US Korea Institute

Wednesday March 29th 2017
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Foreign Affairs

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

A Familiar Story: The New UN Report on North Korean Sanctions Implementation

A Familiar Story: The New UN Report on North Korean Sanctions Implementation

Two weeks ago, the United Nations Panel of Experts tasked with monitoring DPRK sanctions implementation, issued its latest annual report. These reports remain essential reading for anyone working on North Korea, nonproliferation or sanctions evasion. Advance coverage in the press focused on the scale, sophistication, and widespread success of [...]

Understanding North Korea’s Nuclear Coercion Strategy

Understanding North Korea’s Nuclear Coercion Strategy

North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, proclaimed during his annual 2017 New Year’s address that the DPRK military is in the “final stages in preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic rocket.” A North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, would be capable of threatening the continental United States. As a [...]

Designating North Korea a State Sponsor of Terrorism: All Ahead Slow

Designating North Korea a State Sponsor of Terrorism: All Ahead Slow

Reopening the discussion about whether to re-designate the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism is inevitable in the current environment. The public and highly theatrical assassination of Kim Jong Nam using VX nerve gas followed by a nasty diplomatic contretemps between the Malaysian and North Korean governments would suffice to make any observer [...]

Kim Jong Nam’s Assassination: What Lies Beneath?

Kim Jong Nam’s Assassination: What Lies Beneath?

The investigation into the murder of Kim Jong Nam has led to an intense diplomatic standoff between the once-friendly North Korean and Malaysian governments, with tit for tat measures escalating day by day. In the coming days and even years we will probably see many more pages written about the circumstances of Kim Jong Nam’s death, but, as with [...]

The Mexican Origins of North Korea’s Latest YouTube Channel

The Mexican Origins of North Korea’s Latest YouTube Channel

A YouTube account that began livestreaming North Korean television last week is part of network of social media sites that have amassed millions of views for North Korean propaganda and appear to be based in Mexico. The new YouTube channel, called “KCTV - Choson TV,” was created on February 6, 2017, and has already livestreamed several [...]

Uncertain Futures: China, Trump and the Two Koreas

Uncertain Futures: China, Trump and the Two Koreas

At the beginning of the Trump administration, the situation on the Korean peninsula is highly uncertain and potentially volatile. During a late January research trip to Beijing, “uncertainty” and “concerns” were the keywords that best characterized how Chinese scholars and officials are feeling about Trump and the two Koreas. During his [...]

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