Author: Adam Cathcart

On Translation: North Korea in the Sinophone Gaze

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China / Chinese foreign policy / Huanqiu Shibao / North Korea / Sino-North Korean relations
Wangqing County Forestry Officials Discuss the Previous Year's Work, Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region - courtesy Wangqing County

Chinese writing about North Korea is peculiar. And perhaps it ought to be. Surely, well-informed insights and even genuinely insightful speculations ought to be welcomed to the table with alacrity, regardless of the nationality or linguistic tendencies of the thinker. Translators naturally serve a vital role in the enterprise of tying together Korea-oriented policy and analytical communities. Chinese writing about North Korea takes on an additional point of interest when it appears to indicate that the […]

Three Questions on Dandong and Chinese-North Korean Economic Relations

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Borderlands / North Korean border region / Sino-North Korean relations

As the third China-North Korea Trade Fair continues, a few questions (modified from those posed by a stalwart reporter from a northern European news magazine roaming Liaoning province) and tentative answers seem appropriate. Q.: There is a great deal of new construction in Dandong and Chinese real estate companies are clearly trying to attract buyers — including possibly wealthy North Koreans.  I have been going to the ‘Xinchengqu’ (or New City district) every year since that […]

The Dandong Trade Fair

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Borderlands / North Korean border region / Sino-North Korean relations

As the rest of the world gets accustomed to seeing Kim Jong-un walk with a cane, we might do well to figure out what, if anything, is changing about the way that the broader North Korean state engages with the economic powerhouses that engulf its southern and northern peripheries. KEI’s Director of Research recently assessed the outlook for improved inter-Korean economic relations in the aftermath of the surprising visit of a high-level North Korean troika […]

New European Writing on North Korea

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EU-East Asia relations / German / North Korea / North Korea foreign relations
Overlooking Musan, DPRK, at the Tumen River (Yanbian-North Hamgyong border) - photo by Chuck Kraus, 2007

In terms of high-quality research being done on North Korea and its ties in Northeast Asia, a great deal of good scholarly work is being done these days in Europe. Look no further than two autumn conferences: This coming weekend sees a major North Korea conference hosted by Hazel Smith at the University of Central Lancashire (UK). With a keynote by Donald Gregg, the conference will feature dozens of experts from around the world from […]

New Chinese Writing on North Korea

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Borderlands / Sino-North Korean relations
NKs in Hamgyong bukto 2

Chinese scholarship and journalistic analysis of North Korea tends to be very strong, if occasionally oblivious or channeled due to political censorship. From a scholarship standpoint, China’s increasing distance from the DPRK has resulted in a relative opening up of the Chinese discourse on North Korea which has been absolutely fascinating to observe. Today I ran across a new author I hadn’t been familiar with previously: Kang Chun-nü [康春女], who is a Chinese national of […]

North Korea Commentitis

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North Korea / Pensee
Kims in Jagang

Since the non-events in North Korea seem to require some academic or historical context, I’ve been quoted these last few days in Le Monde, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. As my colleagues in the Leeds University School of History assured me today at a weekend undergraduate recruiting event, this is all great, because it’s not every day the media takes an interest in one’s work. Huzzahs all around! Yet, being at […]

North Korea Misinformation Bingo

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North Korea / Op-Ed / 新闻自由
North Koreans off the shores of Dandong, PRC, on 6 October 2014. Photo via Xinhua/Huanqiu Shibao.

When it comes to North Korea, there are an awful lot of hypotheses floating about the information spectrum these days. Whether or not these all have been encouraged, tacitly or otherwise, by the South Korean state (undercutting Kimist legitimacy) or by the North Korean state (as a means of changing the subject from, say, human rights abuses), or are mainly driven by cutthroat competition in the online journalism sector, is anyone’s guess. But two things […]