US Korea Institute

Saturday December 20th 2014
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Domestic Affairs

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

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 [...]

The Fall of Choe Ryong Hae

The Fall of Choe Ryong Hae

Hwang Pyong So (1) and Choe Ryong Hae (2) with Kim Jong Un on a field guidance trip to a KPA-owned food factory on November 12, 2013. (Photo: KCNA) While speculation has swirled around the status of Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae for months, it is now certain that he has been replaced from his key post as Director of the Korean People’s Army’s [...]

The DPRK Political Season: Two Post-Mortems

The DPRK Political Season: Two Post-Mortems

North Korea kicked off its political calendar with a pair of meetings on April 8 and April 9, 2014. Continuing a standard practice of the Kim Il Sung Era, a meeting of the top leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee occurred a day ahead of the opening session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly. The Political [...]

The SPA Session of April 2014: Spotlight on Sports and Economic and Trade Zones

The SPA Session of April 2014: Spotlight on Sports and Economic and Trade Zones

The first session of the newly elected 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA, North Korea’s parliament) was fairly mundane without too many big surprises. There were no unexpected changes on the personnel front, the constitution was not amended, no new laws were promulgated, no reform and opening policy was formulated, no new weapons were [...]

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