US Korea Institute

Sunday November 23rd 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.

Smoke and Mirrors: DPRK Front Companies in China and Russia

Smoke and Mirrors: DPRK Front Companies in China and Russia

By Jeffrey Lewis and Catherine Dill Despite extensive international sanctions, many North Korean designated entities continue to do business around the world using aliases. The effectiveness of the sanctions regime depends on the willingness and ability of the international community to prohibit illicit trade. However, that record has been [...]

A Legal Precipice? The DPRK-Uganda Security Relationship

A Legal Precipice? The DPRK-Uganda Security Relationship

Uganda and North Korea are two countries which few would immediately identify as natural partners. Yet on October 29, 2014, Kim Yong Nam, Chairman of the Presidium of the DPRK’s Supreme People’s Assembly, arrived in Kampala to a hero’s welcome. Over four days, Kim met with the Ugandan President, Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister [...]

Clapper’s Mission to North Korea

Clapper’s Mission to North Korea

Barely two weeks after freeing US citizen Jeffrey Fowle (on October 22), North Korea has sent the two remaining American prisoners home, releasing them into the arms of the US Government’s highest-ranking intelligence official—Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Why the director of national intelligence should go to North Korea [...]

Russia-North Korea Economic Ties Gain Traction

Russia-North Korea Economic Ties Gain Traction

In a new global situation unfortunately characterized by increased big power rivalry—where Russia has suddenly become the chief opponent, if not enemy, of the United States—Russia’s involvement in Korean peninsular affairs has increased political implications for Moscow. The Korean peninsula, centered in a crucial neighboring area, has [...]

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, [...]

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