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  • Author: Nicholas D. Anderson, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Is revolution similar to the Arab Spring possible in North Korea? The answer from most scholars and intelligence analysts has been “no”—that the Pyongyang regime's stability in the aftermath of the events in the Middle East and North Africa is an “old question” that was answered in the 1990s when the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea) faced the most critical test of its life, and survived. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the drastic cuts in patron aid from China, and the onset of famine that killed hundreds of thousands all constituted the ultimate test of DPRK stability, and the regime staggered on through it all. Thus, the assumption is that the Arab Spring has little relevance to the DPRK. The scholarly literature tends to support this assessment. Scholars like Georgetown University's Daniel Byman have argued that Kim Jong-il has effectively “coup-proofed” himself through an elaborate system of patronage, bribery, and draconian rule.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Negotiating with North Korea is all about contradictions. What can be important one day can become unimportant the next. A position they hold stubbornly for weeks and months can suddenly disappear. But these contradictions tell us a lot about core goals that may lie beneath Pyongyang's rhetoric and the provocative actions which culminated in a second nuclear test on May 25, 2009. Understanding these core goals, moreover, offers insights into how spectacularly unsuccessful North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has been as he prepares to step down. What do the North Koreans ultimately want with their recent spate of provocative behavior? What is often stated through the mouths of their foreign ministry officials is only a part of the Pyongyang leadership's broader goals. The judgments that follow are also informed by the experiences and ‘‘gut instincts’’ of those who have negotiated with the regime over the past sixteen years.
  • Topic: International Relations, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, North Korea