North Korea’s Nuclear Test Deepens Chinese Dilemma

North Korea’s Nuclear Test Deepens Chinese DilemmaNorth Korea again surprised the world on Jan. 6 by claiming that it had tested a miniature hydrogen bomb. While the actual type of bomb has yet to be confirmed, news of the test sent shockwaves reverberating around the world, especially for North Korea’s lead ally, China. By defying China’s explicit advice against further nuclear…

Is Korean Unification Possible?

Is Korean Unification Possible?The outset of 2015 has seen a spate of new developments on and around the Korean peninsula. However, the interests of Washington and Seoul are subtly out of synch. The Sony hacking was a major watershed in the history of cyberwarfare: a highly-destructive attack on an iconic Japanese company operating on US soil. The Obama…

Book Review: A Look Inside a Secretive North Korea

Book Review: A Look Inside a Secretive North KoreaJang Jin-sung’s run to freedom started when he turned his face to the sunlight. Jang originally penned pro-North Korean propaganda in the Communist Party's United Front Department (UFD) in Pyongyang to attempt influence public opinion in South Korea. Jang's position as poet and propagandist gave him access to South Korean publications no common citizen of the North would ever…

Some North Koreans Head Home

Some North Koreans Head HomeThe number of North Korean refugees reaching South Korea is on the decline. The South Korean government says it’s due to tougher border security, enforced by their ruler, Kim Jong-un. But advocates say there’s also been a rise in the number of North Korean defectors who want to go back. Son Jeong-hun is one of…

North Korean Purges Threaten Relations with China

North Korean Purges Threaten Relations with ChinaIn a country where purges are as commonplace as polling in democratic countries, the summary execution of North Korea’s number two figure Jang Song Thaek, 67, was breathtaking in its brutality. Jang's extensive tentacles of his power and influence, as well as his reported close relations with powerful neighbor China, makes this purge akin to…

China Tries to Harness North Korea

China Tries to Harness North KoreaChina has been playing a careful and relatively sophisticated strategic game with its unruly ally North Korea, attempting to harness Pyongyang’s determination to expand its nuclear capability while at the same time expanding its economic relations at an unprecedented pace, according to a new analysis by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The 80-page analysis,…

Explaining North Korea’s irrationality

The recent North Korean bluster following the latest UN sanctions against Pyongyang ranged from the bizarre to the scary. Perhaps more significantly it again spurred questions about the capability of rational policymaking in the isolated country. After the dust settled, the only significant outcome was the shutdown of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Not only did…

Red Line Blues: North Korea, Iran and Syria

From the Levant and the Persian Gulf to the Korean peninsula, events in recent weeks have offered a clinic in the difficulty of enforcing red lines on rogue regimes and their weapons of mass destruction, as well as how US credibility suffers when presidents continue to stake out red lines they ultimately are not prepared…

End Game for the Korean Peninsula

Over the last month the media has led the world to believe that North Korea, the United States and South Korea are standing eyeball to eyeball on the brink of war. Secretary Kerry's comments after meeting with his Chinese opposites State Councilor Yang Jiechi, and Foreign Minister Yang Yi, and later President Xi Jinping, and…

Is a New Stage Coming for the Koreas?

The nuclear crisis barometer on the Korean peninsula has risen and fallen numerous times during the 20 years since North Korea announced its withdrawal from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty on March 12, 1993. However, while some fear that North Korea and South Korea-US are like trains on course for a head-on collision, it seems probable…