The “New North Korea”: Security Implications of North Korea’s Social Changes

While the world’s attention has been focused on the denuclearization talks with North Korea, the country’s domestic social changes have evaded public scrutiny. The burgeoning market economy, the internal social control and the securitization of society management all have key implications for the threat perception of the North Korean government, hence the goals and approaches it has adopted. What are the political and security implications of North Korea’s social changes?


Zheng Jiyong, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Center for Korean Studies, Fudan University

Zheng Jiyong, Ph.D., is Professor and Director at the Center for Korean Studies, Fudan University, and Secretary-General of the Shanghai Institute of Korean Studies. He is currently a Visiting Fellow in the Stimson Center. His research focuses on domestic politics in the two Koreas, bilateral and multilateral relations related to the Korean peninsula, and the policy-making processes in the DPRK, ROK, and China.

William H. Overholt, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Harvard University

William H. Overholt, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He has extensive experience in research at RAND and the Hudson Institution, consulting, and investment banking in the US and across Asia. He is the author of six books, including Asia, America and the Transformation of Geopolitics (Cambridge University Press and RAND, 2007).

Jenny Town, Fellow and Managing Editor of 38 North, the Stimson Center

Jenny Town is a Research Analyst at Stimson and the Managing Editor and Producer of “38 North,” a web journal that provides policy and technical analysis on North Korea. She is the former Assistant Director of the US-Korea Institute at SAIS where she focused on North Korea, US-DPRK relations, US-ROK alliance, and Northeast Asia regional security.

Yun Sun, Co-Director, East Asia Program, Stimson (moderator)

Yun Sun is Co-Director of the East Asia Program and Director of the China Program at Stimson. Her expertise is in Chinese foreign policy, US-China relations and China’s relations with neighboring countries and authoritarian regimes. She holds degrees from George Washington University and the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing.

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