US Korea Institute

Wednesday April 26th 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.

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 [...]

Is the South Korean Tail Wagging the American Dog?

Is the South Korean Tail Wagging the American Dog?

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrapped up their visit to South Korea, the intended message was, in Clinton’s words, one of “real solidarity”—two allies united in their determination to deter North Korea from any further attacks like the one that sank the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan in [...]

China and the Cheonan Incident

China and the Cheonan Incident

The Chinese are facing widespread criticism for their behavior following the Cheonan incident: Scott Snyder has called for China to change its priorities on the peninsula from preserving the status quo to pushing for change, while Victor Cha has argued that China has handled the incident badly and is harming its long-term interests and reputation [...]

Peace or War? Do We Have to Choose?: A Russian Perspective

Peace or War? Do We Have to Choose?: A Russian Perspective

The sinking of the South Korean naval corvette, Cheonan, seems to have taken all progress in North-South reconciliation over the past decade and a half with it. Hopefully it will not get worse, although there are plenty of ill-tempered people on both sides of Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) who may advocate a military response. Worse yet, the situation [...]

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