations for the Juche movement. The Committee for Cultural Relations is the official government cultural liaison agency for North Korea and purports to fulfill a similar role to that of the British Council or the Alliance française. The KFA was established in Spain on August 8, 2000. It has official representatives in 28 countries, including Spain, the U.S., Norway, Canada, Brazil, Russia, China, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Turkey, Israel, Poland and members from 120 countries. In 2004, KFA members organized in North Korea an International March for Korea's Peace and Reunification supporting the reunification of the two Koreas, as well as the policy of the North Korean government.
They state that the main objectives of the KFA are:
- Show the reality of the DPR Korea to the world
- Defend the independence and socialist construction in the DPR of Korea
- Learn from the culture and history of the Korean People
- Work for the peaceful unification of the Korean peninsula
The official line
The KFA lists two conditions for becoming a member:
- Respect for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and its leaders.
- Respect for the other members in the KFA and the goals of the KFA.
The cumulative archives of messages, since the site's inception in 2002, are kept open to the public.
The KFA pages provides DPRK related material, including tourism tips and political essays, and it is possible to hear views from a DPRK point of view. The KFA Forum site is hosted and administered in Europe and gives links to Korean language teaching sites.
The objectives of the KFA are to promote the well-being of all members and to promote friendship between members of the KFA worldwide.
The Korean Friendship Association has members spread across many countries with an "Official Delegate" (OD) responsible for the activities in his/her country and secretaries appointed by the delegates. Above the Official Delegates, the "International Organization Committee" consisting of the President, the International Counselor and an International Organization Secretary who control and direct the activities of the KFA worldwide.
International Organization Secretary
International Communication Secretary
- Official Delegates
- Switzerland : Martin Lotscher
- Spain : Mikel Vivanko
- Norway : Gabriel Ray
- Italy : Paolo Piu
- United Kingdom : Dermot Hudson
- USA : Tommy Seilheimer
- Thailand: Jirat
- Serbia : Lazar Aksentijevic
- Brazil : Emanuel Tejerina
- Mexico : Alberto Cruz Torres
- Chile : Manuel Arismendi
- Macedonia : Sasko Rocevski
- Venezuela : Luis Blanco Crespo
- Argentina : Ignacio Campora
- Belgium : Jan Casier
- Poland : Lukasz Mrozek
- Cuba : Jorge Airam Alvarado
- Bangladesh : Jahangir Khan
- Singapore : Airul Qaiz
- Romania : Ciprian Pop
- Canada : Mark Davies
- Malta : David Cuschieri
- Germany : Udo Petersen
- Pakistan : Muhammad Qureshi
- Colombia : Camilo Serrano
- Netherlands : Pieter Van Den Eijnden
- Indonesia : Prasetya Ega Syaputra
- Japan : Daniel Friemark
- France : Artur R.
- Turkey : Esin Özbey
- Guatemala : Fredy Figueroa
- Ireland : Antoin Fletcher
- Bolivia : Jose Armando
- Portugal : Flávio Gonçalves
David Scofield in the Asia Times Online in 2005 described the KFA as follows:
- The group's activities include "information" seminars where the enlightened benevolence of Kim's rule is championed, all part of its "alternative" view of the North. The ragged wretched displays of poverty and starvation are edited out and the voice of North Koreans not in the direct employ of Kim Jong-il are conspicuously absent. In place of uncomfortable reality, the KFA offers vacation photos of "their" North Korea taken during recent, state supported visits, complete with bowling, golf, amusement parks and Karaoke with young female party members. Members write glowing pieces, oblations celebrating Kim Jong-il's wise rule. No starving people, torture, summary execution, penury or despair in the Korean Friendship Association's North Korea. Just golf, great meals and evenings in the company of Kim Jong-il's beauties.
Interviews with the KFA
- "I Will Be A Soldier of Kim Jong Il": A profile from Korean Central Television on Alejandro Cao de Benos - from July 22, 2005
Articles on the KFA
- Harlan, Chico (February 24, 2012). "N. Korea finds a purpose for small group of ‘friends’". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- "The Martlet on the 2004 Reunification March". Archived from the original on 2005-05-04.
- "A review of the KFA's Internet presence by Jacob O. Gold of "Nassau Weekly"". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30.
- A National Public Radio interview with Mr Cao de Benos
- Eric Ellis in Australia's The Bulletin on the KFA in Australia
- TIME Magazine article from 2007