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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

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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Slave to the Blog: Implementing the Commission of Inquiry Edition

by | February 23rd, 2015 | 07:00 am

The international human rights community rightly claimed an important victory in the formation and operation of the UN Commission of Inquiry. A year after the report was issued, questions remain about how to move forward. Here we spotlight a few recent stories of interest. All show one common thread: that Pyongyang is clearly concerned that […]

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Action Items from the North Korea Freedom Coalition

by | February 22nd, 2015 | 07:00 am

From the North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC): February 16, 2015 Dear Friends: A friendly reminder of events coming up and two critical action items needing YOUR help…. Conference Commemorating One Year Anniversary of COI: Tomorrow (Tuesday, February 17), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington, D.C.) is hosting an event to commemorate the one […]

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The Evolution– and Logical Conclusion– of KJU’s New ‘Do

by | February 21st, 2015 | 07:10 am

We couldn’t help it. With the recent unveiling of Kim Jong Un’s new hairstyle and eyebrow pluck, we present you with the steady deterioration – and logical conclusion – of the Kim clan’s coif. See Kotaku for an alternate take. Special thanks to hairstyle name contributors at the Peterson Institute (we also do economics research). […]

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