Japanese TV Interviews Two of the North Korean Border Guards Who Deserted at Hoeryong

A remarkable new report, with video, strongly corroborates recent reports that 20  North Korean border guards defected, en masse, and fled into China.  On the 12th, Japan’s Asahi TV interviewed two North Korean border guards who successfully defected from North Korea to a neighboring village in China. On the 4th, the DailyNK reported that 1 …

N. Korea Still Hasn’t Caught Border Guards Who Deserted

You will recall that 20 of them dropped their weapons,  deserted,  and crossed over to China.  It looks like they’ve been successful in evading capture so far: A North Korean source from the district of Onsung said on the 8th “20 or so people who looked like secret agents formed a group at Sambong Customs. …

Disciplinary Erosion Hits N. Korean Border Guards

The Daily NK reports that two border guards were caught taking money to allow refugees to cross the border and will be executed.  Although the state can’t decide whether to hang or shoot the two unfortunates, or how to schedule it around the Dear Leader’s birthday,  past history suggests that  the deed  will be carried …

N. Korea, dissent & desertions: as internal control tightens, border control degrades

I haven’t yet had time to read Nat Kretchun’s new report on the circulation of samizdat inside North Korea, but Reuters, The Washington Post, and Sokeel Park helpfully summarize its bleak findings: Kim Jong-un is not a Swiss-educated reformer, is not bringing Glasnost to North Korea, has turned Koryolink into a tool for hunting down dissent and dissenters, and …

RFA: North Korean border guard under arrest after killing seven comrades

This blog has closely followed reports of indiscipline within the North Korean military, resistance against the state, strategies for political subversion, and the breakdown of border control. Last week, another report of a mass shooting incident by a North Korean border guard reinforced my belief that morale and discipline within the border guard force are declining. …

Kim Jong Un’s border crackdown is a case study in how trade can help isolate, starve, and terrorize the North Korean people.

Rimjingang and the Daily NK have been running a stream of bleak reports on the dramatically worsening situation along the border between China and North Korea. In the six-week period since the purge of Jang Song Thaek, North Korea has virtually sealed that border by ordering border guards to shoot would-be defectors, increasing its use of cell phone detectors, …

Chosun Ilbo: North Korean guards beat Robert Park “to within an inch of his life.”

Our worst fears for Robert Park and his mission are being realized: Sources say Robert Park, an ethnic Korean, told them he is an American citizen and came to call for human rights improvements and to urge leader Kim Jong-il “to repent.” In response, the guards beat him to within an inch of his life. …

Murder, Plain and Simple: North Korean Snipers Killing Refugees Along the Chinese Border

[Updated below with photographs; Digg it here.] Helping Hands Korea, one of the most intrepid and trustworthy organizations that assists North Korean refugees escape from their repressive, famine-plagued homeland, has written to me with a detailed account of how the North Korean and Chinese militaries have joined forces to prevent North Koreans from escaping their …

North Korea Is Losing Control of Its Border

[Update: Someone “Dugg” this post –thanks — and it’s climbing fast. The digg permlink is here. Page one of “Digg” gets far more attention than just about anything out there, so your diggs are greatly appreciated and are a great way to spread the word. Thank you.] Last week, North Korea announced that several “spies,” …

The North Korean Revolution: Coming Soon to a Border Post Near You

I’ve been expecting to hear of the formation of armed anti-government resistance groups in North Korea for some time, so it doesn’t come as a great surprise to me that some of North Korea’s vaunted Special Forces troops are now threatening to turn their guns against their former masters: Nine former North Korean special forces …

The crocodiles of Pyongyang: A remembrance of Zimbabwe & thoughts on the fall of tyrants

The man who terminated the 37-year misrule of Robert Mugabe last week and then took his job is a general named Emmerson Mnangagwa with a history as ominous as his nickname: “the Crocodile.” Long one of Mugabe’s most ruthless cronies, Mnangagwa’s resume includes leading Zimbabwe’s feared Central Intelligence Organization and dispatching the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to Matabeleland …

Pompeo, Malinowski, and The Change That Dare Not Speak Its Name

The failure of “engaging” North Korea into reform and peace, the madness of war, and the impossibility of coexisting with a nuclear North Korea are, however belatedly, causing more Americans to do some hard thinking about hastening our progression toward the post-Kim Jong-Un era. Last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo (who speaks to the President …

For Beijing, a sharper choice on N. Korea: accord and prosperity, or discord and chaos

Writing in Foreign Affairs this week, Zhu Feng sketched out a vision of the thinking in Beijing from the perspective of a person more reasonable than Xi Jinping has been, so far. Zhu’s piece suggests the outlines of an agreement with Beijing to defang Kim Jong-Un and manage North Korea’s transition to peace. Alas, Zhu …