It started out as a routine briefing at a conference in Florida on U.S. special operations. One of the panelists, Army Brigadier General Neil Tolley, was talking about the importance of human intelligence in North Korea. A reporter, David Axe, dutifully wrote down Tolley’s comments and published his article in late May in The Diplomat, a foreign policy… Continue reading Spying on the North
I’m standing with a social worker beneath the palm trees outside a municipal building in the main city of Jeju Island. We’re talking about a nearby naval base, which the South Korean government is trying to build and a number of islanders are trying to prevent. She’s repeating a familiar refrain about Jeju — that it’s… Continue reading Jeju Island: Paradise with a Dark Side
In early February, Iran launched its third successful commercial satellite in three years. The Barack Obama administration, the United Nations, and the news media barely acknowledged the accomplishment. North Korea, on the other hand, has created a furor each of the three times its satellites failed to reach orbit. Its latest effort, on Apr. 13,… Continue reading North Korea’s Failed Fireworks
It’s not likely that an Occupy Pyongyang movement will set up tents in Kim Il Sung Square anytime soon. Protest, after all, is virtually non-existent in that society. But the same widening inequalities that plague the United States and the global economy can also be found inside North Korea. What was once a relatively equitable… Continue reading Beyond the Golden Couples of Pyongyang
WASHINGTON, Mar 1, 2012 (IPS) – After three years of frozen relations between North Korea and the United States, the two longstanding adversaries are on the verge of a thaw. In what has been called the “leap day deal”, North Korea has pledged to stop uranium enrichment and suspend nuclear and missile tests. The United… Continue reading North Korea’s Pivot
In the movie Memento, the main character suffers from short-term memory loss. He cannot remember anything from day to day, so must write himself notes to explain what happened to him in the recent past. He is desperate to resolve a central mystery in his life. But with his memory a blank, all he can rely on are the cryptic scribbles that he cannot even remember writing. Tragically, the United States is trapped in a similar pattern with North Korea.
JEJU ISLAND, South Korea, Nov 10, 2011 (IPS) – The South Korean government has been campaigning to have its southern island of Jeju recognised as one of the seven new wonders of nature. A favourite honeymoon spot in Asia and an official “island of peace”, Jeju already boasts several UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites.
WASHINGTON, Oct 17, 2011 (IPS) – The United States and South Korea maintain a close military alliance. Congress just passed a free trade agreement that will boost economic ties with Seoul. And the leaders of the two countries form a small but very powerful mutual admiration society, which The New York Times has termed a “presidential man-crush”.
Much of North Korea’s population is starving, yet its government pours money into missile and nuclear programs. Such behavior seems to be the height of irrationality. But North Korea is only following the international community’s – especially America’s – example.