US Korea Institute

Thursday May 26th 2016
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North Korea-watchers come in all ideological shapes and sizes. We will draw on informed views to give our readers a spectrum of perspectives.

Why German Unification Is Not a Model for Korean Unification

Why German Unification Is Not a Model for Korean Unification

For decades, many Koreans have viewed German unification as a model for the future of a divided Korean peninsula. However, there are differences between the two that need to be understood, both to inform current policy and provide valuable lessons for the future. German unification has been a success story that Koreans interested in unification [...]

The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: A Return to a New Normal

The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: A Return to a New Normal

The single most remarkable thing about the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) is that it took place. After a 36-year hiatus, it was, without doubt, a noteworthy event, but the truly big news we were waiting for—such as an announcement of a drastically new economic policy or a switch to collective leadership—was missing. There [...]

A Second Look: Media Coverage of the 7th Workers’ Party of Korea Congress

A Second Look: Media Coverage of the 7th Workers’ Party of Korea Congress

Foreign journalists leave a venue after being told that coverage plans had changed until further notice on Sunday, May 8, 2016. (Photo: AP/Wong Maye-E) With a few exceptions, the Western press and broadcast corps that trooped into Pyongyang to cover the recent 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) deserves praise and our thanks. [...]

Pulling the Rabbit Out of the Hat: Kim Jong Un’s Path Out of the Nuclear Crisis

Pulling the Rabbit Out of the Hat: Kim Jong Un’s Path Out of the Nuclear Crisis

Everyone has a pet thesis about what is going on and what will happen on the North Korean issue over the next several months. In mid-January, I laid out what seemed to be six likely possibilities to keep in mind. Ten weeks later, I think we can winnow the choices down to two. (Photo: Getty-Reuters.) The first possibility is that we are in [...]

UNSCR 2270: The Good, the Bad and the Perhaps Surprising Opportunity for the North Korean Economy

UNSCR 2270: The Good, the Bad and the Perhaps Surprising Opportunity for the North Korean Economy

The new sanctions established on March 2, by UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2270 bring to mind the hardships that North Korea endured after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The economic disruption from the end of the Cold War led to a contraction of production in the DPRK and hobbled its Public Distribution System (PDS), contributing [...]

The Economics of Kaesong

The Economics of Kaesong

Comments on the February 12 article by Ruediger Frank Ruediger Frank, in his February 12 article on 38 North, opines that in closing the Kaesong Industrial Zone (Kaesong or KIZ), South Korea may have “shot itself in the foot.” I beg to differ, sharply. Closure might not change North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, but it can open [...]

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