North Korea: A Year in Review

When U.S. President Joe Biden took office in Jan. 2021, few foresaw the surprising ways that North Korea would dominate headlines over the following months. 

From the country’s ongoing COVID-19 border controls to new U.S. sanctions against North Korean officials, Pyongyang’s ever-diversifying missile arsenal, a surge in cyberattacks and a severe food crisis, North Korea proved impossible to ignore once again.

Now, for the first time, Korea Risk Group provides a full and in-depth summary of everything that took place in 2021. Review the past to understand the future today:

How can NK PRO help?

Get a quote on our private conference calls today. Clients find them valuable in conjunction with:

The Aviation Tracker

The Aviation Tracker tracks commercial flights to, from, and within North Korea.

The world’s only North Korea-specific tool for observing flights going into and out of the DPRK.

Track commercial flights to, from, and within North Korea.

The Aviation Tracker is designed to help you measure the North’s economic activities--especially the transportation of sanctioned materials--as well as understand shifting trends in tourism, and visualize North Korea’s diplomatic relations.

Using radio technology, visual sightings and other open sources, the NK Pro Aviation Tracker provides comprehensive information on the movement of aircraft to, from and within North Korea. Based on historical data going back to 1970, our flight data comes from a unique combination of three sources aggregated in a way not used anywhere else.

Some examples of how you can use the tracker:

  • Kim Jong Un’s bodyguards arrive in Hanoi on Air Koryo IL-76 cargo plane
  • In unusual move, five Air Koryo planes head to Vladivostok on Monday
  • U.S.A.F. cargo plane left Pyongyang on Saturday morning, flight purpose unknown
  • Amid increased sanctions, Air Koryo flights decreased by 22% in 2017: data
  • Orascom private jet pays unreported trip to North Korea

Our Analysts

The following NK PRO analysts contributed to this edition:
Peter Ward, Contributing Analyst, NK PRO


Peter is a contributing analyst for the NK PRO website, where he specializes in North Korea's economy. In addition to writing for the site and conducting regular briefings with Korea Risk Group clients, Ward is a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna.

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Get a quote on our private conference call service today. Users normally find it valuable in conjunction with:

How can NK PRO help?

Step back and take a look at 2021 to help make sense of what's next with North Korea.

To stay ahead of the news cycle in 2021 and offer NK PRO members the most insightful analyses on the region, Korea Risk Group continued investing in its team and research tools. 

With improved access to high-resolution satellite imagery, refined monitoring capabilities for suspicious vessel movements and a growing pool of investigative reporters and expert analysts, we worked hard to stay at the top of our game. 

We also continued to expand our coverage of North Korean cyber warfare — a highly complex issue that we believe will benefit from the broad and deep expertise that NK PRO is known for. 

Less than one month into 2022, it’s clear that North Korea will continue to have a major impact on regional and global security, with its sixth missile test in less than four weeks just as we finish this volume. 

As tensions accelerate, it’s good to take a step back and get a broader perspective on where things will go on the peninsula in the weeks and months ahead. 

We hope that our first edition of North Korea: A Year In Review will help you to do just that.

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Martin Weiser, Consultant Contributor, NK PRO
 

Martin is a regular NK Pro contributor specializing in DPRK leadership issues and state media. He has been researching North Korea’s political history as an independent researcher since 2014. His writings have appeared on SinoNK and in 2018 an article on the country’s legal system appeared in the European Journal of Korean Studies.

James Fretwell, Analyst, NK PRO
 

James is an analyst at NK PRO, writing articles on a range of subjects from North Korea’s WMD development to its humanitarian situation. His previous research has focused on the relationship between the U.S., North Korea, the Middle East and nuclear weapons.

Free ebook download from NK PRO: A Year in Review

Leading indicators on threat

When tensions mount, NK PRO journalists and analysts can work together to notify you of developments to keep you one step ahead of the news cycle. 

And if you've got custom queries or concerns, our team can leverage its network to find answers at an unparalleled speed.

Forecast risk, maximize opportunity

NK PRO also offers private analyst calls to help your organization forecast risk where there is scope to be affected by North Korean actions.

Make executive decisions in confidence

When it comes to understanding issues of concern relating to North Korea, consulting with NK PRO specialists in times of crisis can help you make decisions with the highest levels of confidence.

Having specialist journalists whom can share unpublished background information and analysts who can help you make sense of threatening developments, our private conference calls provide an efficient means to gather the exact information you need to make executive decisions.

Decades of combined expertise

NK PRO is managed and staffed by a team of Korea and regional experts. They each have their own area of expertise and come from a range of supporting backgrounds, including military, foreign affairs, non-governmental agencies, and academia. 

When it comes to understanding issues of concern relating to North Korea, consulting with NK PRO specialists in times of crisis can help you make decisions with the highest levels of confidence.

Having specialist journalists whom can share unpublished background information and analysts who can help you make sense of threatening developments, our private conference calls provide an efficient means to gather the exact information you need to make executive decisions.

When tensions mount, NK PRO journalists and analysts can work together to notify you of developments to keep you one step ahead of the news cycle. 

And if you've got custom queries or concerns, our team can leverage its network to find answers at an unparalleled speed.

NK Pro is managed and staffed by a team of Korea and regional experts. They each have their own area of expertise and come from a range of supporting backgrounds, including military, foreign affairs, non-governmental agencies, and academia. 

Decades of combined expertise

Make executive decisions in confidence

Forecast risk, maximize opportunity

Leading indicators on threat

Private NK PRO analyst calls can help you forecast risk on projects taking place both inside North Korea – or outside, where there is scope to be affected by North Korean actions.

Get the Year in Review

Your free guide to everything that mattered in 2021