1967 was a key year in ensuring that the Kim family’s iron-fisted ideological control of the DPRK would continue indefinitely. At the forefront of this process was a speech delivered on May 25 that year. The problem is that no foreigner has ever seen it, and it has long been misidentified by South Korean scholars. Hwang Jang-yop turns in his grave, while Fyodor Tertitskiy investigates.
When the Kim regime arrested, tried and swiftly executed Jang Sung-taek in December 2013, it was implementing the ancient maxim about the relative power of regents and monarchs, and following the ruthless logic of autocracy everywhere. Machiavelli would not have been in the least bit surprised by the death, as Christopher Green investigates in another of his columns for Groove Korea.
The purge of Jang Sung-taek has provided the world with a fresh layer of Korean peninsula intrigue, and yet more questions about the nature of Kimist dominance in the era of Jong-un. As the Twittersphere flutters, Nick Miller weighs in. Additional content from Christopher Green.
Rarely do all three leaders of the Kim dynasty go on the public record about a single policy issue, and this makes inter-generational analysis of policy tropes a thorny proposition. However, we now have access to major treatizes on land management theory from the 1960s, 1980s and 2010s. Naturally, Robert Winstanley-Chesters has them lined up for comparison.
Highlighting continuities and nuclear disjunctures in North Korean depictions of the Kim family, Adam Cathcart glosses a Heonik Kwon essay and tags the Mansudae Art Studios.
Sino-NK’s Performing Arts Analyst Jimin Lee examines the Moranbong Band’s debut “Demonstration Concert” through the lens of its own name—that is, as a demonstration of its potential to act as bridge to the world with its “New Joseon Style” of pop musical performance.
Nick Miller’s comprehensive look at Chinese diplomatic interactions with North Korea from 2010-2012 sheds new light on the role of Ambassador Liu Hongcai.
Is China’s support for enhanced sanctions a fulcrum toward the future, or just repetition on an old theme? Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga talks it out.
The capricious act of a dictator addicted to hoops, piercing the ethos of foggy secrecy in Pyongyang, or just a calculated push forward for North Korean sports propaganda? Christopher Green investigates.