Think-Tank Watch

By | February 03, 2012

Steven Denney is editor-in-chief  of PEAR, Yonsei University’s graduate journal, a leading voice at the Political Cartel (East Asia) blog, and a master’s student in Global Studies at Yonsei University. In the “week in review” for January 30 through February 3, 2012, Denney, Think-Tank Analyst for, compiles a list of recent articles on North Korea […]

Introduction to North Korea’s Rason Economic Trade Zone

By | February 02, 2012

Will Rason, the DPRK’s bold experiment to attract foreign investment and introduce a sliver of market oriented reforms, go boom or bust? North Korea has toyed with special economic zones in areas along the Chinese border in the past, but the results have never been transformative or even economically significant—there is still no North Korean […]

Thick Black Lines: On Chongjin, 1947

By | February 02, 2012

Thick Black Lines: On Chongjin, 1947 by Adam Cathcart and Charles Kraus On Data |  The notion of unverified rumors from North Korea is anything but new.  Long before the World Wide Web, China Mobile cell phone penetration into North Pyong’an province, or the very formation of the Daily NK, the Central Intelligence Agency was […]

O Kuk Ryol: The Old Guard Never Dies

By | February 01, 2012

A generation of North Korean leaders came of age in the 1930s and 1940s, and the bonds and relationships which  had developed among them during this time — that is, during the Manchurian guerrilla experience and the subsequent North Korean revolution —  shaped political developments in Kim Il Sung’s DPRK.  Apart from the highly relevant […]

Stateless: An Introduction to the North Korean Refugee Issue

By | January 31, 2012

As today’s news from the Myanmar-Yuannan border indicates, the notion of thousands of refugees moving over Chinese borders and into the PRC is not a phenomenon which is completely unique to the DPRK-China frontier.  However, as today’s essay connotes, the issues surrounding North Korea’s refugee population are vitally important, playing a significant role in the […]

Strange Occurrences on the Border: Reviewing the Ling/Lee North Korea Episode

By | January 31, 2012

 As its propaganda testifies, the North Korean state is nothing if not attentive to its anniversaries.  Kim Jong Il’s 70th birthday on February 16, 2012, along with Kim Il Sung’s 100th birthday on April 15, 2012, are serving as repetitious focal points and justifications for – what else? – massive labor mobilization in the DPRK.  However, among […]

Maid of the Right Wing Hack Media Shock Brigade: The Rodong Sinmun Counterattacks

By | January 30, 2012

Not every DPRK-related story in the Asahi Shimbun is worthy of a North Korean refutation, but a recent piece asserting that Chinese forces had contingency plans to be “in Pyongyang in two hours” clearly touched a nerve.

Beyond OPLAN 5027: Chinese Planning for Disaster Scenarios on the North Korean Frontier

By | January 27, 2012

One of Japan’s great regional security muckrackers, Keiji Minemura, elaborates at length in the Asahi Shimbun (English) on the notion of Chinese military planning for crisis on the Korean peninsula.  The Dong-A Ilbo in Seoul compresses Minemura’s report into a spine-straightening headline: “China Can Enter Pyongyang in Two Hours in Case of Emergency.”  Clearly the […]