Living History with Ambassador Kathleen Stephens

Foreign Affairs
This Living History features an interview with Ambassador Kathleen Stephens who served as the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2008 to 2011. In the first of this two-part interview series with Ambassador Stephens, she reflects on her experience serving as a young Peace Corps volunteer from 1975 to 1977 in rural South Chungcheong province and as a junior diplomatic officer in the early 1980s at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

Living History with Ambassador Chung Chong Wook

Foreign Affairs, Nuclear Weapons
This Living History interview features Ambassador Chung Chong Wook, former Republic of Korea ambassador to China and former senior secretary to President Kim Young-sam for national security and foreign policy. Ambassador Chung recounts his personal experience serving as a senior government official during the summer of 1994 that was marked by a series of critical events in inter-Korean and U.S.-South Korea-North Korea relations.

Living History with Ambassador Joseph Yun

Foreign Affairs, Nuclear Weapons
Ambassador Yun
This Living History interview features Ambassador Joseph Yun, former U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Ambassador Yun recounts his diplomatic experience negotiating with the North Koreans and a series of efforts to maintain a direct line of communication with his counterparts. He also discusses his role in bringing back a detained U.S. citizen, Otto Warmbier, from North Korea.

Yongbyon Declassified Part II: Progress on Building IRT-2000 Reactor

Nuclear Weapons
North Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program is nearly six decades old. While archival documents have previously provided some evidence of North Korea’s intent to build weapons of mass destruction at an early stage in the Cold War, newly declassified satellite imagery from the Central Intelligence Agency gives us a more precise picture of how and exactly when North Korea started developing the fundamental components of its nuclear weapons program.

Yongbyon Declassified: At Ground Zero

Analysis, Infrastructure & Energy, Nuclear Weapons
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
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
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.

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

Military
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.

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

Military
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.

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

Military
Satellite imagery analysis shows that North Korea continues to develop its conventional military forces in targeted areas. Construction on a new hovercraft base near Yonbong-ni could indicate a significant escalation of the navy sniper brigade threat to the ROK islands in the West Sea and ports along the coast.