Essays

Ulan Bator’s Small Country Diplomacy: The Case of North Korea

By | June 22, 2015

The larger powers in East and Northeast Asia have done little to mitigate Pyongyang’s pursuit of weaponry or to dampen its supposed desire to unify the peninsula under the Kimist banner. Now, an important key to resolving the North Korean crisis may rest in an unlikely source: Mongolia. Anthony Rinna explores.

Cultures of Critique: Kim Jong-un on North Korean Deforestation

By | June 08, 2015

Kim Jong-un’s recent rhetoric lamented the deforestation of the North Korean landscape; Sino-NK assesses the challenges and possibilities for innovation.

Purges, Baekdu, and the Moranbong Band: Data Points around General Hyon

By | May 16, 2015

Using music as a medium, Adam Cathcart takes the field of debate regarding the alleged purge and execution of Hyon Yong-chol into the ultra-politicized realm of concert halls and power stations.

The Legendary Women of Baekdu: “And did those feet in ancient times…”

By | May 07, 2015

Robert Winstanley-Chesters concludes his essay series focused on the crossings, journeys and deterritorializations of elements of charismatic Kimism, arriving finally on the slopes of Baekdu with Kim Jong-suk.

The Crossings and Encounters of Kim Jong-suk: “And did those feet in ancient times…”

By | April 09, 2015

The second piece in a three-part series, Robert Winstanley-Chesters looks in detail at the de- and reterritorialization of charismatic authority in the story of Kim Jong-suk, the so-called “Mother of Military-first Chosun.”

Does a New Ambassador Mean a “Reset” In China-North Korea Relations?

By | March 27, 2015

With a deep dive into Beijing’s internal bureaucratic politics and Li Jinjun’s predecessors in Pyongyang, Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga sheds light on China’s evolving stance toward North Korea.

Shin Dong-hyuk: Finally Poised For Effective Activism

By | March 23, 2015

Personal narratives are co-created by teller and receiver, and each is mutually responsible for the outcomes. According to Eric Foley, CEO of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, Shin Dong-hyuk’s extraordinary life story is like any co-created narrative, and only by taking a different stance toward it can we arrive at an honest accounting.

Footsteps and Deterritorializations: “And did those feet in ancient times…”

By | March 22, 2015

Rodong Sinmun reports on a wintery children’s pilgrimage to North Korea’s northern border, the place where, four score and ten years ago, Kim Il-sung crossed the Yalu. Political geographer Robert Winstanley-Chesters investigates the implications of their reenactment.