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.

North Korean Missiles Can’t Actually Reach Europe

North Korean Missiles Can’t Actually Reach Europe

(Photo: Pedro Ugarte/AFP) We note with bemused interest that the South Korean government is now claiming that North Korea’s missiles pose a “direct threat to the US homeland” and that “Europe is also within range.” European media has reported that the director-general of South Korea’s North Korean Nuclear Affairs Bureau made the [...]

The Way Ahead: North Korea Policy Recommendations for the Trump Administration

The Way Ahead: North Korea Policy Recommendations for the Trump Administration

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test in September 2016 and over 20 ballistic missile tests this past year, highlighting the failure of US policy to stop the growing security threat posed by a hostile Pyongyang. As current US policy toward North Korea has reached a dead end, the incoming administration must recognize that maintaining the [...]

The Unification Cases of Germany and Korea: A Dangerous Comparison (Part 2 of 2)

The Unification Cases of Germany and Korea: A Dangerous Comparison (Part 2 of 2)

The first part of this analysis argued against simple comparisons of German unification and the hypothetical Korean case by showing major differences in the external forces and domestic attitudes that would influence unification of the Koreas. This next discussion will consider differences that impact unification costs—an apparent area of [...]

Satellite Imagery of Pyongyang: What is Missing in this Analysis?

Satellite Imagery of Pyongyang: What is Missing in this Analysis?

CNN recently posted a video from the Canadian company Urthecast with the headline “Space photos show something’s missing in North Korea.” It was hard to tell if this was supposed to be a news story or an infomercial. As it turned out, this could have been filed under “fake news.” The pleasantly-toned audio attached to the piece [...]

The Unification Cases of Germany and Korea: A Dangerous Comparison (Part 1 of 2)

The Unification Cases of Germany and Korea: A Dangerous Comparison (Part 1 of 2)

Germany’s unification in 1990 has remained a popular model for future Korean unification, with its precedents on issues like the transfer of legal systems and technical standards, requirements for infrastructure investment, unification costs and social aspects. A closer look, however, reveals that the differences between Germany and Korea far [...]

Details, Details: History Lessons from Negotiating with North Korea

Details, Details: History Lessons from Negotiating with North Korea

It’s not easy to predict the future. It shouldn’t be so difficult to understand the past, certainly not the past within living memory. There are inevitable differences in memory and perspective, of course, which is what makes history lively, or boring, or irritating. Arguments over history rely on detail, whereas predicting the future is [...]

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