US Korea Institute

Tuesday April 25th 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.

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 [...]

Banking on North Korea’s Banks?

Banking on North Korea’s Banks?

Observers of North Korean domestic developments will remember 2016 as the year that Kim Jong Un further formalized his political preeminence by convening the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in May and later creating a new supreme decision-making institution, the State Affairs Commission (SAC). The year’s significance to the [...]

Do You Want Fries with That? Donald Trump Probably Won’t Be Inviting Kim Jong Un Over for Cheeseburgers

Do You Want Fries with That? Donald Trump Probably Won’t Be Inviting Kim Jong Un Over for Cheeseburgers

This is the second installment of a four-part series on what a Trump presidency could mean for US policy toward North Korea. (See Part 1 here.) With Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States, millions of despondent voters began looking for some silver lining to what seems like the end of the Republic. A few optimistic souls [...]

Recycling the Playbook: UNSCR 2321 and Its Coal Caps

Recycling the Playbook: UNSCR 2321 and Its Coal Caps

On November 30, UN Security Council members gathered for a familiar exercise: to pass a new resolution drafted by the United States and China to impose fresh sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear testing. It was the second such meeting in 10 months. UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2321 introduces clarifications and qualitatively new [...]

Did The Donald Suggest South Korea Build The Bomb? No, But That Might Be The Outcome Anyway

Did The Donald Suggest South Korea Build The Bomb? No, But That Might Be The Outcome Anyway

This is the first of a four-part series on what a Trump presidency could mean for US policy toward North Korea. One of the strangest aspects of the campaign that led to the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States was his repeated references to the possibility of letting Japan and South Korea build their own nuclear [...]

Multilateralizing Approaches to North Korea: The Canadian Case

Multilateralizing Approaches to North Korea: The Canadian Case

As North Korea began its 7th Worker’s Party Congress in May, it shepherded over 100 foreign journalists around to sites largely unrelated to the event they had come to see. One of these locations was the 326 Electric Cable Factory in Pyongyang, where the most noteworthy sight for reporters was a stack of boxes from Dow Canada—a shipment of [...]

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