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.

391개의 게시물을 찾았습니다.

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

Perils in the Workers' Paradise

Perils in the Workers' Paradise

By Bruce Klingner, Asia Times


All is not well in the Workers' Paradise. This has been said many times before about North Korea, and the regime has endured, but this time the problems may be getting dramatically worse. Accounts say European policymakers are preparing for abrupt change in the country. Japanese intelligence sees growing signs of social disorder and warns of feud or confrontation arising from a succession struggle. Economic reforms exacerbate divisions and nasty posters and leaflets are increasingly appearing.


North Korea, however, has weathered political cataclysms before, and its neighbors want stability, not chaos on the Korean Peninsula. To this end there are reports, difficult to confirm, that Chinese troops have moved to the border to prevent a destabilizing exodus of refugees from North Korea into China.


Political soothsayers are debating whether 2005 will finally mark the turning point for the North Korean regime as it is faces a seemingly perfect storm of growing political instability and concerted US efforts to increase pressure on the government.
South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-Young predicted that during the coming "crossroads" year, "we can either find a breakthrough in resolving the matter or we can face a crisis situation". A confluence of reports suggesting that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's grip on power is weakening and, therefore, he may be more vulnerable to outside pressure have raised the fondest hopes and, concurrently, the worst nightmares of policymakers, but these are more likely projections of wishing thinking.

 
To paraphrase Mark Twain, past reports of Kim's death (or political demise) have often been greatly exaggerated. Longtime Korea watchers will remember a decade of cyclical predictions of impending North Korean implosion due to similar reports of senior-level purges, acts of disrespect to the leadership, and attempted assassinations and coups.
As for efforts to ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang, Washington will face significant obstacles from regional actors who are wary of raising tension on the peninsula as long as diplomatic efforts appear to provide a potential resolution. The US would then face the decision of whether to pursue unilateral regime-change action, but it is likely be less willing to do so in light of its current difficulties in Iraq.

 
Indications of instability, this time for real? Recent breathless reports on the removal of some of Kim Jong-il's official portraits from alongside his father's, North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, were initially interpreted as harbingers of a loss of power to rivals, or even manifestations of a successful assassination. Subsequent commentaries indicated that the portrait removals were merely part of a campaign initiated by Kim in 2003 to reduce the foreign perception of his excessive personality cult. Kim's images were only removed from venues for meetings with foreign delegations, but not from their ubiquitous positions elsewhere in the country.


Suggestions of an ongoing dynastic power struggle among Kim's potential heirs were prevalent in December. While traveling in Austria, Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-il's eldest son and potential heir, was rumored to be the target of an assassination plot by supporters of Kim's other sons, although local authorities denied this. Kim Jong-nam has been considered a long shot to succeed his father, since he was deported from Japan in 2001 for attempting to enter the country illegally on a false Dominican Republic passport. Kim Jong-il is rumored to have been so angered by the embarrassing fallout from the incident that he banished Jong-nam from North Korea, and Kim fils has been living in Beijing.


Another rumored attack occurred in September on Kim Kyong-hee, Kim Jong-il's sister and the wife of Chang Song-taek, who himself was purged earlier in 2004 along with 80 other officials. South Korean intelligence officials testified that Chang was removed and possibly placed under house arrest for attempting to create an alternative faction within the military. Chang's sin, however, may have been abusing his power through excessive money-making endeavors, as in July 1997 when he was investigated, falling from Kim Jong-il's favor only to be subsequently rehabilitated. Chang had been similarly demoted in the late 1970s to become secretary of a steel works in Nampo, but later returned to power.


The extent of the perceived instability in the country has been exemplified by media accounts that European policymakers have been advised to prepare contingency plans for "sudden change" in North Korea. the Japanese Public Security Intelligence Agency has assessed growing signs of "social disorder" in North Korea, due to increasing access by the citizens to outside information, as well as exacerbated class divisions brought on by economic reforms. The Japanese agency also warned of a potential "feud or confrontation" arising from a succession struggle.
Rounding out the rumors were media stories of posters and leaflets critical of the regime, 130 North Korean generals having defected to China, and reports of Chinese troops moving to the border in preparation for a potential refugee exodus triggered by a regime collapse, all of which also have been previously reported in recent years.

 
Denials from both Koreas The two Koreas reacted to the rumors by appearing to be competing with each other in more strongly denying the possibility of instability in the North. Pyongyang's official media apparently felt it necessary to respond by asserting that the regime was "politically stable and is as firm as a rock" and denouncing the rumors as part of an "undisguised [US] psychological operation aimed at a regime change".


Perhaps exploiting the rumors for diplomatic leverage, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) warned that the country was "compelled to seriously reconsider its participation in the talks with the US", as a way of attempting to blame Washington for the stalled six-way talks aimed at defusing Pyongyang's nuclear program.


South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun repeatedly emphasized that "there's almost no possibility of North Korea collapsing [because] China supports North Korea and because we [South Korea] don't want it to collapse". He blamed the United States and other Western nations for predicting collapse as a major reason for Pyongyang feeling a "greater sense of insecurity and crisis" - and thus prolonging the nuclear impasse.


Unification Minister Chung Dong-young declared early this month that South Korea had "no hostile intention" toward the North and promised that Seoul wouldn't allow future mass defections of North Korean refugees, such as the 468 airlifted from Southeast Asia in July, since Pyongyang might feel "threatened" by another such incident.


Outside players have great impact on Korea A critical factor affecting events in North Korea will be the future direction taken by the administration of US President George W Bush and the extent to which it pushes for change in Pyongyang's behavior. US Ambassador to Seoul Christopher Hill told reporters that the US remains "100% behind the goal [of] a negotiated, diplomatic solution" to the North Korean nuclear issue; at the same time he warned that, "without putting a deadline on it, I think it's fair to say that time is not limitless". The ambassador explained that the US sought "regime transformation" in North Korea, defined as "a sense of progression in the North's behavior", such as the dismantling of its nuclear-weapons programs.

 
South Korea, however, has made clear its disapproval of even this moderated US concept of regime transformation. Unification Minister Chung highlighted the policy divergence between the two allies, asserting that "external pressures have no effect on North Korea's regime". Chung articulated Seoul's advocacy of a "spontaneous" transformation at a pace to be determined by Pyongyang and asserted that Seoul has "no leverage" over the North.


Another factor impacting the peninsular situation will be the growing exasperation of Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the United Nations Security Council's timidity in addressing North Korea's continuing non-compliance with Non-Proliferation Treaty inspection requirements. He commented early this month that the crisis caused by Pyongyang's refusal to abandon its nuclear-weapons ambitions is "getting worse". ElBaradei emphasized, "This has been a pending issue for 12 years ... and we need to address the whole question and bring it to a resolution. I would certainly hope that by the end of the year we should be there."

 
Iran's actions with regards to its nuclear-weapons program will influence global perceptions of the viability of negotiations to constrain the behavior of rogue nations. Analysts debate whether the Libyan model, in which Tripoli voluntarily gave up its nascent nuclear program, reflects the successful application of diplomacy or of escalating pressure and threat of force.
Pyongyang has displayed remarkable abilities to withstand international pressure over the years and one could argue that it was the United States that recently blinked first, having diluted its previous insistence on "no concessions" and "complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement" by proposing a three-month "preparatory period" for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programs, along with proffered incentives.

 
Despite widespread perceptions that the US will lose patience and ratchet up tension on North Korea, with potentially dire consequences, it is possible that the political landscape at the end of 2005 will be remarkably similar to the current state of affairs, with analysts pondering how North Korea miraculously muddled through yet another year in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Bruce Klingner is director of analysis for Intellibridge Corp in Washington, DC. His areas of expertise are strategic national security, political and military affairs in China, Northeast Asia, Korea and Japan.

진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

"북한": 재미있는 발달

Some days ago (Dec. 14) one very interesting article about the present situation in the "D"PRK (朝蘚人民民主主義共和國 [?])/"북한" was published in the Hong Kong based Asia Times.


Just read this:
Welcome to capitalism, North Korean comrades
By Andrei Lankov
SEOUL - A creeping revolution, both social and economic, is under way in North Korea and it seems there's no turning back. For decades, the country served as the closest possible approximation of an ideal Stalinist state. But the changes in its economy that have taken place after 1990 have transformed the country completely and, perhaps, irreversibly.
For decades, Pyongyang propaganda presented North Korea as an embodiment of economic self-sufficiency, completely independent from any other country. This image sold well, especially in the more credulous part of the Third World and among the ever-credulous leftist academics. The secret of its supposed self-sufficiency was simple: the country received large amounts of direct and indirect aid from the Soviet Union and China, but never admitted this in public. Though frequently annoyed by such "ingratitude", neither Moscow nor Beijing made much noise since both communist giants wanted to maintain, at least superficially, friendly relations with their small, capricious ally.
But collapse of the Soviet Union made clear that claims of self-sufficiency were unfounded. From 1991, the North Korean economy went into free fall. Throughout 1991-99, the gross national product (GNP) of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) nearly halved. The situation became unbearable in 1996, when the country was struck by a famine that took, by the best available estimates, about 600,000 lives. The famine could have been prevented by a Chinese-style agricultural reform, but this option was politically impossible: such a reform would undermine the government's ability to control the populace.
The control on daily lives was lost anyway. What we have seen in North Korea over the past 10 years can be best described as collapse of what used to be rigid Stalinism from below. In the Soviet Union of the late 1950s and in China of the late 1970s, Stalinism-Maoism was dismantled from above, through a chain of deliberate reforms planned and implemented by the government. In North Korea the same thing happened, but the system disintegrated from below, despite weak and ineffectual attempts to keep it intact. In the 1960s, North Korea was unique in being the only nation in the world where markets were outlawed. The retail trade in a strict sense almost ceased to exist since virtually everything, from socks to apples, was distributed through an elaborate public distribution system with money payments being rather symbolic. The rations depended on a person's position in the intricate social hierarchy, which eventually became semi-hereditary. In Kim Il-sung's North Korea, there was almost nothing that could be sold on market since production outside the state economy was almost non-existent.
Unlike governments of other communist countries, until the late 1980s the North Korean government did not even allow its farmers to cultivate kitchen gardens - the individual plot was limited to merely 20-30 square meters, hardly enough to grow enough chili pepper. This was done on purpose. In many other communist countries, farmers had bigger plots and made their living from them, ignoring their work obligations to the state-run cooperative farms. Without their own plots, farmers would work more for the state - or so believed the North Korean government. In the utopia constructed by Kim Il-sung, every single man or woman was supposed to work for the state, and was rewarded for his and her efforts with officially approved rations and salaries.
In 1969, Kim himself admitted that the anti-market policy had been a failure. Thus private markets were gradually legalized, but remained small and strictly controlled. However, as late as late 1980s, markets were still considered inappropriate for a "socialist paradise". They were something to be ashamed of, so they were pushed to the margins of the city. Until the early 1990s, most markets were in places more or less hidden from view, inside residential blocks and behind high concrete walls. In Pyongyang, the main city market was set up under a huge viaduct at the easternmost part of the North Korean capital, as far from the city center as possible.
However, the economic disaster of 1991-95, and especially the subsequent famine, changed the situation. Markets began to spread across the country with amazing speed. From 1995-97, nearly all plants and factories ceased to operate. The rations were not issued anymore: in most areas people still received ration coupons but these could not be exchanged for food or other rationed goods. Only in Pyongyang and some other politically important areas did food continue to be distributed. But even there, the norms were dramatically watered down. In such a situation, the ability and willingness to engage in some private business became the major guarantee of physical survival.
The government also relaxed the restrictions on domestic travel. Since around 1960, every North Korean who ventured outside his native county was required to have a special "travel permit" (an exception was made for one-day travel to neighboring counties). However, in the mid-1990s, the authorities began to turn a blind eye to unauthorized travel. It is not clear whether it was a deliberate relaxation or just inability to enforce regulations when the state bureaucracy was demoralized. After all, a bribe of some US$5 would buy such a permit from a police officer.
The tidal wave of small trade flooded the country, which once came very close to creating a non-money-based economy. People left their native places in huge numbers. Many sought places where food was more available while others enthusiastically took up the barter trade, including smuggling of goods to and from China. Women were especially prominent in the new small businesses. Many North Korean women were housewives or held less-demanding jobs than men. Their husbands continued to go to their factories, which had come to a standstill. The males received rationing coupons that were hardly worth the paper on which they were printed. But North Korean men still saw the situation as temporary and were afraid to lose the trappings of a proper state-sponsored job that for decades had been a condition for survival in their society. While men were waiting for resumption of "normal life", whiling away their time in idle plants, the women embarked on frenetic business activity. Soon some of these women began to make sums that far exceeded their husbands' wages.
The booming markets are not the only place for retail trade. A new service industry has risen from the ashes: private canteens, food stalls and inns operate near the markets. Even prostitution, completely eradicated around 1950, made a powerful comeback as desperate women were eager to sell sexual services to the newly rich merchants. Since no banking institution would serve private commercial operations, illegal money lenders appeared. In the late 1990s they would charge their borrowers monthly interests of 30-40%. This reflected very high risks: these lenders had virtually no protection against the state, criminals and, above all, bad debtors.
In North Korea, which for decades was so different, this meant a revolution. The new situation undermined the government's ability to control the populace. People involved in the new market activities are independent from (or inured to) subtle government pressures that had ensured compliance for decades. One cannot promote or demote a vendor, transfer him or her to a better or worse job, nor determine his or her type of residence (though admittedly, most people still live in the houses they received when the old system was still operating).
The growth of new markets also undermined some pillars of old North Korean hierarchy. Of course, many people who became affluent in the new system came from the old hierarchy - as was the case in most post-communist countries. Officials or managers of state-run enterprises found manifold ways to make an extra won. These managers often sold their factories' products on the market. But many hitherto discriminated-against groups managed to rise to prominence during this decade. The access to foreign currency was very important, and in North Korea there were three major groups who had access to some investment capital: the Japanese-Koreans, Chinese-Koreans and Korean-Chinese.
The Japanese-Koreans moved into the country in the 1960s (there were some 95,000 of them - with family members, children and grandchildren, their current number can be estimated at 200,000-250,000). These people have relatives in Japan who are willing to send them money. Traditionally, the authorities looked at Japanese-Koreans with suspicion. At the same time, since money transfers from Japan have been a major source of hard currency for Pyongyang, their activities were often tolerated. This particular group even enjoyed some special rights, being privileged and discriminated against at the same time. When the old system of state control and distribution collapsed, Japanese-Koreans began to invest their money into a multitude of trade adventures. It did not hurt that many of them still had the first-hand experience of living in a capitalist society.
Another group were people with relatives in China. The economic growth of China meant that the relatives could also help their poor relatives in North Korea. In most cases, this was not in the form of money transfers, but assistance in business and trade. The local ethnic Chinese were in an even better position to exploit the new opportunities. For decades, they have constituted the only group of the country's inhabitants who could travel overseas as private citizens more or less at their will. Even in earlier times, the ethnic Chinese used this unique position to earn extra money by small-scale and part-time smuggling. In the 1990s, they switched to large operations. There is an irony in the sudden economic advance of these groups. For decades, their overseas connections have made them suspect and led to systematic discrimination against them. In the 1990s, however, the same connections became the source of their prosperity.
Until recently, the government did not try to lead, but simply followed the events. The much-trumpeted reforms of 2002 by and large were hardly anything more than the admission of the situation that had been existing for a few years by then. The official abolition (or near-abolition) of the public distribution system did not count for much, since this system ceased to operate outside Pyongyang around 1995.
But the North Korean economy has indeed come a long way from its Stalinist ways. Now the government has neither money nor support nor the political will to revive the Stalinist-style central economy. There is no way back, only forward. Stalinism is dead. Welcome to capitalism, comrades!

Dr Andrei Lankov is a lecturer in the faculty of Asian Studies, China and Korea Center, the 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 the Kookmin University, Seoul.
진보블로그 공감 버튼트위터로 리트윗하기페이스북에 공유하기딜리셔스에 북마크

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