South Korea’s secret weapon against the North

South Korean army soldiers stand guard on Unification Bridge, which leads to the demilitarized zone, near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, 24 August 2015. Marathon negotiations by senior officials from the Koreas stretched over three days as the rivals tried to pull back from the brink. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sangsoo Lee, ISDP

On 25 August 2015, top-level negotiators from the North and South Korea reached a six-point agreement in the aftermath of a period of high military tension, which began when a landmine exploded in the Demilitarized Zone on 4 August, wounding two South Korean soldiers. Accusing North Korea of an unprovoked attack, South Korea responded by resuming anti-North Korea propaganda broadcasts for the first time since 2004. Read more…

China isn’t about to abandon North Korea

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of China's victory against Japan in World War II on 3 September 2015. The prominent position given to South Korean President Park Geun-hye is the latest sign of deteriorating relations between China and North Korea. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kevin Gray, University of Sussex

Much has been made of the recent cooling of diplomatic relations between China and North Korea and Beijing’s increased emphasis on Seoul. Deteriorating relations since 2012 were confirmed most recently by South Korean President Park Geun-Hye’s prominent position at China’s 70th anniversary celebrations of the end of World War II. For those looking forward to North Korea’s rapid demise and to the reunification of the peninsula on Seoul’s terms, this growing distance between Beijing and Pyongyang has been greeted with cautious optimism. Read more…

Why the Iran deal could work for North Korea


Author: Chung-In Moon, Yonsei University

On the brink of a crisis that threatened to escalate into conflict, North and South Korea recently reached an agreement on 25 August to prevent further confrontation, resume official talks, hold reunions of separated families and promote civilian exchanges. This was a remarkable reversal in tensions. But the thaw is only the beginning of a precarious and long journey toward peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. Read more…

Time to tap Russia and China on North Korean denuclearisation

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspects a newly-built housing complex in Pyongyang in October 2014. China and Russia should pressure the North Korean regime on its nuclear program. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Akanksha Sharma, RSIS

Diplomatic engagements between North Korea and Russia have raised the prospect that denuclearisation talks between the Pyongyang regime and the international community will resume. Russian envoy Grigory Logvinov pronounced in June 2015 that Moscow would not support any ‘behind the back’ agreement regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, but it could still play a significant role in getting Pyongyang to address the issue on a bilateral basis. Read more…

North Korea’s changing climate of environmental cooperation


Author: Benjamin Habib, La Trobe University

The North Korean (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) government would appear to have a compelling prima facie self-interest in participating in the global climate change mitigation and adaptation project centred on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Read more…

How ethnic nationalism undercuts multiculturalism on the Korean peninsula

activists in seoul protest against the forced deportation of illegal migrant workers. foreign workers ‘continue to experience abuse and exploitation’. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Eun Jeong Soh, ANU

North and South Korea are widely regarded to be ethnically homogenous societies. But with minority populations having grown 
in numbers and importance in both Koreas, demographic homogeneity has become a myth. Read more…

Breaking the deadlock on the Korean peninsula

Shin Han-yong, vice president of a group of South Korean firms with factories at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea, speaks to reporters after returning from the park, 20 April 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sangsoo Lee, ISDP

With the Six Party Talks — the main multilateral mechanism to negotiate North Korea’s denuclearisation — moribund since December 2008, the North Korean nuclear issue appears increasingly intractable. North Korea has proceeded with its nuclear program and enshrined its nuclear status in its constitution. Read more…