US Korea Institute

Tuesday March 31st 2015
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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.

The Demise of Jang Song Thaek and the Future of North Korea’s Financial System

The Demise of Jang Song Thaek and the Future of North Korea’s Financial System

The demise of Jang Song Thaek and those loyal to him just may be good news for the prospects of reforming the North Korean financial system. This system is perhaps the most perverse on the planet, having evolved in a context defined by North Korea’s isolation and inward orientation, its dogged adherence to the ideals of a State-directed economy, [...]

North Korea: Leadership Schisms and Consolidation During Kim Jong Un’s Second Year in Power

North Korea: Leadership Schisms and Consolidation During Kim Jong Un’s Second Year in Power

The Year of Reckoning Kim Jong Un and Jang Song Thaek at the Korean General Satellite Command and Control Center seconds after the successful lift-off of the Unha-3 on December 12, 2012. A year later on December 12, 2013, Kim Jong Un marked the first anniversary of the “successful launch of the second version of artificial earth satellite [...]

A Guide to Kim Jong Un’s 2014 New Years Speech

A Guide to Kim Jong Un’s 2014 New Years Speech

On January 1, 2014, Kim Jong Un gave his second New Year speech to the people of North Korea after resuscitating a tradition that existed until the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994. While this year’s speech, like last year’s, does not announce any major policy shifts—no reasonable observer of North Korea would have expected such an [...]

The State of North Korean Farming: New Information from the UN Crop Assessment Report

The State of North Korean Farming: New Information from the UN Crop Assessment Report

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme recently released their 2013 Crop and Food Security Assessment Report (CFSAR) for the DPRK, continuing a series of annual reports on farm production begun in 1995. Like its predecessors, the 2013 CFSAR estimates the total main season production of major food grains and [...]

North Korea: What Jang’s Execution Means for the Future

North Korea: What Jang’s Execution Means for the Future

Four days after the North Korean Politburo stripped Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un’s foremost mentor and protector, of all his posts and ranks, a special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security convicted him of attempting to overthrow the state and to replace the people’s power and socialist system with his own personal rule [...]

Jang Song Thaek’s Execution

Jang Song Thaek’s Execution

Jang Song Thaek was executed in a blitzkrieg manner in less than four days after he was arrested at the Enlarged Politburo Meeting of the Cental Committee (CC) of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). The immediate response of this author to the news of his execution was, “Oh my God, it is too much.” How could Kim Jong Un execute Jang, who is [...]

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