US Korea Institute

Tuesday July 28th 2015
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James Church

Drawing on his experience as a veteran intelligence operative, this well-known author is also an astute expert on the North.

The 50-Year Rule

The 50-Year Rule

“Inspector! Long time no see!” I spotted Inspector O in the corner of the café where his cryptic message had said we should meet. He sat at a small table covered with papers, hemmed in by books piled on the floor next to his chair. “Shall we move to something in the sun? It’s a beautiful day.” “Never mind the sun, Church. Sit if [...]

“Inspector O Wins at Chess”

“Inspector O Wins at Chess”

“I’ve been dealing from half a deck,” I said. Inspector O looked up for a moment, and then returned to his close study of the chessboard in front of him. “You’re telling me?” “No, I mean, I’ve been trying to figure out what was in your leader’s New Year’s address, and it was pretty frustrating because for most of the day [...]

Inspector O Goes to the Movies

Inspector O Goes to the Movies

“Seen any good movies lately?” Inspector O was sitting on a beach chair under a big red and white umbrella, sipping a drink with a slice of pineapple and reading an old copy of Variety, so I figured it was a harmless question. Too late I realized it sounded like a jibe. To my surprise, O merely smiled. “Nice try,” he said. “But [...]

Inductive O

Inductive O

I was out for a stroll in the cool of the morning when across the Avenida da Liberdade I spotted Inspector O shifting uncomfortably in a chair at a sidewalk café that was otherwise empty of patrons. On the table in front of him sat a glass and a small colorful vase containing a few orange and purple flowers, but no evidence of any food. “Of [...]

Bridge Building

Bridge Building

Here we are, almost at the end of the US-ROK joint military exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), and the situation is eerily calm. DPRK commentary at the start of the exercise last week was relatively restrained, especially in view of the warnings the North had issued over the preceding months. Meanwhile, North Korean reaction to numerous recent [...]

Tiptoeing Past Vesuvius

Tiptoeing Past Vesuvius

While several other areas in the world have gone completely to hell, Northeast Asia seems only to be rumbling, like Mt. Vesuvius in a long-ago August. The situation now, as then, looks grim, but many people apparently cling to the hope that the little earth tremors and the noxious gas venting from the various fissures will stop in a couple of [...]

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