North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a country located in East Asia in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Hawaii is an archipelago of over nineteen islands located in the Central Pacific Ocean 2,500 miles southwest of the mainland United States.
The direct distance from North Korea to Hawaii is a startling 7,116 miles. To put that in perspective, the circumference of the earth is 24,900 miles, making the journey between the two countries equivalent to almost 30 percent of a navigation around the world.
The distance from North Korea to Hawaii is approximately four times the distance between Tokyo and London and roughly three times the distance from New York to Moscow. It is also vastly more than the distance from Siberia to Alaska which has famously been crossed over in sledges and canoes for centuries.
The least desirable, however most direct way to travel from North Korea to Hawaii would be by air. Via the current commercial airlines, a traveler from North Korea to Hawaii would have to take multiple flights to reach the destination.
The journey begins in Pyongyang, North Korea and continues with multi-stop flights depending on the carrier chosen and stopovers in Beijing, Shanghai and possibly Tokyo, Hawaii or North America. An airline-hopping journey could take anywhere from roughly 30 hours or more to get to Hawaii with layovers in between. This form of transportation won’t work, however, if North Korea were to be completely isolated and blocked off from the rest of the world.
The majority of travel between North Korea and Hawaii today is achieved by sea freight. Since it’s a long journey, most ships traveling from North Korea to Hawaii will typically take several stops along the way, usually stopping in Asia, the U.S. West Coast, and Hawaii.
The estimated average time of travel for a voyage from North Korea to Hawaii is approximately three weeks. During this time, the ship will have to go through the perilous East China sea, where storms, typhoons and strong winds may lengthen the journey, as it is necessary to avoid these conditions.
Any goods traveling by sea between North Korea and Hawaii must meet certain legal requirements and will be subject to customs inspections to make sure they’re legally imported and meet the destination country’s regulations.
History Of Travel Between The Two Countries
The first recorded journey from North Korea to Hawaii took place in 1780, when a group of outcasts under the rule of King Kamehameha I, who would eventually become the first king of all Hawaii, fled to the Hawaiian Islands.
This would be the first of many such expeditions during the next few decades. Largely due to the ongoing diplomatic tensions between the two nations, such journeys have been greatly reduced since.
At present, there are few if any travelers from North Korea in Hawaii, and the predominant travel direction is the opposite, with large numbers of Korean-Americans visiting North Korea to reconnect with family or tour an enigmatic country that few have experienced first-hand.
When talking about crossings between North Korea and Hawaii, peace is extremely important. Since neither country is currently part of any overarching alliance or treaty, the potential for conflict is always present.
As such, both countries must remain sensitive to one another’s needs, adhering to international law as much as possible and making sure not to breach any regional agreements that have been established.
Further, the two countries must remain aware of the sensitivity of their relationship, as well as any potential cultural, socioeconomic and political differences between them that could lead to misunderstandings or lead to an atmosphere of tension.
The U.S.-North Korea Relationship
Any conversations between North Korea and Hawaii are complicated by the United States’ role in international relations with North Korea. Hotspots of tension have increased steadily over the past several years, with the United States taking steps to ensure sanctions and other restrictions against the North.
The two countries have been at odds with one another for decades, and the United States has put in place a comprehensive monitoring and surveillance network of North Korea. In addition, the United States has imposed travel restrictions on North Koreans wishing to visit Hawaii, further complicating the conversation.
However, there has been a thawing of relations in recent years and more diplomats from Hawaii have begun visiting North Korea as part of conversations to reduce tensions between the two countries.
The Tourist Draw Of Hawaii
Hawaii has always been one of the most popular countries in the world for tourists. Its sandy beaches, blue seas, and tropical climate draw visitors from far and wide. North Korea’s citizens are no different, as there has been an increasing demand for North Koreans to visit Hawaii.
In fact, North Koreans visit Hawaii in large numbers: between 50,000 and 60,000 people visited Hawaii as part of travel packages in 2018. For most North Koreans, the 7,000-mile journey is too long and expensive, and Hawaii’s geographic remoteness makes it a difficult destination.
Cultural Exchange Between North Korea To Hawaii
Although diplomatic relations between North Korea and the United States are strained, there has been an increasing level of cultural exchange between the two countries.
Hawaii has introduced many programs to promote understanding and exchanges between North Korea and the United States, such as the Open World Program and USA Engage, which have helped facilitate conversations and exchanges between the two countries.
The programs have helped to increase the awareness of North Korea and its culture in Hawaii, and Hawaii has become more open to dialogue and understanding between the two nations.
Despite the welcoming of North Koreans and exchange initiatives between the two countries, there are still many misconceptions held by North Koreans and Hawaiian citizens. North Koreans largely perceive Hawaii, and the U.S. more broadly, to be a hostile and dangerous place and theHawaiiand natives of the islands are seen as distant and confusing.
Hawaiians also seem to have an aversive view of North Koreans. North Koreans are placed in the same category as other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and China, and they are largely misunderstood, stereotyped and associated with conflict in the U.S. media.
Despite decades of tension and miscommunication, the future outlook for North Korea and Hawaii appears to be heading in the right direction. Hawaiian officials have come to the understanding that North Korea is not an existential threat, and North Koreans are beginning to recognize Hawaii as a safe, welcoming and prosperous destination.
As conversations between the two countries continue to progress, North Koreans will begin to understand and appreciate the unique traits of Hawaii, while Hawaii will gain an appreciation of North Korea’s culture and its people. Ultimately, this could lead to a stronger, more meaningful relationship between the two nations.