Full Comment on the North Korean Execution Rumours

Adam Taylor at the Washington Post was kind enough to get in touch with me for a piece he wrote about some recent and rather grisly execution rumors stemming from new satellite imagery as interpreted by Joe Bermudez and the folks at the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK). A lightly modified version of my full response follows: I think it’s an awful lot … Continue reading Full Comment on the North Korean Execution Rumours

Viewing the DPRK’s 66th Anniversary through a Chinese Lens

The realities of daily life in North Korea are, at best, elusive for the outsider to grasp. A lack of personal experiences often interfere. Those of us who have never known hunger or the terror of a certain knock on the door can read tales of depravation of food and basic personal rights only in shock. In today’s world beyond the DPRK, empathy (and its … Continue reading Viewing the DPRK’s 66th Anniversary through a Chinese Lens

Stephan Haggard’s Comment on Sinuiju SEZs

Stephan Haggard is frequently described as one of the top North Korea analysts in the United States; his breadth of interest, range of expertise, and command of massive amounts of data, along with his keen analytical eye all serve to confirm his standing in the research community.  I was therefore glad to see that he took interest in one of my recent papers on the … Continue reading Stephan Haggard’s Comment on Sinuiju SEZs

Inspector O is Not in the Office: Tracing a Traffic Accident Near Pyongyang

The story has made virtually no waves in English, Chinese, or Korean, but perhaps that is the point: On November 26, apparently within minutes of one another, two separate buses full of “a Chinese business delegation” and “a Chinese tourist group” crashed on an icy road 60 km from Pyongyang, killing six Chinese and two North Koreans. This according to the Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang, … Continue reading Inspector O is Not in the Office: Tracing a Traffic Accident Near Pyongyang

Drums, Gongs, and Elections

No ordinary day in news from North Korea! DPRK Immersed in Festive Mood Pyongyang, July 24 (KCNA) — The DPRK has an election for deputies to the provincial (municipal), city (district) and county people’s assemblies on Sunday. Streets are garbed in festive attire and decorated with national flags, red banners, placards and posters calling for consolidating the people’s power. Polls are crowded by people in … Continue reading Drums, Gongs, and Elections

North Korea: Examination Materials

I recently completed a month-long lecture series on North Korean-Chinese relations at Pacific Lutheran University.  Because these lectures were occasioned by a course I teach at PLU, I had the pleasure of writing an exam on the topic. Here, in no particular order, are a few of themes or questions which were covered in the lectures and which my students consequently suggested that I should … Continue reading North Korea: Examination Materials

Bertold Brecht in North Korea

Well, more like Brecht for North Korea.  North Koreans may need Bibles, but no less, they need the acidic and informed spite, the angular mockery of state power which is offered by the German dramatist and writer Bertold Brecht and, to a lesser but perhaps more visceral degree, the poison-penned irony of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich. So with ambitions to get this translated into Korean … Continue reading Bertold Brecht in North Korea

North Korea Notes

The Hu-Obama Summit has already been subjected to some of the most intense lobbying pressures known to man.  From big business to human rights groups to the defense hawks in both countries, both executives have probably had it up to their ears (or, in Hu’s case, his lengthening and positively Cheneyewque jowls) with being pushed to push his counterpart on a given issue.  This being … Continue reading North Korea Notes

Obedient, Intransigent North Korea in the Chinese Media

Thanks to the ever-productive Joshua Stanton at the very useful but hopelessly Anglophone (and somewhat impervious) command post for North Korean counter-revolution known as One Free Korea, I got motivated to do some more analysis of Chinese sources touching upon the recent flare-up in the sea to the west (and north!) of the DMZ in Korea. As I see it, Chinese media strategy as regards … Continue reading Obedient, Intransigent North Korea in the Chinese Media

Northeast Asia — Readings from the Bunker

The American state of Ohio has more libraries and colleges than pre-war Iraq had suspected chemical weapons facilities.  There, on the cusp of the American northeast, young analysts of East Asia hammer out academic credentials in the secret stacks and labs of the Buckeye State, protected in huge concrete bibliotek-bunkers from the prying eyes of unmanned aerial drones which President Bush warned of one mushroom-cloud-dreaming … Continue reading Northeast Asia — Readings from the Bunker