January 7, 2019 Victor Cha, Joseph Bermudez and Marie DuMond—
Should inter-Korean cooperation result in the re-connection of the railways in North and South Korea, the rail networks of the Korean peninsula could then be integrated into a rail network spanning the Eurasian continent through China and Russia. If actualized, this would mark a significant diplomatic and geopolitical accomplishment for the Korean peninsula. Nonetheless, a long and significant modernization process will need to take place to fully integrate the systems in a commercially viable way.
December 10, 2018 Victor Cha, Joseph Bermudez and Marie DuMond—
North and South Korea are moving forward with inter-Korean railway cooperation as a key engine for advancing inter-Korean reconciliation and building the infrastructure for eventual unification. Once connected, however, a significant modernization and harmonization process will need to take place to fully integrate the systems in a commercially viable way.
July 9, 2018 Victor Cha, Joseph Bermudez and Marie DuMond—
Commercial satellite imagery shows that the Wonsan Railway Rolling Stock Complex is currently active and appears to be well maintained by North Korean standards. In addition to its production and repair responsibilities, the complex serves as a center for North Korean railroad technical research and development.
May 22, 2018 Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Marie DuMond—
Chongjin Railway Factory is one of three major railway manufacturing facilities in North Korea's eastern corridor. Analysis of this facility can be a brick-and-mortar sign-post of foundational infrastructure progress if the trust-building project of reconnecting the Koreas' railways is carried out.
May 14, 2018 Joseph Bermudez and Beyond Parallel—
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.
December 21, 2017 Joseph Bermudez and Lisa Collins—
In July and September 2017, unconfirmed reports circulated about dramatically fluctuating gasoline and diesel prices in North Korea. There were also reports that China was planning to suspend or limit fuel exports to North Korea. Analysis of satellite imagery from around this period indicates that a fuel suspension of any significant length does not appear to have affected Pyongyang.
December 4, 2017 Marie DuMond—
South Korea and the United States generally share similar estimations of China’s and Japan’s blind spots in a unification scenario. Both believe that Beijing has the most prominent blind spot on domestic stabilization and refugees, and that Japan shares similar concerns, suggesting that all four powers could prioritize law and order in a unification scenario.
November 13, 2017 Marie DuMond—
Beyond Parallel’s first-ever survey of expert assessments on unification-related issues indicate South Korea and the United States share the common view that domestic stabilization and unification costs constitute the most critical unification blind spots with a high degree of concern but low levels of knowledge for both countries.
October 18, 2017 Marie DuMond—
Domestic stabilization is the most critical issue with unification for South Korean officials and experts, registering the highest composite score (i.e., high level of concern and low level of knowledge). This means civil-military relations, law and order, and stability in the North represent the issues for which Koreans see great consequences for national interests, but for which they have little prior knowledge or understanding. Hence, it is the greatest potential “blind spot” of unification. Costs related to unification rank a close second for South Koreans, followed by refugees, nuclear weapons, and human rights.
April 8, 2016—
A survey study of 233 of the United States’ top Asia/Korea experts, government officials, scholars, and opinion leaders found that domestic stabilization, not nuclear weapons, ranks as the #1 issue for the U.S. with unification (i.e., highest composite score in the entire survey in terms of most acute lack of knowledge/most acute concern for U.S. interests). The top four blind spots for the U.S.: 1) domestic stabilization; 2) nuclear weapons; 3) economic development; 4) cost.