Before New York: Assessing the North Korean Foreign Minister

North Korea does diplomacy like few other states in the world. The state’s well-known reclusiveness means that any foray outward is worth noticing; when combined with flamboyant attacks on adversaries (such as the insistence that the world bow before the blinding genius of their thirty-year old head of state, or risk being bombed), North Korean appearances have a way of attracting attention. The challenge is … Continue reading Before New York: Assessing the North Korean Foreign Minister

Why Kim Jong-un Might Turn Up in Mongolia

When the North Korean state media stops reporting on the activities of its head of state, or says he’s experiencing ‘discomfort‘ during a long absence, tongues will wag and Anglophone keyboards will rattle. Is Kim Jong-un ill, experiencing immobility at such an early age? Rather than recapitulate a few hundred semi-respectful comments on Twitter (through which I’ve tried to contribute to our collective fund of specific documentation … Continue reading Why Kim Jong-un Might Turn Up in Mongolia

Chronicling a Crisis in Sino-North Korean Relations

The diplomatic records of China’s relations with North Korea since 1948 are full of uncomfortable — and often forced — choices, strained declarations of friendship, and realizations of mutual need. This relationship has seen hard times in the past, from the ulcer-generating lead up to China’s intervention in the Korean War to the hostile cross-border propaganda war in the late 1960s.   We might draw … Continue reading Chronicling a Crisis in Sino-North Korean Relations