Academic journal article North Korean Review

Editor-in-Chief’s Comments

Academic journal article North Korean Review

Editor-in-Chief’s Comments

Article excerpt

Dear Readers,

Greetings from the North Korean Review. As you know, there has been a frenzy of activity so far this year, both on the part of North Korea in terms of its missile and nuclear programs, including multiple missile tests and the 6th nuclear test which erased any doubt as to whether the DPRK possesses a thermonuclear device, and on the part of the Trump administration in terms of trying to deal with the situation via pressure and sanctions. As of late, this has resulted in brinkmanship between the two which has ratcheted up tensions. The media has done its part to cover the story but it should also be said that the stylized headlines about "being on the brink" or those that grab the attention of viewers also add to the tension, something which is a disservice to the efforts of those aiming to restart dialogue and pursue a peaceful solution to the tensions on the Korean peninsula. Given that many policy makers also receive their information on the issue from the media and therefore may make decisions based on that information, we must consider that others must give a more pragmatic voice to help guide policy makers in the maelstrom of media sensationalism. As a result, never has there been a graver need for informed academics to try to open lines of communication with policy makers, either as guests on media programs or by more direct means. North Korean studies, and those actively involved in its research, must come to the fore of this discourse on how to deal with North Korea. As we are all aware, the complexity of the situation and the relationships between the players involved cannot be simply reduced to a military threat to the U.S., and doing so puts all those involved at risk of falling victim to a rash decision. At the same time, this threat should not be downplayed as it requires a sober analysis of the best way forward for all concerned. More than any time in the history of North Korean Review, we need to devote serious scholarly efforts to the study of North Korea and even more serious efforts to obtain exposure for that scholarship.

On that note, I am pleased to introduce the fall 2017 issue of North Korean Review, in which we have some interesting articles on offering. First, Bon Sang Koo asks the question of whether there is anything unique about the regime in North Korea. Combining a theoretical framework with a typology developed in comparative studies of modern autocracies, this paper provides a new approach to explain and predict the stability and dynamics of the current North Korean regime. …

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