Essays

South Korea’s Identity Gap: Diverging Views on North Korea

By and | January 23, 2017

How close do South Korean youth feel to North Korea vis-a-vis their older compatriots? What do they think about the reunification of a nation long divided? Reviewing the latest survey data and fresh evidence from qualitative interviews, Phillip Lee and Steven Denney confirm what many have long suspected: a growing identity gap.

Foreign Policy Implications of Park’s Impeachment

By | December 09, 2016

Dr. Leif-Eric Easley assesses the ramifications of President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment for the regional order and considers likely foreign policy scenarios should the Constitutional Court uphold the impeachment motion.

In the Cradle of Exile: The National Origins of Communist China and Korea

By | August 09, 2016

In this featured piece on “exilic nationalism,” Benjamin Eckton argues that national and revolutionary origins of the North Korean and Chinese state are found in the rough terrain of the Jinggang Mountains and the hills of Manchuria, where Mao Zedong and Kim Il-sung would develop and nurture their ideas of revolution and national liberation.

North Korean Nationalism: Lessons from Pyongyang

By | June 08, 2016

What is North Korean nationalism? Is it the same as the South Korean variant? In a new essay, Steven Denney pauses to reflect on a recent trip to the DPRK, and considers the answers to both of these questions.

Same Problem, Different Angles: Japan and South Korea’s Divergent Approaches to Cooperation with Russia

By | June 06, 2016

Russia’s comparatively hardline approach to North Korea in 2016 serves to highlight the generally pragmatic nature of interstate relations in Northeast Asia, argues Tony Rinna, Sino-NK’s Russia and Eurasia Analyst.

Identity, Security, and the Nation: Understanding the South Korean Response to North Korean Defectors

By | April 22, 2016

In this review essay, Dr. Sarah Son summarizes her contribution to an Asian Ethnicity special issue (Spring 2016) on North Koreans in South Korea. Her work explores the simultaneous portrayal of this group as both “us” and “them” in public policy discourse.

Focusing Illusions: ROK Opinion Polling and the North Korea Lens

By | January 19, 2016

Responding to a recent article linking attitudes toward North Korea with an emerging form of nationalism in South Korea, Christopher Green argues that the real drivers of identity and attitudinal change are to be found elsewhere.

Recent Developments on the SEZ Battlefront: Mubong and Kyongwon

By | November 09, 2015

In his second essay for Sino-NK, Théo Clément examines two SEZ developments on the North Korean side of the border, Mubong and Kyongwon. There he finds signs of competing local initiatives, logistical savvy, and reciprocal dialogue with Chinese partners.