US Korea Institute

Monday October 20th 2014
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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.

North Korea Responds to the UN Commission of Inquiry

North Korea Responds to the UN Commission of Inquiry

DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong at the United Nations (Photo: UN/Kim Haughton) The UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) released its highly-critical report last February, of which, the findings and recommendations were strongly endorsed by UN Member States at the March UN Human Right Council meeting. In May, and then further in September and [...]

Inter-Korean Rivalry Takes the Field

Inter-Korean Rivalry Takes the Field

Sports are always political. International sports competitions especially can serve many purposes, such as an outlet for nationalist sentiment—in a my-country-is-better-than-yours sort of way—or as a distraction, a galvanizing force or even as a major event that can signal its coming of age. (The 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the 1988 Seoul Olympics, [...]

The Two Koreas: So Near, So Far

The Two Koreas: So Near, So Far

There are times when nothing much can happen between the Koreas. This is not one of them. Since I last wrote here about South-North relations a month ago, there have been several fresh developments. While no one denies that North Korea’s belligerent unpredictability is the main problem, the feeling is spreading that South Korea is not doing [...]

North Korea’s Cyber Capabilities: Deterrence and Stability in a Changing Strategic Environment

North Korea’s Cyber Capabilities: Deterrence and Stability in a Changing Strategic Environment

In addition to long-standing international concerns about North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and technology, the US and its regional allies—the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan—are increasingly worried about the DPRK’s growing cyber offensive capabilities. A recent HP study detailing North Korea’s electronic warfare capabilities [...]

North Korea: Northeast Asia’s New Tourism Hub?

North Korea: Northeast Asia’s New Tourism Hub?

At first glance, last week’s wrestling exhibition in Pyongyang seems to have been a one-off event similar to others with which North Korea has used in the past to try to shift attention away from its nuclear program. As such, it could be dismissed as little more than a dose of regime propaganda. However, this interpretation seems inaccurate. [...]

The Incheon Asiad: Playing Games, Or a Game-Changer?

The Incheon Asiad: Playing Games, Or a Game-Changer?

Antonio Gramsci or Yogi Berra? It’s not often you see those two in the same sentence. Yet I find these two figures—or rather, things each of them said—helpful in sketching a dilemma which faces all of us in the North Korea business. In a phrase: Dare we hope for better things? Yes, said the Italian Marxist…with qualifications. His [...]

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