Staying Alive: Why North Korea Will not Change by Andrei Lankob

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Lynette Ong

Ernie Tam 2011-11-17 Staying Alive: Why North Korea will not Change By Andrei Lankov • Fifteen years ago, Kim Jon Il still remains in power due to his ruthless leadership, gift for political manipulation, and use of brinkmanship diplomacy. (no one else has tried to take him down). • Kim is both the head of the Korean Worker’s party and the head of state. o Personality politics • The Pyongyang is comparable to the Stalin Regime where the dictator brutalized citizens. • The collapse of Soviet Union cut the industrial output by as much as 50% and resulting from it, is massive poverty. • Only functioning part of the North Korean markets is the unofficial private markets. • In 2005, Kim’s government attempted to revive the rationing system but they have only been partly successful due to limited funds. • China and South Korea have kept their aid funds towards NK. o China does it in order to have a strategic buffer zone and also fears that if NK were to implode, it would produce refugees into their already overpopulated area. o SK wants to keep up their funding in order to equal the huge disparity between SK and NK’s income gap. If they were to join together again, the SK economy would tank thanks to the costs of NK. • Moreover, Seoul no longer believes that the North poses a threat anymore. They believe that Japan poses a bigger threat. • Both China and SK views the Chinese version of dictatorship: Economic liberalization with limited, incremental political change is the way to go. o This way the NKs can close the economic gap with SK. Moins Ca Change • Despite the leverage both country has with NK, neither China nor SK succeeded in persuading Pyongyang to change. • In 2002 in July, it seemed like there was hope since the Kim government issues the Improved Economic Management Measures, which decriminalized many market activities. • However this was false hope as the NK’s government dialed back to the state control method in 2005 (October) o Public Distribution System would be fully reinstated and outlawed the sale of grain on the market. • With the abolishment of markets, the former works of factories were forced back to work. Ernie Tam 2011-11-17 o However the people being sent back to the production line is not so much about them contributing to the economy but the monitoring of them o It is easier to keep an eye on dissenters when they are all located in one designated area. • The great
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