US Korea Institute

Tuesday June 28th 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.

Preparing for Korean Unification?

Preparing for Korean Unification?

A growing number of policymakers and experts in South Korea, the United States and other countries now presume that the best solution in principle for the North Korean nuclear problem and the larger “Korean issue” is unification, implying a peaceful takeover of the North by the South. This has been especially true in the latter half of Park [...]

Some Rabbit! Some Hat!

Some Rabbit! Some Hat!

Well, did Kim Jong Un pull a rabbit out of his hat, or didn’t he? More specifically, in his work report delivered at the 7th Workers' Party Congress held May 6-8, did Kim use the flexibility inherent in byungjin to begin to shift his emphasis from developing the country’s nuclear weapons program to building the economy? To clear the air [...]

Why German Unification Is Not a Model for Korean Unification

Why German Unification Is Not a Model for Korean Unification

For decades, many Koreans have viewed German unification as a model for the future of a divided Korean peninsula. However, there are differences between the two that need to be understood, both to inform current policy and provide valuable lessons for the future. German unification has been a success story that Koreans interested in unification [...]

The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: A Return to a New Normal

The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: A Return to a New Normal

The single most remarkable thing about the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) is that it took place. After a 36-year hiatus, it was, without doubt, a noteworthy event, but the truly big news we were waiting for—such as an announcement of a drastically new economic policy or a switch to collective leadership—was missing. There [...]

A Second Look: Media Coverage of the 7th Workers’ Party of Korea Congress

A Second Look: Media Coverage of the 7th Workers’ Party of Korea Congress

Foreign journalists leave a venue after being told that coverage plans had changed until further notice on Sunday, May 8, 2016. (Photo: AP/Wong Maye-E) With a few exceptions, the Western press and broadcast corps that trooped into Pyongyang to cover the recent 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) deserves praise and our thanks. [...]

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 [...]

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