Editor’s Note

By | September 27, 2012 | No Comments

Image: Rodong Sinmun


As the fall semester gets off the ground in earnest, we anticipate enacting a few more changes to our overall  profile which we anticipate announcing relatively soon.  In the meantime, a spin-through some recent activity of our editors and selected analysts may be of interest. Writers for SinoNK whose work or current activities have not been included in this update (for reasons of time, i.e., the editor’s laziness) are welcome to contribute in the comments section of the post. — Editor

Editor-in-Chief Adam Cathcart participated in a roundtable on the Leiden initiative on Northern Korea (Leiden iNK) in the Netherlands on September 20, organized by Remco Breuker and Koen de Cuester at Leiden University.  The initiative seeks to focus attention upon the northern part of the Korean peninsula in the longest possible historical context while re-framing media discourse about the DPRK.  We anticipate continued fruitful cooperation with Leiden iNK and will be announcing more about this work as it continues to develop.

Beyond Holland, Cathcart will be presenting research on North Korean cultural construction a conference organized by Dafna Zur at Stanford University on November 2, and giving a talk about Sino-North Korean borderlands between 1945 and 1950 at the Centre of Korean Studies at SOAS, University of London on November 23 (more details on the SOAS presentation here). He also appeared on National Public Radio (NPR) in Louisa Lim’s September 24 piece regarding changes in North Korea.

Analyst and Administrator Chris Green participated in a five-way round table in Chatham House style for the USFK high command on Yongsan base on Monday 17th September. Writing in tandem with Sokeel Park, Chris Green published a piece in Asia Times on the perennial question of North Korean reform, or the lack thereof:

It is time to move on from the debate about whether the regime is preparing for change or not. Information received by these authors has revealed time and time again that change is coming. The first signs of North Korea’s “new economic management system” were received by the Seoul-based Daily NK back on July 11, and since then, in-country sources have cited elements of the policy on a daily basis in calls received from places as distant as Chongjin, Hyesan, Musan and Shinuiju, not to mention the corridors of power in Pyongyang.

Chris Green continues his work at Daily NK, publishing essays like this detailed piece on the meaning of the Supreme People’s Assembly of September 25, 2012.

Assistant Editor Steven Denney has taken an intern position at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, is managing the publication of Volume 4, Issue 2 of the Yonsei Journal of International Studies and presented a paper on the political economy of trade and the KORUS FTA at the ASAK conference in Seoul on September 22.

Coordinator Roger Cavazos, in addition to his writing for SinoNK, continues work with Nautilus, writing a short blog on the site while still in exile near America’s third coast. He recently did a swing through both the East and West Coast to catch up on latest developments and discuss various ideas.  While in California, many old friends and new friends were exceptionally gracious with their  time including  at Stanford University (Dr. Thomas Fingar, Dr. John Lewis), Berkeley University Center for Effective Global Action, and Japan Security Watch to discuss various ideas.   And of course, he returned to “mothership” Nautilus for meetings and discussions. A month later, he trekked to the East Coast trek for extremely informative discussions on the whither the political and economic winds blow with  National Committee on US-China Relations, the East-West Institute, Congressional Research Service, etc. Working ceaselessly towards a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, he will participate in a Nautilus Institute and Woodrow Wilson Center co-sponsored workshop this coming October 9-10 in Washington, D.C.

Analyst for Refugee Issues Brian Gleason published an essay in Korean Quarterly with Adam Cathcart, an extended analysis of the books by Euna Lee and Laura/Lisa Ling  (link to full text here).

Analyst Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga published a piece in 38 North on August 15, was quoted in NTI’s “Global Security Newswire,” and most recently has published an in-depth look at Chinese views of North Korean economic reforms with the EU Council on Foreign Relations.  His recently completed thesis at Peking University will serve as the centerpiece of a SinoNK Writing Group meeting in London on the afternoon of November 24, 2012.

Around the web, SinoNK was featured on the Witness to Transformation blog, was quoted in a very interesting Moranbong Band analysis on the website of the Association for French-Korean Friendship, and received some positive attention in Korean via the work of analyst Nicolas Levi.  Adam Cathcart published some of his reportage from Dandong on DailyNK on August 31 (“Boom or Bust? North Korea and Changes in Liaoning”), and the Dossier No. 3, an exhaustive look at the period from October-December 2011 in PRC-DPRK bilateral relations with a preface by Stephan Haggard, was completed and distributed.

via Tripline

Finally, because this observation fits nowhere else, Editor-in-Chief Adam Cathcart took a voyage from Dandong to Incheon in August and was rather stunned by the expanse of North Korean mudflats, the large number of Chinese cargo ships lined up on the approach to Nampo, the sudden cell phone reception not so far from Yeonpyeong Island, the cragged immensity of the DPRK’s western flank, the novelty of “Gangnam Style” KBS broadcasting on the ship after the effective cultural sealing of China (Christian rock in English in the Dandong KFC, but no Psy, no, none whatsoever), followed by the sudden brutal slap of Falun Gong propaganda upon exiting the Incheon Ferry Terminal and then beyond, into the whirlwind of South Korean factional politics and production.

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