US Korea Institute

Wednesday May 24th 2017
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Aidan Foster-Carter

Aidan Foster-Carter is an honorary senior research fellow in sociology and modern Korea at Leeds University, and a freelance consultant, writer and broadcaster on Korean affairs. A regular visitor to the peninsula, he has followed North Korea for over forty years.

Laudable? Lawdy, No! How South Korea’s Spurious Self-Effacement Messes Up North Korea’s Trade Data

Laudable? Lawdy, No! How South Korea’s Spurious Self-Effacement Messes Up North Korea’s Trade Data

Ruediger Frank is one of the very best authorities we have on the DPRK economy. As readers of 38 North well know, he is equally adept at incisive abstract analysis and informed first-hand observation in this vital area. His latest article, “North Korea’s Foreign Trade,” is no exception. Frank has done us all a service, especially those with [...]

Obama Comes Out as an NK Collapsist

Obama Comes Out as an NK Collapsist

So now we know. The truth is out, from the horse’s mouth. On North Korea and its future, the President of the United States has revealed himself as a card-carrying collapsist. Retro rules. Ever wondered what lies behind President Barack Obama’s puzzling reluctance to seem to want to do much of anything—be it wield a stick or wave a [...]

The Two Koreas: So Near, So Far

The Two Koreas: So Near, So Far

There are times when nothing much can happen between the Koreas. This is not one of them. Since I last wrote here about South-North relations a month ago, there have been several fresh developments. While no one denies that North Korea’s belligerent unpredictability is the main problem, the feeling is spreading that South Korea is not doing [...]

The Incheon Asiad: Playing Games, Or a Game-Changer?

The Incheon Asiad: Playing Games, Or a Game-Changer?

Antonio Gramsci or Yogi Berra? It’s not often you see those two in the same sentence. Yet I find these two figures—or rather, things each of them said—helpful in sketching a dilemma which faces all of us in the North Korea business. In a phrase: Dare we hope for better things? Yes, said the Italian Marxist…with qualifications. His [...]

Trust or Bust: What is Park Geun-hye’s Real Nordpolitik? (Part II)

Trust or Bust: What is Park Geun-hye’s Real Nordpolitik? (Part II)

On March 28, 2014, ROK President Park Geun-hye made a much-trailedspeech in Dresden, Germany. To suggest that she “made history” is surely premature. Park was hardly the first ROK President—in fact, she was the fourth—to use reunified Germany as launching-pad for a volley of proposals targeted at North Korea: people-to-people contacts, [...]

A Long & Winding Road: South Korea’s “Nordpolitik” (Part I)

A Long & Winding Road: South Korea’s “Nordpolitik” (Part I)

Comrades, I’m confused. Nay, I am baffled. Flummoxed, even. And who better to share this confusionism with, in hope of enlightenment, than fellow-Korea watchers perusing 38 North? The subject of my confusion can be simply stated: A year after Park Geun-hye took office as President of the Republic of Korea (ROK), I can’t for the life of me [...]

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Credit for photo of young North Korean girl: T.M. All rights reserved, used with permission.