North Korea-watchers come in all ideological shapes and sizes. We will draw on informed views to give our readers a spectrum of perspectives.
Recent events have brought the topic of Korean unification back into public debate. Republic of Korea (ROK) President Park Geun-hye gave an important address on the subject last spring in Dresden, Germany. Last fall, Kim Jong Un’s month-long disappearance got observers speculating about his health and whereabouts. Was Kim still in power? Was the [...]
As surely as a new year follows the old, North Korea’s New Year’s Day message is scoured for signals of regime intent to reform and moderate its provocative behavior. Passages that are less vituperative than the preceding year are hailed as harbingers of peaceful engagement. Despite these inevitably rosy pundit predictions, there is less [...]
If you study relations between North Korea and the United States, you’ll spend a lot of time reading propaganda, trying to parse phrases for evidence of internal political disputes or perhaps to discern a subtle shift in policy. It can be a chore to sort through the immense amount of tendentious nonsense coming from one the world’s least [...]
Following up on Aidan Foster-Carter’s analysis of ROK President Park Geun-hye’s Dresden speech, let me add a few subjective thoughts, since the event took place in my home region. All in all, this speech is a remarkably frank, but not necessarily a very sensitive document, particularly from an East German perspective. The subtle messages it [...]
During the past 20 years the world has gained increasingly detailed knowledge about the DPRK from a variety of sources, including refugees and defectors, academic researchers, businesspeople, government negotiators, and humanitarian aid workers. Despite this knowledge, North Koreans continue to surprise us. Which means that either we have not [...]
Recently, I wrote a column in World Post on the impact of Jang Song Thaek’s purge and execution on the power structure, regime stability and policy lines in North Korea. I argued that the removal of Jang would not critically undermine political stability in North Korea, not only because his power was disproportionately exaggerated, but also [...]