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Napalm and Invasion: North Korean War Memory and British Sources

In a recent post on his black-and-white personal blog, the North Korea scholar B.R. Myers criticizes a recent ream of journalistic think pieces about the function of Korean War memory in the DPRK. The essays, Myers writes, uncritically accept the argument that North Korean memories of US bombing from 1950-53 are a foremost justification today for the pursuit of a nuclear deterrent. To put it another way, Myers … Continue reading Napalm and Invasion: North Korean War Memory and British Sources

Poking the Wasp Nest: Shen Zhihua’s Controversial Speech on North Korea

Why should we care about scholars in China, or the complaints they have toward North Korea? Usually, readers take interest in Chinese scholarly debates because something specific and enticing has been translated into English implying that a Beijing policy shift toward North Korea may be in the offing.    Shen Zhihua’s March 2017 speech in Dalian became the latest in this periodic series of subterranean … Continue reading Poking the Wasp Nest: Shen Zhihua’s Controversial Speech on North Korea

Wise Words and Wishful Thinking on China’s Relationship with North Korea

The most recent wave of analysis emerging out of North Korea’s test of an apparent Intercontinental Ballistic Missile has once again brought minds back to focusing on China’s ability to pressure North Korea. From the US President to the Washington Post, opinion makers and analysts are keen to see China take the key role in getting North Korea to stop flouting UN Security Council resolutions. … Continue reading Wise Words and Wishful Thinking on China’s Relationship with North Korea

Turning Anti-Japanese in China

Peering up from the various forms of wreckage spawned by the United States — be it the lamentable state of transportation infrastructure, the gory aftermath of multiple-front wars in southwest Asia, international media coverage of police killings of African-Americans, or sequestration and the swaths of red enveloping the national budget —  the very notion of a “success story” of American foreign and economic policy today … Continue reading Turning Anti-Japanese in China

North Korean Economic Change as Relinquishing of Party Control

The veteran reporter Choe Sang-hun has produced one of the most interesting analyses to follow in the confused aftermath of the non-event that was the North Korean set piece for foreign journalists in mid-April.  It is entitled “As Economy Grows, North Korea’s Control over Society is Tested,” and was published in the New York Times on 30 April 2017. Apart from quite a bit of detail provided … Continue reading North Korean Economic Change as Relinquishing of Party Control

Reflections on the History of Chinese-North Korean Relations, and US-DPRK Relations Today

Sometimes we need to modify the questions we ask. The question “Is the Chinese Communist Party going to cut off North Korea?” results in a fairly predictable string of analyses — usually adding up to an answer of “no.” Perhaps we might be better off by shifting perspectives, asking “To what extent does the regime in Pyongyang trust its counterpart in Beijing?” Such a question … Continue reading Reflections on the History of Chinese-North Korean Relations, and US-DPRK Relations Today

Recent Op-eds and Media Work

The last three weeks have been particularly intense for analysts of North Korea, China, and Sino-North Korean relations. Amid the struggle to get two of my normal scholarly research articles submitted, I was able to get the following work published, some of which may be of interest to readers of this blog. ‘China, North Korea going through rough patch but break-up not on the horizon‘ (published … Continue reading Recent Op-eds and Media Work