US Korea Institute

Friday November 28th 2014
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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.

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 [...]

North Korea’s Push for Special Enterprise Zones: Fantasy or Opportunity?

North Korea’s Push for Special Enterprise Zones: Fantasy or Opportunity?

In recent weeks North Korea has actively publicized in domestic and foreign news media its determination to pursue an aggressive strategy to develop special enterprise zones (SEZs) throughout the country. This follows and complements the agreement reached between the two Koreas in September to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC)—which [...]

North Korea: The Dramatic Fall of Jang Song Thaek

North Korea: The Dramatic Fall of Jang Song Thaek

The downfall of Jang Song Thaek is the most significant political event in the history of post-Kim Jong Il North Korea. The removal of “Jang and his group” for “the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts” is the second major adjustment in North Korea’s power configuration under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, eclipsing in [...]

A Closer Look at the ‘Explosion of Cell Phone Subscribers’ in North Korea

A Closer Look at the ‘Explosion of Cell Phone Subscribers’ in North Korea

The North Korean mobile telecommunications market has seen dramatic subscriber growth over the past five years contrary to initial speculations that mobile service would be limited to the elite. The 3G service, Koryolink, was launched in December 2008 by CHEO Technology JV Company, a joint venture between the Egyptian telecommunications firm [...]

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