Jenny Town

Fellow and Managing Editor

38 North

Jenny Town is a Stimson Fellow and the Managing Editor of Stimson’s 38 North, a website devoted to providing policy and technical analysis on North Korea. She was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2019 for her role in co-founding and managing 38 North.

Ms. Town is the former Assistant Director of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies where she focused on North Korea, US-DPRK relations, US-ROK alliance, and Northeast Asia regional security. She is an expert reviewer for Freedom House’s Freedom in the World Index, where she previously worked on the Human Rights in North Korea Project. She is an Associate Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at SAIS, a Member of the National Committee on North Korea, and an Associate Member of the Council of Korean Americans. She serves on the Editorial Board for Inkstick, an online foreign policy journal for emerging scholars.

Ms. Town holds a BA in East Asian Studies and International Relations from Westmar University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Projects

In partnership with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a commercial satellite imagery analysis series focused on the North Korean economy

A comprehensive geospatial dataset based on open source data of North Korea's political, economic, cultural and security infrastructures

Informed Analysis of North Korea: 38 North provides high-quality research, analysis and commentary on a broad range of topics related to North Korea

Research & Writing
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Stimson in the News
Jenny Town cited in article about military aircraft seen lined up at the Wonsan International Airport in North Korea

North Korea may be preparing a military air demonstration of a sort it hasn’t carried out for over a year. Satellite images obtained exclusively by NPR show dozens of aircraft lined up at the Wonsan International Airport on the nation’s East Coast. The…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Hydroelectric Power – The Tanchon Power Station Project

Analysis by Peter Makowsky, Jenny Town and Samantha Pitz Background At first glance, North Korea’s mountainous terrain and numerous riverine systems would seem ideal for hydroelectric power production, and it was the vision of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard: Recent Activity

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu, Peter Makowsky and Jenny Town Recent commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard from August 26 and September 23 indicates that construction continues on a new ballistic missile sub…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town and 38 North cited about potential implications of John Bolton’s departure on US-NK relations

Trump says Bolton a ‘disaster’ on North Korea, ‘out of line’ on Venezuela WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that John Bolton, dismissed a day earlier as national security adviser, had been a “disaster” on North Korea…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Hydroelectric Power – Part II – Analysis by Peter Makowsky, Jenny Town and Samantha Pitz

In an attempt to address the country’s electrical energy needs, the DPRK is placing greater emphasis on the construction and utilization of both hydroelectric and coal-powered, thermal-electric power plants. To date, most of that observed growth has be…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town cited in article about North Korea’s firing missiles into the sea off its east coast while condemning South Korean drills

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea fired missiles into the sea off its east coast for the fourth time in less than two weeks, South Korea said on Tuesday, as Pyongyang warned that hostile moves against it “have reached the danger line.” The North, criticizi…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Center: Minimal Activity Observed

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Frank V. Pabian, Jack Liu and Jenny Town Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center through late July indicates operations have likely continued at the Uranium Enrichm…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Center: Continuing Activity at the Uranium Enrichment Plant

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Frank V. Pabian, Jack Liu and Jenny Town Recent commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center indicates that operations at the Uranium Enrichment Plant (UEP) remain ongoi…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Hydroelectric Power – Part I

Analysis by Peter Makowsky, Jenny Town and Samantha Pitz Background Coal and hydropower are the two main sources of power in North Korea, however, hydropower accounts for the majority of the country’s actual electricity production.[1] During the K…

Policy Paper
Funding Challenges for Korea Studies and Scholarship

Compared to China and Japan, access to educational opportunities about the two Koreas are noticeably limited in the United States. There has historically been no curriculum about Korea in primary or secondary schools outside of some coverage of the Kor…

Policy Paper
Wonsan’s Beach Resort: New Construction Underway

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Peter Makowsky and Jenny Town The Wonsan beach resort is one of Kim Jong Un’s signature projects, as part of an effort to transform the Wonsan region into a world-class tourist destination and the prime spot for su…

Press Release
Stimson Fellow Named in “Top 100 Most Creative People in Business”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Caiti Goodman, [email protected], 202.361.0254, 202.478.3437 Stimson Fellow Named in “Top 100 Most Creative People in Business” 38 North Managing Editor Jenny Town Recognized for innovative work   Fast Company…

Stimson in the News
How one website created a clear window into North Korea by Christopher Zara

Jenny Town, cofounder and managing editor of 38 North, is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People of 2019. When President Trump emerged from his Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un last June and announced that North Korea had offered to dismantle one…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town quoted in article about North Korea’s second projectile missile launch in less than a week

North Korea launches second projectile in less than a week For the second time in less than a week, North Korea launched suspected short-range missiles, according to South Korea’s military.  The projectiles were fired Thursday from near a military…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town quoted in article about North Korea’s newest missile

North Korea’s Newest Missile Appears Similar To Advanced Russian Design North Korea’s newest missile has a striking resemblance to an advanced Russian design, according to experts analyzing images from a test of the weapon on Saturday morning. The…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town quoted in article about North Korea Missile test

North Korea tested a missile over the weekend. The Trump admin flubbed the response. North Korea tested a missile to test the Trump administration over the weekend — and it’s unclear if America’s leaders passed. On Friday, Pyongyang tested a balli…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town quoted in AFP article about North Korea’s demand for exit talks

US shrugs as North Korea demands Pompeo exit talks Donald Trump has said he’s in love with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But if there’s someone with whom the US president is even more smitten, it’s Mike Pompeo. North Korea on Thursday demanded that…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town quoted in article on claims of new weapon testing in North Korea

North Korea claims test of ‘new weapon’ North Korea says its leader, Kim Jong-un, has overseen the test of what it describes as a “new type of tactical guided weapon with a powerful warhead”. The state news agency quoted Mr Kim as saying the weapon had…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town quoted in article about US envoy heading to Moscow as Putin-Kim Meeting rumors heat up

The United States special representative for North Korea is headed to Moscow amid rumors in South Korean media that Kim Jong Un is planning to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin soon. Stephen Biegun’s trip appears to be the latest attempt by Washing…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town quoted in article on analysis of satellite imagery depicting activity at North Korea nuclear site

Satellite images may show reprocessing activity at North Korea nuclear site: U.S. researchers WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Satellite images from last week show movement at North Korea’s main nuclear site that could be associated with the reprocessing of radi…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard: Submarine Shipbuilding Continuing at Slow Pace

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu, Peter Makowsky and Jenny Town Recent commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard indicates that building of a submarine ongoing for several years—possibly a follow-on to the current…

Policy Paper
A Snapshot of North Korea’s Supply Chain Coal Activity – Part II

Analysis by Peter Makowsky, Jenny Town and Samantha Pitz Based on an initial look at North Korea’s coal industry, the country’s larger coal mines have remained active despite the increasing restrictions on the North’s coal exports. Part I of this…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town comments on President Trump asking Kim Jong-Un to hand over nuclear weapons

Exclusive: With a piece of paper, Trump called on Kim to hand over nuclear weapons WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On the day that their talks in Hanoi collapsed last month, U.S. President Donald Trump handed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a piece of paper tha…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town Comments on Suspended Operations in North Korea

Now in the spotlight, dissident group linked to North Korean break-in suspends operations A shadowy North Korean opposition group accused of a brazen raid of the North Korean embassy in Madrid last month announced that it is “temporarily” suspending op…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town comments on the use of satellite imagery to analyze NK Missile Sites

Trump officials chafe at second-guessing of North Korean missile sites When workers at North Korea’s Sohae rocket facility began rebuilding the dormant site’s launchpad and engine test stand this month, U.S. spy satellites orbiting overhead quickly det…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launch Facility: No New Activity Since March 8

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu, Peter Makowsky and Jenny Town. Recent commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongchang-ri) shows no changes to the launch pad or engine test stand between March 8 and March…

Commentary
The Hanoi Summit – We Asked Jenny Town What Happens Next in U.S.-North Korea Relations

“In this political environment, it is difficult to see how the United States and North Korea prevent talks from deteriorating into a negative loop of provocation and reaction.”   For North Korea watchers, February ended in confusion as U.S. Presid…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town Comments on Stephen Biegun’s Strategy

US will not accept ‘incremental’ disarmament, insists envoy to North Korea Stephen Biegun, the United States envoy to Pyongyang has stressed that Washington will not settle for the incremental disarmament of North Korea and that it is aiming…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town Quoted in Article about New Images of NK’s Buildup

New Images of North Korea Buildup Confront Trump’s Hopes for Disarmament WASHINGTON — President Trump was forced to publicly acknowledge this past week what American intelligence officials said they had long been telling the White House: Even during ei…

Policy Paper
A Snapshot of North Korea’s Supply Chain Coal Activity

Stimson Center’s 38 North project, in partnership with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), has created a snapshot of the DPRK’s coal industry published on Tearline, the NGA’s open source publishing platform. The platform was created…

Policy Paper
A Snapshot of North Korea’s Supply Chain Coal Activity

Analysis by Peter Makowsky, Jenny Town and Samantha Pitz The August 2017 UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2371 was the most recent resolution passed that placed a number of sanctions against North Korea, probably the most critical of which was aga…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town Quoted in Vox Article about North Korea’s Restored Rocket Site

Why North Korea’s restored rocket site isn’t cause for worry — yet North Korea is rebuilding a satellite launch site it promised to entirely dismantle, and may have increased activity at a major missile factory — both actions that are likely meant to b…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launch Facility: Normal Operations May Have Resumed

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu, Irv Buck and Jenny Town Commercial satellite imagery from March 6 of North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongchang-ri) indicates construction to rebuild the launch pad and engine test stand t…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town Quoted in Reuters Article about Sohae Launching Station

North Korea rebuilds part of missile site as Bolton warns of more sanctions WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea has restored part of a rocket test site it began to dismantle after pledging to do so in a first summit with U.S. President Donald Trump last…

Policy Paper
North Korea’s Tongchang-ri: Rebuilding Commences on Launch Pad and Engine Test Stand

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu and Jenny Town Reports of a recent briefing by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) to the National Assembly’s intelligence committee noted that North Korea has started restoring str…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town & David Kim Quoted on Donald Trump Walking Away From North Korea Talks

Donald Trump Walked Away from North Korea Talks. That’s Not Such a Bad Thing. When the leaders of the U.S. and North Korea met in the Vietnamese capital determined to make a deal on denuclearization, few predicted that the outcome would be, in a nutshe…

Stimson in the News
WIRED: Trump Can’t Make a North Korea Deal on His Own – Jenny Town Quoted

Trump Can’t Make a North Korea Deal on His Own A MUCH-TOUTED TWO-DAY summit between Donald Trumpand North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un failed to reach the finish line Thursday, as talks collapsed and Trump returned to Washington, DC. I…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town comments on 4 Ways North Korea Fell Short of Its Nuclear Promises After the First Trump-Kim Summit

4 Ways North Korea Fell Short of Its Nuclear Promises After the First Trump-Kim Summit After a summit in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un last summer, President Donald Trump tweeted that “there is no longer a nuclear threat fr…

Policy Paper
What Happened in Hanoi?

We now know that President Trump is not only a practitioner of the “madman theory” of international politics but also at the negotiating table. It’s ironic that while most pundits and the media kept up a steady drumbeat that he was going to give away t…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town quoted article on Trump spat with South Korea causing fear of US Pullback

Trump’s Spat With Ally South Korea Raises Fears of U.S. Pullback Just as President Donald Trump looks to make peace with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, his administration is putting fresh strain on the U.S.’s seven-decade alliance with South Korea. At issu…

Policy Paper
Beach Watch: North Korea’s Wonsan Gets a Boost

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jenny Town, Peter Makowsky and Irv Buck In Kim Jong Un’s 2019 New Year’s address, he emphasized the importance of economic development and listed a few of his priority projects, including the Wonsan-Kalma Tourist Z…

Commentary
Jenny Town: My North Korea Prediction for 2019

Trump has the opportunity to reset the U.S.-DPRK agenda. Despite the good feelings developed between Trump and Kim during their meeting in Singapore, little progress has been made since then in defining how to achieve the agenda set in their joint stat…

Commentary
Experts Break Down the Trump-Kim Summit – Jenny Town quoted

Was it a success, and where do we go from here? [ . . . ] JENNY TOWN // We still don’t know much To be honest, it is still ambiguous as to what was actually agreed to on a working level. The declaration itself lacks any such detail and only reiterates…

Stimson in the News
Jenny Town Quoted on Trump’s Visit to New York

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Stimson in the News
Jenny Town Quoted on Possible Outcome of Trump-Kim Summit

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Stimson in the News
Jenny Town Quoted on Trump-Kim Summit

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