National unification, or national reconciliation?

National unification, or national reconciliation?

The shock visit of a North Korean “troika” to South Korea to jump-start the stalled inter-Korean dialogue bewildered North Korea watchers worldwide – as the visit was obviously spontaneous and t…

October 14th, 2014
2
Manchuria: The third Korea

Manchuria: The third Korea

It is obvious now that there are two Koreas in the world. There is another area, though, that is often referred to as the third Korea: large parts of Northeast China, near the Sino-Korean border, wher…

October 9th, 2014
1
As the economy grows, N. Korea grows more defiant

As the economy grows, N. Korea grows more defiant

Are there contradictions in North Korean policies? The North is sending out mixed signals. On the one hand, it is continuing its diplomatic offensive – sending Foreign Minister Ri Su Young to the…

October 8th, 2014
10
Inside North Korea’s Central Committee

Inside North Korea’s Central Committee

As everybody in North Korea, and, for that matter, all communist countries knows, the supreme power in the nation is the Central Committee of the Party, as well as its Secretariat. However, such bodie…

September 29th, 2014
2
Why the U.S. made Korea exception for landmine ban

Why the U.S. made Korea exception for landmine ban

In a step toward compliance with the Ottawa Convention, the United States government announced Tuesday it will no longer use anti-personnel landmines and destroy all of its existing stockpiles. Alm…

September 29th, 2014
0
Why North Koreans are driven to drive

Why North Koreans are driven to drive

Hanawon is an education facility for North Korean refugees who have just arrived in the South. Its main role is to equip recent refugees with the practical knowledge necessary to live in South Korea, …

September 23rd, 2014
2
Remembering North Korea’s Chollima movement

Remembering North Korea’s Chollima movement

Among present scholars of North Korea, there has been a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater in regards to labels like “socialism” or “communism” in favor of terms like “fascism…

September 23rd, 2014
0
Why North Korea hates the U.S. and Vietnam doesn’t

Why North Korea hates the U.S. and Vietnam doesn’t

North Korea is one of the most anti-American countries on Earth. If you open up a North Korean newspaper you will not struggle to find references to U.S. imperialism, the U.S. “occupation” of “s…

September 22nd, 2014
72
Can we engage North Korea with soft power?

Can we engage North Korea with soft power?

As articulated by Joseph Nye, soft power is the ability to achieve goals through attraction rather than by threat or coercion. Soft power exists when a dominant party possesses a sufficiently attracti…

September 17th, 2014
0
Watching the defectors: speaking truth to power

Watching the defectors: speaking truth to power

As they used to say about London buses: You wait for ages, then two come along at once. Right now, here in the Disunited Kingdom, it’s a bit like that with North Korean defectors. It’s a ra…

September 15th, 2014
6
Behind North Korea’s official economic numbers

Behind North Korea’s official economic numbers

One of the major problems every aspiring student of North Korea has to keep in mind is the dramatic shortage of the available information dealing with this country. In the information-saturated world …

September 15th, 2014
0
Incheon’s idiocy just flags up more trouble

Incheon’s idiocy just flags up more trouble

Sometimes a piece of news comes in, and your heart sinks. Really sinks. This is such a time. Good news first. The 17th Asian Games (or Asiad) are set to kick off in the South Korean port city of In…

September 11th, 2014
12
Engagement and its geopolitical context

Engagement and its geopolitical context

This is the second in a two-part series on why the U.S. has not engaged with North Korea. The first can be found here.  Back in 2010 U.S. political scientist Mel Gurtov asked, in an article in the…

September 10th, 2014
0
How North Korea uses, abuses history

How North Korea uses, abuses history

One of the major features of North Korea’s official attitude toward history and, broadly speaking, all humanities is a very high level of politicization. In Medieval Europe, philosophy was frequentl…

September 9th, 2014
7
Engaging with engagement: Preferring to talk only to God

Engaging with engagement: Preferring to talk only to God

Quite frequently there are calls from Americans for their government to “engage” with North Korea. Such exhortations naturally are more frequent around anniversaries, such as that of the signing o…

September 8th, 2014
1