US Korea Institute

Friday May 27th 2016
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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.

Deciphering the 7th Party Congress: A Teaser for Greater Change?

Deciphering the 7th Party Congress: A Teaser for Greater Change?

From one perspective, the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) was a monotonous event, long on rhetoric and short on major policy and personnel changes. No substantive policy announcements took place, and many top officials sat on a rostrum for four days and ultimately kept their jobs. Throughout hours of speeches, Kim Jong Un [...]

The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: A Return to a New Normal

The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: A Return to a New Normal

The single most remarkable thing about the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) is that it took place. After a 36-year hiatus, it was, without doubt, a noteworthy event, but the truly big news we were waiting for—such as an announcement of a drastically new economic policy or a switch to collective leadership—was missing. There [...]

After the Party Congress: What to Make of North Korea’s Commitment to Economic Development?

After the Party Congress: What to Make of North Korea’s Commitment to Economic Development?

It comes as a surprise to no one that North Korea’s newly concluded 7th Party Congress was more “show” than “tell,” but the gathering succeeded as a platform for Kim Jong Un to cement his leadership legitimacy and broad policy for governing. By pulling off the event without a hitch and taking the microphone for two long speeches, Kim [...]

Why Headlines About DPRK Agricultural Production Miss the Point

Why Headlines About DPRK Agricultural Production Miss the Point

(Photo: KCNA) Last week, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released an updated estimate of DPRK agricultural production for the 2015-2016 farming year, indicating a modest decline in food production compared with recent years that was largely attributed to the early season drought in 2015. As a result, food [...]

The 2016 North Korean Budget Report: 12 Observations

The 2016 North Korean Budget Report: 12 Observations

On March 30, 2016, the 9th plenary meeting of the 13th Presidium of the 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. A senior official, usually the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance, reports on the state budget for [...]

Let the Hawks Soar

Let the Hawks Soar

With less than three months left before the 7th Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Congress is scheduled to convene in May, Kim Jong Un appears to be appointing hardliners to key national security positions. The growing prominence of these officials—party cadres and military officers who support a more belligerent policy toward the ROK, the United [...]

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