The U.S. State Department’s effort to portray North Korean migrant labor in Russia as slavery is misguided; working abroad is one of the only ways for North Koreans to climb the social ladder and provide their families with a modicum of financial stability.
Should Trump be ready to offer Kim Jong-un US security guarantees for his regime in exchange for limiting North Korea’s missile program so that the US West Coast remains safe from North Korean projectiles, Russia could also offer to host a six-party summit in Vladivostok so close to the two Koreas, as well as China and Japan.
Russia has played it cool in the current North Korea crisis, convinced that the spike in tensions will soon subside. Moscow, however, is under no illusion: The security situation on the Korean Peninsula continues to deteriorate and the next alert is just around the corner.
North Korea has been described as the world’s last Stalinist country. The rhetoric of its officials may indeed be Stalinist, but market forces have played a major role in its economy since at least the late 1990s. The spontaneous growth of free enterprise has been crucial to the North Korean economy’s slow but steady recovery from an external shock.
This year media publications, state visits, and lofty declarations implied an unprecedented boom in Russian-North Korean relations. However, official 2014 statistics paint a different picture
In recent years, North Korea has transformed from one of the least to one of the most corrupt countries in East Asia. But this has been a blessing for its people, both politically and economically
Under Kim Jong-un, the repressions against the North Korean elite have reached unprecedented levels since the times of the inter-faction strife of the 1950’s. Such methods of shoring up one’s power may backfire
Kim Jong-un eagerly and easily communicates with foreigners, but at the same time avoids meeting foreign heads of state. After three years in power he has never once met with a single one of his foreign colleagues.
Unlike Tehran, Pyongyang fears external threats more than internal ones and may at most agree to freeze its nuclear program. Though this scenario is arguably the best one imaginable, political considerations in Washington make it all but impossible.
Due to his age, young Kim Jong-un cannot afford to rule the way his aged father did. The old system will not guarantee him another 40—50 years in power. Therefore, he is forced to change it, however risky these changes might be.