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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

In this blog, we report on developments in and around North Korea, including the broader security setting and political, economic, and social change in the country.

Recent Posts

Stephan Haggard at the East-West Center: Engaging North Korea

by | March 6th, 2015 | 07:00 am

For the last several months, I have been the POSCO Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center; my thanks to both the Center and POSCO for their generosity and hospitality. While there, I gave a talk on a new book Marc Noland and I are finishing on engagement with North Korea. It discusses the concept of […]

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The Netanyahu Speech

by | March 5th, 2015 | 07:00 am

I wince whenever someone invokes the “lessons of history.” Rarely do such lessons emerge with the clarity of Churchill’s intuitions about Hitler; history is not only complicated but contested. And so it is with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s references to the North Korean experience as a guide to what we should do about Iran. Where is […]

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European NGOs on North Korea

by | March 4th, 2015 | 07:07 am

While in residence at the East-West Center, Betsy Kawamura filled me in on the landscape of European NGOs working on North Korea. She estimates there are over 1,000 North Korean refugees scattered across Europe, with the most sizable contingent probably in Britain (between 630-1000 according to The Independent.) However, the ISIS landscape is making it […]

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STTB: I Need Another Line of Work Edition

by | March 3rd, 2015 | 06:53 am

When the possible North Korea drop of the Ebola travel ban leaves people breathless, well, I think I need a change of scene… But let’s start with at least semi-serious issues. Earlier this week I reviewed the tussle over the Kaesong Industrial Complex. KIC is interesting in part because in the extraordinarily polarized world of […]

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Tussle at Kaesong

by | March 2nd, 2015 | 06:54 am

Trouble brewing for months at the Kaesong Industrial Complex has broken into the open against a backdrop of rising tensions associated with annual joint military drills conducted by the United States and South Korea. In the aftermath of a unilateral five month closure of the KIC by North Korea last year, South Korea worked to […]

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Glorious Leader: The Video Game

by | February 28th, 2015 | 07:00 am

Thanks to Max Haggard for this inevitability, which we had missed. Moneyhorse Games had started development of a Glorious Leader video game. The trailer on YouTube, posted up last summer and now with 1.4 million views, is 1 minute and 12 seconds long but manages to squeeze in the following: The choked-up, overwrought news announcer […]

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Slave to the Blog: The Police and Thieves Edition

by | February 27th, 2015 | 06:14 am

Junior Murvin reportedly was horrified when he first heard the Clash’s desecration of his song “Police and Thieves,” exclaiming something about the wrath of Jah. Then the royalty checks started rolling in. Today’s blog post addresses three confrontations with the law, followed of course by not one, but two (!), performance videos of “Police and Thieves.” […]

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James Reilly on China-DPRK Relations I

by | February 26th, 2015 | 07:00 am

James Reilly (University of Sydney) has written two pieces that appeared last year in Asian Survey and The China Quarterly that deserve a close read by those interested in the Sino-DPRK relationship; we take up each in turn. The Asian Survey piece looks at an issue near-and-dear to our hearts: the question of whether interaction […]

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Academic Sources: Hendrix and Haggard on Food Prices and Protest

by | February 25th, 2015 | 07:00 am

Between 2000 and 2011, prices for most globally traded commodities more than doubled. Since cresting in early 2011, oil and industrial metals prices then halved, raising question about whether North Korea’s trade boom—led by raw material exports–was fragile. Unlike other commodities, however, global food prices have followed a different trajectory. While down from near historic […]

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Triangulating Food. Again.

by | February 24th, 2015 | 06:32 am

Earlier this month the Food and Agriculture Organization released a report on the 2014/15 outlook for North Korean food supply and demand. The report is essentially an update relying on North Korean government statistics, not a full assessment, insofar as FAO teams were not permitted in-country as they had been in the recent past. Given […]

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