US Korea Institute

Tuesday September 30th 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘kim jong un’

The Two Koreas: So Near, So Far

The Two Koreas: So Near, So Far

There are times when nothing much can happen between the Koreas. This is not one of them. Since I last wrote here about South-North relations a month ago, there have been several fresh developments. While no one denies that North Korea’s belligerent unpredictability is the main problem, the feeling is spreading that South Korea is not doing [...]

The Passing of the Nuclear Torch: The Next Generation of WMD Scientists

The Passing of the Nuclear Torch: The Next Generation of WMD Scientists

You probably missed the obituary. But on July 7, when North Korean media announced the death of the 88-year-old senior North Korean official Jon Pyong Ho, it highlighted an important but largely ignored development in Pyongyang’s effort to build weapons of mass destruction (WMD). While most observers focus on Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile [...]

A Senior North Korean Banking Official Defects?

A Senior North Korean Banking Official Defects?

Office 39 (Image (c) 2012 DigitalGlobe; Courtesy of Michael Madden) Last Friday’s headlines on North Korea were filled with the following news alert—“a senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country.” We do not know if he did defect—the [...]

The Incheon Asiad: Playing Games, Or a Game-Changer?

The Incheon Asiad: Playing Games, Or a Game-Changer?

Antonio Gramsci or Yogi Berra? It’s not often you see those two in the same sentence. Yet I find these two figures—or rather, things each of them said—helpful in sketching a dilemma which faces all of us in the North Korea business. In a phrase: Dare we hope for better things? Yes, said the Italian Marxist…with qualifications. His [...]

Bridge Building

Bridge Building

Here we are, almost at the end of the US-ROK joint military exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), and the situation is eerily calm. DPRK commentary at the start of the exercise last week was relatively restrained, especially in view of the warnings the North had issued over the preceding months. Meanwhile, North Korean reaction to numerous recent [...]

The North Korea Contingency: Why China Will Not Cooperate

The North Korea Contingency: Why China Will Not Cooperate

Since Kim Jong Un became the supreme leader of North Korea in late 2011, and especially after Pyongyang undertook nuclear and long-range missile testing in 2012 and 2013, planning for North Korea contingencies (possible political turmoil and collapse) has become a popular theme for the US and ROK governments. Both countries acknowledge the key [...]

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