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The VIP option in the past allowed spectators to sit at a table in the lower-center part of the Rungrado May Day Stadium, where the events are set to again take place throughout September. Marcus McFarland, a tour manager with Koryo Tours, also said Thursday that they were previously told by their North Korean partners that third-class seats would again be 80 euros this year, though he did not confirm which organization originally provided this information. Koryo Tours also announced in a blog post in late June that local partners had confirmed the official English title for the games would be “The Glorious Country.” McFarland also told NK News on Thursday that he was told capacity for foreigner tourists for this year’s games will be limited to 1500 for each performance – with 1150 third-class seats, 270 second-class seats, 50 first-class seats, and 30 VIP seats. Foreign tourists line up to enter the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang for the Arirang Mass games, September 2011 | Photo: Eric Lafforgue While the cheapest option, the third-class seats, are allocated the most spots and only see a 20 euro increase from the 2013 games, the next two tiers see the highest price increase: tripling the second-class and more than tripling the first-class options. The price for a VIP ticket has more than doubled as local organizers stand to earn 500 euros more per buyer than in 2013. The move comes as North Korea seeks to attract more foreign tourists bringing more foreign currency into the country – evident in the euro-based ticket pricing for international guests. Current UN sanctions do not prevent tourists from entering North Korea and spending foreign currency, and the decision to bring back the mass games and substantially raise the prices from the previous event will likely see Pyongyang bring in big profits from the event. This is particularly true as a large portion of the tens of thousands of performers are young students who are required by the state to participate, according to a landmark 2014 UN human rights report . An autumn marathon featuring foreign participants will also be held in Pyongyang in September, with fees ranging from $70-110. A previous U.S. ban on American passport-holders from entering North Korea will expire at the end of August if not renewed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
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"Each regime was unstable, rejected the legitimacy of the other and considered itself to be Korea's sole rightful ruler," writes the Times. In 1950, the Korean War began, with the U.S. fighting alongside South Koreans against North Korea, supported by the Soviets for a time, and China. A 1953 armistice stopped the fighting, but did not officially end the Korean War, explains Harris. "North Korea was flattened," University of Chicago history professor Bruce Cummings told the Times , and the country saw it as a holocaust. In fact, "Its generals are still fighting the war," Cumings said. "For them it has never ended." Since then, there has been the Pueblo incident; President George W. Bush named North Korea as part of the "axis of evil"; and President Barack Obama supported South Korea and imposed sanctions on North Korea. Trump, of course, has vacillated between threatening on Twitter that North Korea "won't be around much longer" to agreeing to sit down with Kim . As for those who travel there, since Euna Lee and Laura Ling were famously detained in North Korea in 2009, nine other Americans have been detained as well, according to CNN , including Warmbier. All have since been released.
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