Author Archive

Scapegoats, Boiled Dogs, and the Laos Visit: Nicolas Levi on Ri Yong Ho

By | July 29, 2012

Dr. Nicolas Levi looks back at purged General Ri Yong-ho’s May 2012 voyage to Laos and its implications.

A Divided Korea Does Not Mean a Dangerous Korea

By | June 23, 2012

A Divided Korea Does Not Mean a Dangerous Korea by Nicolas Levi Introduction | After and even during its recent and extended rhetorical fusillade at Seoul,  North Korea has been stepping up its calls for peace with South Korea in a style common to the past. Pyongyang’s dialogue is coming in spite of escalating tensions […]

France and North Korea: Odd Partners

By | May 03, 2012

When Charles de Gaulle’s government shocked the West in 1964 by recognizing Maoist China, a French trend of difference — particularly when it comes to East Asia — with its neighbors and the United States was emphasized.  Today, even as France is locked in a domestic struggle for the angry rural voter and “neither advancing […]

Ambassadeurs chinois en Corée du Nord: Sizing Up Chinese Ambassadors in Pyongyang

By | April 12, 2012

With the speed of events these past few days overtaking the ability to cover all the necessary ground, we here at are endeavoring to spread the figurative battlefield further, in the hopes of finally outflanking the topic of Chinese-North Korean relations in this cruel month. Today’s post reprises the last two Chinese ambassadors to […]

Kim Family Business: North Korean Elite Social Networks and DPRK Foreign Trade

By | March 22, 2012

To what extent is North Korea prone to “open up” to the outside via foreign trade? And what role do North Korean family networks play in this trade activity?  Nicolas Levi writes from Warsaw with much data to consider in pursuit of these questions. – Adam Cathcart, Editor-in-Chief.    Kim Family Business: North Korean Elite […]

North Korean Elites: Implications for Commercial Activities with China

By | February 16, 2012

At an early point in his sprawling 2100+ page memoir With the Century, Kim Il Sung initiates a line of discussion of which we are sure to see more in the coming years: praise for patriotic Korean capitalist-nationalist-revolutionaries.  Recollecting his youth in Pyongyang (“a city of shacks, made of cardboard boxes and four-by-fours”), Kim turns […]

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 […]