US Korea Institute

Friday July 25th 2014
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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.

Inside the Dread Box: Seeking Policy in Propaganda

Inside the Dread Box: Seeking Policy in Propaganda

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 [...]

Fire the Speech Writers: An East German’s Perspective on President Park’s Dresden Speech

Fire the Speech Writers: An East German’s Perspective on President Park’s Dresden Speech

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 [...]

How to Piss Off Engagers in 10 Easy Lessons

How to Piss Off Engagers in 10 Easy Lessons

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 [...]

Shocking, But Not a Game Changer: Unraveling Regime Dynamics in Post-Jang North Korea

Shocking, But Not a Game Changer: Unraveling Regime Dynamics in Post-Jang North Korea

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 [...]

North Korea’s Irrational Approach to Diplomacy—Is There Any Hope?

North Korea’s Irrational Approach to Diplomacy—Is There Any Hope?

This has been a dreadful year for North Korea and its relations with the outside world. Indeed, during his two years at the helm in North Korea, after the death of Kim Jong Il in December 2011, Kim Jong Un, has managed to plunge his country to the lowest point in its relations with the international community, including China. Tragically, North [...]

Jang Song Thaek’s Execution

Jang Song Thaek’s Execution

Jang Song Thaek was executed in a blitzkrieg manner in less than four days after he was arrested at the Enlarged Politburo Meeting of the Cental Committee (CC) of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). The immediate response of this author to the news of his execution was, “Oh my God, it is too much.” How could Kim Jong Un execute Jang, who is [...]

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