North Korea's odd interest in 25-year-old Texan

The dictatorship follows only three Twitter accounts, and one is a young American investor and world traveler.

By Aimee Picchi Jan 10, 2013 2:48PM

Pyongyang, North Korea skyline (Berthold Trenkel/Photodisc/Getty Images)It's not easy being North Korea's sole American friend on Twitter. 


That's been the experience of 25-year-old Jimmy Dushku, described by Mother Jones as "the last and only American whom North Korea still follows" on the social-media network.


North Korea's handle, @uriminzok -- which means "our nation" -- ever only followed a few dozen people, until it started downsizing, leaving just three followers. Only one of them is an American, and it isn't Google (GOOG) executive Eric Schmidt, who this week visited the country.


Dushku, who's no relation to "Dollhouse" actress Eliza Dushku, is described as an independently wealthy investor from Austin, Texas, who started a website development business when he was 14. He's also a huge Coldplay fan -- having attended 60 concerts across the country -- and travels the world on private jets, according to the story.


Yet his social-media link to North Korea might be providing more notoriety than his lifestyle: He's been accused of being a sympathizer and even a secret agent. 


"One person wrote in detail about how he was going to come to my house and hurt me; others tell me they hope I die, or that they will be the one to do it," Dushku said. 


So how did Dushku get on North Korea's radar?


"I honestly can't remember," he said. "It started sometime back in 2010. I was initially surprised, but I always try to make friends with people from all different locations and backgrounds."


Dushku said he started communicating with @uriminzok with a friendly message reading in part, "I hope all is well."


Because of the threats, Dushku said he avoids Western media but will sometimes talk with Korean, Chinese and Japanese news agencies to show he's "not an uneducated and evil person."


He added that he doesn't have any links to North Korea or its leader, but that because of his friendly tweets he's received an offer from North Korean officials to visit. 


"I'd love to see the Arirang Festival in person," he said. That's country's mass gymnastics display that's been called "the strangest show on earth."


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23Comments
Jan 10, 2013 5:31PM
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I think that the whole world would be way better off if we have more non-judgemental contacts and less paranoia regarding other people and countries.  For example, why is a country like Cuba being held hostage by the U.S. as a holdover from the Cold War when we have no problems dealing with Communist China?    Regular people are OK, but politicians and ideologues are sick and suck big time! 
Jan 10, 2013 3:55PM
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Give Peace a chance.....Ex Military and I'm  sick of Past & Present Elected Officials making money of the deaths and disfigurements of our finest. Screw them.................
Jan 10, 2013 6:09PM
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As a veteran and loyal American I think we need to track down every single person who made a death threat against this guy and put them in prison. There is no place for that cowardice in this country and yet far too many people feel the need to terrorize others with threats.
Jan 10, 2013 6:36PM
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It just goes to show that Texans are some of the most friendly people on Earth, as long as you treat them and others fairly. Sometimes it rubs some individuals the wrong way, as when Little George called Putin and some other Russians 'you guys'. That wasn't formal and diplomatic enough for them, despite being somewhat familiar with each other. We (the US) threw the Japanese out of China in WWII, and everywhere else, too, including Korea. We sent countless ship loads of supplies to Russia, too. Too bad that wasn't a good enough basis for trust. My own perception is that while individuals can usually get along with each other, the governments are the trouble makers.
Jan 10, 2013 5:48PM
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that is good i worked three years in cabinda africa and they were the nicest people i ever met they would have given you the shirt off their backs if they had one
Jan 10, 2013 6:08PM
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Why would this guy want to be friends with a government that brutally oppresses its people? I do feel sorry for the N. Korean people.

Jan 10, 2013 5:46PM
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i don't think he is doing anything wrong, but you can bet that the red on the other side,will try to do anything they can to get any kind of information  they can no matter what it is. But you never know the way the world is now, maybe he can start some conversation that might leed to something great. Who knows
Jan 10, 2013 3:56PM
Jan 11, 2013 12:02AM
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Uriminzok means our race..... not our nation. Who translates these?
Jan 11, 2013 1:00PM
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Why are we dealing with Vietnam?   We went to war with Vietnam and we lost thousands of Americans life’s there but we have no economic embargo in place over there... It’s all politics!  Cuba is only 90 miles away from our shores but yet, we are holding them hostage with an embargo…Before I get drill here, I would like to say I’m not a communist at all, on the contrary.  I love my country but there are certain things that just don’t make sense to me.  Some of you can say “oh, but Cuba was trying to establish a base for ICBM’s… THAT WAS IN THE 60’s (cold war)… WE WENT TO WAR WITH VIETNAM!

Jan 11, 2013 12:49PM
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All WE THE PEOPLE need to do is take our country back from these big business butt kissers.  It is time WE THE PEOPLE do what the Russian people did to the soviets ! ! !
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