About Us

New Focus is distinctive in the combination of the following:

    • it publishes North Korea insights, reports and analyses that are editorially shaped by firsthand experiences and perspectives;
    • and maintains access potential into the economic and power nexus of North Korea.

This website is an informal and independent platform rooted in, produced by and framed through North Koreans’ lived experiences – including those from the highest levels of its socio-political system – with networks in the border regions, in Pyongyang itself and among North Korean officials who serve abroad. The content here is made by North Koreans and borne of past and ongoing conversations with thousands of other North Koreans, escaped and still inside.

Launched in 2011, New Focus maintains editorial independence, holds no political or governmental affiliation, and was self-funded from the very start.

The stated aim is to prepare the ground for an authentic and empirically informed discourse with regard to North Korea: those within the system not only have no free press, no freedom of speech, nor even free access to international media; many outsiders continue to report about North Korea and its people based on speculative or blanket assumptions.

New Focus operates on the premise that understandings of North Korea informed from and including its people should serve as the foundation for commentary or proposals regarding the country – now and for the future.



Jang Jin-sung is founder.

Jang is a former UFD officer and poet laureate under North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Post-exile, he was as a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy in Seoul. He left his post and in 2011 set up New Focus using the entirety of his severance pay.

Hyeon Seong-il / Ko Young-hwan / Kim Dong-soo / Kim In-tae / Choe Kun-chol / Choe Ju-hwal are among the disclosed advisors.

They are former officials of the DPRK whose combined first-hand experience spans North Korea’s core dynastic businesses, political, economic and military institutions, foreign policy, and its relations with African, Asian and European countries.

Shirley Lee launched the English website in 2012.

Joyce Williams is managing editor.

Shin Junshik, Park Ju-hee and Lee Cheol-mu are reporters.

Yongmin Lee, Sinae Hong, Sharon Kim, Max Ernst, and Jumin Kim volunteer with Korean to English translations.

All material on this website is © New Focus and may only be used with acknowledgement.