Charismatic Environs: From Local Landscape to National Landschaft

By | September 05, 2013

As this sweeping essay illustrates, Kim Jong-un’s obsession with turf and landscape, far from being gratuitous, is in fact part of the North Korean leadership’s art of imbuing the very land of the DPRK with charismatic qualities.

Domain Consensus: Engaging the Delury Argument on North Korean Reform

By | June 29, 2013

To what extent does Kim Jong-un need to be perceived as “legitimate” by the North Korean people in order to advance his agenda? And is economic reform his ticket to ultimate stability? Delving into recent arguments by John Delury, Sino-NK tries to find out.

The Significance of the Unusual: Removing “Reformist” Illusions in Reading North Korean Media

By | June 29, 2013

Shirley Lee arrives with a unique reading of Kim Jong-un and Pak Pong-ju’s visits to non-military sites in the DPRK, warning that they have very little to do with ostensible reforms.

Skiing in Choppy Waters: North Korea Lays Out the Pyeongchang Hustle

By | May 28, 2013

The North Korean Army is building a ski resort at Masik Pass. Christopher Green explains the significance and possible reasons behind North Korea’s decision to “go for the gold.”

Charismatic Politics of Another Sort: Personality Politics in South Korea

By | May 04, 2013

In unconsolidated democracies with weak party institutions, charismatic political figures have a disproportionately higher level of influence compared to consolidated democracies. Ahn Cheol-soo is one such figure. Steven Denney explains.

[Sino-NK Exclusive] North Korea Through the Lankov Prism: Welcome to “The Real North Korea”

By | April 13, 2013

A Sino-NK exclusive cornucopia of perspectives on Dr. Andrei Lankov’s forthcoming book, The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia.

Hubs for Radical Change? North Korea’s SEZs under Kim Jong-un

By | January 11, 2013

How can we measure if the North Korean economy is undergoing reform? Watch the country’s six Special Economic Zones, via Sabine van Ameijden’s overview of SEZ change and stagnation.

Let Them Eat Concerts: Music, the Moranbong Band and Cultural Turns in Kim Jong Un’s Korea

By | July 12, 2012

Sometimes analysts fixate all of their energies on hard institutions, such as the central government, the military, or emergent non-governmental groups, as the primary drivers of society. Although government decrees, military drills and protests are important indicators, sometimes the less obvious — that which doesn’t involve rocket launches or social upheaval — tells an equal amount […]