North Korea Has Begun To Change – With Almost Alarming Speed

September 7th, 2012
7

As some of you might know, I have recently published a piece at the ‘Washington Post’ where I outlined what seems to be going on in and around North Korea. However, stylistic requirements and various conventions precluded me from being quite as blunt as I would be in person.Yesterday, when participating at an

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About the Author

Andrei Lankov

Andrei Nikolaevich Lankov is a Russian scholar of Asia and a specialist in Korean studies. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Leningrad State University in 1986 and 1989, respectively; He also attended Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung University in 1985. Following his graduate studies, he taught Korean history and language at his alma mater, and in 1992 went to South Korea for work; he moved to Australia in 1996 to take up a post at the Australian National University, and moved back to Seoul to teach at Kookmin University in 2004. Dr. Lankov has a DPRK-themed Livejournal blog in Russian with occasional English posts, where he documents aspects of life in North (and South) Korea, together with his musings and links to his publications. He also writes columns for the English-language daily The Korea Times.

Join the discussion

  • http://twitter.com/FredBauder Fred Bauder

    Very insightful. Here’s an analogy that seems applicable:

    If you had an old car, here we lose the actual man, Kim Jong Un, who has never had an old car in his life or ever dealt with an overheated radiator or been scalded by the water spurting out and all getting lost, and it has an overheated radiator you would want to let it cool down before you took the radiator cap off. Following up, the stored up energy in the radiator, superheated water, is like the serious unresolved tensions in North Korean society: want to the point of famine, social repression to the point that a pornographic DVD is an efficient bribe, death camps where thousands have spent, and are spending, life at hard labor.

    If you open the border who knows how many thousands or millions would flood out. If you allow free internet and other media access a great flood of critical information, and crap, will flood in and impact a people innocent of elementary knowledge of the outside world.

    So what is the practical analogy to letting the radiator cool off? How could outside actors such as South Korea or the United States help?

    The end game of prosperous monarchy is preposterous but so is the British monarchy or the Chinese politburo. Mr. Toad in real life, “BEEP! BEEP!”

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  • CoJohnson

    very insightful, yes. But does anyone consider the notion that DPRK authorities monitor this kind of research as a guidebook for keeping their oppressive regime alive? Am I the only one concerned about this?

    • http://twitter.com/FredBauder Fred Bauder

      No doubt, but consider the nature of the stinking corpse and the damage done, both to North Koreans and others if they don’t. If we get out of this with less than a million dead we’ll be doing good.

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