Modern Korean History

Delegation From Ruling Democratic Party of South Korea Visits the Wilson Center

On October 1, 2018, a delegation from the ruling Democratic Party of South Korea visited the Wilson Center for a private roundtable discussion on the recent progress in inter-Korean talks, North Korea’s denuclearization, and U.S.-DPRK relations.

A Misunderstood Friendship: Mao Zedong, Kim Il-Sung, and Sino-North Korean Relations, 1949-1976

Today, the People's Republic of China is North Korea's only ally on the world stage, a tightly knit relationship that goes back decades.

North Korea and Grenada: Unlikely Allies United by Anti-Imperialism, 1979-1983

During the Cold War era, North Korean leader Kim Il Sung saw the world as divided between small and big countries. According to Kim, the big countries, especially the United States, used the small countries in an exploitative fashion and engaged in ruthless imperialism.

‘Farewell Reunions’: Time is running out for Korea’s divided families

For the first time in three years, family reunions were held again in August at North Korea’s Mount Kumgang resort just across the border, granting some 90 selected families from South Korea and North Korea to meet long-lost kin.

Event Recap: Chinese Expansion and the South China Sea: Beijing’s Strategic Ambition and the Asian Order

China’s ambitions to become Asia’s undisputed regional hegemon is evident in the South China Sea, as Beijing creates military bases along remote reefs and islands in a 1.5-million-square mile expanse. Humphrey Hawksley, the author of Asian Waters: The Struggle Over the South China Sea and Strategy of Chinese Expansion, Los Angeles Times Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Bob Drogin, and former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia James Clad, spoke at the Wilson Center to discuss the rivalry between China and the United States, and the dilemma facing countries in the region.

Missing—but not forgotten: What the return of Korean War remains means for the daughter of one American soldier

Donna Knox never met her father. She was born two months after he disappeared in North Korea in 1952 at age 26, a star collegiate hockey player for the University of Michigan who was the father of a young son and a daughter on the way.

Still, he loomed large in their lives as his wife and children waited for word on his whereabouts.

2018 Korea Foundation Junior Scholars’ Final Presentations


In this photo, Abraham Denmark, director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, gives opening remarks for the 2018 Korea Foundation Junior Scholars’ Final Presentations at the Wilson Center. From L-R: Abraham Denmark, Jean Lee, Bo Kyung Kim, Minjeong Ko, Suna Jeong, Taekyoon Kim, Christian Ostermann, Gregg Brazinsky. (Photo credit: Sally Chung)

Next Steps with Pyongyang

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s latest trip to Pyongyang was a collision between the exaggerated claims made by President Trump following his summit meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong-un and the realities of diplomacy with North Korea.

Forget Defining Denuclearization: South Koreans are Pushing ahead with Reconciliation

In the month since the Singapore summit where U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history with a handshake, much of the focus in Washington  remains fixed on the question, and definition, of the leaders’ pledge to carry out “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Trump’s team is calling for the unilateral denuclearization of North Korea, while Kim’s negotiators insist that both sides must destroy their nuclear capabilities, not just North Korea.

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