The purge of Jang Song Thaek has gotten “curioser and curioser”; today, we focus on interpretations of the purge; our synthesis of these theories; the reports of an unidentified aide to Jang who may or may not have escaped to China; and the wider implications. Interpretations Last week, we traced Jang’s ascent. His ouster was […]
Recently there have been numerous press stories on the difficulty that North Korea-based humanitarian aid groups and even diplomatic entities have had conducting cross-border financial transactions in the wake of the US Treasury designation of the Chosun Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), aka Mooyobank. As problematic as these situations are, off the radar screen something of […]
In the field of academic international relations, views of the Asia-Pacific remain sharply divided. Realists like John Mearsheimer have built reputations on a view of international politics as a relentless struggle among the great powers. They see the rise of China as posing epochal challenges; Mearsheimer went so far as to title one of his […]
In my book Avoiding the Apocalypse, I used a standard gravity model to estimate a counterfactual: what would North Korea’s trade pattern look like if it were a “normal” country? That is, if it traded like a typical country with its size and income level and other relevant characteristics such as distance from foreign markets. […]
A quick review of some recurrent stories, and at the end, the man bites dog tale. First up, food aid. I had the honor of being invited to testify at the recent UN Commission of Inquiry on North Korean human rights hearings, specifically being asked to address the right to food (hopefully the video will […]
The Graduate School at UCSD recently hosted Brad Roberts, who served in the Obama administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy until early 2013. He directed us to a paper he had written for Japan’s National Institute of Defense Studies on extended deterrence in Northeast Asia (see our reflections […]
We got some pushback on our assessment of the track two meetings in London and Berlin (and made one small factual correction to it) and will be pursuing the debate in future posts. The most important question remains “how willing are the North Koreans to engage in serious negotiations.” We have been taking the announcement […]
Researchers from the Asan Institute have recently put out two pieces on public opinion which read together can be interpreted as a snapshot of how South Koreans see the world and their place in it. Bottom line: they see themselves and China rising and the US and Japan declining (below).
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.
Following on our discussion of Secretary Hagel’s visit to Asia yesterday, here are a few things that have come to our attention that relate to the current state of the alliance. We noted that the OPCON issue remained one of the sore points during the Secretary’s visit (the other being the ongoing chill between Korea […]