Are North Korea’s Reform Bottles Half-Empty?

In the basement entertainment center of the luxurious Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang, there is a bowling alley and a cocktail bar. A row of expensive liquor bottles stand reserved for their owners, their amber contents glowing in the light just as one would find in affluent Seoul or Tokyo. But this is austere North Korea…

Smells Like Kim Spirit

Jumpin’ Jong-il Flash, is a gas, gas, gas?   North Korea is not known for its rock and roll but they do have accordions... Well, maybe. If a Korean-French national who makes his home in London and swears allegiance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has his way, Pyongyang is gonna flat rock, this…

Did US diplomatic blunders trigger the North Korean bomb?

For Chinese academics in Beijing, US President George W Bush has only his own administration to blame for the nuclear test that North Korea announced on October 9, shocking the world and particularly the Asian region.  While the political debate rages across much of the United States, these academics say the answer is clear from…

Taking Away Kim Jong-Il’s Nuclear Toys

Most of the world is now preoccupied with getting the North Korean genie back in the bottle – trying through the threat of sanctions to force Kim Jong-Il to abandon his nuclear program.  So far, Kim has resisted all attempts to rein him in.  With Japan having instituted a unilateral complete blockade of North Korea…

To Market, To Market

Asia’s financial markets have largely shrugged off news of North Korea’s nuclear testing gambit. They just don’t appear to believe that the communist state’s latest machinations are the major threat to regional, let alone world, peace that screaming news headlines across the planet suggest. In Japan, perhaps more nervous than even South Korea about Kim…

And Now What?

North Korea’s first underground nuclear test, conducted on 9 October in the northern mountainous section of the country, was evidently spurred by two imperatives – the need to shock Washington into accepting its demand for one-on-one talks ahead of the November congressional elections in the US and signs of rapprochement between China and Japan following…

Backfire

When North Korea fired seven ballistic missiles on July 5, the nation most acutely embarrassed was neither Japan nor the United States, the two countries they were intended to intimidate. Rather it was South Korea, North Korea’s closest neighbor and main source of economic sustenance for the past 10 years. Beyond that, the North’s provocation…
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