US Korea Institute

Friday February 5th 2016
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Reality Check on North Korean Sanctions

Reality Check on North Korean Sanctions

A recent op-ed by Sung-Yoon Lee and Joshua Stanton highlights what should happen in dealing with North Korea. Unfortunately, for this long-time practitioner in the field of nonproliferation sanctions, it also highlights what cannot happen—or at least what cannot happen at an acceptable level of risk with the limited knowledge and the complex [...]

Sanctions’ Role in Dealing with the North Korean Problem

Sanctions’ Role in Dealing with the North Korean Problem

For almost a decade, sanctions have been the principal coercive instrument available to the United States and the international community in trying to deal with North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile programs. As bilateral and multilateral negotiating tracks with the DPRK have withered, sanctions that were initially [...]

North Korea’s Special Economic Zones: Plans vs. Progress

North Korea’s Special Economic Zones: Plans vs. Progress

Since Kim Jong Un assumed power, he has prioritized economic development in a way his father never did. Indeed, much of his domestic brand is now linked to economic growth and quality of life issues. He has tinkered with the modus operandi of both farms and state owned enterprises, and set forth a very visible economic experiment: the creation of [...]

North Korea’s Foreign Trade

North Korea’s Foreign Trade

Foreign trade is, like elsewhere and for obvious reasons, one of the key indicators of North Korea’s economy. However, since the state is notoriously reluctant to provide related figures, we have to rely on external sources to obtain this data. The South Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) is one institution that has for many years [...]

China Ponders: Does the Iran Nuclear Deal Mean North Korea is Next?

China Ponders: Does the Iran Nuclear Deal Mean North Korea is Next?

As news spread in July of the freshly brokered multilateral plan on Iran’s nuclear program, some observers began to speculate that a North Korean nuclear deal might come next. Analysts pinned their hopes on China, as in past moments of optimism, when they suggested that the North Korean ally might be able to help reanimate the Six Party [...]

North Korea’s Ponghwa Chemical Factory

North Korea’s Ponghwa Chemical Factory

By Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Sun Young Ahn Summary Nearly every modern nation must obtain and refine oil to ensure its economic viability, and North Korea is no exception. However, the country’s lack of significant proven oil reserves has forced it to import all of its crude oil and many of its finished petroleum products, while relying [...]

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