North Korea Articles


Don’t Go There

Jun 23, 2014

That the North Korean regime has taken another American tourist hostage—this time it’s one Jeffrey Edward Fowle of Miamisburg, Ohio, who was seized in May after a Bible was reportedly discovered in his hotel room—is hardly surprising. North Korea is ferociously repressive, and, as Paul Marshall notes elsewhere in this issue, it targets Christians. What is odd is that the United States continues to allow Americans to travel to North Korea without any restrictions.

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Deserter in N. Korea May Provide Precedent for Bowe Bergdahl

12:21 PM, Jun 04, 2014

A U.S. Army soldier goes missing at night from a remote post on the edge of enemy territory. Depressed and anxious, he has expressed doubts about the U.S. mission and disillusionment with the war. He allegedly leaves behind a note recording these doubts. There are some reports that he consumes alcohol before he disappears. He crosses enemy lines and is detained by hostile forces who subsequently publicly announce his conversion to their anti-American cause.

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North Korea’s Hateful Rants Continue to Get a Pass

12:13 PM, May 09, 2014

In an age of hypersensitivity to sexism and homophobia, why does the North Korean regime escape censure? North Korean media specialize in a gutter rhetoric that, from any other source, would be met with immediate condemnation. The world, however, seems so accustomed to hearing astonishingly repellent remarks from the North Korean propagandists that now anything goes.

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Report: NKorea Fires Four Short-Range Missiles

7:38 AM, Feb 27, 2014

The South Koreans are reporting that North Korea fired off four short-range missiles today. "South Korea says North Korea has fired four suspected short-range missiles into its eastern waters," reports the Associated Press

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In Iran We Trust?

If Tehran breaks its promises, we’re unlikely to know.
Feb 10, 2014

President Obama is rushing to implement the six-month interim agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran that went into effect last week. Together with five other world powers, he is now working to negotiate a long-term agreement aimed at keeping Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. He regards his opening to Iran as a signature achievement of his presidency and has proudly declared that diplomacy opened a path to “a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.”

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Rodman Brings Bread and Circuses to Pyongyang

8:16 AM, Jan 07, 2014

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.

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Dennis Rodman’s Ding Dong Diplomacy

9:01 AM, Dec 20, 2013

Now that the hoopla has begun to die down over Kim Jong-un’s execution of his uncle—reportedly Mafia-style with machine guns—the Young General is anticipating his athletes shooting a few hoops under the expert tutoring of Dennis Rodman.

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A Tale of Two Ladies

7:26 AM, Dec 17, 2013

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.

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Kerry: N. Korea 'Potentially' Having Nuke Would Be 'Unacceptable'

First successful nuclear test was more than four years ago.
11:40 AM, Dec 15, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC News in an interview that North Korea "potentially" having a nuclear weapon would be "even more unacceptable." North Korea first tested its nuclear weapons capabilities in 2006 and had a more successful test in 2009. The country's most recent nuclear test was earlier this year.

ABC News journalist Martha Raddatz asked Kerry, who was in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, about the execution of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's uncle.

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The Irony of Kim's Cruelty

10:48 AM, Dec 13, 2013

Even after 65 years of hideous barbarity, the murderousness of the Kim regime still holds the capacity to shock. Korea-watchers are baffled at the news that Kim Jong-un had his uncle and former mentor, Jang Song-thaek, summarily executed for “treason” this week. (For analysis of the events leading to Jang’s purge and execution, see Dennis C. Halpin’s piece in this week’s magazine.)

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A Prisoner in Pyongyang

Merrill Newman’s reminder: don’t go to North Korea.
2:46 PM, Dec 02, 2013

In recent years, as its regime has been increasingly hemmed in by sanctions, North Korea has encouraged foreign tourists to visit the country. Unfortunately, it’s been working—nearly 10,000 Westerners now travel to the North Korea each year. One of them, 85-year-old Merrill Newman of Palo Alto, California, has been detained there for the last several weeks.

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Syria, Iran, and the Lessons of North Korea

9:56 AM, Sep 20, 2013

Caroline Glick, writing for the Jerusalem Post, looks at the U.S.-Russia negotiation over Syria and its effect on Iran, and sees parallels with the nuclear build-up in North Korea:

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High-heeled Nonsense

Sep 02, 2013

The press, for whatever reason, has been strangely Panglossian on North Korea ever since Kim Jong-un took over as supreme leader back in December 2011. No Stalinist tyrant is he, we’ve been told time and again. In fact, he may just be a bona fide reformer!

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State Department Spox Calls North Korea the ‘DPRK’

Joins China Daily, Pravda, and KCNA.
3:03 PM, Aug 30, 2013

When it comes to North Korea, it’s helpful to keep a simple rule of thumb in mind: don’t trust anybody who refers to the country as the “DPRK.” (That would be the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the country’s official – and yes, bleakly ironic – name.) Calling North Korea the “DPRK” is not only woefully misleading – there’s nothing democratic, republican, or people-oriented about the brutal dictatorship – but it also lends legitimacy to the ruling regime.

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Special Envoy to Visit North Korea

5:04 PM, Aug 27, 2013

The White House just announced that the special envoy for North Korea, Ambassador Robert King, will visit North Korea.

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North Korea Sponsors Terrorism

But not according to the State Department.
3:22 PM, Aug 13, 2013

Even after a year of North Korean nuclear and missile tests, this year's State Department “Country Reports on Terrorism” makes the risible claim that North Korea is "not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987."

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Korean Cover-Up

Did South Korea’s former president destroy a damning document?
12:47 PM, Jul 23, 2013

Roh (pronounced “No”) Moo-hyun, the startlingly left-wing president of South Korea from 2003 to 2008, offered a remarkable concession to the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il at a summit in Pyongyang in 2007.

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Defective Nomenclature

Are escaped North Korean children really “defectors”?
8:12 AM, Jun 04, 2013

The small Southeast Asian country of Laos outraged civilized people everywhere last month by repatriating nine escaped North Koreans orphans. The escapees, who had travelled through China and into Laos, are now likely to suffer harsh punishment. Repatriated North Koreans are known to face internment in brutal labor camps upon their return. They're occasionally even executed.

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Report: Nork Officers Help Assad in Syria

1:18 PM, Jun 03, 2013

A news report published today says that North Korean officers are in Syria helping Bashar al-Assad wage war against his own people.

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Starving for a Beer

Jun 03, 2013

It's become an all too familiar tale: A naïve, amoral Westerner travels to Stalinist North Korea and returns with breathless tales of what a wacky, weird, and wild time he had there! (Somehow, the country’s extensive gulag never makes it onto the visitor’s itinerary.)

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A Lesson in Rogue Regimes for the White House

Why North Korea might follow Pakistan's example.
12:01 PM, Apr 30, 2013

Over the past fifteen years, Pakistan has demonstrated how nuclear weapons can allow a country to engage in limited hostilities without triggering all out war. It has also shown that once a nuclear-armed state initiates hostilities, the international response will focus on restoring stability, with denuclearization reduced to a secondary goal.

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Dictatorships and Double Standards

Apr 22, 2013

There are plenty of ways that the New York Times could have chosen to refer to South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, whom Ethan Epstein profiled in these pages a few months back (“Democracy, Gangnam-Style,” December 17, 2012). In fact, The Scrapbook would probably have chosen just that: “South Korea’s new president.” Still, it was at least moderately defensible when the Grey Lady called President Park the “daughter of a famed South Korean dictator from the cold war” in a news story on Korean relations published last week. Even if the reference was a bit of a non -sequitur, it’s true that President Park’s father, Park Chung-hee, was the autocratic leader of South Korea from 1961 to 1979.

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Dateline Pyongyang

The AP's problematic North Korea bureau
Apr 22, 2013

In February, North Korea conducted its third nuclear weapons test since 2006. The test, performed in defiance of scores of United Nations sanctions, outraged the international community. Within weeks, the U.N. had leveled more sanctions on the rogue regime, beefing up inspections of North Korean cargo, banning luxury exports to the impoverished nation’s appallingly self-indulgent ruling coterie, requiring countries to freeze all financial transactions that might somehow aid the North Korean nuclear program, and barring the transport of bulk cash into the country.

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What North Korea Teaches Us About China

3:36 PM, Apr 18, 2013

Disappointing Western hopes that he would put North Korea on a more rational and humane path, Kim Jong-un relishes showing his regime as one of the most odious and dangerous on the planet.  Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, the young new leader is acting the part of a real-life Dr. Evil, recklessly threatening atomic attacks on South Korea, Japan, and the United States.  His conventional weapons alone could wreak nuclear-like mass destruction on Seoul.

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Podcast: The AP's Problematic North Korea Bureau

Hosted by Michael Graham.
10:50 AM, Apr 16, 2013

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Ethan Epstein on his piece, Dateline Pyongyang, and why the Associated Press bureau in North Korea is problematic.

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Obama: I 'Anticipate That North Korea Will Probably Make More Provocative Moves'

"You don't get to bang your spoon on the table and somehow you get your way."
8:39 AM, Apr 16, 2013

President Obama shared his thoughts on North Korea in an interview that aired this morning on NBC:

"Let's move to North Korea," said the NBC journalist. "Is Kim Jong-Un unstable?"

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Don't Pivot to Beijing

9:29 AM, Apr 12, 2013

Tokyo
John Kerry’s first visit as secretary of state to Asia this week will be rightly dominated by the heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, where Kim Jong-un’s regime continues to generate headlines around the world with its bluster and brinksmanship.

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Hawaii Congresswoman Worried About Obama's Missile Defense Cuts

8:01 PM, Apr 11, 2013

Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman representing Hawaii's Second Congressional District, responds to President Obama's proposed budget by expressing concern over missile defense cuts. "It would also cut our missile defense budget, even as Hawai‘i and the rest of the country face direct and heightened threats from North Korea," she says in a statement.

Gabbard is a Democrat, who otherwise praises Obama's budget, except for president's proposed Social Security "cuts."

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Special Report Panel on Obama's Budget and North Korea

6:45 AM, Apr 11, 2013

Steve Hayes, with Jim Rutenberg and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:

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U.S. Ambassador to SKorea Blogs About Vacation Amid Tension with NKorea

9:39 AM, Apr 08, 2013

As tension rises between North Korea and America, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Sung Kim, went on a family vacation. The ambassador today shared his experience in a lengthy blog post.

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