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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

North Korea’s Cell Phone Growth in Context

by | September 30th, 2014 | 07:07 am

In an earlier post on the ongoing IT transformation in North Korea, we noted a recent story from North Korea Tech reporting Koryolink’s latest cell phone subscription figures at 2.4 million. But what does North Korea’s rate of cell phone penetration look like in comparison to the rest of the world? Fortunately, thanks to the World Bank’s World […]

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Unification Peace Dividends

by | September 29th, 2014 | 06:14 am

One of the issues that I was asked to address by KIEP in my recent paper on US interests on unification was the possibility of a peace dividend. The magnitude (and even existence) of such a peace dividend is highly speculative and scenario-contingent. Nevertheless, as demonstrated by the past computable general equilibrium modeling that Sherman […]

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More On Sanctions: Klingner, Haggard and deThomas

by | September 27th, 2014 | 04:48 am

Last week, Marc Noland and I offered our analysis of HR 1771, new sanctions legislation that passed the House on a voice vote. Not coincidentally, there have been a number of other analyses of this legislation recently that might be of interest. At the KEI blog, Bruce Klingner asks why the Obama administration has not […]

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North Korea: No Queers Here

by | September 26th, 2014 | 06:15 am

Many years ago the individual to whom I am related by marriage claimed that there were no homosexuals in her native country of Ghana. When I offered to take her to a gay bar in Accra (complete with giant posters of Judy Garland and Grace Jones—some things are universal, I suppose) she admitted that there […]

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The North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2014

by and Marcus Noland | September 25th, 2014 | 07:00 am

Proponents of sanctions against North Korea come at the task with a variety of aims, ranging from the strategic objective of nudging Pyongyang back to the Six Party talks and signaling the Chinese, to limiting proliferation and other illicit activities, stopping support for terrorism, advancing the cause of human rights, and bringing the regime down […]

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Kerry On North Korea

by | September 24th, 2014 | 07:00 am

In a previous post we discussed next steps for the Commission of Inquiry process, focusing on possible outcomes of the UN General Assembly session currently underway in New York. One step in that process was the hosting of a ministerial side meeting that took place on Tuesday. Below are the remarks by Secretary Kerry at […]

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South Korean Attitudes Toward China and Japan: Complex Issues of Identity Refracted through Geopolitics

by | September 23rd, 2014 | 05:56 am

The polling firm TNS Korea periodically releases polls on public attitudes toward diplomatic issues in Northeast Asia. Given the contentious tone of public diplomacy among the three countries, the results of an August poll of South Korean views on China and Japan are fascinating. The poll asked two sets of questions. The first concerned the […]

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Potential Trade in Services Between the US and North Korea

by | September 22nd, 2014 | 06:48 am

In a previous post I examined the possible increase in merchandise trade between the US and North Korea; today I address the issue of trade in services. Both topics are discussed in the paper I presented at the KIEP conference in Seoul last week. As in the case of trade in goods, there are multiple […]

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Halperin on Striking a Deal

by | September 19th, 2014 | 07:14 am

We admit to pretty deep skepticism about the prospects for reviving the Six Party Talks, let alone moving toward a more comprehensive security arrangement for Northeast Asia. The US is not seriously interested. To the contrary, the House of Representatives is pushing for more sanctions–as we highlighted in a post earlier in the week–which has […]

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Estimates of Potential US-North Korea Trade

by | September 18th, 2014 | 06:18 am

Yesterday I participated in a conference held in Seoul, “Costs-Benefits of the Unification of the Korean Peninsula to Neighboring Countries,” sponsored by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy. KIEP commissioned papers from American, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian authors to examine the economic impact of Korean unification on their respective economies. I contributed the paper […]

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