The Week: Most Recent East Asia:Conflict in the Koreas recent posts.en-usWed, 13 Feb 2013 12:00:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent East Asia:Conflict in the Koreas from THE WEEKWed, 13 Feb 2013 12:00:00 -0500Will North Korea's provocative nuclear test backfire?<img src="" /></P><p>North Korea's nuclear test&nbsp;this week will bring about little to no good. Depending on what international monitors confirm about the test &mdash; Was the warhead plutonium-based or, worse, fueled by enriched uranium? Was it smaller than previous warheads, and thus closer to fitting atop a ballistic missile? &mdash; Pyongyang could be significantly closer to developing a workable nuke able to reach Japan, or its obvious end goal, the U.S. If there's a silver lining to the isolated communist regime's (figurative) mushroom cloud, it's that, as President Obama said Tuesday, such "provocations....</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/peter-weber" ><span class="byline">Peter Weber</span></a>Wed, 13 Feb 2013 12:00:00 -0500What the North Korean news agency's website looked like after the Hermit Kingdom's nuke test<img src="" /></P><p>The North Korean central news agency on Tuesday triumphantly blasted&nbsp;the news that the Hermit Kingdom had conducted its third nuclear test, but the agency's website hasn't been changed since yesterday. Like <em>The New York Times</em> front page before the 9/11 attacks, the Korean Central News Agency's website is a window into the dull affairs of state that dominated the news before the world changed. Though North Korea's news may be duller than most, judging from such scintillating headlines as "Kim Jong Un's Work to be Deeply Studied in Mongolia," "Mokran Bookshop Busting With Citizens," and "Kimjongilia...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryu-spaeth" ><span class="byline">Ryu Spaeth</span></a>Tue, 12 Feb 2013 15:17:00 -0500North Korea's nuclear test: How worried should we be?<img src="" /></P><p>North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Tuesday, in defiance of foreign leaders around the world. Condemnation came swiftly. President Obama called the long-threatened move a "highly provocative act" demanding "swift and credible action by the international community." China, which had urged Pyongyang not to conduct the test, declared its "staunch opposition" but urged calm as the United Nations Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting.</p><p>North Korea's official KCNA news service said the test involved a "miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force" than those the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Tue, 12 Feb 2013 11:00:00 -0500Destroy New York: North Korea's creepy new propaganda video<img src="" /></P><p><iframe width="660" height="395" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p><p>Unlike Iran, which says its nuclear program is just for civilian energy-generation, North Korea has almost refreshingly naked ambitions to be a world-class nuclear power. On Tuesday, South Korea said that its isolated northern neighbor is on the verge of conducting a third nuclear test, in violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. Even China, North Korea's only major ally and donor, is warning against a nuclear test; a leading Chinese newspaper, <em>The Global Times</em>, opined that Pyongyang should pay "a heavy price" if it follows through, including a cut in aid.</p><p>With the world against...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/peter-weber" ><span class="byline">Peter Weber</span></a>Wed, 06 Feb 2013 09:08:00 -05004 must-sees on Google's new map of North Korea<img src="" /></P><p>North Korea was long a big blank space on Google Maps. No roads were visible. No train lines. In fact, Pyongyang, the secretive communist nation's capital, was the only identified landmark. Google changed that on Tuesday, unveiling a detailed view of North Korea that points out spots as small as stores or subway stops, and as large as North Korea's gulags, some of which are the size of cities. Google says the pinpoint-specific maps were created through years of crowdsourcing. Volunteer "citizen cartographers" &mdash; working outside the Hermit Kingdom and using publicly available materials for...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Tue, 29 Jan 2013 17:51:00 -0500How far is North Korea from being able to hit the U.S. with a nuke?<img src="" /></P><p>North Korea is shaking its fist at the world yet again this week.</p><p>Pyongyang is angry at the United Nations for toughening sanctions as punishment for the Hermit Kingdom's launching a long-range missile to carry a satellite into orbit in December. And on Friday, North Korea threatened to attack its democratic neighbor, South Korea, if it goes along with the measures approved by the U.N. Security Council. Also this week, North Korea vowed to test a nuclear device and fire more test missiles toward the U.S., which it called the "sworn enemy" of the Korean people. Such saber rattling is nothing new...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Fri, 25 Jan 2013 10:58:00 -0500Jimmy Dushku: The 25-year-old who is North Korea's one true Twitter friend<img src="" /></P><p>Google Chairman Eric Schmidt capped a controversial four-day visit to North Korea on Thursday with a call for the country's censorship-happy communist government to give its people access to the internet, or face further economic decline due to the country's global isolation. It was a strong message from one of the web's most powerful figures, although North Korea watchers seem pretty confident the country's young leader, Kim Jong Un, will ignore it. There's one American, however, Pyongyang does appear to listen to. That would be Jimmy Dushku, a young investor who is one of exactly three Twitter...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Thu, 10 Jan 2013 15:15:00 -0500North Korea's rocket launch: 3 consequences<img src="" /></P><p>The U.S., Japan, and South Korea are demanding new sanctions against North Korea after the communist nation carried out an apparently successful launch of a four-stage Unha-3 long-range rocket on Wednesday, in defiance of a United Nations Security Council ban against missile tests. The move was seen as a boost to Pyongyang's young leader, Kim Jong Un, who is trying to establish himself as a strong and worthy successor to his father, the late Kim Jong Il. The rocket carried a satellite, not warheads, but if North Korea did manage to place the satellite in orbit, as its state media claims, Pyongyang...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Wed, 12 Dec 2012 10:15:00 -0500Is North Korea finally embracing capitalist reforms?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">This week, <em>Reuters</em> and <em>The Associated Press</em> reported that North Korea is introducing modest measures to reform the country's collectivist economy. The regime will reportedly allow farmers to keep their surplus crops to sell or barter, and while that may sound like small potatoes, it would represent the most significant economic reform that supreme leader Kim Jong Un has made since coming to power some nine months ago. Indeed, it is precisely the type of agricultural reform that communist China embarked upon in the late 1970s, ushering in a period of liberalization that eventually turned China into...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 25 Sep 2012 13:55:00 -0400North Korea's startling military shake-up: What it means<img src="" /></P><p>North Korean state-run media reported Monday that the ruling Worker's Party had removed the country's powerful military chief, Ri Yong-ho, "because of illness." The move shocked virtually all foreign experts who closely follow the Hermit Kingdom's secretive communist government, as Ri was seen as a close adviser to Pyongyang's young ruler, Kim Jong Un, who took over in December after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. Is Ri really sick, or is something else going on? Here, a brief guide:<br /><br /><strong>Who is Ri?</strong><br />Vice Marshall Ri, 69, was chief of the general staff of the Korean People's Army, appointed to the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 16 Jul 2012 15:45:00 -0400What's behind Kim Jong Un's Disney-inspired stage extravaganza?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">This week, North Korean state television released an hour and forty minutes of footage from a July 6 concert attended by young despot Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, in December. The remarkable video (see a clip below) includes Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh dancing on stage, clips from <em>Rocky IV</em> featuring Rocky Balboa and his Soviet nemesis Ivan Drago, and female musicians in skimpy dresses and stilettos playing "It's a Small World" and the go-get-'em theme music from&nbsp;<em>Rocky</em>. Kim was accompanied by a mysterious woman, who has been alternately identified...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 13 Jul 2012 13:45:00 -0400Inside North Korea's gulag<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">NINE</span>&nbsp;YEARS AFTER</strong> watching his mother's hanging, Shin In Geun squirmed through the electric fence that surrounds Camp 14 and ran off through the snow into the North Korean wilderness. It was Jan. 2, 2005. Before then, no one born in a North Korean political prison camp had ever escaped. As far as can be determined, Shin is the only one to have done it. He was 23 years old and knew no one outside the fence. Within a month, he had walked into China. Within two years, he was living in South Korea. Four years later, he was living in Southern California.</p><p class="p3"><span class="s1">Shin is roughly the same age as Kim Jong...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 01 Jun 2012 12:20:00 -0400Crisis in North Korea: 'Obama's Jimmy Carter moment'?<img src="" /></P><p>The November election is expected to hinge on the economy, but rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula are pushing foreign policy into center stage. Vice President Joe Biden says President Obama's overseas successes, including the killing of Osama bin Laden, prove he's better equipped to be commander-in-chief than the untested Mitt Romney. But Romney says he'd be tougher than Obama on belligerent countries, including North Korea, which is reportedly set to test a nuclear device in an attempt to shake off the embarrassment of its recent failed missile launch. Will Obama prove his mettle in the North...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 27 Apr 2012 10:21:00 -0400North Korea's latest threats: Mere bluster or a real danger?<img src="" /></P><p>After being threatened by its enemy-neighbor to the north, South Korea has put its military on alert and increased police patrols around conservative newspapers and TV stations. The North Korean military on Monday accused the South's government and news media of slandering its leaders, and vowed to reduce "ratlike groups" in Seoul to ashes soon "by unprecedented peculiar means." Is this just typical, over-the-top chest-thumping from the volatile hermit kingdom, or could Pyongyang really mean it this time?<br /><br /><strong>North Korea might follow through:</strong> Usually, these rants from Pyongyang are just for show, says...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 24 Apr 2012 09:00:00 -0400Kim Jong Un's surprise speech: 6 talking points<img src="" /></P><p>North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong Un, presided over a massive military parade in honor of the centennial of the birth of his grandfather, country founder Kim Il Sung &mdash; something that leaders of the isolated country have been known to do. But then Kim did something completely unexpected: He spoke. His televised 20-minute address was the first his country, and the world, had heard from the young leader, and it suggested to outside observers that Kim is charting a different course than his late father, Kim Jong Il, and will easily survive the humiliating failure of a satellite rocket launch...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 16 Apr 2012 07:05:00 -0400North Korea's mysterious satellite launch: 3 theories<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">North Korea is moving ahead with plans to conduct a satellite launch &mdash; sometime between April 12 and April 16 &mdash; to commemorate the 100th birthday of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung. Of course, suspicions abound that the rogue nation is up to no good, and the launch is seen as the most aggressive move that North Korea has made since Kim Il Sung's grandson, Kim Jong Un, came to power four months ago. U.S. officials say the launch is a cover for a long-range missile test, which would shatter a February deal to provide North Korea with much-needed food aid in exchange for a moratorium...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 10 Apr 2012 11:45:00 -0400