North Korea: Witness to Transformation

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Stephan Haggard and Mira Rapp-Hooper Preview the Summit on Lawfare
Only a few months ago, President Donald Trump threatened to rain fire and fury on North Korea, and Kim Jong Un’s missiles were crashing into the ocean. Now, the president is preparing for a summit with the North Korean leader. To understand what to expect, Benjamin Wittes spoke on Friday to North...

Stephan Haggard on the Panmunjon Declaration
Pessimism about the Trump-Kim summit abounds; Mark Landler's analysis at the New York Times is typical . But if this problem were easy it would have been solved long ago. The North-South summit didn’t actually achieve much because its various initiatives depend on progress on the nuclear issue. We...

Haggard on Sanctions at the Monkey Cage
It looks like the United States and North Korea are actually talking, which should not be altogether surprising; it is not clear how you could have a summit without sherpas. And it also looks like North Korea has in fact conceded that denuclearization is also on agenda, which is also not surprising...

John Bolton: Surrender Is Not an Option
If there were a prize for tendentious book title, John Bolton’s memoir Surrender Is Not an Option would be it. On the one side are those advocating surrender; on the other, Bolton. You choose! I did a review of Bolton’s book at the time he was being tapped by then Republican presidential candidate...

Stephan Haggard on the US–North Korea Summit
While on pause, we are posting commentary that Marc Noland and Steph Haggard are writing on the peninsula. The latest edition is an analysis by Stephan Haggard of the proposed summit between the United States and North Korea . The decision on steel and aluminum tariffs and the decision to meet Kim...

Stephan Haggard on New Maritime Sanctions
While on pause, we are posting commentary that Marc Noland and Steph Haggard are writing on the Korean peninsula. The latest edition is an analysis by Stephan Haggard at NK News on the new maritime sanctions. As sanctions tighten, ship-to-ship transfers and other forms of smuggling will go up, not...

Stephan Haggard on Vice President Pence in Korea
While on pause, we are posting commentary that Marc Noland and Steph Haggard are writing on the peninsula. The latest edition is an analysis by Stephan Haggard NKNews on Vice President Trump’s Olympic foray. Much of the coverage has been negative, and with some reason. But in the end, any US...

Stephan Haggard on Developmental States
While on pause, we are posting commentary and new work by Marc Noland and Stephan Haggard on the Korean peninsula. Both of us cut our teeth on the political economy of the region, with Haggard's first book— Pathways from the Periphery —detailing the transition to export-led growth in the region and...

Haggard at NKNews on Expectations and the Diplomatic State of Play
While on pause, we are posting commentary that Marc Noland and Steph Haggard are writing on the peninsula. The latest edition is an analysis by Stephan Haggard at NKNews of the lack of attention to the parameters for possible talks, not only on the part of the United States but of China and South...

Stephan Haggard at Lawfare Podcast on the Hawaii Missile Scare
While on leave, we will be posting links to some commentary that may be of interest to readers. First up: Shannon Togawa Mercer interviewed a diverse group of observers on the event for the Lawfare podcast, with many focusing on the civilian defense angle: Garrett Graff, author and journalist;...

Witness to Transformation Takes a Pause
This blog was launched prior to publication of our second collaborative effort on North Korea, Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea (2011). It then kept us current during the writing of our third collaborative effort, Hard Target: Sanctions, Inducements and the Case of North...

Asia Society Panel on the Alliance and North Korea
In mid-December I participated on a panel at the Asia Society in San Francisco on the theme of "Trump, Moon and the 'Ironclad' Alliance: Responding to North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions." Introduced by Tom Gold (UC Berkeley) and moderated by Margaret Conley, the panel included Deputy Consul General...

The Significance of Small Gestures: The Decision on Military Exercises
The PyeongChan Winter Olympics open on February 9 and close February 25. Last year, the Foal Eagle military training exercise began on March 1 and ran for about two months. The year before that, the largest and most visible of the joint Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises in years also kicked off...

Trump in Asia: The Year in Review
Donald Trump campaigned on a platform that included fundamental changes in the US posture toward Asia. He cast doubt on the utility of the alliances with Japan and South Korea and questioned the One China policy, and thus the longstanding policy of "strategic ambiguity" over Taiwan. He mused aloud...

Kim Jong-un's 2018 New Year's Address
After a homey introduction—wishing "the families across the country good health, happiness, success and prosperity"—Kim Jong-un quickly got to the first of the three main points in his New Year's Address. The year before he announced that the country had "entered the final stage of preparation for...