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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

A Recap of This Week’s Events

by | April 19th, 2014 | 07:34 am

For those of you not able to make the two excellent events on North Korea at Brookings earlier this week, we offer a recap and links here. First, C-SPAN has provided video coverage of Monday’s Human Rights in North Korea: An Address by Michael Kirby, wherein Justice Kirby presents the findings and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on North […]

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Action Items from North Korea Freedom Coalition

by | April 18th, 2014 | 07:11 am

The North Korea Freedom Coalition has sent out immediate action items calling for assistance in their effort to promote freedom and human rights in North Korea. We append the letter in full below: Dear Friends: Please find below a number of action items and events coming up for the promotion of the freedom, human rights and dignity […]

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Sources: Manyin and Nitikin on the Politics of Foreign Assistance to North Korea (Part II)

by | April 17th, 2014 | 07:04 am

In a prior post, we reviewed Mark Manyin and Mary Beth Nikitin’s excellent report on US assistance to North Korea, which they recently updated. We focused on the humanitarian dimension, but particularly on the politics: what has to occur on the Hill for the US to provide support to North Korea? Today I look at the assistance related […]

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Sources: Manyin and Nitikin on the Politics of Foreign Assistance to North Korea (Part I)

by | April 16th, 2014 | 07:00 am

For years, Mark Manyin and Mary Beth Nikitin have kept track of total US foreign assistance to North Korea in an excellent Congressional Research Service brief that is a standard reference on the topic. Recently, they updated it. Why update a report when nothing is happening? Although not the stated purpose of the report, it contains […]

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South Korea’s Faustian Dilemma: China-ROK Economic and Diplomatic Ties (Part II)

by and Kent Troutman | April 15th, 2014 | 07:10 am

Yesterday, we tracked the blooming of economic relations between South Korea and China over the last decade. Today we come to a less-quantifiable and downright murky question: will public sentiment and diplomatic relations follow suit? In this respect, Korea has entered into something of a Faustian Dilemma: on one hand, it is very difficult to resist […]

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South Korea’s Faustian Dilemma: China-ROK Economic and Diplomatic Ties (Part I)

by and Kent Troutman | April 14th, 2014 | 07:31 am

For South Korea, the colossus across the Yellow Sea provides both opportunity and great uncertainty. China’s proximity coupled with its growth has provided a massive market for ROK goods; China has long-since been South Korea’s top trade partner, besting the United States by wider margins each year. There is also great potential for deepening of […]

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North Korea Events Next Week

by | April 11th, 2014 | 09:39 am

Early next week, Marcus Noland will be speaking at two North Korea-related events hosted by our neighbors at the Brookings Institution. First up on Monday, April 14th: The Center for East Asia Policy Studies at Brookings and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) will host an address by Michael Kirby, chair of the U.N. Commission of […]

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The Stephen Kim Case

by | April 10th, 2014 | 07:00 am

Last week, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim was sentenced to 13 months under the Espionage Act following a plea bargain reached in February; The Washington Post’s Ann Marimow provides a good overview of the case. Of interest to this blog is the fact that Kim’s crime consisted of leaking classified information on North Korea to Fox News […]

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Sources: Global Asia on the Kim Jong Un Regime

by | April 9th, 2014 | 07:00 am

It is always hard to assess whether and how North Korea is changing under Kim Jong Un. If we focus on the conflicts with the international community over nuclear weapons or the dynastic and authoritarian nature of the regime, it is easy to assume continuity. But as we argued in Witness to Transformation, there have […]

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North Korea by Night I: Regional Developments

by and Travis Pope | April 8th, 2014 | 07:01 am

We have all seen the satellite images of the Korean peninsula, with a lit-up South and nothing more than a small blip of light around Pyongyang. In fact this picture has been changing as can been in the 2012 composite image reproduced below; other cities and even smaller towns are visible. Therein lies a new […]

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