What’s behind North Korea’s latest threats?


Guests: Joel Wit and Marcus Noland

North Korea’s relatively young and untested leader Kim Jong-un  has been making some bold threats recently.  Yesterday, he announced the country would open a nuclear reactor it had closed five years ago.  He has also pledged to unleash nuclear strikes on the U.S., has cut off an important military hotline with South Korea and has declared void the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. All this has left the U.S. and its allies wondering if this is just the usual rhetoric or something more threatening to the region. To get insight into these recent developments, the motivations of Kim Jong-un and U.S. policy towards North Korea, we’ll talk with JOEL WIT of Columbia University and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies where he manages the 38 North.org program.  Then we’re joined by MARCUS NOLAND of the Peterson Institute of International Economics who explains what life is like in North Korea.  He studies the economy of North Korea,  has interviewed dozens of recent North Koreans refugees and co-authors the blog North Korea: Witness to Transformation.

AP Photo/KCNA via KNS

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