Will Jangmadang (Markets) Lead to an Eventual Opening of North Korea?

February 03, 2017
10:30 am - 12:30 pm

About the Event

Since the mid-1990s, when an estimated one million people died from starvation or hunger-related illnesses during the famine that plagued North Korea, jangmadang (private markets) have emerged as a critical means of survival for average North Koreans. Having replaced the public distribution system as the primary means for food distribution, they have survived all attempts by the regime to limit or control them. The private markets remain the only independent space in North Korea within which its citizens can operate outside the control of the regime. Recognizing the potential of these markets to serve as more than simple barter-style, grassroots markets, Daily NK, in partnership with its networks in the Asia region, carried out a research project from 2013 to 2016 to provide the international community detailed and contextual information on the marketization phenomenon and to explore the potential of private markets to plant the seeds of positive change in North Korea.

Daily NK runs one of the largest and most influential online newspapers on North Korea-related news and information. The outlet utilizes an extensive network of citizen journalists and stringer reporters throughout the Asia region.

10:30am: Opening Remarks by Carl Gershman

10:45am: Panel discussion
In Ho Park, North Korean research head at Daily NK
Grayson Walker, Communications and International Team lead at Daily NK
Curtis Melvin, US-Korea Institute at John Hopkins SAIS
Moderated by Lynn Lee, Senior Program Officer, East Asia, NED

11:30am: Q&A

12:15pm: Lunch

About the Speakers

In Ho Park is the head of North Korean research at Daily NK and one of its original founders, having spent extensive time recruiting and training North Korean citizen journalists on the Sino-North Korean border. His work on the North Korean economy has been featured in academic platforms including Zeitgeist, Korea International Trade Association, and Korea Development Institute, and it has been cited by media outlets including The Economist, Al Jazeera, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post. He holds a M.A. in Journalism from Yonsei University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a B.A. in Economics from Korea National Open University. Mr. Park serves on the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights Committee and the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People. 

Grayson Walker is the Communications and International Team lead for Daily NK and co-lead for Unification Media Group. She received a BA in English from the University of Virginia and an MA from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa National Education Security Program’s Korean Flagship Program.

Curtis Melvin is a researcher at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS, a contributor to the website 38 North, and editor of the blog “North Korean Economy Watch.” Since 2006 Mr. Melvin has been one of the most prolific open source researchers who uses publicly available satellite imagery, along with other innovative forms of data collection and data fusion, to identify and analyze changes in North Korea’s political, economic, cultural, and security infrastructures. Mr. Melvin received a master’s degree in economics from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Georgia.