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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 and Japan’s Perspectives on North Korea

by | October 31st, 2014 | 07:16 am

Earlier this month, Marc Noland, Bonnie Glaser and Sheila Smith discussed China and Japan’s perspectives on North Korea since the death of Kim Jong-il at the Council on Foreign Relations. From the website description of the event: Bonnie S. Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and CFR Fellow Sheila A. Smith join […]

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Slave to the Blog: the Broken Promises Edition

by | October 30th, 2014 | 06:35 am

Well, we all know the three great lies: the check is in the mail; I’m from the government, and I’m here to help; and…uh, the third one probably isn’t suitable for a family blog. Anyhow, today’s post is organized around three ongoing stories of people not doing what they’re supposed to. I never promised you […]

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UN Diplomacy Continued (Part II)

by | October 29th, 2014 | 07:00 am

Yesterday, we continued our coverage of the UN diplomacy over the Commission of Inquiry report. By far, the most interesting event of the week was the extraordinary panel discussion convened by Australia, Panama and Botswana on the human rights situation in North Korea, including testimony from two prison camp survivors and commentary by both Australian […]

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UN Diplomacy Continued

by | October 28th, 2014 | 07:03 am

“This house, the United Nations, speaks endlessly of universal human rights … and the obligation of those who are guilty of crimes against humanity to answer before justice for their crimes. And the question that is before the United Nations now is, when we face such a moment of truth, will the United Nations back […]

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North Korea-China Trade Update: Coal Retreats, Textiles Surge

by | October 27th, 2014 | 07:00 am

There has been a steady stream of North Korea-China trade stories this year, the more bizarre of which we recently reviewed. However, two developments deserve some follow-up as they could reflect important new trends in the relationship: North Korea’s coal exports are retreating, while textile-related exports are making substantial gains. Anthracite (ie. coal) has been […]

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Build it and they will come (if you let them)

by | October 24th, 2014 | 06:31 am

One could not have made up the headline juxtaposition in my inbox yesterday: “Pyongyang Races to Complete New Airport” and “North Korea Bans Foreign Tourists Over Ebola Threat.” That second one made me wonder if in some kind of budgetary legerdemain the Voice of America had been privatized and taken over by the Onion. The […]

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A Sino-Russian Rivalry over North Korea?

by | October 23rd, 2014 | 07:00 am

Back to the future, the northern part of the Korean peninsula is beginning to resemble turn-of-the-(20th)-century Korea, with a decaying dynasty and foreign powers vying for influence. Further demonstrating his nostalgia for the Soviet Union, President Vladimir Putin’s revanchist Russia is making a bid to re-establish its influence in North Korea. With a history of […]

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The Release of Jeffrey Fowle

by | October 21st, 2014 | 06:27 pm

Over the next few days, we will learn more about the mechanics of Jeffrey Fowle’s release: the channels through which it was negotiated and the terms—if any—to reach the deal. But we can provide some context for why the North Koreans might have released Fowle rather than Miller or Bae, and they center on a […]

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Human Rights Update II: the North Korean Counter-Resolution

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

No sooner had we summarized the recent state of play at the UN on North Korean human rights yesterday than we received a copy of a draft counter-resolution that North Korea will now circulate on the issue. The DPRK circulated the draft at a meeting it convened on October 15. The purpose of this resolution […]

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Slave to the Blog: Human Rights Edition

by | October 20th, 2014 | 01:50 am

Last week, we published the full text of a letter from Ambassador Ja Song Nam, the North Korean Permanent Representative to the United Nations, to his fellow ambassadors. This letter reflects evidence of a subtle shift in North Korean policy on human rights issues. On the one hand, the regime continues to assert that “human […]

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