COVID-19 is putting Northeast Asia in the headlines. After its opaque and authoritarian response failed to contain the virus in Hubei province, China has virtually shut down the entire country. Japan’s bureaucratic response to the Diamond Princess cruise ship at the port of Yokohama was so incompetent that several countries sent planes to rescue their nationals. And after initially holding on relatively well, South Korea is facing a wave of newly discovered cases, spread among members of a religious cult who are less than forthcoming with their symptoms. Yet North Korea, the usual headline-maker of Northeast Asia, is curiously absent from the coronavirus-related news. In some ways this is not surprising; news rarely travels out of perhaps the world’s most sealed-off country. But it is worth paying attention to how Pyongyang handles the epidemic, as crises tend to open up surprising new possibilities. Intelligence services do their job by […]