Talking to Whom? The Changing Audience of North Korean Nuclear Tests

Taehee Whang, Michael Lammbrau, Hyung Min Joo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: In this study, we develop a model based on big data analysis to find patterns in North Korean nuclear provocations. Methods: Using automated text analysis classification through supervised machine learning techniques, we analyze the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) from 1997 to 2013. Results: We find an interesting difference between the Kim Jong-il era and the Kim and Jong-un period, implying a major shift in the nuclear policy of Pyongyang. While Kim Jong-il, who had a firm grip on power, focused on the international audience before conducting nuclear tests, Kim Jong-un during his succession targeted the domestic audience prior to nuclear tests, probably in an attempt to consolidate his precarious power. Conclusion: The machine learning technique allows us to analyze the effect of political communication even in authoritarian governments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)976-992
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the Southwestern Social Science Association

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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