US Korea Institute

Thursday December 8th 2016
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Evil geniuses, stumbling fools, or something in between, we will attempt to divine the real motives behind Pyongyang’s foreign policy moves.

Multilateralizing Approaches to North Korea: The Canadian Case

Multilateralizing Approaches to North Korea: The Canadian Case

As North Korea began its 7th Worker’s Party Congress in May, it shepherded over 100 foreign journalists around to sites largely unrelated to the event they had come to see. One of these locations was the 326 Electric Cable Factory in Pyongyang, where the most noteworthy sight for reporters was a stack of boxes from Dow Canada—a shipment of [...]

The Challenge of Sharing on the Korean Peninsula

The Challenge of Sharing on the Korean Peninsula

Editor’s note: In 1995, devastating floods compounded an already dire economic downturn in North Korea due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting energy crisis. After negotiating quietly with Japan and South Korea for emergency food shipments, the DPRK government issued a general call for international food aid in the fall of that [...]

The “China Factor”

The “China Factor”

A new round of shadowboxing appears to have begun in Washington over North Korea policy in the wake of Pyongyang’s two latest nuclear tests and unrelenting series of missile tests. For some time, the Obama administration’s policy of “strategic patience” has found few defenders apart from its architects, and there is now a general consensus [...]

Byungjin vs the Sanctions Regime: Which Works Better?

Byungjin vs the Sanctions Regime: Which Works Better?

While the North Korean nuclear problem has long been at the center of discourse concerning the Korean peninsula, the recent growth of its nuclear and missile programs has prompted a new concern: North Korea could soon directly threaten US territory, giving it a deterrent capability it had never had before. This looming threat underscores an [...]

Under New Management: Shifts in North Korea’s Foreign Ministry and Nuclear Communications

Under New Management: Shifts in North Korea’s Foreign Ministry and Nuclear Communications

With rampant speculation about North Korea conducting another nuclear test in the near future, it is important to examine not only the technical aspects of the September test, but how it was communicated to the North’s allies—China and Russia. As such, it appears that key North Korean officials were dispatched just days before the test, who [...]

Preventing a Nuclear South Korea

Preventing a Nuclear South Korea

In a report projecting how North Korea’s nuclear arsenal may grow over the next few years, mid- to high-end scenarios estimated that the North could build upwards of 50-100 nuclear weapons by 2020, approaching the size of arsenals in India and Pakistan. By enabling the DPRK to credibly threaten a nuclear second strike against the United States, [...]

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