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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

Fall Reading: Lucia Jang and Susan McClelland, Stars Between the Sun and Moon: One Woman’s Life in North Korea and Escape to Freedom

by | November 21st, 2014 | 07:00 am

My bookshelf is groaning with a host of interesting new books on North Korea that I didn’t get to review over the summer, from Jang Jin-Sung’s remarkable Dear Leader, to Suki Kim’s tell-all of her time at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, to memoirs by Leon Panetta, Don Gregg and Chris Hill. I […]

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Nuclear Talk: Leon Panetta’s Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace

by | November 20th, 2014 | 07:00 am

Leon Panetta is an extraordinary public servant. He served in the House from 1977 to 1993, then as Director of the OMB from 1993 to 1994 and as Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997. After founding the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, providing service on the thoughtful Iraq Study Group and teaching […]

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The UN Vote

by | November 19th, 2014 | 07:00 am

The drama at the UN reached its denouement yesterday with an historic vote on a resolution that refers the Commission of Inquiry report on North Korean human rights to the UN Security Council. The resolution specifically acknowledges the finding of the CoI that crimes against humanity may have been committed in North Korea, (para. 7). […]

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The Excellent Adventures of Matthew Todd Miller and James Clapper

by | November 18th, 2014 | 07:00 am

We had thought enough had been said about the release of this last round of detainees: Jeffrey Fowle, Kenneth Bae, and Matthew Miller. But we have to take our hats off to Nate Thayer at NKNews for a remarkable scoop on Matthew Miller. My colleague Marc Noland has long expressed his skepticism about what he […]

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Slave to the Blog: China-ROK, Russia-DPRK, Japan-DPRK, Swiss secrecy, captives and a correction

by | November 17th, 2014 | 06:55 am

Earlier posts that Kevin Stahler and I did on Russo-Sino rivalry, North Korean disappointment in China, and Russian activities in the DPRK attracted a fair amount of attention, so in the spirit of one of my former football coaches whose offensive philosophy was “run it until they show you that they can stop it” we’ll […]

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An Oldy But Goody: On Alternate Career Options

by | November 14th, 2014 | 07:16 am

I chose to teach English in Japan after college, which at the time seemed an exotic job experience for a 21-year-old. It turns out I suffer from a serious lack of imagination. In an oldy-but-a-goodie post, we take you back to a 2012 NK News interview with Paul White, the British voice of Kim Il […]

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Unification planning: the South Korean government gets serious

by | November 13th, 2014 | 06:02 am

According to reporting in the Joongang Ilbo, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance have been tasked with coming up a contingency plan for the economic aspects of unification. The newspaper claims this planning began in March; my source tells me that the FSC has been analyzing unification for years. […]

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NGOs in Action: Rights In Exile Programme

by | November 12th, 2014 | 07:10 am

I was recently invited to participate in the Rights in Exile Programme. Rights in Exile promotes the legal protection of refugees by centralizing resources for legal assistance providers and refugees. These resources include basic UNHCR materials, access to pro bono legal providers, country of origins experts (yours truly on North Korea, along with Leonid Petrov and […]

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The hostage Rorschach test

by | November 10th, 2014 | 01:03 pm

North Korea has always been a kind of a Rorschach test, telling one more about the analyst than North Korea. The release of hostages Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller appears to be no different in this regard. Over at 38North, Frank Januzzi writes that “The message from Pyongyang seems to be this: ‘We know what […]

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Bae and Miller Released

by | November 8th, 2014 | 03:14 pm

Sometimes it is hard to know what is driving the zig-zags in North Korea’s diplomacy. No sooner had we noted the end of Pyongyang’s recent charm offensive (here and here) than the regime followed up its October release of Jeffrey Fowle by also releasing Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller. However, it certainly appears that […]

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