Modern Korean History

North Korea after Jang Sung Taek and the Outlook for Inter-Korean Relations

The purge and execution of Jang Sung Taek was caused by the combination of a struggle over economic interests and political power as well as shortcomings of the Military-first System. While it is too early to determine what the consequences of Jang’s execution are in terms of the political stability and future policy directions of the Kim Jong Un regime, this panel will explore some possibilities, particularly in terms of inter-Korean relations.

The panel features Jinwook Choi and Hazel Smith and James Person.

The Two Koreas and the Question of National Reunification, 1953-1960

The 1953 Korean War armistice resulted in an uneasy truce along a demilitarized zone not far from the 38th parallel, the imaginary line that separated the rival Korean states prior to the conflict. While bringing an end to large-scale military operations on the peninsula, both North and South Korean leaders continued to plan for national reunification under their own respective political system.

Summer 2014 Internship Opportunities with NKIDP

Application Deadline: 15 March 2014.

The North Korea International Documentation Project is currently accepting internship applications for Summer 2014.

NKIDP Coordinator James Person Publishes in National Interest

NKIDP Coordinator James Person recently published an essay in the National Interest titled "North Korea's Purges Past." In the article, Person provides historical context for understanding Kim Jong Un's purge and execution of Jang Song Thaek. He draws on archival materials produced by North Korea's former communist allies to review the purges of 1953, 1956, and 1967 and compares these episodes to the removal of Jang in 2013. Person concludes,

New South Korean Foreign Ministry Documents Added to Digital Archive

The North Korea International Documentation Project, in cooperation with Kyungnam University, has recently obtained and translated nearly 30 documents from the South Korean Foreign Ministry Archive. The documents reveal how the South Korean leadership perceived and analyzed changes in the US-ROK relationship, the inter-Korean dynamic, and North Korea's engagement with the outside world in the late 1970s, a particularly tumultuous period in which the American security commitment to the Korean Peninsula was continuously questioned.

The 1967 Purge of the Gapsan Faction and Establishment of the Monolithic Ideological System

NKIDP e-Dossier no. 15
The 1967 Purge of the Gapsan Faction and Establishment of the Monolithic Ideological System

Introduced by James F. Person

The Carter Chill: US-ROK-DPRK Trilateral Relations, 1976-1979

A collection of archival documents on inter-Korean, US-ROK and DPRK-Communist bloc relations from 1976 through 1979 compiled in preparation for the 3-4 December 2013 critical oral history conference "The Carter Chill: US-ROK-DPRK Trilateral Relations, 1976-1979." The volume consists of selected documents from archives in the United States, South Korea, (East) Germany, Romania, Hungary, Australia, the United Kingdom, the former Yugoslavia, and the United Nations. The briefing book is organized chronologically,

CANCELLED: The Korean Peninsula Trust-Building Process and ROK-US Relations




HAPP Digital Archive Wins the 2013 Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History

A project of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program, “Digital Archive: International History Declassified,” has been selected as the winner of the 2013 Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History. The Rosenzweig Prize is awarded annually in honor and support of work on an innovative and freely available new media project that reflects thoughtful, critical, and rigorous engagement with technology and the practice of history.

North Korea and the 2018 Olympic Games

Following a recent suggestion by North Korea’s member of the International Olympic Committee that the two Korea’s could co-host the 2018 Olympic Games, awarded to South Korea’s Pyeongchang, South Korean officials dismissed the idea as unrealistic. The North Korean official claimed that events could be held at the North’s Masik Ski Resort, one of Kim Jong Un’s prestige projects currently under construction. Given the timing of the resort’s construction, the North’s proposal comes as no surprise, and is not without precedent.