Hopkins Profs Offer Real Talk on North Korea

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Photo via Wikipedia
Photo via Wikipedia

It can be hard to separate myth from reality when it comes to North Korea — this week in particular, when experts around the world are trying to suss out whether the country really did detonate a hydrogen bomb yesterday like it claimed to.

Awash on a sea of speculation and stereotyping, people in search of well-informed information about North Korea are increasingly turning to 38 North, a website with the mission of “bring[ing] the best possible analysis to both seasoned North Korea watchers and general audiences alike.”

38 North was founded by Jenny Town and Joel S. Wit, two North Korea experts from Johns Hopkins’s School of Advanced International Studies.  “We saw 38 North as a response to generally bad reporting and lazy analysis of North Korea [in mainstream news media],” Town told the Hopkins Magazine. “People didn’t feel like they needed to follow any journalistic or academic standards because there was so little information and access. Anyone who ever read a book on North Korea was suddenly an expert. There was just this low bar of expertise.” Diplomats, intelligence analysts, aid workers, and scholars all contribute to the site.

“While a staged thermonuclear weapon is likely more than North Korea can, at the moment, achieve technically, it is a mistake to rule out the aspiration by Pyongyang,” Jeffrey Lewis, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, wrote on 38 North a few weeks before this latest detonation. Read the full post here — and then spend some time browsing the rest of the site. You’ll come away better informed — guaranteed.



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