US Korea Institute

Tuesday March 28th 2017
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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.

In Response to Leon Sigal’s “Misreading Tillerson”

In Response to Leon Sigal’s “Misreading Tillerson”

My former colleague Leon V. Sigal was a respected editorial writer in his years at the New York Times, and I’m always eager to read his analysis of diplomacy surrounding North Korea. But he wasn’t in the business of reporting news, and after reading his posting on 38 North about my coverage of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to [...]

Misreading Tillerson

Misreading Tillerson

During Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first visit to Asia, David Sanger’s lede in The New York Times coming on March 17 was ominous: Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson ruled out opening any negotiation with North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile programs and said for the first time that the Trump administration might be forced to [...]

The Ultimate Failure in Korea

The Ultimate Failure in Korea

It must be morbidly amusing for the gods of war to hear members of the Obama administration tell the newcomers in Washington that they need a “strategy” to deal with North Korea. After all, painful has it might be for many people to admit, President Obama had no strategy on the North Korea issue. The reason he told Donald Trump that among his [...]

Paper Tigers: DPRK POE Report Shows Deep Problems with Enforcement

Paper Tigers: DPRK POE Report Shows Deep Problems with Enforcement

The February 27, 2017 report by the Panel of Experts (POE) responsible for monitoring the implementation of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions against the DPRK paints a complex picture of how this sanctions regime is working. On the one hand, the report is actually reassuring. It is only made possible by a truly global effort to monitor and [...]

Designating North Korea a State Sponsor of Terrorism: All Ahead Slow

Designating North Korea a State Sponsor of Terrorism: All Ahead Slow

Reopening the discussion about whether to re-designate the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism is inevitable in the current environment. The public and highly theatrical assassination of Kim Jong Nam using VX nerve gas followed by a nasty diplomatic contretemps between the Malaysian and North Korean governments would suffice to make any observer [...]

THAAD: A Critical Litmus Test for South Korea-China Relations

THAAD: A Critical Litmus Test for South Korea-China Relations

On July 8, 2016, the Republic of Korea and the United States announced their decision to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on South Korean territory. That intent was reiterated in phone conversations on March 1, 2017 between the two countries’ national security advisors, Kim Kwan-jin and H.R. McMaster, following the [...]

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