Seven Takeaways from the April 27 Inter-Korean Summit: Issues and Assessments

Analysis, Foreign Affairs, Nuclear Weapons
, by The absence of specifics on the nuclear issue in the Panmunjeom Declaration means that the inter-Korean summit has passed the nuclear buck on to the U.S.-DPRK summit. In particular, by introducing measures for promoting bilateral relations that are contingent on satisfactorily addressing the nuclear issue, the Panmunjom Declaration makes settling the nuclear issue a precondition for improving inter-Korean relations.

President Personally Welcomes American Citizen Detainees from North Korea: New Procedure with Risks

Analysis, Foreign Affairs
, by The recent return of three detainees from North Korea and the way in which they were welcomed back from Pyongyang, has a number of unique features that suggest significant changes by the Trump Administration from procedures that have been followed by previous administration over the previous decade. Releasing American citizens, who were detained for spurious reasons in the first place, might better be handled with less fanfare to discourage attempts to exploit future incidents.

Yongbyon Declassified: At Ground Zero

Analysis, Infrastructure & Energy, Nuclear Weapons
, by and The exact origins of North Korea’s nuclear program are still shrouded in mystery despite being the object of study for over twenty-five years. Contrary to common perception, early satellite imagery from the Central Intelligence Agency, taken on December 15, 1962 and June 27, 1963, shows that construction on the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center in North Korea started sometime after June 27, 1963 and before July 16, 1964.

No Launch Activity in Advance of Inter-Korean Summit

Military
, by On Saturday April 21, commercial satellite imagery from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station indicates minimal to no activity ahead of the inter-Korean summit. While dwindled ground activity could be attributed to the fact that images were taken during a weekend, the absence of any parked vehicular traffic and human activity suggests compliance with the leadership’s declaration, coming out of the Third Plenary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party.

Yongbyon Declassified Part I: Early Work on First Nuclear Research Reactor

Nuclear Weapons
, by and Despite being the subject of intense study for almost 60 years there is remarkably little independently verifiable information concerning the development of North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure available at the unclassified level. This series of reports entitled "Yongbyon Declassified," tries to rectify that by examining high-resolution satellite imagery acquired by early U.S. reconnaissance programs.

Signals on U.S.-South Korea Cost Sharing Negotiations Outpace Those of Inter-Korean Talks

Analysis, Military
, by and According to Predata analytics, Korean internet users showed relative indifference toward the high level inter-Korean exchanges this week. Instead, they appeared to care more about upcoming talks with the Americans. All sides would be well-served to know that public attention to this issue, despite other newsbreaking events around the peninsula these days, is focused and significant.