US Korea Institute

Wednesday May 24th 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.

Trump and Moon in Harmony for Now

Trump and Moon in Harmony for Now

Pundits who are predicting discord over North Korea policy with the newly elected Moon Jae-in government may be in for a surprise. Seoul and Washington seem to be singing from the same hymnal at the moment. While there are ample grounds for skepticism, the United States, South Korea and Japan may all be acting in concert to inch toward dialogue [...]

Debunking the Volcanic Panic

Debunking the Volcanic Panic

Recent reporting has raised the specter of a future North Korean nuclear test triggering a catastrophic volcanic eruption from the nearby volcano, Mt. Paektu (or Baekdu), which spans the North Korean/Chinese border northwest of the underground nuclear test site at Punggye-ri. This reporting is somewhat reminiscent of previous concerns linking the [...]

How to (or Not to) Reboot the Sunshine Policy

How to (or Not to) Reboot the Sunshine Policy

Moon Jae-in, the Minjoo Party candidate for the South Korean Presidency, presented his North Korea policy last week. The frontrunner’s core idea is to create an “economic community” that will lead to “permanent peace for the peninsula and a solution to the North Korea nuclear crisis.” His grandiose vision centers on reviving the Kaesong [...]

The North Korean Parliamentary Session and Budget Report for 2017

The North Korean Parliamentary Session and Budget Report for 2017

(Photo: VOA/KCTV) On April 11, 2017, the fifth session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) of the DPRK convened at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang. Such meetings are routine events taking place annually in the spring. Neither the parliamentary session nor its timing in 2017 were extraordinary. Moreover, the meeting was not [...]

North Korea and Mar-a-Lago: Did It Make Any Difference?

North Korea and Mar-a-Lago: Did It Make Any Difference?

(Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People’s Republic of China) Whether measured in terms of a week, a day, a few hours or even ten minutes, while the outcome of the Mar-a-Lago summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping cannot yet be characterized as a breakthrough, it certainly was not the acrimonious [...]

The Myth of China’s Coal Imports from North Korea

The Myth of China’s Coal Imports from North Korea

On February 18, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced the suspension of coal imports for the remainder of this year. In a daily press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said: “According to our statistics, China has already approached the upper limits of coal imports from North Korea. So because of this, we have [...]

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