Rodman and Nukes by Victor Hsu

[CanKor Brain Trust member Prof. Victor Hsu, Director of International Aid and Education, Adjunct Advisor on North Korea at the School of Public Policy and Management, Korea Development Institute, sent us his musings on the media response to American basketball star Dennis Rodman’s visit with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un as well as reaction to North Korea’s nuclear test. –CanKor]

Dennis Rodman hugs North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a photo released by KCNA news agency. (Reuters/KCNA)

Dennis Rodman hugs North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a photo released by KCNA news agency. (Reuters/KCNA)

I want to give you my two cents worth regarding all the fuss about Rodman and the third nuclear test.

On Rodman’s visit, if the officialdom would not engage, if the officialdom does not take a pro-active stance to engage, if the officialdom simply refuses to engage, then what option does the DPRK have but to engage with non-officialdom types like the NY Symphony, Rodman and Eric Schmidt?

I might add that the media do not see these steps as DPRK opening up! What about the lifting of restrictions on tour groups to visit the country? What about the permission to use the Internet and mobile phones?

You have to ask yourself whether the DPRK can ever do anything right? Or are they condemned to oblivion unless there is a pro-USA regime change? On the international response to the third nuclear test, is is all too deja vu. There is little analysis by the commentariat. Most of the blogs and experts are simply saying the obvious about the UNSC, the role of China and are now predicting a worsening of Inter-Korean relations. In fact, the experts seem to want military action because they are at their wits end about the “maddening” lack of cooperation of the DPRK. They have put themselves in a “No Exit” CVID analysis. [CVID stands for Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement. –CanKor] Read the rest of this entry »

Virtual Suggestions: Google and North Korea, by Peter Hayes and Roger Cavazos

[Long-time friend of CanKor, Peter Hayes is Director of the Nautilus Institute and a member of the Editorial Board of Global Asia. He is also Adjunct Professor of International Relations at RMIT University. Roger Cavazos is an Associate at the Nautilus Institute focusing on North Korea and China. The following article is is taken from PacNet #4 published on Thursday, 10 January 2013. The PacNet Newsletter is a weekly publication of Pacific Forum CSIS, generated from a network of policy research institutes designed to facilitate communication on timely events in the region and to serve as a vehicle for sharing research results and analyses. –CanKor]

Google Executive Eric Schmidt visits Kim Il Sung University's "electronic library" (Photo by Reuters)

Google Executive Eric Schmidt visits Kim Il Sung University’s “electronic library” (Photo by Reuters)

Despite the media attention paid to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt during his visit to North Korea, make no mistake, Bill Richardson and Tony Namkung are the driving force behind the visit. Richardson has sojourned to North Korea half a dozen times and Namkung has visited at least 100 times. Eric Schmidt was likely the “juicy bait” to seal the deal with the North Koreans. Even a reclusive North Korea knows a great deal when they see one.

Assuredly DPRK leaders will enjoy chewing the cud with Schmidt about the state of the world’s knowledge economy. Equally obvious is that North Korea will publicly embrace Google and the open Internet, yet maintain or strengthen tight controls over the North Korean intranet. Read the rest of this entry »

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