The Sources of Regime Stability in North Korea: Insights from Democratization Theory By: Yun-Jo Cho

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Political Science
Lynette Ong

Ernie Tam 2011-11-16 The Sources of Regime Stability in North Korea; Insights from Democratization Theory By: Yun-Jo Cho Main Ideas • There are three levels of analysis used to analyze NK: 1) leadership 2) societal 3) external dimensions • First level: leadership o Kim Jon Il’s regime has been based on a leader cult movement. Military loyalty is key in establishing his influence and continued regime rule. • Second level: societal o Poor socio economic conditions as well as the state’s political surveillance have made the regime stronger. o Obstruction in the flow of information has given way to propaganda to influence citizens. o Traditional Confucian cultural base and ideological indoctrination in the Juche ideology have influenced NK’s approval of Kim. • Third Level: External dimensions o The geostrategic calculations of neighboring countries like South Korea and China have helped to support the regime The DPRK as an anomaly case • First Factor: In democratization theory, the DPRK should have collapsed by now. First there was an economic crisis in the 1990s that reduced the food supply in half for North Koreans. o 1) Poor economic performance raises probability of regime collapse (Soviet Union collapsing marked a blow to DPRK’s aid supply)  Possibility of mobilization of support against the regime resulting from the lack of supplies  Economic disparity causes the elite members of the party to rebel against one another. Possibility in new leadership. • Second Factor: DPRK’s collapse is the death of personality cult, Kim Il Sung. o He made the DPRK highly personalistic and his death would have resulted in a major domestic political crisis. o In the case of personalistic authoritarian reg
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