Military

Warfare by Feelings: Strategy, Spontaneity, and Emotions in Kim Il-sung’s Tactical Thinking

By | May 10, 2016

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein of UPenn and North Korea Economy Watch examines the role of emotion in DPRK military and political culture. Real KPA commanders surely see things very differently, but rhetorically the DPRK is at odds with the Western ideal of a modern soldier.

Chests Full of Brass: A DPRK Political History in Orders, Medals, Prizes, and Titles

By | January 08, 2016

The DPRK state structure can be hard to discern from the outside, but it is possible to structure analysis so as to dissipate the fog somewhat. Here, Martin Weiser wields the state system of awards and medals to shed light on national history.

2nd Miracle on the Han: Mass Media Unites over History by Ministerial Fiat

By | October 09, 2015

The South Korean mass media rarely unites in condemnation of a domestic policy, but controversial and deeply flawed plans to “re-nationalize” the production of secondary school history textbooks made it happen. Christopher Green investigates.

From the Borderland to Beijing: Chinese Civilian Shot in Changbai

By | September 20, 2015

A number of incidents involving North Korean soldiers in the Sino-NK borderland have recently been reported in the South Korean and Chinese media. Christopher Green takes a closer look at one of them from the Korean perspective.

Unpacking Beijing’s “Sinocentric Narcissism” during the Loudspeaker Crisis

By | August 25, 2015

Sino-NK translates a key editorial about how recent events along the Korean DMZ might impact the Chinese-North Korean relationship.

King, Wu, B-52: North Korea’s Rational Dis-invitation to the US Special Envoy on Human Rights

By | April 13, 2015

This piece of (recent) history by Morgan Potts explores the tensions of the 2013, when Robert King’s invitation to Pyonyang was rescinded, examining what could have been a turning point for US-DPRK relations that was lost amidst other diplomatic crises.

Svoliking in the High Grass: New Approaches to Understanding Authoritarian Regimes

By | September 17, 2014

Steven Denney reviews a few key works on “the politics of authoritarianism,” providing researchers with multiple comparative frameworks for understanding North Korea as authoritarian regime.

The New King’s Hand: Change in the Court of the Great Successor

By | May 06, 2014

A recent reshuffle inside the depths of the Kim regime saw Choe Ryong-hae tumble in the rankings, and Hwang Pyong-so rise further to take his place. As ever, debate is fierce as to why this was. Nick Miller looks back over the evidence now that Choe is back in the public domain.

Framing Epistemic Communities in North Korea: From Fungus to Botanical Gardens

By | January 30, 2014

North Korean developmental praxis relies on epistemic communities and research institutions to achieve its goals. The country’s institutions are not only meta-devices for rolling out in reportage to add a veneer of intellectual legitimacy to centralized dictat, as Robert Winstanley-Chesters reveals in the case of Pyongyang Botanical Gardens.

Sino-NK 2013 Rewind: The Byungjin Line and North Korea in an Era of Songun Politics

By | December 13, 2013

Extensively analyzed on Sino-NK in 2013, for the second of a pair of Sino-NK 2013 Rewind pieces, Peter Ward returns to Byungjin’s source with an investigation of its ur-text, April’s “Nuke and Peace.”

The “Myth” of the Kill, Kill, Kill Chain

By | October 27, 2013

One of the most common South Korean military buzzwords of recent months is “Kill Chain.” It sounds scary and pregnant with deterrence capability, but does it work? Hankyoreh and Professor Choi Jong-kun of Yonsei University think not. Christopher Green summarizes the argument.