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.

Peace in Korea? What You Need to Know about the Koreas Summit and the Trump-Kim Summit

Analysis, Foreign Affairs
, by The inter-Korean summit is an integral piece in a network of summits and high-level diplomacy springing up across the region. The summit between the two Koreas is another positive step in diplomacy that keeps the situation around the Korean peninsula peaceful, moving away from last year’s atmosphere of crisis.

No Launch Activity in Advance of Inter-Korean Summit

Military
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.

North Korean Special Operations Forces: Hovercraft Bases (Part IV)

Military
, by and North Korean special forces are a critical component of the Korean People's Army. Within the Korean People's Army Naval Force, unique sniper brigades exist to carry out specialized missions focused on sabotage and subversion of command and control facilities, reconnaissance, infiltration, and amphibious landings and assaults. As part of a four-part series, this final report provides more details about the development, organization, deployment, and training of North Korean hovercraft units which form part of the KPN sniper brigades.

The Devil’s Weapons: What Ordinary North Koreans Think about their Nuclear Program

Analysis, Nuclear Weapons
, by and Reports of ubiquitous celebrations of nuclear weapons accomplishments stand in stark contrast with a new micro-survey commissioned by Beyond Parallel of North Korean citizens. Conducted throughout the summer and fall of 2017 with a cross-section of North Korean citizens, the vast majority of North Korean respondents did not have a positive attitude toward their country’s nuclear weapons program.

North Korean Special Operations Forces: Hovercraft Bases (Part III)

Military
, by and Key among North Korea’s military capabilities are its special operations forces. Embedded within North Korea's special operations forces are two unique navy “sniper” brigades that are subordinate to the Korean People’s Navy. Hovercraft units that operate as part of these brigades have been trained to carry out a more specialized task—amphibious assault landings and infiltration missions.