From politics to economics, from leadership succession to the introduction of fast food restaurants, there is a lot going on inside North Korea.
Summary The West’s take on North Korean elections is familiar: they are neither free nor fair, neither competitive nor democratic. The thinking, which is echoed in Seoul, is that the uncontested up-or-down votes deny participants any right to substantively express their political preferences or hold their representatives, who are preselected [...]
Kim Jong Un dismissed Hyon Yong Chol as North Korea’s minister of defense around April 30, 2015—this much we know, but little else about his fate is certain. South Korean intelligence reported the following month that the regime executed Hyon, but in truth, it remains unclear today if he is dead or alive. If South Korean [...]
By Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Sun Young Ahn Summary Nearly every modern nation must obtain and refine oil to ensure its economic viability, and North Korea is no exception. However, the country’s lack of significant proven oil reserves has forced it to import all of its crude oil and many of its finished petroleum products, while relying [...]
On June 16, KCNA announced that North Korea was experiencing the “worst drought in 100 years,” and the story was quickly picked up by the international news. Abnormal weather in the DPRK is always of concern, given the very fragile nature of the agricultural recovery that has been progressing for the last several years. Farm production in the [...]
Outsiders are still struggling to decode what is really happening with the economic reforms that have supposedly been underway in North Korea since 2012. As is often the case with the country, no one knows exactly what is happening. Certain experts, for instance, claim that economic reforms have drastically changed conditions for agriculture in [...]
The third session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), held in Pyongyang on April 9, 2015, was a routine development that followed the customary procedures and produced the expected legislative outcomes. The parliamentary theater was a political non-event underscoring the fact that North Korea’s political system is stable, Kim Jong Un [...]