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The crisis in North Korea - seeds of hope

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dc.contributor.author Beal, Tim
dc.date.accessioned 2014-01-30T21:06:14Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-07-06T22:19:51Z
dc.date.available 2014-01-30T21:06:14Z
dc.date.available 2022-07-06T22:19:51Z
dc.date.copyright 1999
dc.date.issued 1999
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/18809
dc.description.abstract In recent years the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK (North Korea) has suffered calamitous food shortages. A recent consolidated appeal by UN agencies and NGOs (nongovernmental organisations) called for US$376 million to meet the humanitarian needs of close to 5.5 million vulnerable people in 1999. The DPRK government has laid the blame for this state of affairs on a series of natural disasters, especially flooding, which has afflicted North Korea over the last three years, and on the United States sanctions which have been in place since the Korean War (195053). Valid as these factors are, however, they are only part of the story. As this paper makes clear, the DPRK has seen much of its foreign trade dry up since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and this has led to devastating shortages of imports. The most serious shortfall, in oil imports, has had a serious impact on industry, transportation, power generation and the production of fertilisers. The paper points out that beyond this foreign trade problem lies a more fundamental issue. The DPRK has little arable land and a short growing season for agriculture. Its very successful development programmes of the 1950s1970s were based on a policy of sharply growing inputs of fertiliser, agricultural mechanisation and expansion of irrigation. The policy achieved rapid growth and selfsufficiency, but even without the present crisis it is unlikely that it would have been sustainable because of diminishing returns. This paper draws on recent studies by the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), UNICEF and the Red Cross (IFRC see Glossary). As the paper notes, the DPRK faces a multitude of problems but the crucial one is its relationship with the outside world. This is a complex issue and goes to the heart of the DPRK's history and to its sustaining ideology, Juche, usually translated as 'selfreliance'. The driving force behind the DPRK is nationalism. Its founding myth is the struggle, led by Kim Il Sung, to expel the Japanese and to establish an independent and powerful state, even if on only part of the national territory, and to repulse American attempts to destroy that independence. The paper argues that the search for selfreliance must now be reformulated. What worked in the past with powerful and committed allies such as the Soviet Union and China, both of them to some extent competing with aid and trade, is no longer effective, and the DPRK has to come to terms with the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). It has to earn foreign exchange on world markets. All this requires a lessening of tension in northeast Asia. That in turn demands growing mutual knowledge and understanding between the DPRK and the other states with which its future is interconnected. There are in fact a number of signs of such a trend emerging. The DPRK is in particular becoming much more confident and adept at dealing with foreign agencies. As the UN consolidated appeal noted, "[g]reat strides have been made building confidence with the [DPRK] Government since 1995", with increased access by foreign agencies to areas of North Korea formerly offlimits. It is this building up of mutual understanding, the disinterested provision of aid and expertise, and the acceptance of it with confidence that may plant the most fertile seeds of hope for the future. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.relation.ispartofseries Asian Studies Institute working paper en_NZ
dc.relation.ispartofseries 11 en_NZ
dc.subject Korea en_NZ
dc.subject sanctions en_NZ
dc.subject aid en_NZ
dc.title The crisis in North Korea - seeds of hope en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit School of Languages and Cultures en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Working or Occasional Paper en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcforV2 470202 Asian cultural studies en_NZ

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