Here's why that's even worse than it looks.10:02 AM, Apr 30, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
There’s ominous (is there any other kind?) news from North Korea. South Korean intelligence has reported that Kim Jong-un has executed some fifteen of his top officials, including the vice minister of forestry. Granted, as satraps of the world’s cruelest regime, it’s hard to gin up much sympathy for the dead. But, unfortunately, it does indicate that the dauphin Kim is every bit as brutal as his father and grandfather were. They would be so proud.
The news also underlines the fact that we’re – alas – highly unlikely to see any kind of Perestroika, economic or political, under Kim Jong-un’s leadership. There are two reasons for this. For one, Kim has evidently taken to quite literally executing officials who lobby for reforms. He appears to be fully committed to maintaining his country’s ghastly system as it is.
Secondly, as the perceptive North Korea analyst Andrei Lankov has pointed out, the incentives facing North Korea’s intelligentsia are aligned in such a way as to discourage reform. After all, as soon as the regime lets in even a bit of daylight, it will plant the seeds of its own demise. That is to say, if the North Korean people were to find out how they lived compared to people in the rest of the world (let alone in South Korea), there’s little doubt that Kim and his henchmen would get the Ceausescu treatment. Deservedly.
4:16 PM, Mar 6, 2015 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
The recent vicious attack on U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert (he was stabbed in the face in Seoul) is, in fact, not the first attack on an American ambassador in that country. The earlier attackers on Ambassador Donald Gregg’s residence in 1989, however, were radical students with anti-free trade motives. The 55 year-old who assaulted Ambassador Lippert, on the other hand, has ties to radical pro-Pyongyang organizations and has visited North Korea several times.
11:33 AM, Feb 18, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the release of a United Nations’s Commission on Inquiry’s report on human rights in North Korea. The U.N. report laid out, in devastating detail, what we’ve known for all too long: Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship is the Westboro Baptist Church of regimes – almost comically evil.
Meet Kim Yong-chol, the man who keeps the secrets.10:07 AM, Feb 4, 2015 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
If Pyongyang has an equivalent to the late Richard Helms, the Nixon era director of central intelligence who kept the secrets on Vietnam and Iran, that would be Kim Yong-chol, a four-star general and Kim Jong-un confidante. Kim, a former bodyguard of late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il, is now the director of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB).
10:41 AM, Jan 28, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, will visit Moscow in May.
"North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, plans to visit Moscow this May in his first trip abroad since assuming power in 2011, a Kremlin spokesman announced on Wednesday," the New York Times reports.
4:40 PM, Dec 17, 2014 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
It’s difficult to tell whether the North Korean regime has anything to with the hack attack on Sony Pictures, or the subsequent terrorist threats against movie theaters planning to screen The Interview. The forthcoming Sony film centers around an assassination plot against North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
8:16 AM, Jan 7, 2014 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s self-proclaimed “friend for life” Dennis Rodman announced January 4 that he had assembled the promised team of former NBA players to take to Pyongyang.
7:26 AM, Dec 17, 2013 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
Woody Allen once famously said "90 percent of life is just showing up." In the Kim family's North Korea showing up—or suddenly not—can be a true matter of life or death.
End of the road for Beijing’s Man in Pyongyang.Dec 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 15 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
The spectacle of North Korea’s former number two, Jang Song-thaek, being stripped of all his titles at a December 8 party meeting in Pyongyang and then arrested by uniformed guards left no doubt about his fall from grace. Jang’s former protégé, Premier Pak Pong-ju, was in tears as he denounced his old friend while he was being dragged away. Such a public display of political disarray, broadcast the next day on state television, was unprecedented in the North Korean hermit kingdom.
Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
It's no secret that the value of an honorary degree—not to mention the value of an actual degree—has declined in recent years. Recently minted “Doctors” include Ben Affleck (Brown University), Jon Bon Jovi (Monmouth University), and Morgan Freeman (Boston University). Tufts University, meanwhile, gave one to Lance Armstrong in 2006 . . . only to rescind it last year after the cyclist copped to doping.
How the Kim dynasty preserves its power. Oct 14, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 06 • By GORDON G. CHANG
Steam venting from the complex that houses the Soviet-era reactor in Yongbyon, spotted in satellite imagery taken at the end of August and released last month, tells us that the rogue regime of Kim Jong-un is about to go back into the business of producing plutonium. Weapons specialists and arms-control advocates uniformly expressed concern in the days following the unwelcome news, but followers of Bruce Bechtol know that Pyongyang’s program for enriching uranium is far more consequential than its small-scale plutonium efforts.
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