Korean Friendship Association
Korean Friendship Association logo
|Formation||August 8, 2000|
|Purpose||official government cultural liaison agency for North Korea|
|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 Benós de Les y Pérez, is a Spain based commercial organisation working in the tourism sector for North Korea. 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 Japan.
Its president is the only person paid a salary and fees collected by the KFA are generally deposited in accounts in his name around Europe .
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 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.
KFA president: Alejandro Cao de Benós de Les y Pérez
International organization secretary: Mana Sapmak
International communication secretary: Carlos Luna
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.
A 2015 investigation by the North Korean News found the commercial practices and integrity of the KFA to be in question.
- "Official KFA Hymn Song of National Defence". KFA Official Twitter Account. April 22, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "Capitalist credentials: N. Korea sympathizer group’s huge profit on access to country | NK News - North Korea News". NK News - North Korea News. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
- Enzo Reale (February 7, 2010). "Alejandro Cao de Benós Interview Part 2". One Free Korea. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- Official homepage
- David Scofield (February 3, 2005). "Kim Jong-il's 'useful idiots' in the West". Retrieved December 28, 2013.
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
- Alejandro Cao de Benós Interview by Enzo Reale - from February 7, 2010
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