Back in September, when KCNA reported “Greetings to Kim Jong Un from Syrian President,” it didn’t mention anything about a request to “please send helicopter pilots” as being part of Syria’s efforts “to strengthen the friendly and cooperative relations between Syria and the DPRK in the interests of the two peoples.” But at least that […]
Recent South Korean polling results reinforce the finding of an earlier experts survey, documenting deteriorating perceptions of Japan and South Korea-Japan relations. According to results published by the Asan Institute, South Korean perceptions of Japan have fallen noticeably since Abe Shinzo became Prime Minister in December 2012 (see above). Abe himself barely edges out North Korean lead Kim Jong-un in terms of South Korean public perceptions and registers less than half the favorability of Russia’s Vladmir Putin. Yet a clear majority of South Koreans would like to see President Park repair the relationship.
The North Korean nuclear program is back in the news with reports of the restart of the Yongbyon reactor. Last week, TNS polled South Koreans on their views of the North’s nuclear program. The results (above) show a large majority believe there is little chance that the North will give up its nuclear effort, and reveal little consensus as to the best way to try and halt it.
Ronald Wintrobe of the University of Western Ontario has developed, in a book and a number of professional articles, a theory of dictatorship. He recently turned his attention to North Korea in a paper titled “The Logic of the North Korean Dictatorship.” With all the recent talk about North Korea’s possible collapse, I thought it […]
Leaders’ speeches are complex signals: to elites, to masses, to foreigners and in some rare cases for posterity as well. For those watching North Korea, we are always interested in the strategic direction of the country: where the leadership is headed. Kim Jong Un’s recent lecture on songun (“Let Us Add Eternal Brilliance to Comrade […]
As the US begins debate on intervention in Syria in response to the chemical weapons attacks of August 21, we thought we would take a brief look at the North Korean angle. According to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which oversees the Chemical Weapons Convention, seven states are not members: Burma and […]
In the course of work we are doing on the North Korean political system, we thought it might be worthwhile to look at the pattern of promotions into the general ranks; in a post in May, we looked at turnover at the very top of the military hierarchy, those that held positions in the NDC and other top political institutions.
Let’s start with Myanmar. Last month I had a post describing that country’s attempt to extricate itself from military ties with North Korea and bring itself into compliance with UNSC resolutions. Not everyone got the memo, apparently. A couple of weeks ago, the US placed Lieutenant General Thein Htay, the head of Myanmar’s Directorate of […]
Japan’s TV Asahi is reporting that Kim Jong-un has ordered North Korean troop strength reduced by 300,000 soldiers. It goes without saying that this report could be entirely erroneous. But it is reminiscent of the summer of 2002 when it appeared that North Korea may have been trying to execute a significant strategic reorientation. Since […]
Our man in Seoul, Dan Pinkston, alerted us to another cock-eyed KCNA homage, this time to the sesquicentennial (that’s 150th anniversary to us regular folks) of the Battle of Gettysburg. In a recent story, KCNA turned General Thurmond, commander of US Forces Korea, into General Sherman, albeit James D., not William T., but bent on […]