US Korea Institute

Monday January 23rd 2017
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Human Security

Looking at North Korea through the UN’s human security lens including: economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community, and political security.

Beyond the Golden Couples of Pyongyang

Beyond the Golden Couples of Pyongyang

It’s not likely that an Occupy Pyongyang movement will set up tents in Kim Il Sung Square anytime soon. Protest, after all, is virtually non-existent in that society. But the same widening inequalities that plague the United States and the global economy can also be found inside North Korea. What was once a relatively equitable society, albeit [...]

Developing the DPRK Through Agriculture

Developing the DPRK Through Agriculture

Despite continuing food shortages in the DPRK, the 2012 New Year’s Joint Editorial and other statements related to the succession of Kim Jong Un suggest there will be no new approaches to revitalizing North Korean agriculture. The editorial labeled the food problem “a burning issue in building a thriving country,” but allocated fewer than [...]

Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Politicization of North Korean Human Rights

Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Politicization of North Korean Human Rights

Irrespective of political orientation, little dispute exists among politicians, government officials, activists, and NGO workers that a large number of North Koreans suffer from human rights abuses at the hands of the regime. Despite consensus regarding the serious nature of these abuses, however, addressing (much less resolving) them has proven [...]

Admitting North Korean Refugees to the United States: Obstacles and Opportunities

Admitting North Korean Refugees to the United States: Obstacles and Opportunities

“The numbers are too small,” a Korean American told me, referring to the fact that the United States has admitted only 122 North Korean refugees to this country since the adoption of the North Korea Human Rights Act (NKHRA) in 2004, and that only an estimated 25 have received political asylum. His remark reflected the view of Korean Americans [...]

Feeding the Famine: The European Union’s Response to North Korea

Feeding the Famine: The European Union’s Response to North Korea

The European Union (EU) announced on July 4, 2011 that it would provide €10 million ($14.3 M) of emergency food aid to North Korea to be distributed through the World Food Programme (WFP) over the next three months—until the end of September, just prior to the arrival of this year’s harvest. This aid represents a much delayed response to an [...]

Beyond Good Intentions: The Challenges of Recruiting Deserving Young North Koreans

Beyond Good Intentions: The Challenges of Recruiting Deserving Young North Koreans

Not too long ago, I met a diplomat assigned to North Korea. Through the DPRK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), his country awards scholarships to North Koreans to spend a year studying agriculture abroad. In our discussions, the diplomat complained that the candidates nominated were so far below his expectations that his government was [...]

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