North Korea has long been a socialist nation. Its centralized government is firmly under the control of the communist Korean Worker’s Party (KWP). Over the years, it has been experiencing unstable relations not only with its neighboring countries but the U.S. too. This is as a result of the North Korean government belief in brinksmanship as the most efficient form of diplomacy. This situation is among the major effects that the end of the cold war has brought forth to this nation.
North Korea enjoyed much prosperity and was indeed more economically sound than its southern counterpart (South Korea) even in the early 1970s. However, this was not to remain so as it was being adversely affected by the 1969 tearing of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the USSR. that is, the Soviet Union. This meant that it was no longer receiving the support of both the USSR and China as it used to. Also, its boycott on the 1988 Seoul Olympics became a set back as it boosted South Korea by bringing it to the limelight. Thus, North Korea’s previous supporters such as Russia and china started giving more attention to South Korea and opened up diplomatic relations with it. In addition, its economical downfall was accelerated by its adamancy in letting go of its juche (self-reliance) economic system Chalmers 120).
In an attempt to stabilize its economy, the North Korea government in the early 1990s decided to build up relations with its neighboring nations like Japan. This is evidenced by the 1990 Pyongyang visit of the then Japanese vice president Kanemeru. However, his visit was never acknowledged by the Japanese government (Chalmers 121). One of the major crisis that faced North Korea was the shortage of fuel oil since china its leading supplier had increased its oil prices. Hence, North Korea resorted to establishing nuclear facilities on the basis that it needed them to generate the much-needed electricity to curb its fuel shortages.
The United States of America has had severe ties with North Korea. In fact, the U.S. refers to it as a rogue state whereas its late leader Kim Jong-il was referred to as a mad prince. However, unlike in the case of communist Cuba where the U.S. employed severe boycott and embargo on the Cuban government, it still opened up to North Korea. This interest in North Korea is ascribed to the fact that North Korea posses as a threat because it has a nuclear weapon program. Owing to this, the U.S. has continually monitored North Korean’s actions and has even deployed land forces from East Asia in the Korean peninsula (Chalmers 136). North Korea views the United State’s nuclear non-proliferation as ironical and indeed it has created much controversy among other nations since it is discriminatory and allows particular states to run nuclear weapons but not others. .
1. What are the reasons behind the economical downfall of the Republic of North Korea?
2. What do you think is the main reason behind the severe ties between the U.S. and North Korea?
3. What were/are some of the efforts made by North Korea to stabilize its economy?
4. From the reading, we have seen the justifications for the intervention of the U.S. in North Korea affairs. In your own opinion, which neighboring nations would either support or not favor these interventions. Why do you think so?
5. From your own opinion, what do you think is the way forward as regards to settling the dispute between the United States and North Korea?