Thae Yong-ho’s memoir marks a bold attempt to push back the tide of South Korean public ambivalence toward North Korea, a sprawling 500-page narrative of his experiences in the DPRK diplomatic corps over twenty years and ending with his 2016 defection. Robert Lauler takes a look at this essential, if flawed, text.
The study of North Korea, much like the country itself, is neither static or unchanging. Sino-NK reviews a recent addition to the canon: Kim Byeongro’s “Reading North Korea by Chosun” (2016).
South Korean novelist Kim Jin-myung released the behemoth “US-China War” in December last year. Kim controversially alleges that Washington’s strategic goal may not “merely” be the demolition of the DPRK, but crossing the Yalu to destroy the rising China, too. Robert Lauler reviews this pertinent and testy work of political fiction.
In their new book, Hard Target, Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland concentrate on the nature and underlying factors influencing the effectiveness of sanctions against North Korea; Sino-NK has concentrated on convening a roundtable to review it.
In this roundtable review, we take a magnifying glass to Unveiling the North Korean Economy by Kim Byung-yeon, to see whether the English language finally has the book on the North Korean economy that it needs.
Sheena Greitens examines the ways coercion is employed in authoritarian regimes in her new book, adding theoretical and empirical insights to the literature on authoritarian regime durability. Sino-NK reviews her contribution.
Where Deborah Smith’s translation of “The Accusation” opened up Bandi’s short stories for the English-speaking world, there are several novels by defector writers that are only in Korean. “Place of Human Desecration” is one. Robert Lauler reviews it.
In a new review for Sino-NK, Robert Lauler once again turns his attention to Korean literature centered around national division, taking a magnifying glass to The Intelligence Agent, the latest novel by Hong Sang-hwa.
A Roundtable Review of Van Jackson’s Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in U.S.-North Korea Relations
Adam Mount (Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress), Daniel Pinkston (Troy University), and Martin Weiser (graduate of Korea University) provide different evaluations of Van Jackson’s analysis of the history of the US-North Korea relationship in his newly published book, Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in U.S.-North Korea Relations.
Contrary to extant findings, evidence suggests the origins of South Korea’s industrial and economic transformation predated Park Chung-hee’s rise to power. A forthcoming piece for the Journal of Contemporary Asia argues that sweeping land reforms implemented in South Korea in the post-liberation period laid the foundations of the country’s economic development and industrial transformation.
Sino-NK doesn’t review many novels, but that doesn’t mean fiction is irrelevant. Quite the opposite. Here, Robert Lauler reviews the latest book by “Because I Hate Korea” author Jang Kang-myung, in which he sketches out a disturbing, dystopian portrait of a future unified Korea.