REUTERS/Kyodo - North Korea's supreme court sentenced American student Otto Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor

Interview

North Korea sentences American to hard labor

April 29, 2016, Katharine H.S. Moon

North Korea has sentenced two American citizens to long terms of hard labor for crimes against the state and espionage in 2016. Senior Fellow Katharine H.S. Moon provides insight into the motives behind Pyongyang's harsh legal system.

  • In the News

    For the first time, China has begun to fully acknowledge that North Korean actions pose a direct threat to vital Chinese security interests, and that Beijing is no longer prepared to rationalize or ignore the threat.

    March 30, 2016, Jonathan D. Pollack, Wall Street Journal
  • In the News

    There are a lot of debates about 'What North Korea wants.' First, what matters are the interests of the very top leadership, which is narrower than 'North Korea' or even 'the North Korean government.' Second, North Korea might use a range of strategies ..but we should remember that they're all aimed at the same underlying, fundamental objective: ensuring Kim's political survival.

    March 23, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, National Public Radio
  • In the News

    The stakes are always higher in the first few years of a dictator's time in power, and the first few years are almost always more [internally] violent. The rules of the game under the new leader are still being established — both inside the country and externally — so it makes uncertainty higher.

    March 23, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, National Public Radio
  • In the News

    There’s no due process at all and everybody is handpicked by the regime...They are not independent assessors of people’s guilt or innocence. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind who understands North Korea that the officials are and were seriously upset about [the removal of propaganda]. [Still,] foreigners aren’t usually housed in the same cells as regular North Koreans, and sometimes they are put in better, almost hotel-style places.

    March 16, 2016, Katharine H.S. Moon, The Guardian
  • In the News

    It's very possible that the series of U.S. law enforcement actions made the risks and costs too high to North Korea to keep counterfeiting. The first possibility is that they got out of the game. The second is that they got even better at it, and we just haven't caught them yet. [Conducting covert operations with counterfeit U.S. cash] would have the dual benefit of funding North Korea's operations and engaging in economic warfare against the United States. The Secret Service has been unequivocal that the North Korean supernotes are the best in the world.

    March 16, 2016, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, Vice News
  • Interview | DailyNK

    March 15, 2016, Katharine H.S. Moon

  • In the News

    [Following a bailout from the International Monetary Fund during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, South Koreans] took it personally that the foreign West was intent on basically putting down this country that had become an economic miracle in such a short period of time.

    March 11, 2016, Katharine H.S. Moon, CityLab
  • In the News

    Between expats, migrant workers, military personnel, and foreign brides, 1.5 million people—or 3 percent of Korea’s population—are foreign-born. That’s expected to grow to 10 percent by 2030, which is on par with European societies today. This is a huge social change for a society that has been homogeneous in so many ways for hundreds and hundreds of years. [Koreans are taught that they come from a] thousand years of ‘pure’ ancestral bloodlines, common language, customs, and history.

    March 11, 2016, Katharine H.S. Moon, CityLab
  • In the News

    The kind of economic renovation the North Korean regime is doing is not going to lead to an open market or fundamental economic restructuring. They are interested in learning modern skills, but the goal is to sustain the regime politically. Economic development — that is the term they prefer, not reform — is to serve the maintenance of the regime.

    March 7, 2016, Katharine H.S. Moon, The Korea Times
  • Interview | The Guardian

    March 4, 2016, Katharine H.S. Moon

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