Corea del Norte (Continuación)

Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take part in a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Jan. 8, 2019. Xinhua/Shen Hong via Getty Images

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics were notable for the absence of Western politicians and officials, the result of a diplomatic boycott to protest China’s reprehensible treatment of Uyghurs, a Muslim minority group in its Xinjiang province. What the boycott ignores is that Beijing is complicit in North Korea’s horrific human rights abuses as well. Because the two countries’ abuses are inextricably linked, it is essential that U.S. North Korea policy focuses on China’s role in sustaining the crimes of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s family against the North Korean people.

For example, China is complicit in the fates of thousands of North Koreans who try to flee across the 882-mile border between the two countries each year.…  Seguir leyendo »

People watch a news broadcast with footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on Jan. 30. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

With the United States and NATO tangling with Russia over Ukraine, and China hosting the Winter Olympics in Beijing, North Korea may not be an immediate priority for any of the great powers. But, as the past few weeks have demonstrated, the North Korean nuisance will not take care of itself.

This January, North Korea conducted seven ballistic missile tests, the most recorded in a single month. We have seen these patterns before. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ “Beyond Parallel” database, in a one-month period beginning in late July 2019, North Korea also conducted seven short-range missile tests.…  Seguir leyendo »

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, speaks with military officials on Jan. 11 during an observation of what state media said was a hypersonic missile test-fire in North Korea. (AFP/KCNA via KNS) (Str)

Kim Jong Un seems determined to force the world to pay attention to North Korea in 2022 by shooting off new and more dangerous missiles. Dealing with the Kim regime is the last thing Biden administration officials want to do, but they really have no choice. The good news is that there might be a new and creative way to break the increasingly dangerous diplomatic logjam.

Already this month, Pyongyang has conducted three tests of a new ballistic missile that it claims has hypersonic capability — which, if true, would severely undermine the protection of U.S. and allied regional missile defenses.…  Seguir leyendo »

Workers plant rice at the Chongsan Cooperative Farm in the Kangso district of Nampho City on 12 May 2020. KIM Won Jin / AFP

North Korea has just completed its annual review of its own performance at the fourth plenum of the Eighth Congress of the Workers’ Party, held from 27-31 December 2021. What can we learn from this exercise about the state of the country?

Under Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang politics tick along on a system of five-year “congresses”, the most recent of which was held in January 2021 (and should run to 2026). These five-year cycles are then punctuated by fairly regular plenums, including the one that ended on 31 December. What we got in a lengthy article on 1 January was a report on that plenum, which amounts to a kind of annual review of the party’s performance, and an indicator of the challenges it has identified for the year ahead.…  Seguir leyendo »

F-35A survolant la Corée du Sud. 2014. — © Keystone

L’Asie-Pacifique se militarise à une vitesse foudroyante depuis plusieurs années, et la tendance s’accélère. Le Japon transforme actuellement deux porte-hélicoptères en porte-avions pouvant transporter des F-35B américains, et son nouveau premier ministre envisage de doubler le budget de la défense; la Corée du Sud prévoit de déployer son propre porte-avions en 2033 et a testé son premier missile mer-sol balistique stratégique, lancé d’un sous-marin, en septembre dernier; l’Australie a décidé mi-décembre de renouveler sa flotte d’hélicoptères et, quelques jours plus tard, signe un contrat d’armement de plus de 700 millions de dollars avec… la Corée du Sud.

Sans surprise, la Chine et la Corée du Nord sont pointées du doigt comme sources principales de cette militarisation régionale: Pékin continue de moderniser ses forces armées, entretient des conflits territoriaux avec une dizaine de pays, dont le Japon et la Corée du Sud, et étend son influence dans le Pacifique Ouest, aux portes de l’Australie; Pyongyang persiste dans le développement d’armes nucléaires et de missiles balistiques, menaçant Séoul et Tokyo.…  Seguir leyendo »

File image of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un inspecting the Defense Development Exhibition on Monday Oct 11, 2021. EyePress News / EyePress via AFP

In the autumn months, the two Koreas put on something of a military show for the world. As they flexed their muscles – testing missiles and displaying new capabilities – commentators speculated about an accelerating arms race and wondered whether the peninsula might be headed for a crisis moment after several quiet years. Since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump exchanged taunts in 2017, including Trump’s famous threat to rain down “fire and fury” if Kim crossed his red lines, the peninsula has been relatively calm. But while the possibility of a sudden escalation in tensions can never be fully dismissed, particularly given North Korea’s penchant for wilfully unpredictable behaviour, the autumn’s activity does not necessarily augur a spike in near-term instability.…  Seguir leyendo »

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the city of Samjiyon in undated photo from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency. (AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea shut its borders in January 2020 — arguably one of the world’s most restrictive pandemic border closures, with reports of “shoot to kill” orders at the border. Although recent missile tests and the regime’s claim of zero coronavirus cases suggest business as usual in North Korea, the country now confronts a major humanitarian crisis.

How dire is the humanitarian situation — and what has been the regime’s response? As I argue in my new book (State, Society and Markets in North Korea), despite widespread suffering caused by the coronavirus pandemic and border closures, the regime may find a way to muddle through the crisis.…  Seguir leyendo »

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun with his wife Ri Sol Ju in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 9. (Str/AFP/Getty Images)

We are stuck in a rut on North Korea. The absence of any forward progress on denuclearization diplomacy is the result of a unique intersection of American distraction and North Korean disinterest. Now, by test-firing two short-range ballistic missiles and a long-range cruise missile, the North Koreans have signaled that they aim to shake things up, confronting President Biden with a predicament he’s so far been able to dodge. There are two paths out of it — one that the United States and its allies can control and another that they cannot.

The Biden administration has kept its North Korea policy deliberately low-key.…  Seguir leyendo »

If you think lockdown has been a strain, you should try it in a state that has been battened down for decades. Bingeing on television in Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom has just become more dangerous, food is disappearing fast and the spread of coronavirus is a state secret. And lest his put-upon subjects get the crazy idea that life could be better elsewhere, the North Korean leader has declared a culture war on South Korea.

A new law provides for between five and 15 years in a labour camp for watching or owning bootlegged South Korean films and K-pop videos, which are smuggled into the country via China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Biden and Moon Are Getting North Korea Wrong

The recent White House meeting between President Biden and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea produced a comprehensive and substantive joint statement emphasizing cooperation on climate change, global health, sustainable development, and democracy in Myanmar, among other issues.

Of course, the central task of this decades-long alliance remains to defend against the threat posed by North Korea. That country’s nuclear and long-range missile program is aimed at the United States, and recent reports suggest the regime of Kim Jong-un may have dozens of nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

But the lofty language that flowed from the White House meeting was worrisome, indicating that the United States and South Korea were on a path that could put both countries at greater risk from the North.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Biden administration has pledged to pursue "calibrated" diplomacy to persuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to halt his mad dash toward a deliverable nuclear weapon. But that is a vain hope. Instead, the world and especially the United States must find a way to live with a North Korea armed with The Bomb. And keep Kim from using -- or selling -- it.

Discussions with a number of individuals who have dealt with the North Korean government or monitored the actions of its ruling family have convinced me that no Kim -- neither Kim Jong Un, nor his father nor his grandfather -- ever has or will give up a quest for a deliverable nuclear weapon.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man walks past a television screen at Suseo railway station in Seoul on March 26 showing news footage of North Korea's latest tactical guided missile test. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images)

On Thursday, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast, calling these a “new type of tactical guided missile.” This latest provocation, in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution that bans Pyongyang from conducting ballistic missile tests, follows combative rhetoric and actions in recent weeks.

North Korean officials issued a statement criticizing U.S.-ROK military exercises this month, warning the Biden administration not to “cause a stink” as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Japan for their first official trip to Asia. And North Korea fired two short-range cruise missiles last weekend — a move the United States and South Korea downplayed in an apparent effort not to overhype the tests.…  Seguir leyendo »

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attends a ruling party congress in Pyongyang, North Korea Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un resurfaced last week at the eighth Congress of his ruling Workers’ Party, where he admitted “almost all sectors” of his country’s economy had fallen short of their goals. Speaking for nine hours, Mr. Kim also said North Korea should bring its “arch-enemy” — the United States — “to its knees.”

Mr. Kim’s weapons of mass destruction program, which has long denied North Korea a path to economic prosperity because of punitive sanctions, reflects the internal contradiction of his policy of “byngjin” — developing the economy while simultaneously expanding its nuclear weapons deterrent. Mr. Kim has embraced his family’s tradition of seeking to hoodwink the world into lifting economic sanctions in return for empty denuclearization promises.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hiroji Kubota/Magnum Photos A newlywed couple on the banks of the Taedong River, Pyongyang, North Korea, 1981

“Whenever I go to North Korea,” Immanuel Kim told an interviewer in 2017, “I see people reading.” In the metro, in elevators, in buses and restaurants. But what were they reading, in a state unrivaled in the harshness of its censorship? As a graduate student at the University of California at Riverside studying Korean literature, Kim—who is now a professor at George Washington University specializing in North Korean culture—had become curious about North Korean fiction, which was usually dismissed as mind-numbing propaganda. There was a basis for this stereotype, it turned out, but after eight months of diligent reading, Kim began to find work that he genuinely liked.…  Seguir leyendo »

To outsiders, the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Korea is a flashpoint, a scar, and a reminder that, 70 years after it began, the Korean War is not actually over.

But for some of us, the DMZ is also home.

Resolving tensions along the border and creating an environment where two countries can peacefully co-exist is an opportunity within our reach.

I am the Governor of the Gangwon Province -- a region cut in half by the 1953 Armistice Agreement. Our northern border marks the boundary between the two Koreas. Perhaps no other region of South Korea is more aware of the dangers of war -- or more open to possibilities for peace.…  Seguir leyendo »

A view of an explosion of a joint liaison office with South Korea in border town Kaesong, North Korea in this picture supplied by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 16, 2020. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

After weeks of ratcheting up tensions on the Korean peninsula, including lodging near-daily threats against South Korea in reaction to some of its citizens sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border, North Korea has decided to pause. On 24 June, North Korean state media reported that Kim Jong-un opted to defer plans to take certain military actions, after considering an unspecified “prevailing situation” during a virtual preliminary meeting of the Worker’s Party Central Military Commission over which he presided.

For now, one can only guess at the reasons for the sudden pause. Did reported U.S. B-52 bomber flyovers near Japan on 24 June, coupled with three U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum during a visit to Hanoi in 2019. (Jorge Silva/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, with no formal peace in sight. The mass bloodshed ended with a truce in 1953, but threats and tensions on the peninsula persist. Most recently, North Korea blew up the inter-Korean Joint Liaison Office on June 16. The building was a symbol of a “new era of peace” ushered in by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at their historic summit on April 27, 2018.

The destruction of the liaison office reflects a hot-cold pattern of political tactics and is not a serious event.…  Seguir leyendo »

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is young and belligerent. His sister, Kim Yo-jong, is younger and more belligerent still. Credit Pool photo by Jorge Silva

Kim Yo-jong, the only sister of North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, is now setting the tone of the country’s foreign policy. And if he is young and belligerent, she is younger and more belligerent still.

Early this month, after human rights activists in South Korea used balloons to send anti-North propaganda leaflets across the border, Kim Yo-jong called them “human scum” and “mongrel dogs.”

She faulted President Moon Jae-in of South Korea for failing to stop them and upbraided him for “putting his neck” into the “noose of pro-United States flunkeyism.”

She warned of “action” in reprisal, apparently threatening to destroy the Inter-Korean Liaison Office set up in 2018 to facilitate communication between the North and the South.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kim Jong Un waves after a parade for the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding day in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2018. (Kin Cheung/AP)

What do we really know about Kim Jong Un’s departure from the public eye? There is talk that the North Korean leader is “in grave danger” or “a vegetative state”; that he suffered a “botched” heart operation; that he was wounded by an explosion from a missile test; and so on. Not impossible. But let’s start with what we actually, factually, know.

First, recall Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson’s famous adage that the stock market has correctly predicted nine of the past five recessions. So, too, the relation between prolonged Kim family disappearances and supreme leader funerals. Every tyrant in the Kim family regime has gone missing multiple times, and for extended periods, only to pop up again alive and in charge.…  Seguir leyendo »

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on April 11. (AP) (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

There are unconfirmed media reports that the North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un may be incapacitated or even dead following a medical emergency, possibly heart surgery. Both the South Korean and U.S. governments have said they do not believe anything is amiss, but Kim’s failure to appear in public since April 11 has fueled the speculation.

No one knows what happens if Kim dies — and that is precisely the problem. Kim’s death would leave North Korea dealing with an unplanned succession for the first time in its 72-year history. Kim Jong Il had been preparing to succeed his father Kim Il Sung for two decades when he took over in 1994, while Kim Jong Un had a few years to prepare before his father Kim Jong Il’s death in 2011.…  Seguir leyendo »