Is Pyongyang blowing up an inter-Korean liaison office a once-off act of aggression, or the start of a wider military conflict?

Amid a growing row over defectors, propaganda and stalled peace talks, tensions are rising on both sides of the Korean Peninsula as the US turns inward. Inter-Korean relations reached a new low point on Tuesday when Pyongyang chose to blow up the North-South border liaison office. When I wrote the day before that things on the peninsula had taken a turn for the worse and the North was threatening a military response, I hadn’t expected that action to begin so quickly. But, regrettably, it has. S

‘Conniving human scum’: North Korea is very angry at the South, but it’s not Seoul’s attention it wants

By Gabriela Bernal , Korea analyst and founder of the Peninsula Report, a blog on Korean affairs. She regularly tweets about North and South Korea @gabrielabbernal Things in the Koreas seem to have taken a turn for the worse again. North Korea is threatening military action against the South, seemingly over some propaganda leaflets. But Pyongyang’s real target is not so petty – or so close. With North Korean media referring to the South as “conniving” and “human scum,” and communications now c

The Future of U.S.-North Korean Relations Hangs on the 2020 Election

As we near this year’s halfway point, it is worth taking a closer look at some key upcoming events that could impact US-DPRK relations. The first date to watch will be October 10, the 75th founding anniversary of the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK). Kim Jong-un could possibly use the occasion to showcase or launch the new strategic weapon he’s been talking about since last year, or to fire off other missiles to mark the occasion. Still, it is unlikely we’ll see a nuclear weapon launch since that

Kim rumors filter down to ordinary North Koreans

It’s a subject the foreign media have focused on recently: Kim Jong Un’s health. Is he dead? Dying? Perhaps in a coma? Kim has not been seen in public for nearly three weeks and questions surrounding his health have gripped the world. In a country where authorities tightly control information, it’s always a question about to what extent do people in North Korea know what’s going on. Our undercover sources inside the country help the Seoul-based news outlet Daily NK, where I work, gauge the ove

South Korea's Telegram Case & Gaps in the Legal System

South Korea has, once again, been hit by a massive sex-related criminal scandal. In 2018, it was the spy-cam (molka) issue which exploded. In 2019, the Seungri Burning Sun scandal. Now, only a few months into 2020, yet another horrendous case has been brought to the public’s attention. The Telegram case has hit South Korea hard, breaking petition records and sending shockwaves throughout the country. Despite all the hype about the MeToo movement and the anger directed at past sex crimes, crimes

North Korea’s silent struggle against Covid-19

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the world, countries are scrambling to effectively respond to this invisible enemy. One of the countries widely lauded as a model example for others to follow has been South Korea. Typically, information is significantly more sparse regarding its notoriously opaque neighbor up north. While Pyongyang continues to insist it has zero Covid-19 cases, minimal information has appeared regarding how the government is handling the situation and how t

How COVID-19 Is Affecting North Korea’s Economy

With the North Korean regime refusing to report any confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its borders, it is difficult to assess exactly what kind of an impact the virus is having on the lives of North Korean citizens. Even though the country maintains its position of zero cases, sources inside North Korea paint quite a different picture. According to Daily NK sources inside North Korea, 23 people had died of COVID-19-related symptoms and 82 were under quarantine as of early March. Although the go

South Korea's Suicide Problem

South Korea’s suicide problem mainly receives media attention after a famous celebrity chooses to end their life. This was most recently the case last October and November when two famous Kpop idols committed suicide. The first, Sulli, ended her life on October 14 while the second, Sulli’s close friend and fellow Kpop star Goo Hara, ended her life on November 27. No one will argue the tragic nature of these stories, but what is just as tragic is the fact that so many other ‘ordinary’ people com

Venezuela in Uproar

An authoritarian government; violent crackdowns on civilian protesters; mothers burying their teenage sons killed by members of the army; people queuing from three in the morning in front of supermarkets to buy food; patients dying due to a lack of medicine; an economy with the highest inflation rate in the world; and an unprecedented refugee crisis — No, this is not Syria or Yemen, but Venezuela. Venezuelans have suffered unspeakable hardships since the death of former president Hugo Chavez. B

"Next Year in Jerusalem": Jews around the world react to Trump's announcement

Breaking with decades of U.S. policy, President Donald Trump announced last week that the U.S. would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city. The immediate response from Israel was overwhelmingly positive as Israeli Jews have claimed Jerusalem as their capital since the country’s founding in 1948. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded the American president for his pronouncement, calling it a “historic d