Reform signals from North Korea’s seventh Party Congress?

Several drummers take part in a mass parade during the closing ceremony of Workers' Party Congress in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Alek Sigley and Eun Jeong Soh, ANU

In early May this year, North Korea hosted its seventh Workers’ Party Congress, the first such meeting in 36 years. The nation’s capital was decked in colourful decoration and celebratory events were held to mark the occasion. The congress continued to communicate many of the well-worn messages of nuclear resoluteness and displays of strength in the face of the international community, but also showed indications of a changing state of affairs in North Korea.

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What motivates private Chinese investment in North Korea?

A billboard which reads, ‘Let’s work towards opening a new phase for constructing a powerful economy with the mentality and spirit to conquer the universe’, stands along the train tracks inside the Rason Special Economic Zone, North Korea. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: YaoHui Wang, University of Kansas and XiaoTong Zhao, University of Sydney

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner and has consistently encouraged cross-border trade and non-official investments in North Korea since 2006. Yet, despite its low-cost raw materials, cheap labour and large market potential, North Korea remains as a high-risk investment destination for Chinese businesses. Read more…

North Korea: more threats and brinkmanship

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watching a firing drill by a women’s artillery unit in January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Peter Hayes, Sydney University and Roger Cavazos, Nautilus Institute

The first two months of 2016 showed that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is committed to creating a new leadership doctrine in order to maintain domestic power. This doctrine is based on economic growth and demonstrated nuclear weapons prowess. Read more…

Time to rethink North Korea strategy

The United Nations Security Council votes on a resolution that would impose the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, during a meeting at UN Headquarters, 2 March 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Sangsoo Lee and Alec Forss, ISDP

North Korea’s recent nuclear test and ostensible satellite launch puts the spotlight on the failure of the international community to tame Pyongyang. Led by the United States, the international community has reacted strongly to the recent tests, pushing additional punitive sanctions against Pyongyang and raising the prospect of additional military deterrence measures. Read more…

Why South Korea should reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex

Korean People's Army Lt. Col. Nam Dong Ho is silhouetted against the truce village of Panmunjom at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which separates the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, North Korea. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jean Lee, New York University School of Law

On 11 February the South Korean government abruptly shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), a joint inter-Korean industrial zone located just 10 kilometres north of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), as a punishment for North Korea’s recent nuclear test and rocket launch. Read more…

North Korea sanctions still aiming for denuclearisation?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un talking with scientists and technicians involved in research of nuclear weapons, North Korea. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Ulv Hanssen, Free University of Berlin

On 2 March, in the wake of North Korea’s latest nuclear test and satellite launch, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a new set of stinging sanctions. Among other things, these include a partial ban on North Korean exports of coal, iron and iron ore, and a blanket ban on other items, such as gold and rare earth minerals.

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DPRK’s nuclear defiance means sunset for sunshine policy

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un guiding a joint drill of military units at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aidan Foster-Carter, Leeds University 

North Korea’s relations with the wider world have taken a tangible turn for the worse. Pyongyang’s double whammy of a nuclear test on 6 January 2016 followed by a satellite launch on 7 February 2016 was arguably nothing new. The Kim regime has conducted both kinds of tests regularly for a decade Read more…