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.

My First Monitoring Trip

My First Monitoring Trip

This is the third episode in a series by Erich Weingartner, recounting his days as the founding Head of the Food Aid Liason Unit (FALU), an independent section of the United Nations World Food Program, from 1997-1999. Previous episodes were "My Bumpy Road to Pyongyang" and "My Introduction to Nampo Port." “It’s all a matter of perception, [...]

U.S.-DPRK Educational Exchanges: Status and Future Prospects

U.S.-DPRK Educational Exchanges: Status and Future Prospects

Despite the lack of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), civil society has developed a number of ways for citizens of the two countries to interact. These include friendship organizations, non-governmental organization (NGO) activities, tourism, and educational and [...]

Alliance Politics: Legislating Hunger

Alliance Politics: Legislating Hunger

The South Korean government should stop blocking American food aid to large numbers of their brethren in the North facing starvation. The Obama administration has worked hard to strengthen its relationship with our ally South Korea and claims today’s partnership is the best both nations have ever had. That is probably true, achieved by [...]

The Logic and Illogic of Food Aid

The Logic and Illogic of Food Aid

As the food aid discussions heat up, we have been engaged in a number of conversations with friends—and critics—about the logic of granting food aid. Some of the arguments floating around need much closer scrutiny. 1. “The food situation in North Korea is not that bad.” Not surprisingly, these arguments tend to come from those opposed [...]

Trapped in a Devil’s Bargain

Trapped in a Devil’s Bargain

Christopher! My white knight in shining armor! What have you done, my champion of reason? For years I have admired you from afar, engaged in battles against irrationality and iniquity! Tell me you haven’t abandoned your quest! Tell me you haven’t succumbed to the notion that reason and compassion have no place in geopolitics! I’m old [...]

My Introduction to Nampo Port

My Introduction to Nampo Port

"Do you have any plans for lunch?" All I could see was my Bangladeshi colleague's smiling face peeking at an angle through the door. I was seated on a kitchen chair, the only piece of furniture in the bedroom that was to serve as my office. I was glad for the interruption, because I had difficulty making sense of the file of "monitoring reports" [...]

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