사이드바 영역으로 건너뛰기

게시물에서 찾기No fun, not at all! Here you'll find a selected collection of articles/reports about our, sometimes a kind of unfriendly, neighbours in the North. Please, don't wonder: I'll use all kind of sources, it includes also the reactionary media, such as ðÈàØìí.., if I'm thinking, that the reports/articles are credible. Of course some times it is only trash. But I think, that we are clever enough to check out what is credible or not.

381개의 게시물을 찾았습니다.

  1. 2005/01/21
    "북한": 재미있는 발달
    no chr.!

없어진: 김정일..^=^

Kim-spotters hunt elusive leader


Friday January 13, 2006



Missing: one North Korean dictator. Recognisable by bouffant hair, Elvis glasses, worker's tunic and obsequious hangers-on.



Last seen in heavily guarded train crossing the border into China. May be shopping in Shanghai, receiving medical treatment in Guangzhou or trying to avert nuclear war in Beijing.

Such frenzied speculation surged in north-east Asia yesterday as Kim Jong-il, the leader of the world's most reclusive state, was reported to have made a rare trip outside his homeland.

If true, it would be only the sixth time since 2000 that the head of the workers' party has ventured out of North Korea. Because of assassination fears the previous visits, all of them by train, were shrouded in secrecy and not confirmed by any of the involved countries until Mr Kim was safely back in Pyongyang.

Security concerns are likely to have increased since his last trip in April 2004, which ended only hours before a huge explosion close to a section of the railway on which he had been travelling.

The latest flurry of rumours was prompted by a reported sighting of Mr Kim at the Chinese border station of Dandong at dawn on Tuesday morning. According to South Korean media, troops sealed off the area and rail officials took part in a 15-minute welcome ceremony.

The North Korean embassy in Beijing has cancelled all its usual activities. The Chinese foreign ministry refused to either confirm or deny that Mr Kim was in the country. Government spokesman Kong Quan acknowledged that a visit was planned, but said he was not yet authorised to reveal the timing.

US officials, however, appeared to be in little doubt. "I understand we have some North Korean visitors here today," said Christopher Hill, who is in Beijing as the top US negotiator at six-party talks aimed at denuclearising the peninsular.

This has been enough to prompt a spot-the-dictator competition among media organisations. South Korea's Yonhap news agency placed Mr Kim in Shanghai, saying he had flown there while using the train as a decoy. Reuters speculated he was heading to Beijing to meet senior Chinese leaders, or merely passing through en route to Moscow. Russia's Itar-Tass news agency, which is the only foreign news organisation to have a bureau in Pyongyang, said Mr Kim is still at home and the VIP on the train was a member of his family.

But yesterday most of the attention focused on Guangzhou, the capital of southern Guangdong province. The city's best hotel, the White Swan, has been requisitioned by the government for three days, metal detectors have been installed and traffic has been cordoned off.

Mr Kim's motives are as unclear as his whereabouts...



...and "our beloved"(^^) Chosun Ilbo wrote this:




But anyway, it's better to believe nothing, because in reality...

Who knows???

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

反북한 미치광이..

Following "article" I found recently on DailyNK(an anti-DPRK web site). Someone can understand the meaning of this crazy stuff?




The Reason Why the NK Government Considers

3rd and 4th Generations a Problem

New Generations Accepted Capitalism in the Soviet Union

By Han Young Jin, Reporter (harrharr), Defector from PyongYang
[ 01.06.2006(Fri) 15:34 ]


North Korean media and all the propaganda sources including Nodong Sinmun have been active propagating "the Commander as the center."

The "New Year Cooperative Column" wrote, "(We) must strengthen socialist political and ideological positions centering the leader (Kim Jong Il) as firm as iron."

Nodong Sinmun on 3rd propagated, "Just as Kim Hyuk, Cha Kwang Su, Choi Chnag Gul and other young communists gave up their lives to protect HanByul (Kim Il Sung), we must protect Comrade Kim Jong Il with our lives."

During the 80s, the NK government put out a slogan, "Let’s Become Kim Hyuk and Cha Kwang Su" and in the 90s, "Let’s learn from Hero Kim Kwang Chul and become "Gun, Bomb, and Bullet" of the 90s." In the beginning of the 90s, the government gave out "the Four Principles of Loyalty," which requires loyalty toward Suryeong to become ideological, conscientious, moral, and daily practice. It was required that people memorize the four principles during the meetings or in daily activities.

Foreseeable Movement in the New Year

Late last year, Nodong Sinmun reported about 17 soldiers sacrificed to save slogan trees in Mujebong. After that, the newspaper gave out a people’s statement that said, "We will live like the 20 heroes of Mujebong and strife."

This year, the foreseen slogan to be is "A Mind for Guarding Suryeong to death." "Unity in One Heart" and "A Mind for Guarding Suryeong to death" are what maintains the NK regime. The NK government also feels that if people lose faith in Kim Jong Il such as now and distance themselves from the government, maintaining the government would be difficult.

As of now, "the Heroes of Mujebong" is considered as typical movement for "A Mind for Guarding Suryeong to death." Meanwhile they also report about people died to save a portrait of Suryeong and awarded with title of "Hero" whose name will live forever after.

Propaganda Targeting the Revolutionary 3rd and 4th Generations

The "New Year Cooperative Column" wrote, "This era requires for strong, reliable and passionate fighters who will not be shaken by general trend or mood." It noted, "We have to prepare the 3rd and 4th generations of revolution politically and ideologically."

We could call the 80s the most politically stable period centering Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. However, after the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994 and the food crisis that soon followed after, the people started to lose faith in Kim Jong Il. With more and more people die of starvation but the government still uninterested in the lives of the people, it was inevitable that the people started to realize Kim Jong Il is unreliable. This is the reason why the NK government will push for "A Mind for Guarding Suryeong to death" movement strongly.

The problem is who will be targeted. When I was still in North Korea, it was emphasized a number of times that "ideology and culture education must be strengthened for the 3rd and 4th generations who have not experienced the difficulties of the revolution." It was said that when the Soviet Union collapsed, it was the new generations who widely accepted capitalism.

The movement "A Mind for Guarding Suryeong to death" launched by the NK government this year could be considered as the propaganda to tie the 3rd and 4th generations to the "commander ideology."



Dear colleagues (colleagues...??? dear.. definetly NOT!!),


when you try to write "articles" you should not use hard drugs, such as H or LSD!! And even when you were only drinking to much Soju... the result is just f.. shit!! LUNATIC A..HOLES!!!




I know, I know, that they're f... crazy... "But to fight your enemy you must study him/her!"(Lenin^^) Actually this is just a great example for their(the "writers") imbecility...



진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

소비에트 연방 "공산"당 ^^

U.S. Smear Campaign against DPRK under Fire

Pyongyang, January 6 (KCNA) -- The Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union strongly protests the persistent smear campaign of the U.S. administration against the DPRK. The secretariat said this in a statement issued on Dec. 28 last year in denunciation of the evermore frantic "human rights racket" kicked up by the U.S. against the DPRK.

The statement continued:
    The U.S. ruling quarters got "a resolution on human rights issue" in the DPRK adopted at the UN with the backing of its allies and attempted to pass it through other international bodies and kicked up a row over the "north Korean human rights issue" in Seoul some days ago under the signboard of an "international conference."
    The U.S. is a typical police state, a criminal state, the ringleader of world neo-fascism and No. 1 international terrorist state as it has perpetrated high-handed acts under the pretext of "defending the human rights," causing confusion and bloodshed in different parts of the world. 


First of all it was not 15 years or so ago, it was just ten days ago...^^

Secondly this so-called CPSU is marching regularly together with Russian fascist, monarchist, national-"bolshevist" groups, organizations and parties against any kind of democracy and freedom...











진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

2005: 승리의 년...

2005 - Year of Great Victory in History

of WPK and Country (KCNA, 12.30)









진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

미친 이야기...

Following "report" I found before yesterday on www.dailynk.com

Actually this is just to strange, to crazy to believe. But if it is true they are just potential suicides...


It is a matter of whether I die or Kim Jong Il Dies

Lim Chun Yong, the chairperson of Free North Korean Soldiers Association

By Jung Jae Sung, Reporter
[ 12.06.2005(Tue) 17:52 ]
Lim Chun Yong is the chairperson of Free North Korean Soldiers's Association (a tentative name), which launched recently with an open letter to Kim Jong Il printed on various media. He had dreadfully sparkling eyes which indicated that he was desperate to fight against Kim Jong Il. He put on a solemn look with his lips closed tightly.

"North Korean people and Kim Jong Il are standing at a crossroad. Whether it is North Korean people or Kim Jong Il who should live is an obvious question." said Mr. Lim.

"If Kim Jong Il lives, North Korean people will die. On the other hand, if North Korean people live, Kim Jong Il should die. There is a deadly feud between the two parties. This is the consensus among members of Free North Korean Soldiers' Association."

Lim Chung Yong's Theory of Direct Fight Against Kim Jong Il

Mr. Lim bears a personal hatred for Kim Jong Il. Mr. Lim's family were taken to a political slave-labor concentration camp because it had been known to the North Korean authorities that Mr Lim fled to South Korea. Mr. Lim had been a captain working in the second battalion of the 19th brigade of the pacification corps in North Korea before he entered South Korea. Clenching his fists, Mr. Lim said, "My family in North Korea may also wish the Kim Jong Il regime to collapse. It is a matter of whether I die or Kim Jong Il dies." His eyes sparkled with strong determination.

Mr. Lim emphasized that if there should be no direct action against North Korea, the regime change would not occur, and he did not think raising North Korean human rights issue to have any effect on the regime change. His argument may be called the Theory of Direct Fight Against Kim Jong Il, when we compare it to the Theory of Direct Fight Against Imperialism borne by student movement activists in the 80s.

The members of Free North Korean Soldiers' Association are North Korean defectors who were commandos when they were in the North. Mr. Lim said they would wage some direct fight, the details of which cannot be revealed. He also mentioned that he was confident that once they moved, anti-Kim Jong Il soldiers would also move in the North Korean army. He suggested that he had some connections in the North Korean army.

Mr. Lim said they would start their operation soon after they had a press conference. (!!!)

"I will risk my life to revenge my family"

- So far there have been several groups and societies for North Korean human rights, and democratization. I think your organization is unique.

North Korean defectors can understand and picture the realities of North Korea from the bottom of their hearts. That's why it is their duty to raise their voices about North Korea. I think it is time to change gears from rallying against Kim Jong Il in the street to directly fighting against him.

- I think it must not be easy to make such resolution.

In 2003, the North Korean authorities came to know that I had entered South Korea. That's why all my family were taken to a political slave-labor concentration camp. I feel a sense of guilt about my family. My family may also want the North Korean people to proceed to freedom and democracy. It is my duty to risk my life to help them.

- Are you sure you can manage to do such dangerous things. They even require strict maintenance of security and regulation.

I became a member of the special forces when I was 17. Ex-commandos are fundamentally different from ordinary people. We share the congenial spirit. We've had some financial difficulties and been exposed to some danger, but we've overcome such difficulties for the past two years because of our congeniality.

North Korean people and Kim Jong Il are at a crossroad of choice. The choice of which party should live must be obvious: North Korean people must live. North Korean regime is a failure. People like us, who have much idea about the inside of the North Korean regime, must come out to help change the regime.

- Regime change is not so easy as is told like that.

North Korea is on the edge of collapse. Despite Kim Jong Il's Military First Policy, military spirit is slack and soldiers are full of complaints. Before I escaped from North Korea, these phenomena had been existent. They are more severe now.

- Are you going to contact North Korean soldiers in order to change Kim Jong Il regime?

We are ex-G.I.'s. I was a captain in the pacification corps. Some members were higher than me when they were in the North Korean army. We are sure we still have some influences on North Korean commandos. I hope you understand that I cannot tell you any detail about what we are going to do.

Ex-G.I. defectors are confident of North Korean regime's collapse. They suffered the great famine of the 90s, human rights abuses, or political prisoner camps. The incident where an infant was abducted and eaten near a missile launcher in Hakmu laborers district of Jagang-do, Jinchun-gun occurred just next our military camp. North Korean regime have been making people beasts.

"There will be the second and third Lim Chung Yong"

- Even if the realities are horrible, it is difficult to draw actions from people.

We think that North Korea is underway of collapse. We are concerned about our families, and friends in the army, let alone the matter of unification and the people. We will be able to show our actions. This confidence is due to my experience.

It is a matter of whether I die or Kim Jong Il dies. If I die, there will be the second and third Lim Chun Yong. I trust my friends. I am confident that I can make some of my friends in North Korea liaisons, and deploy ourselves simultaneously.

- What do you think of the Six Party Talk, and various kinds of international pressure to North Korea by raising human rights, drug, and forgery issues.

I don't think they have any effect on changing North Korean regime. Each country in the international society has her own interest regarding North Korea. North Korean problem cannot be solved internationally. Her insiders must act promptly and accordingly.

- What is the public reaction to your association like?

We are receiving a lot of encouragement. But we still need more support from South Korean people and international societies. It is the duty of Free North Korean Solders' Association to change the North Korean regime. We owe our families and friends who were killed because of us. We have to pay off our debts. We think that once we can make our descendants live in a free democratic society, our debts are cleared.

- Some South Korean youngsters sympathize with Kim Jong Il regime, or long for communism.

You should not see North Korean regime from a sympathetic or emotional perspective. I am sorry to see some youngsters easily hooked by Kim Jong Il's propaganda. I wish to have a chance to meet those youngsters because I think I can open their eyes to the realities of North Korea.

- Do you have something in mind to tell South Korean people?

If the President is mistaken, the foundation of our nation is in danger. If people are deluded, we lose our nest. South Korean people must clearly discern Kim Jong Il's propaganda and understand North Korean regime. Kim Jong Il holds North Korean people as a hostage for his wealth and hegemony. We must decide whether Kim Jong Il prospers or 23 million North Korean people survive. South Koreans must clearly understand this. You should never do anything that could be a help for Kim Jong Il.

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

Something about NK future

Something for Pyongyang to chew on
By Andrei Lankov, Asia Times, 05.05.26

SEOUL - A survivor of the North Korean prison camps concludes a story of his suffering at the hands of Kim Il-sung's henchmen by saying, "I think I will live to see how those bastards will go to prison, to pay for all what they have done to us." It is easy to understand that this man, in his late 30s, with such an experience of torture, betrayal, lies and destitution, would expect revenge. After all, Adolf Hitler's executioners (well, most of them) went to prison, and some even to the gallows. Thus, it is only rational to expect that the same fate would befall the people who run one of the bloodiest "minor" dictatorships in the world.

But let's face it: such a triumph of justice is unlikely to happen. Furthermore, it probably should not be allowed to happen: the only way to prevent further suffering in North Korea might be by granting the country's elite complete immunity from persecution for all crimes committed during their rule.

A woeful state
No complete statistics are available yet, but a few figures (some are more reliable than others) have already emerged from North Korea, and this data leave few doubts that we are talking about a truly murderous system. Currently, 150,000-200,000 people are in political prison camps. We might assume that the average number for the past 50 years has been 100,000, and consider that the average time spent in prison is about 10 years, after which a prisoner can be either dead or released. Thus, we will arrive at some half million people who have been imprisoned for real or imagined political crimes under the rule of Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung - out of a population of about 24 million.

These are estimates, but they seem to agree with the scarce information available from defectors, and those figures are conservative.

But the actual number of victims is higher than the number of prison inmates. A large number of people are not sent to prison, they are exiled to remote areas, and their families are deprived of the right to pursue a normal life. Often such banishment leads to the death of the family, as during the "great famine" of the 1990s.

Repression on such a massive scale cannot be even remotely compared with the political persecution in post-Stalinist East European countries, where the number of victims was counted merely in the thousands, and where their chances of survival were much higher. The much-vilified Stasi, the East German security police, appeared to be harsh only if compared to the standards of affluent and democratic Europe. What could happen to an individual in East Germany if he got himself in trouble with the authorities? Such a person was likely to lose promotion or the opportunity to travel overseas. However, in North Korea, a similar report normally leads to the victim's execution or a slow death in a prison camp. More often than not, the victim's family will go to prison as well.

And we are talking only about victims of judicial persecution. The North Korean government can also be blamed for the famine of 1996-1999, which probably took between 600,000 and 900,000 lives (once again, conservative estimates). Those people died because economic reforms, which could have saved most or all of them, were deemed politically dangerous by the elite. One can also blame the regime for starting the Korean War, which resulted in the deaths of millions.

But even if we cling to 500,000 as the minimum number of people who were directly killed or imprisoned for their real or alleged political wrongdoing, it is a very large number for a country of such a size.

So, the number of victims is great, but what about the perpetrators? It is equally large. The North Korean political police, known as the Ministry for Protection of the State Security (MPSS), run an extensive network of informers. Defected officers of the MPSS say that under normal circumstances they are supposed to have one informer per every 50 persons, while in more "politically difficult" environments the density is increased.

Yi Su-ryon, the daughter and wife of ethnic Koreans from Japan, told about a typical incident. During a drinking party, four out of its seven participants (including Yi's husband) admitted to being informers.

These figures mean that roughly half a million people are or have been government spies. And police cadres and government officials of all levels are required to approve arrests, as was the case in Joseph Stalin's Russia or Mao Zedong's China.

Then there are the people who were involved in manifold acts of terror and subversion against South Korea - and we can be sure they all know the stories of assassination plots and commando raids are only the tip of the iceberg. There are the officers who kidnap people from South Korea and other countries, officials who run drug smuggling and counterfeit currency rings, and of course prison guards: the average ratio for Stalin's gulags is well known - one guard for every 10 prisoners. This means some 50,000 ex-guards - and this is a conservative estimate, once again.

In short, a few hundred thousand people have been directly involved in the criminal activities of the regime. With such large numbers of victims and perpetrators, no serious investigation is likely to be possible.

A choice between two evils
There is an apocryphal story about Nikita Khrushchev, the man behind the de-Stalinization campaign in the USSR. He was allegedly asked why so few people were brought to trial for crimes committed in Stalin's era (merely a few hundred of the most notorious people stood in secret trials). He reportedly answered, "Well, I suppose we must empty the prison camps, not replace old inmates with new ones."

True or not, the story captures the essence of the dilemma: in a truly murderous dictatorship, more or less every member of the elite is somehow involved with what might be best described as "criminal policy". Thus, persecuting everybody might mean putting into prison the majority of educated people with administrative experience.

Nonetheless, even if complete and thorough persecution is impractical, some key figures of the regime are very likely to go to prison. And they understand this. The fear of persecution is certainly one of the factors that makes Kim Jong-il and his entourage so stubborn and, as a result, so murderous.

The North Korean leaders must be aware that their system does not work too well - at least, this is what many documents smuggled from Pyongyang's inner circles seem to confirm. But these people have no decent exit option for themselves, and this is a disaster, not so much for them, but for their subjects. They have good reasons to be afraid of persecution and revenge, and thus they are determined to resist until the end.

As someone who witnessed the collapse of the Soviet system from the inside, this writer can testify that popular discontent (quite real in the 1970s and 1980s) was only one of many factors which led to its breakdown. The final blow to the communist system was dealt when members of the elite decided that it would make perfect sense to jettison their formal allegiance to communist beliefs (few of them sincerely shared these beliefs by the 1980s anyway), and re-package themselves as supporters of the market economy and democracy. Politically, this was a wise decision: in nearly all post-Soviet countries, the elite nowadays overwhelmingly consists of former communist bureaucrats who, 15 years ago, after a lifelong career in the Communist Party, suddenly proclaimed themselves staunch enemies of communism.

In North Korea, such a peaceful, if cynical, solution appears impossible - it is prevented by the seemingly intractable problem in the form of South Korea. The very existence of this affluent (from the North Korean point of view - not simply "affluent" but unbelievingly rich) and free country creates manifold problems for Pyongyang's leaders. If common North Koreans learned of South Korean prosperity and if they became less fearful of political persecution, nothing would stop them from behaving like East Germans did in 1990. Why on earth would they agree to live in a crumbling and destitute state if they knew that there was a prosperous and free "other Korea" just across the border?

And what will happen to the top crust of the North Korean government, and the few hundred neo-aristocratic families who surround Kim Jong-il? They are afraid that a gloomy future awaits them, and they are probably correct. Any post-unification transformation is certain to be painful. The new post-unification government will need scapegoats, and the former North Korean leaders will be first in the firing line - perhaps both figuratively and literally.

Thus, the North Korean elite is cornered. These people do not want to tamper with the system since they are afraid it will collapse as a result of some experiments. In such a case, they have nothing to gain and everything to lose - not only their prosperity, privilege and power, but also their freedom - and in some cases even their lives. This means they have to continue with their policy, believing that their choice is "kill or be killed".

The carrot of amnesty
How to break this deadlock? The short answer is an amnesty. People who run the country should be granted immunity from persecution for all crimes.

Such an amnesty might not exclude what is known as "lustrations" in Eastern Europe, where former party, police and security bureaucrats were not eligible for certain positions in the government and could not run businesses of certain types. Such people above a certain level under Kim might (and perhaps should) be excluded from keeping official positions in the post-unification era. But criminal persecution is not an option, both because it is not practical, and also because the fear of such persecution contributes toward the ongoing tragedy of the North Korean people.

Nobody can restore to life the people who have perished in the torture chambers and concentration camps of the regime. But we are talking now about the living and of preventing more deaths. Countless people would be alive or have better lives had North Korea's leaders been less persistent in their stubborn (and understandable) rejection of reform, and had they been given a way out.

Certainly, the North Korean leaders might be cautious of buying into any talk of amnesty. They will have seen what happened to the former South Korean generals-turned-presidents who once were promised immunity in exchange for their willingness to surrender power in a peaceful manner. The new democratic South Korean government tried to keep its promises for a while, but in 1995, facing mounting pressures from the political left, former presidents Roh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan faced prosecution.

Hence, to make such a promise believable, it should be very public, unequivocal and all-inclusive, leaving as few loopholes for future revenge-seekers as possible. Further, international involvement and overseas asylum for the top leaders might be a good idea.

There is a precedent for this, from Idi Amin of Uganda, Mobutu Sese Seko of then-Zaire to Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. The latter, the hereditary dictator of Haiti, if anything, was much more of a bizarre personality than Kim, but this did not prevent him from being warmly accepted by France after his downfall.

Talk of an amnesty for North Korea's elite will have its opponents, but it is a compromise solution that might help save lives and hasten the end of the regime: if the rulers in Pyongyang know that in spite of being on the losing side they will not face persecution, let alone die in jail, but will spend the rest of their days in relative safety and comfort, they might be more willing to throw in the towel. And if lower-level officials know that they will at least keep their personal freedom after unification, they will be far less ready to fight and kill.

Dr Andrei Lankov is a lecturer in the faculty of Asian Studies, China and Korea Center, Australian National University. He graduated from Leningrad State University with a PhD in Far Eastern history and China, with emphasis on Korea, and his thesis focused on factionalism in the Yi Dynasty. He has published books and articles on Korea and North Asia. He is currently on leave, teaching at Kookmin University, Seoul.
진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

The Worst Fear of the S. Korean Government

No sunshine yet over North Korea
By Andrei Lankov

(source: Asia Times, May 13) 

For half a century, the worst fear of the South Korean government and people alike was that one day they would be conquered by their Northern brethren. In summer 1950 they saw how easily the North Korean tanks rolled into the streets of their cities, and the persistent fear of a new Korean War was the single most important factor in South Korean politics from the 1950s until the 1980s.

But now a very different kind of fear reigns supreme in Seoul. The South Koreans are not afraid of military defeat, which they know would be very unlikely. They fear their own victory instead. North Korea is in deep crisis, and its collapse seems to be a real possibility. But nobody in the affluent South wants unification - at least, an immediate and complete unification - with the impoverished North.

It was the German experience that became a wake-up call over a decade ago. Economists' calculations indicate that if North Korea collapses, the reconstruction of the impoverished country will become an almost unthinkable burden for the affluent South. The estimates vary greatly, but everybody agrees that the amount of necessary investment will be truly astronomical.

The situation in Korea is much worse than was the case in Germany. The per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in East Germany was only one-third of that of the capitalist West, and some 80% of all Germans lived in the capitalist part of the country. In Korea, per capita GDP in the North is at least 10 times smaller than in the South, and the South Korean population is merely 65% of the total. Apart from economic issues, there are also social and political problems - so painful indeed that few people even dare to raise them.

Thus, a new dream plan gradually developed known as the "Sunshine Policy". Now the South Korean policy planners hope to steer Pyongyang toward Chinese-style reforms. It is believed that such reforms will create economic growth, and thus eventually the gap between the two Korean states will diminish. Such peaceful transformation will probably take a few decades. In the meantime, the South Korean government is ready to keep its northern neighbor afloat with large amounts of aid: direct and indirect, open and clandestine. It is also ready to ignore provocations and, of course, not to attract excessive attention to the human-rights abuses and police terror in the North, still one the world's most repressive and brutal regimes. All this is done to prevent a sudden collapse of North Korea and thus ensure that South Koreans will continue to enjoy their hard-earned prosperity.

The South Koreans are not ready to sacrifice their shiny new cars and regular vacations in Southeast Asia for the sake of their starving brethren. This might sound judgmental, but their position is easy to understand. Whatever the official line, for the average South Korean the North has long been another foreign country, whose problems and concerns are quite alien to those living in the South.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has made a number of statements, assuring everybody (perhaps, even himself) that North Korea is not going to collapse. "Even if there is a certain situation in North Korea, I think there is an internal organizational ability to manage the situation," Roh said in Germany a year ago. And in Poland in December: "Some have said that North Korea will collapse. But I believe there is almost no such possibility."

The peaceful transformation envisioned by the Sunshine Policy might appear to be a dream scenario, at least to a South Korean taxpayer. (The estimated 200,000 inmates of the North Korean prison camps or the millions of starving North Korean commoners might have a dramatically different view on this subject). But there is one serious problem with this scenario: it is not realistic. It is based on the implicit assumption that the common North Koreans somehow will be willing to spend a few decades patiently and obediently waiting for the time when beneficial reforms will help to reduce the gap between the two Korean economies, so unification can be achieved in a manner most pleasant and comfortable for the South Korean taxpayers.

The examples of China and Vietnam are often cited as proof that a gradual reform without an "implosion" - a nice euphemism for a democratic revolution - is possible. But the experiences of these two countries are not applicable to North Korea. It is often overlooked that the existence of an economically affluent and politically free South Korea makes the Korean situation completely different.

In China and Vietnam, the affluence of the capitalist West is well known, but it is not seen by the populace as relevant to the problems of their own countries (apart from the quite nebulous argument that "democracy brings prosperity"). After all, the current Western prosperity can always be explained away in Marxian-cum-nationalist terms as a product of sinister imperialist policies and a result of the brutal exploitation of the non-Western world and its resources. Due to the existence of South Korea, however, the situation in North Korea is different.

From its inception, North Korea has gone to great lengths to present itself as a paradise while South Korea has been depicted as a "living hell", where penniless students sell their blood to pay for textbooks and sadistic Yankees drive their tanks over Korean girls just for pleasure. The year one textbook presents North Korea's children with an enlightening picture: "A school principal in South Korea beats and drives from school a child who cannot pay his monthly fee on time." In high school, North Korean children learn that "South Korea is swamped with 7 million unemployed. Countless people stand in queues in front of employment centers, but not even a small number of jobs is forthcoming. The factories are closing one after another, and in such a situation even people who have work do not know when they will be ousted from their position." Needless to say, these stories are inventions. Primary education in South Korea is free, and the number of unemployed people did not even remotely approach 7 million. (South Korea actually has one of the lowest unemployment levels among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, about 2-4%.)

These lies, however, were necessary since North Korea always presented itself as another part of the same state, as another government of one Korea. Its claims on legitimacy and the right to govern were based on its alleged ability to deliver a better material life for its people. (In 1962 North Korea's founding father Kim Il-sung famously promised to deliver "a house with a tiled roof, soup with meat and silken clothes" for every North Korean.) This Marxian emphasis on material and economic success is what has made the myth of North Korean prosperity and South Korean poverty so indispensable to the regime's survival. It is not for nothing that the North Korean bank notes bear the inscription, "We do not envy anybody in the world."

The North Korean leaders understood the importance of strict information control or, rather, a self-imposed information blockade. Historically, all communist countries have tried to cut their populace off from unauthorized information from overseas, but few, if any, went to the extremes that North Korea has. Radio sets sold in North Korean shops have no free tuning and can be used only for receiving the official Pyongyang channels. (Even in Stalin's Russia short-wave sets were readily available to the public.) Foreign media, including the periodicals of supposedly "fraternal" countries, have not been publicly available in North Korea since the early 1960s. All foreign publications, with the exception of purely technical materials, are kept in special departments within major libraries, available only to those individuals who have the requisite security clearance. Until the recent breakdown of control on the border with China, only a handful of North Koreans had any overseas experience.

The market reforms and foreign investment that have been anticipated and encouraged by the "Sunshiners", as proponents of the Sunshine Policy are known, are almost certain to be economically beneficial, but they will have an unavoidable side-effect: a further deterioration of the carefully constructed system of information control.

Is it possible to check the spread of subversive information while still promoting economic reforms? Perhaps, but only to some extent, and only if reforms remain limited in scale. However, minor reforms are not sufficient to bring about a serious transformation of the North Korean economy. In the longer run, large-scale foreign investment will be necessary to sustain growth, and when this point is reached, contacts between North Koreans and outsiders (overwhelmingly South Koreans) will become unavoidable.

Sunshine Policy believers tacitly assume that a reformed North Korean regime will still be able to suppress open dissent, while the majority of the population will be kept docile by increased living standards, augmented by a slow yet steady improvement in their political rights - essentially, the situation that existed in China and Vietnam in the 1980s and 1990s. However, as it has been stressed above, the sheer existence of South Korea makes such a scenario implausible. Knowledge of the prosperous South will present the North Korean public with the belief (possibly naive, and certainly exaggerated) that their problems would find an easy solution through unification and the wholesale adoption of the South Korean social, economic and cultural system.

It is doubtful that the North Korean population, especially its better-educated sector, would agree to live indefinitely in a less affluent and more restrictive version of South Korea when a German-style unification could present them with a much easier path to instant success and prosperity. Will they agree to endure a decade or two of destitution followed by a couple of decades of poverty if they see another, better off Korea just across the border? Will they agree to tolerate a highly repressive regime run, at all probability, either by scions of the ruling Kim clan or by people who once were Kim's henchmen? Will they be persuaded that such sacrifices are necessary to ensure "economic stability" in South Korea - or, in other words, to provide their brethren with chances to enjoy sunbathing in Thailand and a new Hyundai Sonata once every few years? Probably not.

One can easily imagine how discontent about the North Korean system, as well as information about the almost unbelievable South Korean prosperity, will first spread through the relatively well-heeled North Korean groups who are allowed to interact with South Koreans and foreigners or have better access to the foreign media and entertainment, and then filter down to the wider social strata. Once people come to the conclusion that they have no reason to be afraid of the usual crackdown, followed by the slaughter of real or alleged rebels and their entire families, they are more likely to react in East German style than the supporters of the Sunshine Policy are willing to consider. And this will be the end of South Koreans' dream of the North's peaceful and painless evolution. Of course, the current South Korean government is dead set against German-style unification. But what will they do if a large-scale popular movement erupts in the North demanding immediate unification?

It is a great irony that the expectations of a peaceful evolution are especially popular among the Korean left, whose supporters always portray themselves as staunch believers in the role of the "people's masses", known in their parlance as minjung. According to their view of history, the proud and active minjung were the major agent of change in South Korea. But when it comes to the North, the same people suddenly change their tune and equate North Korea with its officialdom, completely overlooking the fact that common North Koreans might have their own opinions about the future of their country and might indeed have an influence on its future. Fortunately or not, a vast majority of North Koreans are not members of the elite, and they are not terribly interested in scenarios that will keep real estate prices high in Seoul while forcing them to survive on 400 grams of maize a day.

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

Here Some of the Most Stupid Ideas about...

...a possible future of the N.K. Problem


Strategy to 'Encircle North Korean Regime’ (2)

NK Regime Collpase, Half Way to the Korean Unification

By Shon Kwang Joo, Editor / Shin Ju Hyun, Reporter
[ 05.12.2005(Thu) 15:37 ]

(source:Daily NK, here you can read #1)

Hwang Jang Yop, the chairman of North Korea Democratization Committee (some call him the "creator of the Juche "ideologie"/주체주의 - just check it out in any searching machine, or try http://www.kimsoft.com/korea/nk-whang.htm), kept saying that China is holding the key to solve the North Korean nuclear issue and that the crucial point is how South Korea acts toward the issue. What is the strategy to change North Korea? See below to check out his latest opinions about the situation of Northeast Asia since North Korea’s declaration of nuclear weapon state (Feb. 10) and North Korea as an issue.

- By what kind of promise between the US and China can make an agreement to resignation of the Kim Jong Il regime?

What China is worried about is US presense reaching up to the Yalu River. The US should try to tell China that they have no intention to do that. The problem which the US faces right now, is making North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons. Therefore, what the US has to do is to take the position, that it wants the change of the Suryeong dictatorship. Once the dictatorship is dismantled, North Korea can open its door as China did. At this stage, the US should clearly its position known to China.

US declares not to involve in post Kim Jong Il North Korea

The US should send a signal to China that “the US does not want a pro-America government to be set up after the collapse of the Kim Jong Il regime.” What the US can say about North Korea’s new government is “reform and liberalization like Chinese style and then both nuclear and peace isseus in Korean peninsula shall be solved.”

If so, the US will not care even if post Kim Jong Il government enters into diplomatic relation with Japan and will see progress of the Korean peninsula peace pacts. It would be better for the US sending a message, “keep friendly relation with North Korea”, to China. The US should show China where they stand at the same time.

If China does not respond to teh US attitude and want to maintain its alliance with Kim Jong Il, the US should take a decisive step. The US must not treat China as a companion anymore. The US can support independence of Taiwan. The US has been supporting ‘One China Policy’ in order to keep a friendly relationship with China. There is no reason for the US supports it anymore. It has to express that it can support nuclear armament of Taiwan and Japan. For the trade partnership which China put all their efforts into, the US also has to express a possible sanction against China cooperating with the EU.

- Do you really think that the US can apply this kind of strategy and take an action?

What China needs right now is peace and high growth. They do not want to be affected by Kim Jong Il. A new North Korean government might be pro-Chinese government. It is the quickest way. The problem is whether the Bush administration can handle it or not. I personally think that there is a low possibility. Why do I think like that? It is because the US does not know that such a solution is the solution one for teh future development of the US and the world. The US still regards North Korean issue as a minor problem. That is why not many people in the US agree with this kind suggestion. The US would be against even the nuclear armament of Japan.

The South Korean government will play an important role to solve the North Korean issue

- In which case will the US not able to stabd against it?

If the South Korean governments supports it, everything will be ok. South Korea is the owner of the Korean peninsula. If teh South Korean government insists the US that we have to make China remain in on our side to make Kim Jong Il regime collapse peacefully, then there is nothing the US government can do. Who will be against it when the owner supports it? If the South Korean government insists it strongly and presents the solution for the problem of the Korean peninsula, there is nothing the US government can do, but follow us. Existence of the Kim Jong Il regime depends on China, and the South Korean government has the key to separate China from North Korea.

- In South Korea, people try to keep teh US distanced and embrace North Korea and China. What do you think about it?

The US government also made a mistake over it. They overlooked rising of anti-America sentiments in South Korea. They don’t take any actions to prevent growing pro-North Korea and anti-Americanism power. They are just discontented with the anti-America sentiments and they do not take any action to prevent this kind of sentiments. They should try to let people in South Korea know about necessity of the ROK-US alliance and the importance of democratic solidarity.

No need to worry about setting up of a pro-Chinese government

- Some people are worryed about setting up a pro-Chinese government in North Korea.

Some people are worried about it. They think if North Korea sides with China continuously, the unification will be impossible and China would keep controlling North Korea. However, there’s no reason to worry about it. China does not have a power to be greedy to take North Korean territory. There is nothing China can get in North Korea. People in North Korea would have to decide their destiny by themselves, so there is no need to worry about it.

- Is there any chance that Chinese army will be stationed in North Korea when something’s going on in North Korea?

People in China would not do that. There is no need for China to be stationed in Manchu. Standing by is enough for them. They will not cause any trouble. There are already many troubled areas, so they will not trouble themselves in such a way. There is no need to worry about it. What they do care, though, is for the US to enter into North Korea. We can say that they are not interested in taking North Koream territory.

- Do you mean if Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, there is no problem of how the next government builds its diplomatic relations?

If Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, the most important problem is solved. Root of the evil and unhappiness are from Kim Jong Il and the dictatorship. If the Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, the effect will be enormous. Dramatic changes will be followed in North Korea. Capital and technology will flow into North Korea, and teh defectors can return back to North Korea and start a business. If so, there might be no problem politically and economically. People in North Korea will work hard to catch up with South Korea. Social atmosphere should be set up for North Korea to focus on economic development.

If Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, it means a half unification

If Kim Jong Il regime is dismantled, we achieve a half unification. Kim Jong Il regime should be dismantled as soon as possible for teh unification. You can see how important it is, right? There is no need to discuss about whether the regime is to be pro-China or pro-America at this stage.

- Globalization means global democratization.

Nobody can stop globalization at this moment. Nobody can stop it whether it is good or bad. Globalization means changing living style based on a nation (state) to the one based on the world. It is a huge change, so it is not that easy as we think. What we have to think about is to decide on how we will make globalization.

Communism in the past suggested realization of globalization with the class theory, but it failed. Now it is time for making globalization with democracy. It is a historical trend.

- The Bush administration also emphasizes ‘spreading of freedom’.

The US should start it first. The US abolished racial discrimination for the first time and abolished class discrimination. The US is the advanced country of democracy and the strongest country in the world. It plays an important role. It should not be satisfied to be remained as a united states in its own country. All countries in the world should be united. There is no reason for the people in Africa and Asia stay behind of the Europeans. They also have sufficient individuality and ability. Globalization through democracy is necessary to improve their ability.

Global democratic unity among the nations should be built up. Western advanced countries should take the lead for this. Destiny of all races and countries should be taken care of by all of us. Then you will see how important the unification of two Koreas is.

Unified Korea will play an important role for the global democratization

- Why are democratization in North Korea and unified Korea important for global democratization?

North Korea wants to take an advantage by inducing conflict between the US-China, the US- Russia, and ROK-Japan. The Kim Jong Il dictatorship is the most villainous dictatorship in the world. South Korea, US, Japan and China should cut off the connection with the dictatorship. If the US-China, and ROK-Japan strengthen their solidarity, global democratization shall be progressed rapidly. The EU shall be participated in us and India should follow us. Imagine how powerful it is if we conduct global democratization. Surrounding countries including the US should know that the unified Korea is located in the important position for the global democratization.

- After collapsing of Kim Jong Il regime, what’s the first thing we have to do?

After ousting Kim Jong Il regime, making a reform and opening as China did is he first step. Opening and reform is important for not only peaceful Korean peninsula and nuclear problem but also global democratization. We should see North Korea issue as not Korean peninsula problem but global democratization problem.

Democracy is not completed by demonstration only

- President Roh makes attacks against all successive governments saying liquidation of the problems in the past. How do you evaluate all successive governments in democratic development way?

Democracy is not completed by demonstration only. If democracy is completed by demonstrations on the streets, all countries shall be the advanced democratic country. First of all, economy should be developed. All people in South Korea played an important role so far. All people like professors and labors contributed to development of democracy in South Korea. Religious people also contributed to development of democracy in South Korea. Just demonstration does not mean development of democracy. Democracy means development of politics, economy and culture all together. Democracy can’t be completed by system only. Democracy is the result of cooperation by all people.

- What kind of attitude do we need to solve current issues such as North Korea nuclear issue?

Some people insist that holding dialogues is the only way to deal with the communism country. Those who insists it do not know about communism. North Korea is a despotic country. ‘Pacifists’ beg peace to Kim Jong Il. They should not do that. For real peace, power of democracy should be strengthened and power of dictatorship should be weakened. If a country brings a war and develops nuclear, we have to let the country know that a hardhearted punishment from the world society shall be followed. It was impossible to end the Cold War without economic power, scientific technology and military power of the US. Violence such as nuclear weapon should be confronted decisively to maintain peace.

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

Another Change in the N.K. Society

If this story is realy the truth, then sooner or later the

S. Korean government may get a huge problem^^!!!

Just let's see the future!!


Culture Shock

A flow of information from the outside world is changing the Hermit Kingdom.

By Christian Caryl and B. J. Lee

May 9 issue - On a warm spring day, a small boat is maneuvering down a narrow tributary of the Yalu River that marks the border between China and North Korea. The sightseers in the craft are in search of an unusual quarry. "Look, there they are," says the boat's Chinese owner. And sure enough, coming down the opposite bank are two young North Korean border guards in olive-drab uniforms, both bareheaded, one of them toting a Kalashnikov rifle. The prow touches the shore, and one of the passengers—a NEWSWEEK journalist—steps out briefly onto North Korean territory to shake hands with the two soldiers, who nod and offer greetings. The Northerners happily accept a gift of South Korean cigarettes and Chinese cash in return for allowing the brief foray into their country. But there's something else they'd like to have as well, they say: movies and TV shows from South Korea. Videotapes or DVDs? Either one, say the soldiers. "Comedies or action?" asks the visitor. "It doesn't matter," answers a soldier. "Just bring a lot."


Extraordinary as it may sound, such encounters are par for the course along China's 1,416-kilometer-long border with North Korea these days. The Hermit Kingdom, it's now clear, is no longer hermetic. (...)


North Korea, long one of the world's most isolated societies, has grown vulnerable to the flow of information from the outside world. North Koreans are watching Western movies on hidden video players and tuning in to Korean-language broadcasts from the South on illicit radios. In the border regions, mobile phones are ubiquitous, meaning that some defectors can keep in touch with their families back home. Much of this information is making clear to North Koreans that there is a vast prosperity gap between their society and the South's.


It's not known if the greater awareness yet poses a threat to North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong Il. But it's certainly giving more North Koreans reason to nurse discontent with their government. That, in turn, is spurring more and more of them to seek their luck abroad by defecting, which can only intensify the pressure on the Great Leader. Last year a record 1,850 Northerners arrived in the South. "The West often regards North Korea as an immobile society, a black box," says Andrei Lankov, a Russian-born expert on North Korea at Kookmin University in Seoul. "But it's clear that North Korea is changing. North Korean Stalinism is dying."


The changes are real. Just take the story of Lee So Young (not her real name), a 33-year-old mother of one who defected from North Korea five years ago. She's one of an estimated 200,000 North Koreans living illegally in the border area. She's hiding in the Chinese city of Yanji as she awaits a chance to reach a new home in South Korea. In her account, it's money, not ideology, that does the talking inside North Korea these days. That's what helped her to cross the border seven times in five years. "The border guards are completely corrupt," she says. "Even South Koreans can go in if they want. All you have to do is give them some money." Lee's tiny Chinese-made phone cost her $6, and in February she smuggled another one across the border to her mother. It costs a mere $1.20 per month to keep her mother's phone active, and Lee is about to send in a fresh prepaid card just to be on the safe side. "The number of the old phone I gave her is known. So now she'll have a new number."


North Korea's information revolution is rooted in economics—and in particular, its fast-rising trade with China. Last year trade volume between the two nations reached $1.4 billion—a jump of 40 percent over 2003. "People sell and buy things," as Lee puts it. "Now it's allowed. If you sold something before, they'd confiscate it." In the summer of 2002, Kim's government enacted a set of cautious economic reforms that have triggered an explosion of mercantilism. Those have in turn created a new merchant class—consisting largely of government officials—and fomented corruption. They've also generated a modest wealth for some while leaving most people mired in poverty. One of the most visible sign of the changes: markets filled with goods from China and even South Korea, brought in by the prosperous new class of border-crossing businesspeople. Even for Northerners who can't afford them, the high-priced imports—including refrigerators, clothes and vegetables—are inspiring yearnings for a better life.


The city of Dandong, China, which has a population of 700,000, has become the window on the outside world for North Korea. There, North Korea's main rail line and highway enter Chinese territory via a majestic bridge spanning the Yalu. It's a key destination for anyone in the North with a scheme to make money. Fifty to sixty North Korean trucks cross the border every morning, then return in the evening loaded with officially approved imports ranging from food to heavy machinery. Many of the truckers have built a little side business in car parts. At the loading depot in Dandong, local merchants happily fill the drivers' orders for spare car parts, which are delivered individually to each truck before it departs. The parts are then sold in North Korea for a big profit. At a waterfront restaurant in Dandong, three men from the North Korean national railway dine out on a meal of sashimi, clams and beef, along with copious amounts of booze. Estimated tab: $100. How can they afford it? "We take things back and forth," crows a boozy conductor. His job—making the monthly round trip from Pyongyang to Moscow—offers limitless opportunities for bringing goods (officially sanctioned and not) back into the North from its capitalist neighbors.


At the Gome Electronics Store in downtown Dandong, salespeople count North Koreans among their most faithful customers. "They're always wearing their little pins," says Shi Hui, a Gome salesgirl, referring to the obligatory badges featuring portraits of North Korean founding father Kim Il Sung. "They always come with their interpreters." One very popular item: video CD players that sell for less than $30. Some of Shi's customers buy four or five at a time. "They say they're going to resell them in the North," she says. Home stereos, TVs, and, yes, the obligatory mobile phones are also selling strongly—and at the same surreally low prices, thanks to Chinese overproduction.


Much of the border area is inhabited by ethnic Koreans with strong ties to the South. As a result, South Korean soap operas and movies, popular throughout Asia, can be purchased on every corner and are easily smuggled into the North. "They take the discs but they throw away the boxes," says Wang Dan, a saleswoman in a Dandong music store that regularly sells South Korean videodiscs to Northern customers. The resulting inflow of outside culture is impossible to stem—and one result has been the irrevocable destruction of Northern propaganda stereotypes about the South, which was always depicted as a wasteland of poverty, shantytowns and unemployment. Choi Ji Won (not her real name), 43, repeatedly crossed into China to work before defecting for good 10 months ago. "Whenever I was here, I watched South Korean TV," she says. "Then when I went back to the North, I told my relatives about it. They realized it's a great place to live, and now they want to go, too." According to recent visitors to the North, Pyongyang university students have taken to dyeing their hair chestnut in accordance with the latest college fads in Seoul.


In the old days, any North Koreans lucky enough to get a foreign-made radio had to register it with the local police. Authorities then fixed the tuners to a single frequency that supplied only Pyongyang-approved broadcasts. Now, though, radios are everywhere, and officials can be bribed to leave tuners unaltered. When South Korean broadcaster KBS surveyed defectors living in the South two years ago, 67 percent said that they had listened to South Korean radio when they were living in the North. Internet use in the North is still limited to a precious few. But the growing number of Northerners lucky enough to travel to China can easily pop into cheap Internet cafes to peruse South Korean web sites.


Kim Jong Il's policy of a limited opening is risky but necessary. Trade with China doesn't just help his moribund economy, but also boosts his ties with a powerful partner who offers a desperately needed diplomatic counterweight to the United States and Japan. (China welcomes the trade with the North as a way of promoting economic growth in its three northeastern provinces, which have long lagged behind more vibrant southern China.) But the potential threat to Kim's leadership is huge. "North Korea wants to keep the booming trade with China from undermining its stability," says Park Young Ho, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul. "But it's a very tough job. Trade and stability are two different things."

Kim's minions lately have been battling to stem the tide. At the end of 2003 the ruling Korean Workers' Party published a series of edicts pledging to "fight vigorously against moves to spread unusual recorded objects and publications" and "to carry on the fight against smuggling activities." Penalties for harboring information about the South, in particular, can include long terms in prison. The security services have formed mobile squads to nab people viewing illegal videos. "They cut off the power so that the disc stays in the machine and can't be hidden," says defector Lee.


There is an even more ominous trend: According to defectors interviewed by NEWSWEEK, Pyongyang is using public executions to discourage defections. Brokers involved in moving people across the border are often the targets. Two covertly recorded videotapes recently smuggled out of the North show three people being shot (in two separate incidents) in the city of Hoeryong on March 1 and March 2. Lee says the authorities stage the executions in marketplaces and force residents to watch. "You have to go. If you don't, they say you don't agree with the government's decision.


It's possible that Kim will succeed in tamping down the forces of discontent bound to be generated by knowledge of the outside world. But the odds are against it. "North Korea reminds me of the USSR in the 1970s," says analyst Lankov. "Officials are paying lip service to the ideology but what they actually do is very different." Like most experts on the North, he's reluctant to issue a expiration date for the North Korean regime. But, he adds, "the genie is out of the bottle—and Kim will have a hard time putting it back in." The dictator surely knows that himself.


With Hideko Takayama in Tokyo

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

DPRK: Changes in the Society

North Korea: Market forces have female faces
By Andrei Lankov (source: Asia Times)

SEOUL - A defector from the North, a typical tough Korean auntie with trademark permed hair, smiled when asked about "men's  role" in North Korean families: "Well, in 1997-98 men became useless. They went to their jobs, but there was nothing to be done there, so they came back. Meanwhile their wives went to distant places to trade and kept families going."

Indeed, the sudden increase in the economic strength and status of women is one of manifold changes that have taken place North Korea over the past 10 or 15 years. The old Stalinist society is dead. It has died a slow but natural death over the past decade and, in spite of Pyongyang's frequent and loud protestation to the contrary, capitalism has been reborn in North Korea. The old socialist state-managed economy of steel mills and coal mines hardly functions at all, and the ongoing economic activity is largely private in nature.

But the new North Korean capitalism of dirty marketplaces, charcoal trucks and badly dressed vendors with huge sacks of merchandise on their backs demonstrates one surprising feature: it has a distinctly female face. Women are over-represented among the leaders of the growing post-Stalinist economy - a least on the lower level, among the market traders and small-time entrepreneurs.

This partially reflects a growth pattern of North Korean neo-capitalism. Unlike the restoration of capitalism in the former Soviet Union or China, the "post-socialist capitalism" of North Korea is not an affair planned and encouraged by people from the top tiers of the late communist hierarchy. Rather, it is capitalism from below, which grows in spite of government's attempts to reverse the process and turn the clock back.

Until around 1990, the markets and private trade of all kinds played a very moderate role in North Korean society. Most people were content with what they were officially allocated through the elaborate public distribution system, and did not want to look for more opportunities. The government also did its best to suppress the capitalist spirit. The rations were not too generous, but still sufficient for survival.

And then things began to fall apart. The collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics brought a sudden end to the flow of the Soviet aid (which was, incidentally, happily accepted but never publicly admitted by the North Korean side). This triggered an implosion of the North Korean economy. In the early 1990s people discovered that the rations were not enough for survival, and thus something had to be done. In a matter of years acute shortages of food developed into a large-scale famine, and in 1994-96 the public distribution system ceased to function in most parts of the country.

But men still felt bound to their jobs by their obligations and rations (distributed through workplaces). Actually, rations were not forthcoming, but this did not matter. Being used to the stability of the previous decades, the North Koreans saw the situation as merely a temporary crisis that soon would be overcome somehow. No doubt, they reasoned, one day everything will go back to the "normal" (that is, Stalinist) state of affairs. So men believed that it would be wise to keep their jobs in order to resume their careers after eventual normalization of the situation. The ubiquitous "organizational life" also played its role: a North Korean adult is required to attend endless indoctrination sessions and meetings, and these requirements are more demanding for males than for females.

Women enjoyed more freedom. By the standard of the communist countries, North Korea has always had an unusually high percentage of housewives among its married women (for example, in the northern border city of Sinuiju, up to 70% of married women were estimated to be housewives in the 1980s). While in most other communist countries women were encouraged to continue work after marriage, in North Korea the government did not really mind when married women quit their jobs to become full-time housewives.

Thus when the economic crisis began, women were first to take up market activities of all kinds. This came very naturally. In some cases they began by selling those household items they could do without, or by selling homemade food. Eventually, this developed into larger businesses. While men continued to go to their plants (which by the mid-1990s had usually ceased to operate) women plunged into market activity. In North Korea such trade involved long journeys in open trucks, and nights spent on concrete floors or under the open skies; they often bribed predatory local officials. And, of course, women had the ability to move heavy material, since the vendor's back tends to be her major method of transportation.

This tendency was especially pronounced among low- and middle- income families. The elite received rations even through the famine years of 1996-99, so the women of North Korea's top 5% usually continued with their old lifestyle. Nonetheless, some of them began to use their ability to get goods cheaply. Quite often, the wives of high-level cadres were and still are involved in resale of merchandise that is first purchased from their husbands' factories at cheap official prices. It is remarkable that in the case of North Korea such activities are carried out not so much by the cadres themselves, but by their wives. Cadres had to be careful, since it was not clear what was the official approach to the new situation of nascent capitalism. Thus it was assumed that women would be safer in such undertakings since they did not, and still do not, quite belong to the official social hierarchy.

But for the cadres' wives, these market operations were a way to move from being affluent to being rich. The lesser folks had to do something just to stay alive.

Perhaps, had the state given its formal approval to nascent capitalism (as did the still formally "communist" state of China), the men would be far more active. But Pyongyang officialdom still seems to be uncertain what to do with the crumbling system, and it is afraid to give to unconditional approval to capitalism. Thus men are left behind and capitalism is left to women.

This led to a change in the gender roles inside families. On paper, communism appeared very feminist, but real life in the communist states was an altogether different matter, and among the communist countries North Korea was remarkable for the strength of its patriarchal stereotypes. Men, especially in the more conservative northeastern part of the country, seldom did anything at home, with all household chores being exclusively the female domain. But in the new situation, when men did not have much to do while their wives struggled to keep the family fed and clothed, many men changed their attitude that housework was something beneath their dignity (at least this is what recent research among the defectors seem to suggest). As one female defector put it, "When men went to outside jobs and earned something, they used to be very boastful. But now they cannot do it and they become sort of useless, like a streetlight in the middle of the day. So a man now tries to help his wife in her work as best as he can" to keep the family going.

Recently, when it is increasingly clear that the "old times" are not going to return, some men are bold enough to risk breaking their ties with official employment. But they often go to market not as businessmen in their own right but rather as aides to their wives who have amassed great experience over the past decade. Being newcomers, males are relegated to subordinate positions - at least temporarily. Or alternatively, they are involved in more dangerous and stressful kinds of activity, such as smuggling goods across the badly protected border with China. As one woman defector said: "Men usually do smuggling. Men are better in big things, you know".

Economic difficulties and change in money-earning patterns as well as new lifestyle and related opportunities in some cases led to family breakdowns. In South Korea the economic crisis of 1998 resulted in a mushrooming divorce rate. In the North, the nearly simultaneous Great Famine had the same impact, even if in many cases the divorce was not officially recognized.

Of course, we are talking about a great disaster here, and a large part of the estimated 600,000-900,000 people who perished in those years were women. Of the survivors, not all women became winners, bold entrepreneurs or successful managers: some were dragged into prostitution, which has made a powerful comeback recently, and many more had to survive on whatever meager food was available. But still, it seems that years of crisis changed the social roles in North Korean families. For many women, the social disaster became the time when they showed their strength, will and intelligence not just to survive, but also to succeed.

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