June 02, 2023

“A Changing North Korea”?

On September 14 2011, three prominent North-East Asia scholars presented the findings of their June 2011 trip to North Korea at an event hosted at the Woodrow Wilson Center, in Washington DC.  At the event, the three scholars all noted how surprised they were at some of the observations they had made during their stay, observations that suggest discernnible changes might well be underway in the DPRK.

Before the presentations, the Korea Economic Institute's Dr. Abraham Kim warned of a few caveats to bear in mind while assessing the groups' findings.  For some members of the group, it was their first visit to the DPRK; their insights represented but a window of eight days; they had mainly travelled around the more prosperous western regions of the country; and they could only report on what they had seen or heard. However, the group had visited with a shared and significant experience in working on North Korean issues and had good Korean language skills - factors that undoubtedly helped inform the understanding of what they saw.