US Korea Institute

Monday March 27th 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.

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 [...]

Prospects for Inter-Korean Relations after the Cheonan

Prospects for Inter-Korean Relations after the Cheonan

Perhaps the most serious fallout from the sinking of the Cheonan has involved the destabilization of the inter-Korean relationship. The resulting tensions reached a level of vituperation not seen since the mid-1990s, when the North Koreans threatened to end contacts with the Kim Young Sam administration as a result of negative comments he made [...]

Kim Jong Il’s “Flowers for Kim Il Sung”

Kim Jong Il’s “Flowers for Kim Il Sung”

A cultural event in Vienna has given the Western world a peek, however small, into North Korea’s cultural and political life. An exhibition of art and architecture from the North, “Flowers for Kim Il Sung,” is currently showing at the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) and offers a rare glimpse into North Korean public life (as wonderfully [...]

North Korea: Why Engagement Now?

North Korea: Why Engagement Now?

Geopolitics drove the U.S.-China détente. It could do the same between Washington and Pyongyang. Relations between the United States and North Korea, never particularly warm, have truly frosted over in recent months. The Obama administration, in the wake of the Cheonan incident, has added financial sanctions to a lengthening list of [...]

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