Sam Swash looks at how the North Korean population is conditioned to read for conspiracies that may or may not be there. In the process he reminds us that we may be just as much if not more open to misinformation that shows their leadership to be infallible.
Adam Cathcart does some further thinking around the death of Otto Warmbier, but with an underutilized angle; seeking clarity not on what Warmbier’s passing means for us, but on what it means in Pyongyang.
A Roundtable Review of Van Jackson’s Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in U.S.-North Korea Relations
Adam Mount (Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress), Daniel Pinkston (Troy University), and Martin Weiser (graduate of Korea University) provide different evaluations of Van Jackson’s analysis of the history of the US-North Korea relationship in his newly published book, Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in U.S.-North Korea Relations.
Using archival material from the Woodrow Wilson Center, Eungseo Kim dissects the politics of Sino-US détente in 1972. He concludes that Pyongyang’s grievance against Beijing for its refusal to push preconditions for Sino-US diplomatic normalization was why Pyongyang decided it needed to deal directly with the United States.
THAAD is a hot issue in South Korea today. There is conflict over the safety of the system, as well as popular anger at the government’s failure to consult the public at either the local or national level prior to announcing THAAD deployment. This has reinvigorated concerns over the relationship between democracy and the core tenets of the US-ROK alliance. Darcie Draudt investigates.
A Roundtable Review of Il Hyun Cho’s Global Rogues and Regional Orders: The Multidimensional Challenge of North Korea and Iran
Il Hyun Cho argues that the “rogue state” narrative is not wholly global, but is largely a creation of US security concerns in tandem with the role conceptions of regional actors. Van Jackson and Daniel Wertz consider the proposition in this roundtable review.
In response to sanctions on South Korean business and Pyongyang’s will to export more labor, the focus of inter-Korean exchange has shifted to the city of Dandong, “another Kaesong Industrial Complex,” according to anthropologist Kang Ju-won. Christopher Green looks at Kang’s recent article on Pressian.
Can anything be learned from crawling through North Korea’s own report on its human rights situation and outlook? Adam Cathcart goes spelunking to find out.