US Korea Institute

Wednesday May 24th 2017
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From politics to economics, from leadership succession to the introduction of fast food restaurants, there is a lot going on inside North Korea.

Sometimes A Cigar Is Just A Cigar

Sometimes A Cigar Is Just A Cigar

On May 1, 2017, The Diplomat published an article by Damen Cook based on a report by Strategic Sentinel, which purported to show that the North Koreans had “constructed several military facilities on small islands surrounding the city of Sohae.” The methodology and conclusions in this report, however, demonstrate a lack of understanding of [...]

The Presidium Shuffle: Personnel Changes Announced Within North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly

The Presidium Shuffle: Personnel Changes Announced Within North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly

The fifth session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) convened on April 11, 2017. The annual (sometimes semi-annual) gathering of the DPRK’s parliament was mostly business as usual. With the exception of re-establishing a foreign policy-focused panel within the SPA’s structure, there were no major policy announcements and minimal [...]

The North Korean Parliamentary Session and Budget Report for 2017

The North Korean Parliamentary Session and Budget Report for 2017

(Photo: VOA/KCTV) On April 11, 2017, the fifth session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) of the DPRK convened at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang. Such meetings are routine events taking place annually in the spring. Neither the parliamentary session nor its timing in 2017 were extraordinary. Moreover, the meeting was not [...]

Catch Me If You Can: North Korea Works to Improve Communications Security

Catch Me If You Can: North Korea Works to Improve Communications Security

North Korean scientists have developed a quantum encryption device—the basis for a communications system that is completely secure from hackers and eavesdroppers. The technology, if it can be deployed successfully, could complicate signals surveillance on internal North Korean communications, so the development has potentially significant [...]

Consumerism in North Korea: The Kwangbok Area Shopping Center

Consumerism in North Korea: The Kwangbok Area Shopping Center

During my last trip to North Korea in February 2017, I noted a number of interesting developments that have taken place since my previous visit in May 2016. They include the disappearance of iron bars from windows and balconies on the first two floors of residential buildings in Pyongyang, a complete change of the design of license plates for [...]

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: A Closer Look at North Korea’s Ullim Tablet

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: A Closer Look at North Korea’s Ullim Tablet

Computer security researchers analyzing a North Korean tablet computer have discovered a level of surveillance and control not previously seen inside electronics from the DPRK. If used across all tablets and smartphones, the system could significantly impact the ability of activists to send digital information into North Korea that can be viewed [...]

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