PIIE Blog | North Korea: Witness to Transformation
The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan
research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy. More › ›
Subscribe to North Korea: Witness to Transformation Search
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

Daniel Tudor and James Pearson — North Korea Confidential

by | May 29th, 2015 | 07:00 am

This blog depends heavily on good journalism and among my favorites are Daniel Tudor and James Pearson. Tudor worked for a number of years for the Economist in Seoul and is the author of Korea: The Impossible Country. Pearson is with Reuters and has done particularly good work on the border region. They have a […]

Read full post

Haggard and Lindsay on the Sony Hack

by | May 28th, 2015 | 07:00 am

The North Korean cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment raised important questions about the feasibility of deterrence in cyberspace, the protection of First Amendment values, and the responsibility of the US government to safeguard private networks. It also resulted in the unprecedented attribution of responsibility for a cyber attack to a nation state by a […]

Read full post

South Korean Public Opinion on the U.S. and China

by | May 27th, 2015 | 07:00 am

Last month the Asan Institute for Public Policy released a study measuring South Korean public opinion of the United States and China. The report tracks changes from polls Asan conducted in 2013 and 2014. A key take-away from the study is that South Koreans believe the U.S. is and will continue to stay powerful even […]

Read full post

North-South Relations Update

by and Kent Boydston | May 26th, 2015 | 07:00 am

There have been a few developments recently in North-South relations; for the most part, they reflect the ongoing dilemmas of Trustpolitik and engagement more generally. On the discouraging side, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced earlier in the week that he would visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC). Less than 48 hours later, North Korea […]

Read full post

The Passport Index

by | May 23rd, 2015 | 01:31 pm

Social scientists like data, sometimes to their detriment. Thanks to my daughter Kit, I was alerted to the Passport Index, an interactive tool that ranks the passports of the world based on a simple metric: the number of countries that the passport holder can visit without a visa (either altogether or because they can be […]

Read full post

From the Twisted Mind of Nicholas Eberstadt

by | May 22nd, 2015 | 06:00 am

Nick Eberstadt is one of the few people in this business who annoys more people than I do. I thought of Nick when Steph Haggard passed along a UPI piece by Elizabeth Shinn titled “Kim Jong Un’s economic plan targets foreign investment.” Coming the same week that the North Koreans abruptly disinvited UN Secretary General […]

Read full post

The Defector

by | May 21st, 2015 | 07:00 am

In the “better late than never” category, I finally had the chance to see Canadian film-maker Ann Shin’s The Defector, a well-made documentary on the smuggling networks that get North Koreans refugees out of China to Thailand. Opening in 2012 and playing a number of film festivals, it continues to make the rounds–I saw it […]

Read full post

Not Satire: Lobster Farming in North Korea

by | May 20th, 2015 | 07:00 am

My colleague Marc Noland launched a “KCNA certifiable” designation that caught some flak. But it made me realize that we had not done a Not Satire post in a while. Thanks to an NKNews story (CNN picked it up too), we have an item that not only fits the bill but reveals something more serious […]

Read full post

Felix Abt’s “A Capitalist in North Korea: My Seven Years in the Hermit Kingdom”

by | May 19th, 2015 | 07:03 am

There is a terrific picture in Felix Abt’s memoir of him with about two dozen of his employees, mostly women, at a company picnic. Abt’s bet is that these are the faces of the new North Korea. Let’s hope so. As with the growing number of books written by those with extensive time on the […]

Read full post

Jieun Baek on Information Strategies for North Korea

by | May 18th, 2015 | 07:00 am

This blog has long supported information strategies vis-à-vis North Korea (and other closed regimes for that matter). Just as it is important to get people in and out of these countries, so it is important to get information in and out as well. In a new paper for the Belfer Center at Harvard (“Hack and […]

Read full post