US Korea Institute

Thursday May 5th 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.

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 [...]

The Kaesong Closure: Punishment or Shot in the Foot?

The Kaesong Closure: Punishment or Shot in the Foot?

On February 10, 2016, the South Korean government decided to cancel cooperation with North Korea in the Kaesong Industrial Zone (KIZ, or simply Kaesong), arguing that the income from the zone had been used by Pyongyang to finance its nuclear and missile programs. One day later, the North froze all assets, expelled all South Koreans and declared [...]

Never Say Never

Never Say Never

(Photo: KCNA) North Korea’s fourth nuclear test surprised a lot of people. That surprise unleashed, among other things, the notion that Kim Jong Un is erratic, an especially loose cannon with no advisers who might counsel restraint because they have all been kicked aside or died. If that were true, one might wonder about the North’s first [...]

The Long Road to Reconciliation: Reflections on a Visit to the Sinchon Museum

The Long Road to Reconciliation: Reflections on a Visit to the Sinchon Museum

A light drizzle painted our windshield, sparkling like tiny diamonds in the reflected headlights of our minibus. Night had fallen rather suddenly as we made our way back to our Pyongyang hotel along country roads, now about an hour and a half away. The twelve members of our World Council of Churches (WCC) delegation and our Korean Christian [...]

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