Korean Politics Korean Society Propaganda Reconstruction Subversion

Dear President Park: Make Reunification Your Legacy

Last week was a tough week for Park Geun-hye, when her party lost its majority in the National Assembly. The simplest explanation for this is that historically, ruling parties usually take beatings in mid-term elections, particularly when their own voters don’t show up to vote. The ruling party may poll well in the abstract, but …

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Propaganda Subversion

Beyond sanctions: S. Korea should open direct, people-to-people cell service for N. Koreans

With much of the North Korea policy debate understandably focused on sanctions this week, I hope North Korea watchers won’t miss this new report from Amnesty International on the efforts by “Swiss-educated reformer” Kim Jong-un to seal off all unauthorized contact between his subjects and the outside world. In recent years, the principal medium for such …

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Famine & Food Aid Propaganda Subversion

Samantha Power: N. Korea would rather grow its nuke programs than grow its children

I’ll just give you this excerpt from Ambassador Power’s speech before the adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270. Ms. Power (United States of America): In looking at North Korea, it can at times feel as though one is seeing two entirely different realities. One is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that is expending …

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Propaganda Subversion

CSIS: Deter North Korea with subversive information (Update: You had one job!)

Penetrating outside information into North Korea questioning the legitimacy of leader Kim Jong-un should be considered as a key means to retaliate against and curb the communist nation’s cyber attacks, a U.S. think tank said. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) made the suggestion in a report on policy suggestions on how to …

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Class Warfare Engagement Propaganda Sunshine Useful Idiocy

The Myth of North Korean Socialism: How Pyongyang’s Profiteers Fooled the World

Over this long weekend, I’ve been reading Brian R. Myers’s new book, “North Korea’s Juche Myth,” a copy of which Prof. Myers was kind enough to send. Myers argues that juche, that cryptic ideology reporters often mention but never explain, is a sham ideology that is both overblown and seldom understood, by foreigners as well as North Koreans. Very …

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Censorship Subversion The Camps

N. Korea Glasnost Watch: Video shows men sent to camps for copying American movies

The Telegraph has obtained guerrilla footage of two men, one 27 and one 30, being tried and sentenced to nine months in a labor camp for copying and selling American movies. The North Korean judge, or official, says that one of the defendants is “a person immersed in the corrupt ideology of capitalism” and tells the …

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Appeasement Kaesong Korean War II North-South Propaganda ROK Military Sunshine Useful Idiocy

North Korean Men Cross DMZ (and plant land mines)

By now, you’ve read that South Korea’s government has accused the North Korean military of sending soldiers across the DMZ to plant mines near South Korean guard posts, an act that blew the legs off two South Korean soldiers last week. The two South Koreans, both staff sergeants, triggered the mines last Tuesday just outside …

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Propaganda Subversion

The rise of North Korea’s dissident culture

Totalitarian states have always understood the power of culture. Historically, they have required culture to serve the state. Also historically, once they lost control of culture, they also eventually lost control of everything else. In the 1930s, during the worst excesses of Stalinism, intellectuals, whether Soviet or western, seldom denounced the system. A decade or two later, however, one could …

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Propaganda Subversion

These songs of freedom

If Kim Jong-Un’s twenty-something year-old little sister really has taken control of the manufacture of North Korea’s production of propaganda and mythology, she has begun her work with a powerful tacit admission: the state her brother leads has much in common with the feudal oligarchs past generations of North Koreans sang about overthrowing. In an attempt to root …

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Border Control Capitalism Health & Disease Subversion

Must read: Jieun Baek on how North Koreans beat the border blockade

Admittedly, Baek’s explanation of the North Korea’s guerrilla banking system isn’t the first I’ve read, it’s only the best: The next time Kevin talks to his mother, she asks him for $1,000. She gives Kevin a phone number. When he hangs up after about a minute, Kevin then calls that number and tells the stranger …

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Deprogramming Refugees Terrorism (NK)

The courage of Hyeonseo Lee: “I am human also. I am scared.”

Last Wednesday, Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation hosted and moderated an event called “Confronting the Human Rights Challenge in North Korea.” Hyeonseo Lee, author of “The Girl With Seven Names,” was the keynote speaker. Lee spoke in accented, but clear English of the indoctrination she received as a child, of the revelations that broke the hold of the …

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Capitalism Reconstruction Regime Change Resistance Subversion

Guerrilla Engagement: A strategy for regime replacement and reconstruction in North Korea

~   1   ~ One day, either this President or the next one will awaken to the realization that the regime in Pyongyang is collapsing, and that he has just inherited the costliest, messiest, and riskiest nation-building project since the Marshall Plan. The collapse of North Korea will present South Korea — and by …

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Appeasement Censorship Democracy Propaganda Subversion Terrorism (NK)

Kim Jong Un’s censorship knows no limits or borders. To submit to it is to forfeit freedom.

If Kim Jong Un is weighing whether to answer leaflets from South Korea with artillery, it won’t discourage him that many on South Korea’s illiberal left have already begun to excuse him for it. Within this confused, transpatriated constituency, there is much “anxiety” lately about “inter-Korean tensions.” Those tensions have risen since North Korea has begun threatening …

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Propaganda Subversion

Good engagement: BBC, in a reversal, decides to broadcast to North Korea (Update: Did the Telegraph get it wrong?)

Congratulations to EAHRNK, Lord Alton, and Youngchan Justin Choi, another of the young Korean-American over-achievers who may already have had an impact beyond his years on the history of his ancestral homeland. Here’s another link to Choi’s pages on Twitter and Facebook, if you wish to add your congratulations to mine. (I’m sure I’ve omitted many names of those who …

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Engagement Subversion Sunshine

Somehow, I don’t think this will encourage Kim Jong Un to engage with us.

I think Marzuki Darusman is a good man who means well, but it’s difficult to derive a coherent policy from this: “This is a new thing, spotlighting the leadership and ridiculing the leadership. In any authoritarian, totalitarian system, that is an Achilles’ heel,” Darusman said in an interview in Tokyo, where he held talks with the government on an …

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