US Korea Institute

Tuesday September 16th 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’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 [...]

North Korea, Hamas, and Hezbollah: Arm in Arm?

North Korea, Hamas, and Hezbollah: Arm in Arm?

North Korea’s arms exports to US-designated terrorist organizations in the Middle East have made headlines twice recently. On July 23, 2014, a US district court ruled that “North Korea and Iran are liable for damages because they provided material support and assistance” to Hezbollah, which enabled the latter’s rocket attacks during the [...]

The North Korea Contingency: Why China Will Not Cooperate

The North Korea Contingency: Why China Will Not Cooperate

Since Kim Jong Un became the supreme leader of North Korea in late 2011, and especially after Pyongyang undertook nuclear and long-range missile testing in 2012 and 2013, planning for North Korea contingencies (possible political turmoil and collapse) has become a popular theme for the US and ROK governments. Both countries acknowledge the key [...]

A Tale of Two Kaesong Industrial Zones: Not All Foreign Investment is Created Equal

A Tale of Two Kaesong Industrial Zones: Not All Foreign Investment is Created Equal

Promoting foreign direct investment and enhancing commercial engagement is often touted as a potential catalyst for enticing isolated, authoritarian regimes to enact reforms and constructively engage with the international community. Promoting this sort of constructive commercial engagement with North Korea, however, is far easier said than done. [...]

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