New monograph by Noland and Haggard on the role of economic statecraft

The East-West Center released Engaging North Korea: The Role of Economic Statecraft, a monograph written by Marcus Noland and Steph Haggard.  A description notes:

North Korea’s political economy and its external relations render it remarkably insensitive to either sanctions or inducements. Instead, its behavior appears driven to a significant extent by domestic political considerations and regime survival. It is conceivable that as the regime consolidates power internally, it may be more willing to undertake risks and engage in negotiations more seriously and substantively. It is possible that external constraints have simply not imposed enough pain, and that the country’s worsening food shortages might push the regime to reengage or to exploit a humanitarian gesture. But the converse appears equally, if not more, plausible: that the post–Kim Jong-il leadership may be too politically insecure or divided to make meaningful concessions, and consolidation will only reinforce the pre-existing trends toward a more hard-line and truculent policy. If so, the ultimate resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue may await fundamental change in the political regime.

Haggard and Noland also maintain a blog North Korea: Witness to Transformation which examines a wide range of issues involving North Korea.

Swiss athlete acts as agent to North Korean soccer players

Jong Tae-Se at the match of North Korea agains...

Jong Tae-Se at the match of North Korea against Brazil at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

The French news source Le Monde carried an article about a retired Swiss soccer player who maintains ties to Pyongyang via sports. He is even acting as agent to two promising North Korean soccer players. Below in original French. You can get a google translation by going directly to the source.

Football : Messerli, l’agent suisse de Pyongyang

Auteur: Imanol Corcostegui, Le Monde, 3 Avril 2011

Ancien footballeur suisse, Karl Messerli est l’agent de deux footballeurs nord-coréens qui évoluent dans son pays natal. Son histoire d’amour avec le régime de Pyongyang a débuté il y a près de vingt ans.
Avant de devenir agent de footballeurs nord-coréens, Karl Messerli a commencé par faire un peu de tourisme. En 1992, lorsqu’il visite pour la première fois le pays le plus mystérieux du monde, le Suisse, alors âgé de 44 ans, a raccroché les crampons depuis quelque temps déjà. Ancien joueur de Saint-Gall et des Grasshopper de Zurich, meilleur buteur de la Deuxième Division helvétique en 1969, international à une seule reprise, l’attaquant à la carrière modeste est devenu un entrepreneur ambitieux qui fabrique des peluches et des vêtements pour de grosses sociétés comme Skoda ou Swiss. Read the rest of this entry »

BT Member Charles Burton Speaks on Inter-Korean Tension

On 25 September 2010, CanKor Brain Trust member Prof. Charles Burton was interviewed by Radio Canada International on the tension between North and South Korea.

Listen to interview here.

Recognizing the Human Behind the Ideology

by Col. Jargalsaikhan Mendee, graduate student from Mongolia, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, 12 July 2010

Attending a reading by Erich Weingartner at UBC last May, I couldn’t help feeling the pain of his fictional friend Pak Kim Li. Mr. Pak is in the middle of everything: ideology, civilization, history and humans. Pak’s story was touching because we have lived in a similar closed society in Mongolia. Personally, Pak’s story was believable because my experience was similar to his. Pak’s story is heartbreaking because after so many years, we are still not doing enough to understand him and his people. Read the rest of this entry »

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