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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

China-DPRK textiles trade: first the good news, then the bad

by | September 4th, 2015 | 07:20 am

As Kevin Stahler observed in an earlier post, bilateral trade between China and North Korea in textiles and apparel has been growing for several years. When Kevin showed me a draft of the post, I questioned how much of this was truly Chinese trade, and how much was accounted for by South Korean processing on […]

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Slave to the Blog: Gone Fishing

by | September 3rd, 2015 | 06:49 am

A few years ago I wrote a post titled “Fishing with Dynamite.” It was based on an interesting paper by Kim Insoo and Lee Minyong who argued that North Korean export revenues are the prime driver for incidents on the Northern Limit Line—when exports slump, the fishermen’s quotas are raised, encouraging them to undertake riskier […]

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Shipping News

by | September 2nd, 2015 | 07:00 am

Several weeks ago, the Financial Times ran an update on an interesting legal strategy for holding North Korea accountable for human rights abuses. Back in December 2014, the DC Circuit Court issued a landmark decision in a case brought by the family of Reverend Kim Dong Shik, kidnapped by North Korea in 2001 while doing […]

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South Korean Aid to the North IV: The Evolution of the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund, 1991-2015

by , Kent Boydston and Jaesung Ryu | September 1st, 2015 | 07:00 am

In three previous posts, linked below, we have detailed South Korean aid to the North over the 1991-2015 period. In this final post we track the evolution of the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund itself, including its sources of funding. The main takeaway is that contributions and deposits into the fund have exceeded outlays. Quite naturally this […]

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Tensions Update V: Aftermath

by and Kent Boydston | August 31st, 2015 | 12:00 am

This blog has followed Park Geun Hye’s Trustpolitik and unification initiatives closely, and has been broadly sympathetic to the former and puzzled by the latter. But in the aftermath of the talks and tentative agreement, it’s important to restate the obvious. The reason the administration has had such difficulty making any progress vis-à-vis the North […]

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Sharon Perry, 1949-2015

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

I had the pleasure of meeting Sharon Perry a couple of times through the National Committee on North Korea, but was always impressed by the work she did with the Stanford-North Korea Tuberculosis Diagnostics Project. An epidemiologist focused on chronic infectious diseases in developing countries, Sharon collaborated with colleagues from Stanford University (in both the […]

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Slave to the Blog: The Entertainment Tonight Edition

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

Its Friday, its August, and I am in Hawaii. So it’s the Entertainment Tonight version of STTB. [Due to threat of war, this post was pre-empted last Friday. Sort of like NBC cutting away one of the most exciting finishes in NFL history to broadcast “Heidi.” But I digress.] “If you’re going to have your own calendar, you really […]

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Academic Sources: Nielsen and Simmons on Rewards from Ratifying Human Rights Treaties

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

Periodically, we look at academic research that is not on the Korean peninsula but has relevance to it. Richard Nielson (MIT) and Beth Simmons (Harvard) have published an interesting piece in the most recent issue of International Studies Quarterly called “Rewards for Ratification: Payoffs for Participating in the International Human Rights Regime.” Since Oona Hathaway’s […]

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Reconstituting China-DPRK investment ties

by | August 26th, 2015 | 07:00 am

I hate it when people put those little red exclamation marks on their emails indicating that it’s urgent, and then when I open it up it’s just a routine email. One guy I know puts red exclamation marks on all of his messages. Which means he puts red exclamation marks on none of his messages. So a […]

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Tensions Update IV: The Agreement

by | August 24th, 2015 | 08:31 pm

8:30 PM East Coast Time, 9:30 AM Seoul Seoul—where I am currently participating in a KBS forum today—woke up to news of the agreement reached early this morning between the North and South. In an odd role reversal, Yonhap posted the English-language version of the agreement released by the KCNA. This twist itself raises an […]

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