US Korea Institute

Wednesday May 24th 2017
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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.

Assessing China’s Leadership in the North Korean Crisis

Assessing China’s Leadership in the North Korean Crisis

The ongoing nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula is testing Beijing’s ability to assume Northeast Asian leadership in the interest of its own security and regional stability. China’s actions over the past several weeks have sought to demonstrate that it is uniquely able to manage crises on the Peninsula, and that it is therefore in [...]

Cooperate or Else!: North Korea at Mar-A-Lago

Cooperate or Else!: North Korea at Mar-A-Lago

Speaking with the Financial Times this weekend, US President Donald Trump discussed the perennial dilemma of US-China cooperation on North Korea with his typical bluntness: “China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.” [...]

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 [...]

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