June 10, 2023

Why there’s more to the inner-workings of North Korea than just Kim Jong Un

A new report shows how we need more focus on DPRK institutions and the people who comprise them

More than ever since January 2017, "North Korea watchers" have been wrestling with a dilemma typical for analyzing autocracies: does one take a personalist interpretation of the DPRK’s diplomacy and statecraft, honing in on the methods, statements, visions, and quirks of the dictator?

Or, does one maintain a more systemic approach toward the state, and assume that institutions matter, may occasionally conflict, and even have a certain degree of agency?