2012

Spying on the North

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

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Beyond the Golden Couples of Pyongyang

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

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Approaching North Korea in the Kim Jong Un Era

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.

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The Other Kim

When Kim Jong Il died last month, it made headlines. When Kim Geun-Tae died just a few days ago, it merited only a small obituary in U.S. newspapers (if at all).

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2011

Trouble in Paradise – The Militarisation of Jeju Island

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.

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U.S. and South Korea: A Rosy Relationship, With Thorns

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”.

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How the US is like North Korea

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.

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