When North Korea may collapse

Pyongyang's belated economic reforms make 'middle-run' scenarios more likely
March 4th, 2014

When it comes to predicting North Korea’s future, a recurring theme is their impending collapse. The collapsist school of scholars, who have repeatedly predicted North Korea’s disintegration since the 1990s, were brought into being by the collapse of the Soviet Union – obviously, no one was talking about such things before 1989-90. The composition of

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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

  • saveourmoney

    I’m curious if Dr. Lankov is of the opinion that the current behavior of the regime (less bombast, more interest in limited engagement) indicates they’re looking for more of a transition than an outright collapse?

    There are a great many serious North Korean scholars on this page with impeccable academic and practical credentials. Would they consider a panel discussion wherein they discuss the potential paths forward for the DPRK? Collapse, transition, stasis and how the rest of the world might manage or react to these potential outcomes would make for a fascinating podcast.