POL S 213 A: The Korean Peninsula and World Politics

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
LOW 216
Joint Sections: 
JSIS A 213 A
Yong-Chool Ha

Syllabus Description:

Course Syllabus

Spring 2020 POL S 213 A/ JSIS A 213

T &Th.: 1:30-3:20

The Korean Peninsula and World Politics: A Study of North Korea

If you plan to record your class sessions, be sure to include this statement from the UW Privacy Office in your syllabus:

This course is scheduled to run synchronously at your scheduled class time via Zoom. These Zoom class sessions will be recorded. The recording will capture the presenter’s audio, video and computer screen. Student audio and video will be recorded if they share their computer audio and video during the recorded session. The recordings will only be accessible to students enrolled in the course to review materials. These recordings will not be shared with or accessible to the public.

The University and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UW Zoom accounts. Students who do not wish to be recorded should:

  • Change their Zoom screen name to hide any personal identifying information such as their name or UW Net ID, and
  • Not share their computer audio or video during their Zoom sessions.

Instructor:  Yong-Chool Ha

Email: yongha5@uw.edu

Office Hours: T/Th: 11:30-12:30 pm by zoom, canvas and email

Course Description

This course is designed to address the background, development and challenges that North Korean nuclear issues have brought for the past twenty years or so. With this goal in mind this course will devote the first several weeks to address North Korean nuclear issues. Based on the analyses of North Korean nuclear issues this course will provide the history of North Korea’s political, social and economic systems as a way to understand the background of North Korean nuclear issues. Attention will also be paid to international and inter-Korean dimensions to North Korean nuclear issues. Several characteristics (royal succession in politics, closed and defunct, but resilient economy and the tight control over society by the military) of North Korea will be examined to understand the future of North Korean system.

Requirements & Grading

Two Movie Reviews (30% = 15% + 15%): 4 to 5-page, double-spaced, 12-point font; First due by May 12(Tu); Second due by May 26 (Tu)

One critical review(10%):  Students will choose one or two reading materials from the syllabus and  review them critically in terms of basic assumptions, evidence provided and logical development, etc. Being critical means at the minimum no summarization of the materials and at the maximum suggesting al alternative view to what is argued in reading materials.  Due by May 30

Group Project (40%): Students will be divided into seven groups, such as South Korea, North Korea, the U.S., Russia, UN and China and prepare papers on the different positions of the above countries and institution on North Korean nuclear issues.  10 to 12 double spaced in word.  The deadline is June 9.

----Group evaluation (10%): Each group selects one of the six group papers for critical comments. 3-5 page, double-spaced in word,  The deadline June 9.

Class attendance and participation (10%): * attendance is required for all movie sessions

Reading Materials & Assignments

Class Website: All course readings are available in the course canvas.

All assignments (e.g., movie reviews, group project summary, and group term paper) should be submitted in the course canvas as e-files. E-files should be submitted by due dates:

https://canvas.uw.edu/files/folder/courses_1373108  All the course reading materials are uploaded in the file section on canvas, and thus no need for purchase anything.


Course Outline


Week 1: March 31 and  April 2

Introduction: North Korea and its Recent Issues

North Korea Country Profile

  - Nuclear Weapons and ICBM

Kim Jong-un and North Korean Royal Family

  - Kim Jong-un and North Korea's Third Hereditary Succession

  - North Korean tyrannical reign of terror by Kim Jong-un

  - Kim Jong Nam was assassinated

How to Understand North Korea

  - Historical Origins of the North Korean Government: Colonialism and Division

  - Korean War: Origins and Challenges to Kim’s Leadership

Reading Materials: 

**Charles K. Armstrong (2011). Trends in the Study of North Korea. The Journal of Asian Studies, vol.70, no. 2pp 357-371.

**Andre Schmid,  Historicizing North Korea: State Socialism, Population, Mobility, and Cold War Historiography, American Historical Review, April. 2018, pp.1-24

**Kim, Youngho, “International Dimensions of the Korean War,” Korea Journal Vol. 38, No.4 (Winter 1998).

Recent Developments: Newspaper articles

Sanger, David E. “Rex Tillerson Rejects Talks With North Korea on Nuclear Program.” The New York Times, March 17, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/world/asia/rex-tillerson-north-korea-nuclear.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

“North Korea Country Profile.” BBC News, March 8, 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-15256929 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Campbell, Charlie. “Kim Jong Nam’s Murder Likely Means Dangerous Times Ahead for Members of North Korea’s Ruling Family.” Time, March 6, 2017. http://time.com/4693127/kim-jong-nam-north-korea-dynasty-family/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

———. “The Despotic Dynasty: A Family Tree of North Korea’s Kim Clan.” Time, February 24, 2017. http://time.com/4681304/north-korea-kim-family-album/.

Choe, Sang-hun, and Rick Gladstone. “Kim Jong-Un’s Half Brother Is Reported Assassinated in Malaysia.” The New York Times, February 14, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/world/asia/kim-jong-un-brother-killed-malaysia.html.

Griffiths, James. “Kim Jong Nam: Why Would North Korea Want Him Dead?” CNN, February 22, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/20/asia/kim-jong-nam-north-korea/.

Lee, Seung Yeol. “North Korea’s Third Hereditary Succession: Determining Factors and Hidden Meanings.” Stockholm, Sweden: Institute for Security and Development Policy, 2011. http://isdp.eu/content/uploads/images/stories/isdp-main-pdf/2011_lee-seung-yeol_n-korea-hereditary-succession.pdf.

Mullany, Gerry. “For North Koreans in Kim Jong-Un’s Orbit, Falling from Favor Can Be Deadly.” The New York Times, February 15, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/world/asia/north-korea-executions-kim-jong-un.html



Cumings, Bruce, The Origins of the Korean War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), chs. 11 & 12.

Lim, Jae-Cheon. “North Korea’s Hereditary Succession: Comparing Two Key Transitions in the DPRK.” Asian Survey 52, no. 3 (May/June 2012): 550-570.

Mun Suk Ahn, “How Stable Is the New Kim Jong-un Regime?,” Problems of Post-Communism, Vol. 60, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb 2013), p. 18-28.

Choi, Wan-Kyu, “The Current State and Tasks of the Study of Change in the North Korean Political System: A South Korean Perspective,” in Chung-in Moon(ed), Understanding Regime Dynamics in North Korea(Yonsei Univ. Press, 1998), pp. 25-64.

Week 2: April 7 and 9

Nuclear Weapons and International Treaties & Regimes

Basic Information about Nuclear Weapons

Foreign Policy: National Strategies with Nuclear Weapons

The Global Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime: NPT and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)

Nuclear Proliferation: Iran, Libya, Ukraine, and etc.

Reading Materials:

** Sagan, Scott D. “Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons?: Three Models in Search of a Bomb.” International Security 21, no. 3 (Winter, 1996–1997): 54–86.

Brumfiel, Geoff. “Become a Nuclear Superpower… in Ten Steps.” BBC, November 18, 2014. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120607-nuclear-weapons-in-ten-steps (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

“How Do Nuclear Weapons Work?” Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-weapons/how-do-nuclear-weapons-work#.WNlkM...

UNODA. " Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)." https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/npt/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

“IAEA and DPRK: Chronology of Key Events.” Text, July 25, 2014. https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/dprk/chronology-of-key-events (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..


 Nicola Leveringhaus (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (a1) and Kate Sullivan de Estrada (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., “Between conformity and innovation: China’s and India’s quest for status as responsible nuclear powers,” Review of International Studies, March 2018

Week 3: April 14 and 16

North Korea's Nuclear Program

The History of North Korea's Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear Facilities in North Korea

North Korea's Nuclear Capabilities

Developing Nuclear Weapon Delivery Systems

Reading Materials:

**CNN Library. “North Korea Nuclear Timeline Fast Facts.” CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/29/world/asia/north-korea-nuclear-timeline---... (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (March 22, 2017).

**Peter Hayes & Scott Bruce, “North Korean Nuclear Nationalism and the Threat of Nuclear War in Korea,” Pacific Focus 26, 1 (2011): 65-89.

*Ha, Yong-Chool and Chaesung Chun, “North Korea’s Brinkmanship and the Task to Solve the “Nuclear Dilemma,” Asian Perspective, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring 2010).

Week 4: April 21 and 23

The first movie discussion on April 23

The North Korea Nuclear Crisis and the International Community

Geneva Framework

The Six-party Talks

Sanctions against North Korea

Reading Materials:

**Yun, Dukmin, “Historical Origins of the North Korean Nuclear Issue: Examining 20 Years of Negotiation Records,” Korea Journal, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Winter 2005).

**Tim Beal, “ Creation of the Agreed Framework and the Flowering of Détente,”  in  The Struggle Against American Power( Pluto Press. 2005), chapter 3

**Noland, Marcus. “The (Non-) Impact of UN Sanctions on North Korea.” East-West Center Working Papers 98 (February 2009): 1–12.


Rozman, Gilbert, “The North Korean Nuclear Crisis and U.S. Strategy in Northeast Asia,” Asian Survey Vol. 47, No. 4 (Aug., 2007), pp. 601-621.

 Stephan Haggard And Marcus Noland, “Sanctioning North Korea:The Political Economy of Denuclearization and Proliferation,” Asian Survey, Vol. 50, Number 3, pp. 539–568

Ruediger, Frank, “The Political Economy Of Sanctions Against North Korea,” Asian Perspective, Vol. 30, No. 3 (2006), pp. 5-36

Peter Hayes & Scott Bruce, “North Korean Nuclear Nationalism and the Threat of Nuclear War in Korea,” Pacific Focus 26, 1 (2011): 65-89.

Week 5: April 28 and May 30

North Korea’s Political / Military Strategy & its Nuclear Weapons

Political/Military Goals

Asymmetric Strategy

North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons & Missiles based on its Military Strategy

Reading Materials:

**Park, Seong-Yong. “North Korea’s Military Policy under the Kim Jong-un Regime.” Journal of Asian Public Policy 9, no. 1 (2016): 57-74.

**Park, Han S., “Military-First (Songun) Politics: Implications for External Policies,” in Kyung-Ae Park (ed.), New challenges of North Korean Foreign Policy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).


Choi, Yong. “The North Korean Military Buildup and Its Impact on North Korean Military Strategy in the 1980s.” Asian Survey 25, no. 3 (Mar., 1985): 341-355

Hodge, Homer T. “North Korea’s Military Strategy.” Parameters (Spring 2003): 68-81.

Schilling, John and Henry Kan. “The Future of North Korean Nuclear Delivery Systems.” North Korea’s Nuclear Futures Series (US-Korean Institute at SAIS, 2015).

Smith, Shane. “North Korea’s Evolving Nuclear Strategy.” North Korea’s Nuclear Futures Series (US-Korean Institute at SAIS, 2015).

Week 6: May 5 and 7

Ideology (Juche) and Politics

Evolution of Juche and Its Nature

Leadership, Succession and Future of North Korea

Reading Materials:

**French, Paul, “The Juche State: Political Theory in North Korea", North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula (Zed Books Ltd, 2005), 30-47.

*Hale, Christopher, “Multifunctional Juche: A Study of the Changing Dynamic between Juche and the State Constitution in North Korea,” Korea Journal Vol. 42, No. 3 (2002): 283-308.


Sergei O. Kurbanov, North Korea’s juche ideology: indigenous communism or traditional thought? Critical Asian Studies,  https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcra20 (Links to an external site.)

Seung-Yeol Lee , Political Transition in North Korea in the Kim Jong-un Era: Elites’ Policy Choices,  Asian Perspective, Volume 41, Number 3, July-September 2017, pp. 431-454

Kang, Jin Woong, “Political Uses of Confucianism in North Korea,” The Journal of Korean Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1 (2011): 63-88.

Koh, Byung Chul, “Political Leadership in North Korea: Toward a Conceptual Understanding of Kim Il Sung’s Leadership Behavior,” Korean Studies, Vol. 2 (1978): 139-157.

Jeon, Jei Guk, “North Korean Leadership: Kim Jong Il’s Balancing Act in the Ruling Circle,” Third World Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 5 (Oct., 2000): 761-779.

Yong Soo Park, “Policies and Ideologies of the Kim Jong-un Regime in North Korea: Theoretical Implications,” Asian Studies Review, Vol. 38, Issue 1 (Mar 2014), pp.1-14.

Mark Fitzpatrick, “North Korea: Is Regime Change the Answer?,” Survival, Vol. 55, Issue 3 (Jun/Jul 2013), p. 7-20.

Week 7: May 12 and 14

First Movie Review  due by May 14

Economy, and Society

Evolution, Records and Challenges of North Korean Economy

Understanding North Korean Society, Famine and Refugees

Reading Materials:

**B. Y. Kim, Unveiling the North Korean Economy: Collapse and Transition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 41-90

**Tat Yan Kong, “The Political Obstacles to Economic Reform in North Korea: The Ultra Cautious Strategy in Comparative Perspective,” Pacific Review, Vol. 27, Issue 1 (Mar 2014), pp. 73-96.

**Haggard, Stephan and Marcus Noland, Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2007), chapters 2 and 3.


Marcus Noland, “The Elusive Nature of North Korean Reform,” Asia Pacific Issues, Issue 108 (Feb 2013), p. 1-8.

Lankov, Andrei, “Staying Alive: Why North Korea Will Not Change,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 87, No. 2 (March/April 2008).

Chung, Young Chul, “North Korean Reform and Opening: Dual Strategy and ‘Silli (Practical) Socialism’,” Pacific Affairs Vol. 77, No. 2 (2004): 283-304.

Jung, Kyungja and Bronwen Dalton, “Rhetoric Versus Reality for the Women of North Korea: Mothers of the Revolution,” Asian Survey, Vol, 46, No. 5 (2006): 741-760.

Kang, Chol-Hwan and Pierre Rigoulot, The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag, translated by Yair Reiner (Basic Books, 2000), Chs. 8, 12 & 13

Week 8: May 19 and 21

The Second Movie discussion on May 21

Inter-Korean Relations

Reading Materials:

**Hyun Ok Park , “ Korean Unification As Capitalist Hegemony,” in The Capitalist Unconscious : From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea Chapter Title: (Columbia University Press. 2015), Chapter 6

**Bae, Jong-Yun, “South Korean Strategic Thinking toward North Korea: The Evolution of the Engagement Policy and Its Impact upon U.S.-ROK Relations.” Asian Survey Vol. 50, No. 2 (2010): 335-355.


Kim, Samuel S., “Inter-Korean Relations in Northeast Asian Geopolitics,” in Charles K. Armstrong (ed.), Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia (M.E. Sharpe, 2006).

Chun, Chaesung, “North-South Relations Viewed from the Perspective of the Recent Transformation of the Cold War Order in Northeast Asia,” Korea Journal, 41-2 (Summer 2001), pp. 27-58.

Koh, Byung Chul, “Approaches to National Reunification by the Two Koreas”, Byung Chul Koh ed., The Korean Peninsula in Transition: The Summit and Its Aftermath (KyoungNam University Press, 2002).

Week 9: May 26 and 28

(#) Second Movie Reviews due by May 30

(#) Group Project Summary due by May 28-June 2

Foreign Policy: North Korea and Major Powers - the U.S. and China

Reading Materials:

*Jung, Jae Ho and Myung-hae Choi. “Uncertain Allies or Uncomfortable Neighbors? Making Sense of China-North Korea Relations, 1949-2010.” Pacific Review, Vol. 26, Issue 3 (Jul 2013), pp. 243-262.

Olsen, Edward A. “U.S. Policies toward North Korea under the Obama Government.” International Journal of Korean Studies 14, no. 1 (2010): 35-62.


Jeong, Il-Young. “Solving the Security Dilemma between North Korea and Japan.” Journal of East Asian Affairs 26, 2 (2012): 137-161.

Koh, Byung Chul. “North Korean Policy Toward the United States.” Suh Dae-Sook and Lee Chae-Jin (eds.), North Korea After Kim Il Sung (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998).

Hughes, Christopher W. “”Super-Sizing” the DPRK Threat: Japan’s Evolving Military Posture and North Korea.” Asian Survey 49, No. 2 (2009): 291-311.

Szalontai, Balazs and Changyong Choi. “China’s Controversial Role in North Korea’s Economic Transformation: The Dilemmas of Dependency.” Asian Survey, Vol. 53, No. 2 (March/April 2013), pp. 269-291

Cai, Jian. “The Korea Nuclear Crisis and the Changing Sino-DPRK Relationship.” Asian Perspective 34, 1 (2010): 137-157.

Week 10: June 2 and  June 4

--North Korea’s relations Japan and Russia

**Sachio Nakato (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., Japan's Responses To The North Korean Nuclear Crisis: Responsive Engagement Perspectives (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.,The Journal of East Asian Affairs, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 2013), pp. 47-74

*Buszynski, Leszek. “Russia and North Korea: Dilemmas and Interests.” Asian Survey Vol. 49, No. 5 (2009): 809-830.

--Group Project: Six Party Talks and Reviews

  Term Paper due by June 9!!!


Spread of Jangmadang ( market or bazaar) in North Korea : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eriHrzFigchttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLWKEb7WVAc



Catalog Description: 
Introduces Korean politics, economics, society, and international relations. Overviews the development in politics, economy, and society since the late nineteenth century. Addresses the evolution of Korea in the international society by comparing Korea experience with that of China and Japan. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 213.
Department Requirements: 
Comparative Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
January 31, 2020 - 4:10am