Modern Korean History

North Korea’s Palace Intrigue

SEOUL, South Korea — After the 14th-century Korean ruler Taejo, founder of the Joseon dynasty, chose the youngest of his eight sons to succeed him, a spurned son killed the heir apparent and at least one of his other half brothers and eventually rose to the throne.

The Coal Hard Truth

History shows China’s coal ban will hurt North Korea

In a surprise move on February 18th, Chinese authorities announced a ban on North Korean coal imports. This decision will hit Pyongyang hard. The DPRK traded 22.5 million tons of coal with China last year, roughly one third of its total exports and one of its few major sources of foreign currency.

Korea in the Bulgarian Archives

Announcing the initial results of a multilateral research and educational project on Korea-East European relations

In December 2014, several institutions in Korea and Europe launched a multilateral project to identify, digitize, and eventually publish archival sources from Eastern Europe relevant to the histories of North and South Korea. With the support of the National Research Foundation of Korea, (NRF-2014S1A5B4063341), Sungkyunkwan University and Sofia University began to explore state records in Bulgaria related to Korean history since 1945.

Jane Harman Interviewed in KBS Documentary on China and North Korea

Wilson Center Director, President and CEO Jane Harman was interviewed in KBS documentary on China and North Korea. To read the full interview (in Korean), please click here.

The 2016 Presidential Election: Seoul’s Views on the Transition in Washington

The election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president poses policy issues to South Korea in the areas of the free trade regime and defense cost-sharing. Seoul and Washington will have to tackle these key issues based on the perceived national interests and the common spirit of the alliance. At the same time, how to deal with the nuclearizing North Korea presents an urgent policy challenge to both allies.

Global Fellow Jean Lee featured in US News and World Report

SEOUL, South Korea – A religious cult. A shadowy, shamanistic leader holding sway over the nation's top ruler. Allegations of corruption, influence peddling and political royalty pulling strings to line their pockets.

Beyond Caricatures: Writing about North Korea

In this era of information overload, one country remains an enigma, with its leadership maintaining a Stalinist hold over the flow of information: North Korea.

Fellow Atsuhito Isozaki Analyzes the Kim Jong-Un Administration

In an article for Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore's largest Chinese-language newspaper, Wilson Center Fellow Atsuhito Isozaki analyzes the trends of the Kim Jong-Un regime, comparing it to the former administration. While his father had close relatives, advisors, and even his former Japanese sushi chef, all of whom would recount the extent of his absolute power and ruling style, no similar witnesses have emerged to recount Kim Jong-Un's exercise of power. Therefore we misread the administration more often.