North Korea

Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored communist control. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. KIM Il Sung's son, KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death in 1994. KIM Jong Un was publicly unveiled as his father's successor in September 2010. Following KIM Jong Il's death in December 2011, the regime began to take actions to transfer power to KIM Jong Un and KIM assumed many his father's former titles and duties. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population. The DPRK began to ease restrictions to allow semi-private markets, starting in 2002, but then sought to roll back the scale of economic reforms in 2005 and 2009.

Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, director of USIP's Asia-Pacific Programs, testifies before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission hearing on China’s Relations with North Korea.

Stephanie T. Kleine-Ahlbrandt

Commissioner Brookes and Commissioner Fiedler, and other distinguished members of the Commission: Thank you for your invitation to testify before you today on the topic of China's relations with North Korea. The views I express today are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Institute of Peace, which does not take policy positions.   

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 12:04
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North Korea Conducts Nuclear Blast

North Korea on February 12 conducted a third nuclear test blast, drawing immediate global condemnation. USIP has several recent resources discussing the North's proliferation activities.

North Korea today (February 12) conducted its third nuclear test explosion, a long-anticipated move that prompted immediate global condemnation and runs afoul of United Nations Security Council resolutions. The test blast was the first during the rule of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a son of the previous leader Kim Jong-il. Previous tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009, and the North said today that the new test produced "greater explosive force" and relied on a miniaturized nuclear device.

Thomas Omestad
Tue, 02/12/2013 - 09:12
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John S. Park

John
Park
Senior Asia Advisor, Center for Conflict Management

Please submit all media inquiries to interviews@usip.org or call 202.429.3869.

For all other inquiries, please call 202.457.1700.

John S. Park is senior Asia adviser at USIP, where he directs Northeast Asia track 1.5 projects. These include the U.S.-China Project on Crisis Avoidance and Cooperation, the U.S.-South Korea-Japan Trilateral Dialogue in Northeast Asia, the U.S.-China-Japan Dialogue on Risk Reduction and Crisis Prevention, and the Korea Working Group. Park advises Northeast Asia policy-focused officials at the Departments of State, Defense, and the Treasury; on the National Security Council; and on Congressional committees. 

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Assessing North Korea’s Missile Launch

North Korea, in defiance of international calls, launched a two-stage ballistic rocket on December 11, reportedly putting into orbit a satellite. Michael Lekson, an arms control expert, examines what this development means.

North Korea, in defiance of international calls, launched a two-stage ballistic rocket on December 11, reportedly putting into orbit a satellite. The North Korean move is widely viewed as a setback for the possible resumption of nuclear arms control negotiations involving six countries, including the United States. It is also seen as a further step by North Korea in the direction of achieving the capability to deliver nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles. Michael Lekson, director of gaming for the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding of the U.S.

Michael Lekson
Wed, 12/12/2012 - 18:10
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Navy's CNO Visits USIP

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert visited USIP April 12 to discuss the India-Pakistan relationship, security sector governance and North Korea and the Pacific Rim.

April 13, 2012

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert visited USIP April 12 to discuss the India-Pakistan relationship, security sector governance and North Korea and the Pacific Rim.

Greenert was briefed by John Park, USIP's senior program officer for northeast Asia, Moeed Yusuf, senior adviser on Pakistan, Robert Perito, director of USIP's security sector governance center, and Beth Cole, a dean for the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding.

Fri, 04/13/2012 - 15:56
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What Does North Korea's Ballistic Missile Test Tell Us about the Reclusive Country?

John Park, a senior program officer who directs USIP's Korea Working Group, examines what North Korea's planned long-range missile test reveals about the hermit nation and what the after effects will be for the key parties.

John Park

April 12, 2012

John Park, a senior program officer who directs USIP's Korea Working Group, examines what North Korea's planned long-range missile test reveals about the hermit nation and what the after effects will be for the key parties.

Thu, 04/12/2012 - 09:50
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China's Nuclear Posture, North Korea's Nuclear Challenge, and U.S. National Security

Understand the roles of arms control and nonproliferation regimes, as well as the U.S. strategic posture, in confronting the challenges of nuclear weapons, with a special focus on the growing role of China as a regional and world power, and the dangers of North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability at a time of regime transition.

As China becomes increasingly powerful on the international stage and more assertive in East Asian and international affairs, it has been quietly growing in nuclear and strategic military power, raising numerous issues for the United States and its East Asian allies and friends. China’s vexing and now nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea poses another layer of serious challenges to the United States and its friends and allies, made all the more worrisome by North Korea’s own leadership transition.

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Global Change, Peacebuilding and USIP

USIP leaders explain the effect that events around the world and here at home will have on the U.S., and the contributions the Institute can and does make during a time of tremendous challenge – and opportunity.

This past year offered fresh proof that the world we live in is ever dynamic. Fundamental change can come from something as extraordinary as a fruit vendor’s act of defiance in Tunisia to popular revolts by reform movements across the Middle East. At the same time, a decade of war and the weak U.S. economy dictates that there must be new ways to think about the role the U.S. will play in the world in the coming years.

Thu, 03/29/2012 - 14:03
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USIP Prevention Newsletter - January 2012

The January 2012 Prevention Newsletter features a spotlight on U.S.-Iran relations: Iran seems to be on a collision course with the international community. The U.S. and its allies have to find a way to respond effectively to Iran, without feeding the very forces seeking conflict with the West.

In this Issue

  • SPOTLIGHT on U.S.-Iran relations: Iran seems to be on a collision course with the international community. The U.S. and its allies have to find a way to respond effectively to Iran, without feeding the very forces seeking conflict with the West.   
  • HIGHLIGHTS:
    • U.S.-Pakistan Relations
    • North Africa and the Arab Spring
    • Arab-Israeli Conflict 
    • The Political Transition in North Korea 
    • The Responsibility to Protect
    • The Power Transitions in Yemen  
Tue, 01/03/2012 - 09:00
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Articles & Analysis

June 9, 2014

The U.S. and China have dramatically different perspectives and approaches on North Korea’s nuclear weapons development, even though both say they want the program shut down. So how to find common ground? Stephanie T. Kleine-Ahlbrandt, USIP’s director of Asia-Pacific programs, tells a congressionally established commission, “There are no good options, only a series of trade-offs.”

Our Work in the Field

Experts from the U.S. Institute of Peace co-convenved the 1st Seoul Nuclear Summit Security Group (SNS3G) workshop that is the first a series of prepatory workshops leading up to the 2012 nuclear security summit in Seoul. 

Learn More

Classroom Courses

Instructor:
Bruce MacDonald, Michael Lekson

Understand the roles of arms control and nonproliferation regimes, as well as the U.S. strategic posture, in confronting the challenges of nuclear weapons, with a special focus on the growing role of China as a regional and world power, and the dangers of North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability at a time of regime transition.

As China becomes increasingly powerful on the international stage and more assertive in East Asian and international affairs, it has been quietly growing in nuclear and strategic military power, ra

Publications

Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, director of USIP's Asia-Pacific Programs, testifies before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission hearing on China’s Relations with North Korea.
By:
Thomas Omestad
North Korea on February 12 conducted a third nuclear test blast, drawing immediate global condemnation. USIP has several recent resources discussing the North's proliferation activities.