US Korea Institute

Tuesday April 25th 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.

Six Party Talks: The Least Bad Alternative

Six Party Talks: The Least Bad Alternative

Christopher Hill, the Bush administration’s point man for negotiating with North Korea, recently told an audience at Stanford University that because the North had lied about its uranium enrichment capability –to him and others–“there was absolutely no value” in restarting the six-party talks in the absence of any North Korean [...]

On Escalation in Korea

On Escalation in Korea

Despite intermittent crises and many deadly clashes, nearly six decades have passed since the armistice agreement “ending” the Korean War was signed without there being a serious resumption of military hostilities. Though the armed standoff in Korea is hardly a desirable state of affairs, this record can be taken as a reassuring sign of its [...]

Playing Chicken at the Brink

Playing Chicken at the Brink

“Did Seoul just win a terrifying game of chicken?” This question (from a Tweet by Beijing-based Globe & Mail correspondent Mark Mackinnon) was on many minds this week. On Monday, December 20, 2010, the South Korean military completed a provocative 94-minute live-fire drill as part of its military exercise on Yeonpyeong Island. Despite [...]

Bush on North Korea: Wrong Again

Bush on North Korea: Wrong Again

“The pressure worked.” In his memoir Decision Points, that was former President George W. Bush’s conclusion about his administration’s approach to North Korea. In particular, Bush’s brief account of what happened after Pyongyang staged its first nuclear test in October 2006 creates the impression that American resolve and [...]

No Hostile Intent: A Look Back at Kim Jong Il’s Dramatic Overture to the Clinton Administration

No Hostile Intent: A Look Back at Kim Jong Il’s Dramatic Overture to the Clinton Administration

North Korea announced last week the death of Marshal Jo Myong Rok, a powerful figure in the North Korean armed forces, and for many years one of Kim Jong Il’s closest associates. Jo will probably be best remembered for his historic trip to Washington in October, 2000, when he became the only North Korean official to visit the White House and [...]

The Cooling Tower

The Cooling Tower

This past week, the Institute for Science and International Security released a commercial satellite image showing heavy machinery tracks as well as trucks and heavy construction equipment at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear complex, near the area where the cooling tower for North Korea’s nuclear reactor once stood. It is not clear what North [...]

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