US Korea Institute

Tuesday March 31st 2015
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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.

DPRK Agricultural Policy: Chinese-Style Reform or Muddling Towards Autonomy?

DPRK Agricultural Policy: Chinese-Style Reform or Muddling Towards Autonomy?

For DPRK economy watchers, the last year has been relatively quiet regarding the agricultural sector. Aside from a landmark conference for sub work team leaders in February, and the annual weather crisis (low rainfall in April and midsummer), there was little news. Yet it appears that policy modifications announced in previous years, and received [...]

North Korea’s Expansion of Molybdenum Production

North Korea’s Expansion of Molybdenum Production

Summary North Korea’s expansion of the March 5 Youth Mine—a showcase facility intended to produce non-ferrous metals encompassing almost 2,500 acres near the Chinese border—began in 2008 and culminated in summer 2014 with the completion of a molybdenum production facility. The factory represents a notable expansion in Pyongyang’s [...]

What’s New in Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Speech

What’s New in Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Speech

After having completed three years of mourning his father Kim Jong Il’s death last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has become more confident and reconciliatory, but at times ambivalent and contradictory. On January 1, 2015, his third annual New Year’s speech was broadcast across the nation on Korean Central Television. The speech is of [...]

Pyongyang’s Perpetual Power Problems

Pyongyang’s Perpetual Power Problems

While foreign observers and media have fixated on Kim Jong Un’s buildup of entertainment facilities such as water parks, fun fairs and a ski resort, the DPRK leadership has also devoted considerable resources to important infrastructure projects such as energy production, port improvement, highways, railways and airports. However, while it [...]

The NDC’s Fall Lineup: Results of the 13th SPA

The NDC’s Fall Lineup: Results of the 13th SPA

The second session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly, held at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on September 25, 2014, appointed a new Vice Chairman and two new members to the DPRK National Defense Commission (NDC), the country’s supreme power organization. NDC appointments are an opportunity for Kim Jong Un to show off his authority. In [...]

The Passing of the Nuclear Torch: The Next Generation of WMD Scientists

The Passing of the Nuclear Torch: The Next Generation of WMD Scientists

You probably missed the obituary. But on July 7, when North Korean media announced the death of the 88-year-old senior North Korean official Jon Pyong Ho, it highlighted an important but largely ignored development in Pyongyang’s effort to build weapons of mass destruction (WMD). While most observers focus on Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile [...]

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