In association with their new book, Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea, Steph Haggard, Jen Lee, and Marcus Noland (EWC Senior Fellow, Economics) are launching a blog titled North Korea: Witness to Transformation, in which they will comment on developments that are germane to past and current issues of North Korea.
Despite the appearance of a stable, unchanging order, North Korea has in fact undergone a profound transformation over the last two decades. The famine of the mid-1990s generated a flood of refugees into China and an unprecedented emergence of market activities. The government’s response to these activities has been ambivalent at best, tolerating them when necessary but re-imposing controls when the economic and political consequences seemed threatening.
The team of Haggard, Lee and Noland will comment on these issues, as well as on the larger security dynamics on the peninsula and the political changes associated with political succession. Their objective is to provide insight and information on the complex constraints the North Korean leadership faces, which are by no means limited to the nuclear issue or the continuity in the political system, but extend to the changing nature of North Korean society itself.