Writings and Media Work: July 2017

For whatever reason, July has been a particularly active month in the various cockpits where I do my work — coffee shops, trains rocketing between Leeds and London, my university office, and British libraries — and consequently a few things have actually gotten finished. Some of the work that follows is purely opportunistic, but at least a portion of it reflects more deeply on my … Continue reading Writings and Media Work: July 2017

North Korea and Border Crossings in Northeast Asia

On 17 February, I will be lecturing at the Irish Institute for Korean Studies at University College Cork, a dynamic university in the revolutionary heartland of the Republic of Ireland. The title of the lecture is ‘North Korea and Border Crossings in Northeast Asia.’ The lecture series is sponsored by the One Asia Foundation, and includes a number of notables in the field, including James Lewis … Continue reading North Korea and Border Crossings in Northeast Asia

Border Consolidation in Liaoning: From Chen Yun to Xi Jinping

For presentation at Leiden University lecture series “Borders: Life on the Edge of Area Studies“, 28 February 2017: For the Chinese Communist Party, the northeastern province of Liaoning today inhabits an odd position on the “One Belt, One Road” strategic line. Stuck with a recalcitrant North Korean neighbour, the CCP is endeavouring to revive the regional economy by reaching beyond various fundamental North Korean blockages … Continue reading Border Consolidation in Liaoning: From Chen Yun to Xi Jinping

Putting a Price Tag on North Korea’s October 10 Celebrations

I don’t doubt there is an abundance of potential fury in North Korea’s provinces, but it does seem odd that a single parade, fireworks display, and associated banquets and pageantry would eat up an amount equivalent roughly equivalent to 7% of the country’s GDP (source: CIA World Factbook, 2013 GDP est. at 28 billion). While Pyongyang remains the inevitable epicentre of state expenditure and ostentatious display, the … Continue reading Putting a Price Tag on North Korea’s October 10 Celebrations

On the disbandment of the DPRK’s Unhasu Orchestra and the reported death of several of its members

With respect to the matter of the Unhasu Orchestra “executions” which has been bubbling about since late August 2013, augmented by  JoongAng Ilbo reports of “stadium executions” in Wonsan in November 2013, and raised again with reports of grizzly executions of yet more musicians in spring 2015: Obviously, none of us is in possession of anything resembling a conclusive data point which would prove or … Continue reading On the disbandment of the DPRK’s Unhasu Orchestra and the reported death of several of its members

North Korean Purges and Scuttlebutt

A few days after publishing a 2500-word analysis of the Hyon Yong-chol purge aftermath (an abbreviated version of which was published by the Guardian), I spoke with Steve Miller of the Asia News Weekly podcast about a number of issues relating to North Korea and the situation in northeast Asia. A sound & video recording of our conversation, along with some prefatory text, is available here. Continue reading North Korean Purges and Scuttlebutt

Recent Writings and Commentary on North Korea

Essays ‘Purges, Baekdu, and the Moranbong Band: Data Points around General Hyon,’ Sino-NK, 16 May 2015  ‘Kim Jong-un’s vulnerability on display as North Korean rumours abound,’ The Guardian, 15 May 2015  ‘Satellites and State Media: Breaking Down Recent Execution Rumors,’ Sino-NK, 4 May 2015.  ‘Kim Jong-un: purges, paranoia, plots and the beloved leader’s cancelled trip to Moscow,’ The Conversation, 1 May 2015  Media Comment   Continue reading Recent Writings and Commentary on North Korea