Scott A. Snyder

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The attack on Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, allegedly by a knife-wielding Korean progressive activist at a breakfast meeting in Seoul, was a rare and shocking reminder of the ongoing conflict that continues to divide the Korean Peninsula.

Despite the ever-present backdrop of inter-Korean tensions, security in downtown Seoul is typically quite relaxed. But on Thursday morning local time, the alleged assailant, who has been tied to Korean nationalist and anti-U.S. protests, reportedly shouted his opposition to annual U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises and called for Korean reunification as he cut the ambassador on the face and hand with a 10-inch knife.…  Seguir leyendo »

When a political crisis hits Pyongyang, the leadership's normal antidote is to hide the real drama in rumors and shadows while assuring the world that outside forces are no match for North Korea's spirit of "single-hearted unity." But North Korea's real-time media coverage of the vituperative public denunciation and execution of Jang Song Taek, the uncle by marriage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has exposed deep divisions within the Kim family leadership and has shocked North Koreans and outsiders alike with its suddenness and its brutality.

By making this bold move to consolidate his power, Kim has shown great confidence.…  Seguir leyendo »

North Korea, under its untested young leader Kim Jong Un, has ratcheted up the threats toward South Korea and the United States to unprecedented levels and with greater intensity than ever before.

A torrent of threats has flowed from North Korean spokesmen, including a promise of preemptive nuclear strikes on the United States and calls to "break the waists of the crazy enemies, totally cut their windpipes and thus clearly show them what a real war is like."

North Korean brinkmanship, bluff, and bluster are stock elements in its diplomatic toolkit, but why have the threats become so outsized, and how worried should we be?…  Seguir leyendo »