To restore your faith in the power of social media, I suggest logging on to Twitter just after a North Korean weapons parade.
Maybe “faith” is too strong a word here. In the heady days of 2011, we dared to hope that Twitter and Facebook would be the tools that toppled dictatorships all
US presidential candidate Joe Biden, leading in most polls more than two months before the November election, is cautiously expected to win office. On foreign policy, his plan has been characterised as a “restoration project” to rebuild America’s international standing, with the help of allies
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in’s appointment of new national security advisers has attracted attention, given their pro-détente stance in spite of North Korea’s latest provocations. The incoming team has rolled out an ambitious agenda to break the stalemate between the North and South
North Korea’s demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong on 16 June sent a powerful visual message to the world that North-South relations were degrading. But perhaps equally telling were South Korea’s handling of the destruction and the subsequent personnel and policy
In May, the Washington Post reported discussions within the Trump administration about the possibility of conducting the first US nuclear detonation test since 1992, ostensibly as a countermeasure to the nuclear programs of China and Russia. Last month, officials said no tests were planned, but, in
Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un, released a notable statement on Friday about the state of North Korea–United States nuclear negotiations. Kim’s statement, delivered via the Korean Central News Agency, came in response to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s recent
North Korea’s demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong last week is a huge setback to Pyongyang’s relations with Seoul. Unfortunately the situation can get even worse.
One day after the building was brought crashing down – a dramatic reminder to the rest of the world about
Recent news reports about North Korea reopening its schools and easing its restrictions on border trade with China after more than four months of coronavirus-related closure indicate that normalcy is returning to the Hermit Kingdom.
While it would be far-fetched to fairly evaluate Pyongyang’s
The three-week disappearance by North Korea’s chairman Kim Jong-un prompted plenty of questions. Could a succession crisis unfold? Might it go even further, with the risk that North Korea could collapse?
Analysts have long argued that Kim’s health is a wild card when it comes to regime
As Covid-19 continues its relentless spread to almost every country, Vietnam and North Korea stand out in Asia for reporting low numbers of infections and zero deaths, despite neither country possessing the resources of many of their neighbours.
So far, Vietnam has reported roughly 250 infections
This is the third of a three-part series of articles examining the Democrats’ and America’s place in the world in the lead-up to the US presidential election. The first article can be read here, and the second here.
CPTPP: The trade agreement America loves to hate
The fate of the
South Korea has become the country worst hit by the novel coronavirus outside of China, with numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases now more than 7500 and deaths more than 50. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has faced severe criticism in recent weeks for his handling of the virus – an online
Six months ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan–North Korea relations remain strained. Since September 2018, the Olympic organising committee withheld North Korea’s request to access the Olympics “extranet”, where national Olympic committees can share information, because it had to
Two years ago, US President Donald Trump agreed to negotiate with North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, opening a wave of speculation, if not exuberance, that some kind of major breakthrough was in the works. Today, little has come of all the hype, and there is much reason to think that the
Christmas and New Year came and went without a bang on the Korean peninsula, even though North Korea had warned of a “Christmas gift” for the United States and the horrendous consequences of missing its arbitrarily set “end-of-year” deadline in the months before. Despite its series of
With Donald Trump facing an impeachment trial in the Senate and a tough re-election battle, some US rivals see the president as politically weakened, risk-averse in exerting military pressure, and incapable of delivering on diplomatic commitments. The American drone strike killing General Qassim
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is changing South Korean foreign policy. He has allowed Seoul’s relationship with the United States and Japan to deteriorate while betting heavily that North Korea would embrace his détente effort. This risks isolating South Korea, and the conservative pushback
Ever since Chairman Kim Jong-un issued the end-of-year deadline in April for nuclear negotiations, North Korea has displayed a stubborn attitude. From launching a series of new short and medium-range missiles, dragging its feet at the working-level talks, to showing no signs of compromise at
The long-awaited US–North Korea working-level talks collapsed last week, as Washington and Pyongyang could not agree on the definition of “denuclearisation” and mutual concessions. This followed the recent test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) by North Korea and insistence on
Episode 10 of the Lowy Institute’s new podcast, Rules Based Audio, is out today. In Socialist Paradise: North Korea under Kim Jong-un, the Washington Post Beijing bureau chief and author Anna Fifield talks about how the strange, closed country is changing under its young leader. And
Even as tensions between the United States and North Korea remain high – North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui recently berated the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for describing Pyongyang’s behaviour as “rogue” – the North Korean charm offensive is still in full
Barely a month after the historic handshake at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), North Korea returned to provocations by unveiling its new “strategic” ballistic missile submarine and testing short-range ballistic missiles.
US President Donald Trump and North Korea Chairman Kim Jong-un had
Last Tuesday (23 July) was a bad day in Northeast Asia, not just for what happened but what it foreshadows. Tensions are rising. After all, it’s not every day that a South Korean jet fighter fires across the bow of a Russian spy plane.
Tuesday’s first big event was the inaugural China-
The third meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korea Chairman Kim Jong-un has come and gone, again without much substantial progress, but its symbolism has continued to dominate Korea watchers’ assessments of the event.
Trump last month became the first sitting US president to set
Book Review: The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong-un, Sun of the 21st Century, by Anna Fifield (Hachette, 2019)
Anna Fifield’s The Great Successor is a wonderful narrative, weaving together Kim Jong-un’s childhood (and adulthood) basketball
Last month in The Interpreter, I argued that inter-Korean status quo is deeply persistent. US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have tried all sorts of tactics in the last 28 months to change things, yet nothing seems to work.
In 2017, Trump reached to the limits of
The North Korea-watching community is currently divided about a report in South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo alleging a purge of several North Korean diplomats involved in the Hanoi summit, which collapsed without a much-touted nuclear deal. According to newspaper report, Pyongyang’s special envoy to the
Despite the hype that surrounded the April 2018 summit of leaders from South and North Korea, the first anniversary of the meeting did not attract much attention – and was ignored by North Korea.
South Korea had sought to use the anniversary as a way to resuscitate the stalled denuclearisation
Verifying North Korea’s nuclear stockpile will be a critical part of any future disarmament negotiations. As past experience with other nations demonstrates, it is also a tricky process.
North Korea will be expected to supply an inventory of their weapons stockpile, its fissile material and the
It is a commonplace in media treatments of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) to view the previous two years as remarkable. This is often premised on the notion that the heavy American and South Korean (ROK, or Republic of Korea) engagement with the North since 2017
Two years of James Bond-esque intrigue following Kim Jong-nam’s assassination in Malaysia have fizzled out, with backroom negotiations seeing murder charges dropped against the two women previously alleged to have killed the North Korean.
Ultimately, Malaysia didn’t allow detail to get in the
Six weeks after the Hanoi summit, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is about to visit Washington in an effort to keep up the dialogue between the United States and North Korea.
Moon’s 11 April trip will take place against a troubled backdrop, of North Korea’s threat to walk away from the
Numerous reports give weight to the theory that North Korea will soon stage another satellite launch, the first since February 2016. North Korea has only ever placed two satellites into orbit, and neither of them worked. But North Korea did chalk up one achievement. It beat South Korea in the race
According to numerous commentators, the country happiest with the “no deal” outcome for the Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi last week was Japan. Fearful that President Donald Trump, in his pursuit of a big win, would not keep Japanese interests in mind, many in Tokyo expected the worst.
Despite inflated pre-summit expectations that US President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un would sign a deal involving at least some sanctions relief, liaison offices, an end of war declaration, and agreement for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear facilities, the fact that Hanoi
Following the Trump-Kim summits and a gush of commentary on “presidential diplomacy”, “face-to-face diplomacy”, “summit diplomacy”, and even “Trumpian diplomacy”, we’ve somehow come to accept politicians as diplomats. It may be time to recall the difference – before it
There is enormous uncertainty now about the failure of the summit in Hanoi between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. There will be a natural rush by hawks and doves to frame this, respectively, as proof that North Korea is belligerent and overdemanding, or that
Of all the countries on the sidelines of the Hanoi summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, few were watching more intently than China.
Chinese financial and trade support effectively facilitated North Korea’s nuclear program by keeping its economy afloat and thus fractured the chances of a
Assessing the import and impact of the Trump-Kim summits is a challenge. The visual spectacle of the two “colourful” leaders, both of whom prize the optics almost more than the substance of meetings, can prove highly distracting.
Viewed from Beijing or Pyongyang’s perspective, the two
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are set to begin two days of talks in Hanoi, Vietnam, in what will be their second meeting within eight months. While it might not draw as much attention as the earlier landmark event in Singapore, the Hanoi summit is expected to produce
Before the Singapore summit, President Donald Trump took to Twitter with a message:
Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself. I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic
South Korea has a national holiday on the first day of March to commemorate the start of the 1919 March First Movement. A century later, the legacy of the movement still resonates in both North and South Korea.
In South Korea, the constitution which had been established in 1919 by the
The news is in. US President Donald Trump will meet North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un for the second time on February 27-28. Instead of Singapore, this time Vietnam will play host.
Although there are many concerns regarding the prospect of success for the second summit and North Korea’s
Donald Trump threw a meaty hypothetical on the table in the midst of his big set-piece speech to the US congress on the State of the Union.
“If I had not been elected president of the United States,” Trump declared, clearly relishing what he was about to say next, “we would right now, in my
If press reports are accurate, US President Donald Trump and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un will again meet this month. They met for the first time last June in Singapore. Rumour suggests this meeting will be in Vietnam.
The first summit was sharply criticised as a photo-op for Trump –
Appealing to South Korea with proposals of peaceful unification, while at the same time demonising foreigners occupying the Korean Peninsula, is one of the oldest pages in Pyongyang’s rhetorical playbook.
Pyongyang is clearly painting a picture for Seoul that relations going forward could come
Almost two weeks have passed since Kim Jong-un delivered his 2019 New Year Address. He informed the world of his intention to capitalise on his diplomatic victories to enhance North Korea’s international status. He also expressed his willingness to continue the détente with South Korea and
How to capture a year of extraordinary diplomacy on the Korean peninsula, that started out with bragging about the size of a nuclear button to a cozy photo-op with the US President and North Korea’s supreme leader. Perhaps Khang Vu put it best, asking whether the so-called “Olympic truce”
Bringing sustainable peace to the Korean Peninsula. Improving South Korea’s long-term economic prospects. Helping Seoul to shape regional geopolitics. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s “New Northern Policy” is an ambitious strategy designed to achieve these three goals.
This is why Moon
One of the most commented upon elements of this year’s outreach effort toward North Korea is the possible drift in the US-South Korean alliance.
It has been widely noted that the US is tightly focused on nuclear weapons and missiles, seeking a narrow arms control deal. The US would clearly be