US Korea Institute

Wednesday May 24th 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.

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 [...]

Potboiler Press: British Media and North Korea

Potboiler Press: British Media and North Korea

British news coverage of North Korea suffers for two primary reasons: an insular attitude toward the outside world and the British public’s relative lack of interest in Korean affairs. The result is a trivia-dominated approach that emphasizes the weirdest stories over substantive issues. This state of affairs seems unlikely to change as [...]

Between Wishful Thinking and Realism: Hopes for a Pyongyang Spring

Between Wishful Thinking and Realism: Hopes for a Pyongyang Spring

On September 20, 2016, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) issued a call worth an estimated 1.6 million USD for projects to “foster the free flow of information into, out of, and within the DPRK.” In particular, applicants are encouraged to submit proposals for producing and transmitting radio [...]

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