US Korea Institute

Wednesday April 23rd 2014
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38 North offers informed analysis of events in and around the DPRK.

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We will shine the spotlight on “the good, the bad and the ugly” of Western media coverage, busting myths and uninformed news stories (while praising well-informed analysis).

“Chat-to-China” Choo Choo: Kim Rides the Rails Again

“Chat-to-China” Choo Choo: Kim Rides the Rails Again

The Wall Street Journal may be edited from somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, but at least you’d expect them to be able to count. Actually WSJ’s Korea reportage is excellent as a rule, but they and most everybody else are wrong to say that Kim Jong Il’s just-confirmed visit to China, still ongoing as I write, is his seventh. Math was [...]

Special Report: Chaos in North Korea Coverage

Special Report: Chaos in North Korea Coverage

"The headline above all news stories purporting to report what is going on in North Korea’s economy and polity should be: buyer beware." In a Special Report, 38 North examines the problems that often arise when trying to cover a "hard target" like North Korea and heeds caution in relying too heavily on any specific news report. Download a [...]

A Third North Korean Nuclear Test: How a Local TV Station Can Make Global Headlines

A Third North Korean Nuclear Test: How a Local TV Station Can Make Global Headlines

Like the first predictions abut North Korea’s imminent collapse made almost two decades ago, recent stories run by Reuters (“North Korea readying for 3rd nuclear test: report”) and the Associated Press (“Analysts say N. Korea hinting at 3rd nuke test”) about preparations for a third North Korean nuclear test may some day prove true. In [...]

The New York Times and the Human Torpedo – A Close Second Place

The New York Times and the Human Torpedo – A Close Second Place

The runner-up for the monthly bad reporting award is: the New York Times and the Human Torpedo. Afghanistan and Iraq have absorbed so much of the American media’s attention that it appears to have all but forgotten about the Korean peninsula. With more than 28,000 American troops based in South Korea, a mutual defense treaty with Seoul and [...]

An Example of Thoughtful Analysis

An Example of Thoughtful Analysis

This month, we would like to commend Song Ho-keun for his thoughtful op-ed, “The Nightmare This Time Around.” This piece originally appeared in JoongAng Daily’s Viewpoint section on April 21, 2010. We give it 3 Thumbs-up. The Nightmare This Time Around What if the torpedo carried no identifying marks, or the attacker used a weapon from [...]

How A.Q. Khan Helped Distort America’s DPRK Policy

How A.Q. Khan Helped Distort America’s DPRK Policy

Washington and Pyongyang may be on the verge of another attempt at negotiation. After a stroke in 2008, Kim Jong Il seems to have spent much of 2009 getting his groove back—launching missiles, testing a nuclear weapon, and separating more plutonium—while Washington looked for new sources of pressure, having cut off North Korea’s access to [...]

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