Modern Korean History | Wilson Center

Modern Korean History

The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: The Untold History

The Korean War is often synonymous with the 38th parallel and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the Korean peninsula.  What happens if we tell the story of the Korean War from inside the interrogation room? Professor Monica Kim tells the story of two generations from both sides of the Pacific creating and navigating a landscape of interrogation, transforming the Korean War into a global history about warfare, decolonization, and sovereignty. 

Nuclear Weapons and Their Pride of Place in North Korea

Visiting my colleague Van Jackson’s office in New Zealand last week, I spotted a classic North Korean souvenir on his shelf: commemorative stamps, packaged as a booklet and sold to the tourist who brought it back for him as a gift last year. These stamps are not of the iconic Juche Tower or the Arch of Triumph (which every North Korean will point out is taller than its counterpart in Paris).

Behind Asia’s Other Trade War

While the trade war between Washington and Beijing has garnered significant attention, another trade war between two of the world’s largest and most advanced economies is heating up. Japan and South Korea are the world’s third- and twelfth-largest economies, respectively, representing an annual GDP of greater than $6.5 trillion. Yet trade friction between Tokyo and Seoul has intensified as a political standoff, rooted in history and inflamed by domestic politics on both sides, has begun to impact the economies of two critical American allies and global supply chains.

Flash Analysis: Chinese President Xi Jinping's Visit to North Korea

On June 20th, Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to make a two day state visit to North Korea.  While Kim Jong Un has traveled to China several times over the last year, this will be Xi's first trip to Pyongyang.  Three Wilson Center experts offer their analysis of the implications and potential outcomes.

 

Jean H. Lee, director of the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy:

Perspectives from Pyongyang: Highlights from the Jeju Forum

Featured Speaker: Katharina Zellweger of KorAid

Geopolitical Implications of a New Era on the Korean Peninsula

The second summit meeting between the United States and the DPRK in Vietnam ended without a deal.
 
There is yet no roadmap on how denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula might be possible, nor is there a clear way for North Korea to be able to join the fold of the international community and have sanctions lifted. In short, a great number of uncertainties remain while hopes for peace continue to be strong.
 

The Normalization of Kim Jong Un – what Kim gains from visit to Russia

Just over a year ago, Kim Jong Un crossed the border into China on his armored train on his way to meet Xi Jinping in Beijing. It was the first time he had left North Korea since becoming leader, and his first meeting with another head of state.

Shifting Gears: Post-Hanoi, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Turns Diplomatic Attention to Moscow

Next up on Kim Jong Un’s diplomatic checklist: Vladimir Putin.

The North Korean leader is expected to hold his first summit with the Russian president this week as he continues his campaign of international diplomacy.

The summit itself comes as no surprise. After all, Russia has long been a traditional, if largely absentee, ally of North; a Kim-Putin meeting was long overdue.

Where Does It Stand and Where Should It Shift? A South Korean Perspective on North Korea Nuclear Diplomacy

It’s the Economy, Stupid! A South Korean Version?

Politics in South Korea show a great deal of similarities with those of the United States. President Moon Jae-in has to confront the polarization of political parties and the press. The conservative opposition party is busy criticizing Moon for being weak on North Korea. The mainstream media is wasting no time in underscoring any sign of disagreements between Washington and Seoul.

North Korea Revelations from the Polish Archives: Nukes, Succession and, Security

Communist-ruled Poland was one of the first states to recognize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1948. Less than two years later, Poland (together with other countries from the Eastern Bloc) joined the Korean War effort by assisting the DPRK and spreading anti-American propaganda domestically. After the war, Poland supported the reconstruction of North Korea and received 1,200 orphans as well as a considerable number of students.

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