US Korea Institute

Tuesday April 25th 2017
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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.

Chickens Defiantly Coming Home to Roost

Chickens Defiantly Coming Home to Roost

So far this week, the very, absolutely, most favorite word of headline writers and reporters is “defiance,” as in “North Korean Missile Launch Act of Defiance.” Yes, that’s one way to look at what happened a few hours past dawn on December 12, when the North made up for its “botched” (another favorite word recently) launch attempt [...]

Inspector O and the Cattle Drive

Inspector O and the Cattle Drive

“Howdy.” I looked up and to my surprise it was Inspector O greeting me, thumbs in his belt. “You look a little bow legged,” I said, and for once I wasn’t kidding. O eased himself beside me onto the bench “Been roping doggies, pardner.” He sighed. “Painful.” He shifted his weight. “Very painful.” “Really? I [...]

Keep Your Eye on the Duck

Keep Your Eye on the Duck

Once upon a time, there was a television show hosted by Groucho Marx called “You Bet Your Life.” Groucho would waggle his eyebrows and tell the contestants, “Say the magic woid (that’s how it came out) and the duck will come down and give you fifty dollars.” For the past six or seven weeks, the duck has worked overtime. The “magic [...]

The Paint Dries

The Paint Dries

There is a regular posse of US policymakers and pundits who, when it comes to dealing with North Korea, like to say that Washington should not “buy the same horse twice.” Sooner or later, when something goes wrong—and it usually does—they end up galloping off on their own steeds—the Three Horses of the Apocalypse: Hysteria, Hyperbole, [...]

“The Orphan Master’s Son”: No Window

“The Orphan Master’s Son”: No Window

The range of topics for authors is endless, the techniques of story telling as diverse as the stars in the sky, limited only by what eyes can see—with or without reading glasses—and the public’s brain can comprehend. All of this applies in spades to Adam Johnson’s new book, The Orphan Master’s Son. Many readers are blown away by its [...]

Off To the Races

Off To the Races

“Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant,” Frank Sinatra used to sing. The day after the memorial rally—at which Kim Jong Un stepped out smartly onto the dais ahead of the rest of the leadership, and stood looking very stern out over Kim Il sung square—things began to happen. The sound you have been hearing over the past week was not a [...]

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