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North Korea in Northeast Asia. Lecture Note for Pease Studies II November 24, 2004 Sung Chull Kim Hiroshima Peace institute. Preliminary questions. What is the origin of North Korean problem, such as nuclear weapon development, famine, abduction issue, and so one?

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North Korea in Northeast Asia

Lecture Note for Pease Studies II

November 24, 2004

Sung Chull Kim

Hiroshima Peace institute


Preliminary questions

  • What is the origin of North Korean problem, such as nuclear weapon development, famine, abduction issue, and so one?

  • How has the tension between US and Japan, on the one hand, and North Korea, on the other, evolved?

  • What is the survival strategy of North Korea?

  • What would be a solution to the problem?


North Korea in Northeast Asia (1)


North Korea in Northeast Asia (2)


North Korea Profile

  • Population: 22,697,553 (July 2004 est.)

  • Population growth rate: 0.98% (2004 est.)

  • Life expectancy at birth: total population: 71.08 years, male: 68.38 years, female: 73.92 years (2004 est.)

  • Natural resources: coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower

  • Land use: arable land 20.76%


Division and the Korean War

  • Refer the lecture note of spring semester in 2004


Politics of Power Succession after the Korean War

  • The Korean War (1950-1953) and Kim Il Sung’s consolidation of power base

    - defeated South-origin communists right after the war broke out.

    - expelled Soviet and Chinese factions from the party in the mid-1950s.

  • Juche ideology as a tool for the monolithic rule

    - Juche means self-reliance or independence.

  • Emergence of Kim Jong-il

    - political skills plus preparation of power succession for twenty years

    - party secretary in charge of Organization, Propaganda and Agitation Affairs in 1973

    - authoritative interpreter of the Juche ideology

    - Kim Il Sung’ idea as Kimilsungism

    - Ten Principles for the Establishment of the Monolithic Idea in 1974


Transfer of throne to Kim Jong-il


Power Structure in post-Kim Il Sung

  • president

    - In the preface of the new constitution of 1998, Kim Il Sung is named as “eternal president” of North Korea.

    - The office of state president was abolished.

  • National Defense Committee (NDC)

    - The NDC became “the highest guiding organ of the military and the managing organ of the military affairs.”

    - The Chairman of the NDC, Kim Jong-il, is in firm control of all the armed forces and in charge of all political economic matters as well.

  • status of military

    - Kim, in December 1996, was quoted as saying that: “The party’s morale is so degraded that party cadres would benefit from getting an ideological education from political officers of the military.”

    - Also military’s role in the economic affairs is distinctive, especially in the fields of construction and agriculture, as well as in military industry.


US Sanctions on NK

  • Threat to US national security -> Annual renewal of the terms of Trading with the Enemy Act

    - the Korean War

  • Sponsor or supporter of terrorism -> Export Administration Act of 1979

    - Nov. 29, 1987, bombing of Korean Airline

    - veto to international financial institutions, such as World Bank and IMF


US Sanctions on NK, continue

  • Non-market (Marxist-Leninist) state -> Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, Foreign Assistance Act of 1961

    - suspension of most-favored-nation (MFN) status

    - now normal trade relations (NTR) status

  • Proliferation of WMDs -> Arms Export Control Act, Export Administration Act of 1979, Iran Proliferation Act of 2000

  • - missile proliferation


“Hardship March”

  • Sharp decline of economy

    - minus growth since 1991 for ten years

  • 1st nuclear crisis

    - Agreed Framework

  • Death of Kim Il Sung

  • Famine

  • Kim Jong-Il’s Rise

    - General Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party

    - Chairman of the Defense Committee

  • Missile test over Japan

  • SK-NK summit

  • Japan-NK summit

    - Pyongyang Declaration

    - abduction issue

  • 2nd nuclear crisis


“Hardship March”


Food Situation in North Korea(FAO/WFP, Special Report: Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to DPR Korea) unit: 1,000 tons

Shortage=(demand)-(production+import+aid)


North Korea’s nuclear development

  • 1962: North Korea sets up an atomic energy research center with Soviet help.

  • 1974: North Korea joins International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

  • 1975: North Korea produces first plutonium -- a few grams.

  • 1985: Signs the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), promising not to produce a bomb and to open all nuclear sites to inspection. In return, Soviets promise North Korea several large power reactors.

  • 1989: Begins to process plutonium into nuclear-ready form.


North Korea’s nuclear development, continue

  • 1991: Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula

  • 1992: IAEA inspects nuclear facility at Yongbyon and concludes there are inconsistencies in North Korea's nuclear declaration.

  • 1993: Bars inspectors from undeclared sites and says that it will drop out of nonproliferation treaty. Inspectors declare North Korea has violated its obligations to open undeclared sites.

  • 1994: CIA Director says he believes North Korea may have produced one or two nuclear bombs.


North Korea’s nuclear development, continue

  • 1994: North Korea begins removing spent fuel from the 5 Mwt. reactor, in serious violation of North Korea's safeguard agreement with IAEA.

  • 1994: Former President Carter visits North Korea; Kim Il Sung offers to freeze North Korea's nuclear program in return for high-level talks between the U.S. and North Korea.

  • 1994: U.S. and North Korea conclude the Geneva Agreed Framework.

  • 1995: Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) is established for the construction of two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.


North Korea’s nuclear development, continue

  • 1997: Hwang Jang-yop, a North Korean defector, says that North Korea has nuclear weapons.

  • 1998: North Korea launches a missile across the Japanese territory.

  • 2000: summit between South and North Koreas, Joint Declaration

  • 2002: summit between Japan and North Korea,

    “Pyongyang Declaration”

  • 2002: North Korea confesses its nuclear project based on highly enriched uranium (HEU) to James Kelly, special envoy from the United States.

  • 2002: KEDO decides the stop of sending of heavy oil to North Korea.

  • 2002: North Korea expels IAEA inspection teams.

  • 2003: North Korea declares the exit from NPT.


North Korea and WMD


Agreed Framework, Oct. 1994

  • Cooperation for replacement of DPRK's graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities with light-water reactor (LWR) power plants.1) U.S.: undertake to make arrangements for the provision to the DPRK of a LWR project with a generating capacity of 2,000 MW(e) by 20032) DPRK: freeze graphite-moderated reactors and facilities

  • Dismantlement of the DPRK's graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities, when the LWR project is completed


Agreed Framework, Oct. 1994, continue

  • Move toward full normalization of political and economic relations1) reduce barriers to trade and investment2) open liaison offices in Washington and Pyongyang3) upgrade bilateral relations to Ambassadorial level

  • Implement the North-South Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (1992)

  • DPRK remains a party to the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons


Search for a Solution: Six-Party Talks

  • Participants: North Korea, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, US

    - China’s active role for moderating especially the differences between North Korea and Japan

  • Contentious issues: North Korea vs. US

    - existence of enriched uranium program

    - US demand of compliance first and negotiation later

    - US stance of complete, verifiable, irreversible, dismantlement (CVID)

    - NK demand of economic incentive and negotiation (KEDO’s heavy oil shipment stopped)

    - NK demand of withdrawal of US ”hostile policy”

    - NK skepticism on US strategy of dialogue and shaking North Korea

    - security guarantee of Kim Jong-il regime


Transitions for survival


Survival efforts: 7-1 Reform

  • 7-1 reform in 2002

    - The price increased by 30 times in average than before the reform measure.

  • Increase in rice price: 550 times

    - before reform: rice procured in 0.08 won from farmers -> sold in 0.8 won to city dwellers

    - after reform: procured in 40 won -> sold in 44 won

  • Increase in transportation fee

    - bus and subway in Pyongyang: 0.02 -> 2 won


Survival efforts: 7-1 Reform, continue

  • Wage increase

    - principle of “distribution based on consequence of labor” instead of traditional rule of “labor contribution based on capability, distribution based on need”

    - manual and clerical workers: 18 times

    - mine workers: 25 times

  • Elimination of distribution system with the exception of food

  • Changed characteristics

    - reflection of economic reality: no capacity of distributing daily necessities as well as food

    - declaration of discarding egalitarianism per se


Economic situation after 7-1 Reform

  • Food situation has been improved since 2002.

  • Hyper inflation:

    - Price of rice has been increased from 44 won in July 2002 to above 200 won in late 2003.

    - It is said that in some areas, the price reached to 700-800 won most recently.

  • NK spent more hard currency to import food and consumer goods since late 2002 than before.


Economic situation after 7-1 reform, continue

  • Manager’s autonomy has increased, and its following responsibility also increased.

    - more responsibility for the salary of employees

    - more leeway and flexibility of labor assignment

    - changes in manager’s authority vs. party cadre

  • Small and medium business

    - local government- or enterprise-managed

    - in food and light industries and in the service sector.


Economic situation after 7-1 reform, continue

  • Traditional “farmer’s market” has been transformed into “general market” in big cities.

    - farmer’s market: exchange, sell, and purchase agricultural products cultivated in the private plot.

    - general market: sell, purchase industrial products, daily necessities, as well as agricultural Products.

  • In the “general market,” not only individuals but also state enterprises are allotted selling places.

    - They pay fees to the local governments.


Japan-North Korea


Living with North Korea: Japanese perspective

  • Abduction issue

    - sensitivity of the issue because of security of specific people

    - more sensitive than nuclear issue, according to survey analysis*

    - domestic dimension of interfering progress of bilateral relations

  • Any solution of the issue?

    - The abduction issue shows North Korea’s inability of managing documentations as well as inhumanity.

    - containment by economic sanction: immediate negative response from NK, without providing any clue of its solution

    - engagement: no immediate effect, but gradual cultivation of systemic transition


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