Issue 53  
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Magazine News
29.08.2017 16:17

Separating Fact from Fiction about North Korea

Despite the long-held conviction, North Korea is far from being a poor, communist state, which would definitely starve without Chinese support. On account of mainstream media’s exclusive focus on North Korea’s nuclear programs, many facts about this country remain in the shadows. 

In the case of North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea/ DPRK), the first thing that often comes to mind is a communist state bound by sanctions, whose people would surely starve in the absence of Chinese generosity. The country has been delivering regional and even global nuclear threats, displaying an unbridled ambition disproportionate to its capacity. It resembles a loose cannon under the leadership of young and imprudent Kim Jong-un… This ordinary picture frequently depicted by the media conveys only partial truths. In order to understand DPRK, one has to take into consideration private endeavours encouraged by the state, legal loopholes neutralising the sanctions, relations with neighbouring Russia as well as potential conventional and cyber threats it also poses. 

On the Verge of Collapse (!)

Looking from an alternative perspective, allegations that Kim Jong-un, ruling the country since 2011, has been blindfoldedly hurtling the country towards a bottleneck do not make sense. The “byungjin” policy adopted in April 2013, calls for the simultaneous development of North Korea’s economy and its nuclear weapons, thus replacing the so-called military-first doctrine of his father, Kim Jong-il. Following in the steps of Jong-un’s grandfather, namely the country’s founder Kim Il-sung (permanent leader), Jong-il calls for North Koreans to sacrifice for the sake of the country while the young grandson promises more humane living standards for the people. 

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