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North Korea’s Rocket launch: Mounting regional tensions
Dr. Sudhanshu Tripathi - 12/22/2012
After initial success of North Korea in putting a satellite into orbit by launching a long-range rocket on the previous Wednesday, the Pyongyang’s ambitious space exploration programme appears to be going awry because the satellite is now reported to be hurtling uncontrolled and is apparently tumbling from the scheduled path amidst all the other satellites that the world uses for different purposes.
Cyber attack on South Korea
Iqbal Ahmed - 9/13/2011
What should South Korea do to prevent future cyber attacks?
North Korea Political Prisoner Camps – An Interview with Tae Jin Kim
Javier Delgado Rivera - 4/29/2011
The unrelenting paranoid that nourishes a regime
Earlier this month, the US State Department released its 2010 Human Rights Report. It portrays the “systematic and severe human rights abuses occurred throughout the [North Korean] prison and detention system" as some of the grimmest violations against humanity anywhere in the world.
Coinciding with the launch of the report, Javier Delgado Rivera interviewed Mr Tae Jin Kim, president of Free the NK Gulag, a Seoul-based organisation raising awareness on the North Korean political prisoner camps (Kwan-Li-So in Korean). Mr Kim, a for...
Korea: Imminent Unification
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/23/2010
By late 2010, a succession war was simmering in North Korea. His panoply of suddenly-bestowed senior political and military posts notwithstanding, the generals and military establishment were less than happy and impressed with Kim Jong-un, the younger son of the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. Each side flexed muscles in an attempt to burnish their nationalist and martial credentials. The outcomes of this internecine conflict were ominous: a series of ever-escalating military skirmishes with South Korea and the ramping up of North Korea’s already burgeoning nuclear weapons program.
North Korean infamy of being a Rogue
Preeti Nalwa, Ph.D. - 11/16/2010
The 75-page report by the seven-member Panel of Experts on Pyongyang’s compliance with UN sanctions has been released by the Security Council on November 10, 2010. The U.N. report says that North Korea “has continued to provide missiles, components and technology to certain countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic,” and that North Korea “has provided assistance for a nuclear program in the Syrian Arab Republic.” This report was delivered to the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee in May 2010 but it was blocked by China for six months. The pr...
Attempt to avert the descent of Northeast Asia into war
Preeti Nalwa - 7/25/2010
The much awaited release of the UNSC presidential statement on July 9, 2010 condemning the Cheonan sinking was expected to finally put to rest the tensions which had arisen in the wake of the corvette’s sinking. But it seems that this incident has taken a life form of its own which refuses to abate the growing apprehensions in Northeast Asia. The relatively moderate statement had temporarily dispelled the fear about any North Korean retaliation as it had emphatically announced that it would strike if a penalizing and vindictive posture was adopted by the council. Abstaining from declaring No...
Shangri-La Dialogue and the Sino-U.S. divide on North Korea
Preeti Nalwa - 6/28/2010
The South Korean President Myung-bak Lee delivered the keynote address at the recently concluded 9th Shangri-La Dialogue held at Singapore from 4-6 June, 2010. The keynote address marked the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War. Since its inception in 2002, the Shangrila Dialogue has emerged as an important platform of communication for the major powers with significant stakes in Asia-Pacific security where chiefs of defense staff and permanent heads of defense ministries as well as legislators with strong defense credentials, annually meet to address...
Tensions in the Korean Peninsula
Preeti Nalwa, Ph.D. - 6/8/2010
Trepidation of a skirmish which could escalate has been ignited on the divided Korean Peninsula and the inter-Korean relations have sunk to the lowest level of distrust since the sinking of the South Korean naval ship “Cheonan”. The 1,200 ton Patrol Combat Corvette (PCC-772) sank on March 26, 2010 in the Yellow Sea, south of the disputed Northern Limit Line near Baengnyeong Island. An international investigation has concluded that a strike by a North Korean CHT-02D torpedo from a ‘midget’ submarine was the cause of an external underwater explosion which broke the ship into two. North Korea has...
Behind the Axis: The North Korean Connection
Jonathan Spyer, Ph.D. - 6/1/2010
North Korean spokesmen reacted furiously last week to claims by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Pyongyang is supplying weapons technology to Iran and Syria. Representatives of the regime of Kim Jong-Il described Lieberman as an "imbecile." The official Korean Central News Agency in a memorable phrase accused the foreign minister in an official statement of "faking up sheer lies."
North Korea’s ‘Charm Offensive” a will-o-the-wisp?
Rajaram Panda, Ph.D. - 8/31/2009
After months of military provocations, North Korea has made some remarkable conciliatory moves to ease tensions in the Korean peninsula. It seems to be too early, however, to determine how sincere those moves are. Assuming that North Korea is indeed sincere in its efforts to resolve the nuclear issue, are the responses from the US and other countries involved in the Six-Party talks (SPT) going to be positive? As of now, there are conflicting opinions.
Fresh spark of hope post-Clinton visit to North Korea
Rajaram Panda, Ph.D. - 8/7/2009
In an unexpected but pleasant twist of fortunes, hopes have again risen to draw North Korea to the negotiating table after the successful rescue mission of former US President Bill Clinton to Pyongyang to get the two journalists freed. Clinton’s dramatic 20-hour visit to North Korea during which he won freedom for the two journalists, opens up the diplomatic channel to the reclusive regime.
North Korean Conundrums Continues
Rajaram Panda, Ph.D. - 7/30/2009
The recent bellicosity unleashed by Kim Jong Il regime of North Korea by conducting underground nuclear test and the audacity of announcing the world that more such successive tests are in the pipeline sends shivers through the spine of neighbouring countries of Northeast Asia such as South Korea and Japan. China as the host of the Six-Party talks has not given up hope on the SPT, though at the moment Pyongyang has walked out of the forum.
North Korea's Beloved Leader
Sunita Paul - 7/1/2008
In today's world, when we speak of great souls or great leaders, surely everyone will raise eye brow as real leaders are becoming gradually rare. But, one name shines like eternal glittering star in the sky of Korean peninsula, and that is late President Kim Il Sung, the founding father of today's mighty DPR of Korea.
Departure of a Great Soul
Sunita Paul - 6/27/2008
Kim Il-sung (15 April 1912 – 8 July 1994) was the leader of Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in early 1948 until his death, when he was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-il.
How To Dismantle North Korea's Bomb
Lisa Schwer - 10/14/2007
North Korea has openly agreed to ‘abandon’ its nuclear program by the end of this year. This declaration was made less than a year after it had carried out the controversial nuclear tests that shook the world. Is it a sincere effort toward peace or just empty words of desperate diplomacy?
Korean Martyrs and Hostages
Ron Coody - 8/29/2007
What is going on in Afghanistan with the Koreans? A group of young medical personnel travel into a desperately difficult situation to address the needs of hurting people and they become prisoners in a nightmarish drama of international proportions. They didn’t go to fight, they didn’t go to threaten, they didn’t go to trouble anyone. They went to serve the physical needs of other human beings.
Half A Cheer... If North Korea Doesn’t Cheat
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 7/23/2007
The ruling leaders in North Korea certainly know how to stir up a crisis and fool the world. It has been fooling the world and it has had plenty of practice. But out of the blue, North Korea on 14th July said that they had shut down their main plutonium producing pant, at Yongbyon. Is it a sham? Only time will reveal. Given the complexity of the North Korea , nobody now dares predict the eventual result with any confidence.
North Korea: Axis of Evil No More?
Prof. Gavan McCormack - 3/14/2007
Crisis can and seems to have opened new opportunity in the Korean peninsula. Having gone to the precipice of a nuclear confrontation, the parties in Northeast Asia have woken up to the need for a realistic approach. China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the US and North Korea reached an agreement to dismantle the latter's nuclear-weapon program in exchange for fuel aid, opening the door to normal relations. Gavan McCormack, professor emeritus and Asian analyst at the Australian National University, reviews the implications of the agreement for North Korea's neighbors. For the agreement to proceed...
North Korean Nuclear Agreement: Back to the Future?
Shim Jae Hoon - 2/22/2007
Members of the Six-Party talks have finally reached an agreement aimed at halting North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program. If the agreement holds, the accord has a good deal to offer both sides: In return for energy aid, security guarantees and steps toward normalizing relations, Pyongyang will dismantle its nuclear infrastructure in a way that outside powers can verify. Plenty of pitfalls remain, however. Already, North Korea has announced that the deal amounts to a temporary freeze rather than a permanent settlement – and even if the country does permanently dismantle its nuclear infrastructur...
Why North Korea’s Nukes?
Bryan Hill - 2/7/2007
The ongoing nuclear goings-on in North Korea have been greeted with a mixture of incredulity, outrage, and even downright panic. However, despite such widely varying reactions, it is a commonplace that Pyongyang’s nuclear program is aimed squarely at the United States and its allies. This is true – Pyongyang certainly seeks by its threats to engender a fresh-round of concessions, such as occurred in 1998, when the Clinton Administration capitulated to North Korea’s bluster. However, this is not the full story – there is a rather more unusual answer to be had if one commits oneself to fully answering the question: Why?
Give North Korea one final chance
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 2/5/2007
To many people in the West, North Korea is all one phenomenon: illiberal, alien, dangerous and baffling. Some of this week’s headlines – North Korea eyes 2nd nuclear test, Starvation on the roll in North Korea, What North Korea really wants? – will confirm such people in their views. Yet a wider reading of the news bear what should be a commonplace: North Korea has many faces.
North Korea's Nuclear Propaganda Conceals the Citizens' Grief
Amit Pyakurel - 11/26/2006
While the world media appears busy on covering outcry associated with the North Korea’s recent nuclear practice, it seems we are painfully subsiding our alertness towards the very suffering of the North Korean citizens, who on the one hand suffers beneath the oppressiveness of their own regime, and on the other are apparently being pushed back towards a sway of famine, an upshot of the recent UN sanction and other international aid barrier to this isolated communist state, as the result of its nuclear test last month. The probable famine could be similar to that of the 1990s, when about 3.5 mi...
Revising Doctrine on the Korean Peninsula
Nicholas M. Guariglia - 11/7/2006
For far too long policymakers in Washington have referred to a possible conflict on the Korean peninsula as “unthinkable” and “inconceivable.” Their characterization of a war with North Korea as not preferable and promisingly catastrophic is not off the mark, but their write-off of such an event as undoable, unlikely, or both, does not help the current crisis one iota. It is their job to think the unthinkable, conceive the inconceivable, and, perhaps in this case, do the seemingly undoable.
Pyongyang: Let’s Talk, But Change the Subject
Nayan Chanda - 11/7/2006
With its two-steps-forward one-step-back approach, North Korea has fulfilled its long-held nuclear ambition and for now holds back on further tests in return for an easing of UN sanctions. Diplomats suspect that in the long months of negotiations ahead North Korea will try to change the subject while carrying on production of fissile material. North Korea agreed to return to the Six-Party Talks on the condition that the US would negotiate about Macau bank accounts blocked by the US Treasury on charges of money-laundering. Even when the bank account issue is resolved, tortuous negotiations lie ahead while Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal is likely to grow.
China Gets Tough With North Korea
Susan Shirk - 10/30/2006
In mid October the US secretary of state visited China and South Korea, two states that hold the key to an international solution to the North Korea nuclear crisis. Economic lifelines from China and South Korea can keep the repressive regime afloat even if every other country cuts North Korea off.
North Korea’s Nuclear Gamble
Shim Jae Hoon - 10/12/2006
The North Korean underground nuclear test on 9 October has sent shockwaves - weak on the Richter scale but shaking the core of the East Asian security and the existing geopolitical balance in Asia underpinned by the US nuclear umbrella. North Korea has taken a giant step backward by choosing the nuclear option in its desperate attempt to avoid regime collapse and thwart the reunification of the peninsula under South Korean control. Instead of reinforcing the shaky Kim Jong Il regime weakened by decades of economic mismanagement and Stalinist dictatorship, the nuclear gambit is likely to put th...
Can a White House Visit Shore Up a Sagging US-South Korea Alliance?
Morton Abramowitz - 9/15/2006
As President Roh of South Korea calls on President Bush, he’ll get lunch, but certainly no tour of Graceland à la the prime minister of Japan. Indeed, both governments have anxieties about the visit. The US-South Korean relationship has not been as troubled, since Jimmy Carter announced 30 years ago that he was unilaterally taking American ground forces out of the Korean peninsula.
North Korea’s Missiles Backfire
Shim Jae Hoon - 7/24/2006
North Korea’s missile launches in early July, despite repeated pleas by all, enraged an international community worried about a growing threat to global security. The launches even provoked North Korea’s longtime allies, China and Russia, prompting both parties to sign on to the UN resolution calling for sanctions. South Korea, which favored negotiations and reconciliation with the North, now stands at a policy crossroads. The sanctions include the ban on “transfer of any financial resources” to North Korea, which could significantly reduce South Korean aid to the North and affect trade with R...
Time to Lift North Korea's Quarantine
John Feffer - 6/11/2006
The US has put North Korea under quarantine. Pyongyang stands accused of a multitude of crimes, from missile exports and drug smuggling to counterfeiting and money laundering. North Korea has long relied on illicit activities to acquire what it has had difficulty obtaining through legitimate means. Yet isolating Pyongyang from the global economy could prove counterproductive.
North Korea at Dire Food Impasse
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 5/26/2006
North Korea has the world worried about its nuclear weapons potential. But that's not what most worries South Koreans, who are concerned about its menacing food crisis and its possible economic collapse. After decades of a command economy, North Korea is almost stripped bare and has become one of the poorest nations as well as the largest food aid recipient in the world, while South Korea, by contrast, under capitalism, has gained economic momentum and has developed as a model for emerging nations.
North Korea against Whom?
Erik Mobrand - 3/8/2006
Gordon G. Chang, Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World. New York: Random House, Jan. 2006. 327 pp. $25.95 hardcover.
Tim Beal, North Korea: The Struggle against American Power. London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, Sept. 2005. 342 pp. $80.00 hardcover, $29.95 paperback.
Korean Monument's Long Journey Home
Hyejin Kim - 2/23/2006
A historical stone monument is finally returning to its home in North Korea after more than 100 years in Japan, the Korea Times reported on Feb. 13. The six-foot stone structure, called Pukkwan Taechop-bi or Monument to the Great Victory of Pukkwan, was erected in 1707 to pay reverence to Jung Moon-bu, a general who defeated a sixteenth-century Japanese invasion in Hamkyung province in present-day North Korea.
The Asian Threat: Interview with Colonel Gordon Cucullu
Ryan Mauro - 7/30/2005
Colonel Gordon Cucullu is the author of "Seperated at Birth: How North Korea Became the Evil Twin" and has a weekly column entitled "The Right Approach". He served as a political-military advisor to Paul Wolfowitz, then the assistant secretary of state for East Asia Pacific Affairs. Col. Cucullu had also been assigned to the Pentagon where he was managed military assistance to Central American countries. Earlier in his career, Col. Cucullu was a member of the highly classified Studies and Observation Group that conducted top secret reconnaissance missions into Laos, Cambodia and denied areas ...
The North Korean Nuclear Crisis
Frederick Stakelbeck, Jr. - 5/11/2005
Frustrated by the collapse of six-party talks designed to end the North Korean nuclear program, President Bush last week said of North Korean despot Kim Jong-Il: "There is concern about his capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon. When you are dealing with a tyrant like Kim Jong -Il, you have to assume he can deliver." The President's remarks came at a particularly crucial juncture of the North Korean crisis: indeed, recent actions taken by North Korea's totalitarian leadership-including firing a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan earlier this month-show that the Hermit Kingdom may be much closer to "delivering" on its nuclear threat than previously thought.
The Cost of Unification - German Lessons for Korea
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/23/2005
The North remains as recalcitrant and belligerent as ever. The prospects of Korean unification are best gauged in Panmunjom, scene of the armistice that ended the Korean war, where a South Korean rail line ends abruptly. The North has yet to construct the few miles to Kaesong within its territory. North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland continues its vitriolic diatribes against South and West alike. Unification is not a straightforward matter not only geopolitically or politically - but also, and, perhaps, mainly, economically.
North Korean Gulag Survivor Speaks
Charles Ganske - 1/4/2005
North Korea is the largest recipient of food aid in the world today, but an estimated four million North Koreans have starved to death since 1995. In one year, the regime of Kim Jong Il spent $20 million out of $80 million in humanitarian relief funds on Mercedes Benz automobiles. Additionally, forced labor camps dotting the countryside.