US Korea Institute

Tuesday March 28th 2017
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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.

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 [...]

Kim Jong Un’s Aunt Edges Further From the Spotlight

Kim Jong Un’s Aunt Edges Further From the Spotlight

Since 2009, North Korea has held a single state funeral each year and named all of its top officials to the event’s organizing committee, allowing outsiders a glimpse at an approximate top-to-bottom ranking of the country’s elite. An individual’s placement on the publicly issued annual roster suggests where that official stands in relation [...]

Keeping Up with the Kim Family Runaways

Keeping Up with the Kim Family Runaways

Ko Yong Suk and her husband Pak Kun, an aunt and uncle of Kim Jong Un, attracted international headlines for filing a slander lawsuit in late November against a trio of North Korean defectors. The South Korean legal action provided a rare glimpse—outside of official North Korean media content—into the family life of the supreme leader, [...]

North Korea’s Exploration for Oil and Gas

North Korea’s Exploration for Oil and Gas

Executive Summary Despite almost 50 years of exploratory surveys, test drillings, foreign investment and assistance and tantalizing potential, North Korea has yet to definitively identify any proven commercially exploitable reserves of crude oil or natural gas. The reasons for this are somewhat complex, but they can be distilled into three [...]

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