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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

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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Slave to the Blog: The Travel Edition

by | February 20th, 2015 | 06:42 am

Steph Haggard passed along an ad from Koryo Tours indicating that the deadline on their Pyongyang Marathon package had been extended by a week. Admittedly, the promotional video is sort of Leni Riefenstahl meets kitsch, but hey, this is the Pyongyang Marathon, after all. But, wait, aren’t the North Koreans still banning tourists and quarantining […]

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Three Views (and Methodologies) on Global Innovation

by and Jan Zilinsky | February 19th, 2015 | 07:00 am

According to the 2015 edition of Bloomberg’s “Global Innovation Index” released this month, South Korea took the title as most innovative country in the world out of over 200 nations evaluated (no indication whether the authors even tried to evaluate North Korea, but we doubt it!). This recognition is not new: South Korea has held […]

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