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  • Author: Bradley O. Babson
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since his first-annual New Year’s speech in 2012 setting North Korea’s policy priorities, Kim Jong Un has emphasized his commitment to economic development, notably promising his people that they will never have to tighten their belts again. The Byunjin policy of equally prioritizing economic development and security through nuclear and missile programs reflects Kim’s desire to assure regime stability by delivering broad-based economic development while establishing a security environment that deters external threats and potential domestic unrest. While United States policy has used sanctions and other pressures to stymie Kim’s ambitions, the Kim regime has nonetheless modestly furthered economic development and significantly advanced security through its nuclear and missile testing programs.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kwon Young-in, Na Hee Seung, Kim Kyoung-Sik
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: It has been reported that passenger transport and logistics between regions in North Korea are very difficult due to deterioration and imperfect maintenance of transport infrastructure and limited investment in the facilities for several decades. If South Korea and North Korea are unified, massive investment in the development of transport infrastructure is inevitable. This investment would mainly be supported by South Korea as well as through cooperation with Multilateral Development Banks such as the World Bank Group (WBG), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In addition, special and efficient plans for transporting people and goods need to be established in case of reunification considering the current transport environment in North Korea. Thus, well-prepared strategies should be in place for short, mid, and long-term perspectives.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Banks, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Bruce E. Bechtol
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: South Korea is in a unique position. It is an economic powerhouse and a thriving democracy that faces the most ­ominous and imminent threat on its borders of any democracy in the world. Moreover, this is a threat that continues to evolve, with increasing missile, cyber, special operations, and nuclear capabilities and a new leader who shows no signs that he will be any less ruthless or belligerent than his father. To meet this threat, Seoul has undertaken a number of efforts to better deter and defend against North Korean capabilities and provocations, including increasing the defense budget, upping training with US forces, creating new command elements, and establishing plans for preemptive strikes against imminent North Korean missile launches. However, in part because of administration changes in Seoul, the South Korean effort has been uneven. And decisions remain to be made in the areas of missile defense, tactical fighter aircraft, and command-and-control arrangements that will be significant for not only South Korea but all states that have an interest in Northeast Asia's peace and stability.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Development, Emerging Markets, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Joel Wit, Robert Carlin, Charles Kartman
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University
  • Abstract: When the South Korean fast ferry Hankyoreh sailed out of North Korean waters into the cold wind and waves of the East Sea on the morning of 8 January 2006, it carried a sad and somber group of South Korean workers, ROK officials, and personnel from the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). These were all that remained of a decade long multinational effort transforming what in 1994 had been only a paper notion into a modern construction complex of steel and concrete. KEDO's profile on the North Korean landscape was unmistakable, its impact on Pyongyang profound. Yet, real knowledge and understanding about the organization in public and official circles in South Korea, Japan, and the United States was terribly thin at the beginning, and remains so to this day.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: As the leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (hereafter DPRK, or North Korea) looks to the future, economic development figures centrally in its officially proclaimed agenda. This year, as it has done every year over the past decade, the government's joint New Year editorial stressed the imperative of economic construction, broadly outlining the sorts of improvements that are to be achieved over the remainder of the current calendar year, and intoned that "The present grand onward march for the improvement of the people's standard of living demands that a full-scale offensive be launched in the overall economic front." But economic growth and development has just taken on a whole new importance in North Korean policy, one that extends beyond rhetoric: this past January, for the first time in over two decades, Pyongyang has formally unveiled a new multi-year economic plan: a 10-year "strategy plan for economic development" under a newly formed State General Bureau for Economic Development. The new economic plan is intended not only to meet the DPRK's longstanding objective of becoming a "powerful and prosperous country" [Kangsong Taeguk] by 2012 (the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung), but also to promote North Korea to the ranks of the "advanced countries in 2020."
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Israel, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The past quarter in inter-Korean relations might be called the morning after the night before. Tensions over the sunken ROK corvette Cheonan by no means disappeared; the less so since North Korea still denied responsibility, while the South smarted at its failure to convince key powers – China and Russia above all – of Pyongyang‟s culpability. The Cheonan incident remains a crime and an obstacle. Yet hopeful signs are emerging that both sides realize they will have to get past this eventually and that they might as well start now. Among various small initiatives, including flood aid, the quarter ended on a hopeful note with an agreement to hold a fresh round of reunions of separated families in late October.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Korea, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Security, Development, War
  • Political Geography: China, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. decision to rescind the designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism tested the bilateral relationship this quarter as the Bush administration was perceived in Japan as having softened its commitment to the abductee issue in favor of a breakthrough on denuclearization in the Six-Party Talks, which ultimately proved elusive. The Aso government managed to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean for one year, though bilateral discussions on defense issues continued to center on whether Japan could move beyond a symbolic commitment to coalition operations in Afghanistan. Japanese domestic politics remained tumultuous as the opposition led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) thwarted the Aso legislative agenda to increase pressure for a snap election. Prime Minister Aso's approval rating plummeted over the course of the quarter due mostly to frustration with the response to the financial crisis, prompting him to postpone the widely anticipated Lower House election in an attempt to shore up support for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Public opinion polls revealed increased interest in offering the DPJ a chance at the helm with most observers predicting an election sometime next spring. Other polls at the end of the quarter showed the Japanese public less sanguine about the U.S.-Japan alliance, a sobering development as President-elect Obama prepared to take office.
  • Topic: Development, Terrorism, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Looking back, it was a hostage to fortune to title our last quarterly review: “Things can only get better?” Even with that equivocating final question mark, this was too optimistic a take on relations between the two Koreas – which, as it turned out, not only failed to improve but deteriorated further in the first months of 2009. Nor was that an isolated trend. This was a quarter when a single event – or more exactly, the expectation of an event – dominated the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia more widely. Suspected since January, announced in February and awaited throughout March, despite all efforts to dissuade it North Korea's long-anticipated Taepodong launched on April 5. This too evoked a broader context, and a seeming shift in Pyongyang. Even by the DPRK's unfathomable logic, firing a big rocket – satellite or no – seemed a rude and perverse way to greet a new U.S. president avowedly committed to engagement with Washington's foes. Yet, no fewer than four separate senior private U.S. delegations, visiting Pyongyang in unusually swift succession during the past quarter, heard the same uncompromising message. Even veteran visitors who fancied they had good contacts found the usual access denied and their hosts tough-minded: apparently just not interested in an opportunity for a fresh start offered by a radically different incumbent of the White House.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The state is often conceptualized as playing an enabling role in a country's economic development—providing public goods, such as the legal protection of property rights, while the political economy of reform is conceived in terms of bargaining over policy among elites or special interest groups. We document a case that turns this perspective on its head: efficiency-enhancing institutional and behavioral changes arising not out of a conscious, top-down program of reform, but rather as unintended (and in some respects, unwanted) by-products of state failure. Responses from a survey of North Korean refugees demonstrate that the North Korean economy marketized in response to state failure with the onset of famine in the 1990s, and subsequent reforms and retrenchments appear to have had remarkably little impact on some significant share of the population. There is strong evidence of powerful social changes, including increasing inequality, corruption, and changed attitudes about the most effective pathways to higher social status and income. These assessments appear to be remarkably uniform across demographic groups. While the survey sample marginally overweights demographic groups with less favorable assessments of the regime, even counterfactually recalibrating the sample to match the underlying resident population suggests widespread dissatisfaction with the North Korean regime.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, North Korea
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Chinese relations with Southeast Asia were overshadowed for most of the quarter by Chinese leadership preoccupations with the 2008 Olympic Games and various crises involving toxic Chinese milk supplies, turmoil in U.S. and international financial markets, leadership uncertainty in North Korea, and the Russia-Georgia war. Although official Chinese media highlighted President Hu Jintao's meetings with Southeast Asian and other world leaders at the Beijing Olympics, he and other top leaders did not travel to Southeast Asia except for the foreign minister's attendance at the ASEAN meetings in Singapore in July. New troubles emerged with Vietnam, notably over oil exploration in the South China Sea. The recent pattern of Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean leaders meeting independent of ASEAN, despite their continued avowals of ASEAN's “leadership” in East Asian regional matters, paused when Japanese officials announced the postponement of a planned summit among the three northeast Asian powers in September on account of the resignation of Japan's prime minister.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Beijing, North Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland, Yoonok Chang
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Results from a survey of more than 1,300 North Korean refugees in China provide insight into changing economic conditions in North Korea. There is modest evidence of slightly more positive assessments among those who exited the country following the initiation of reforms in 2002. Education breeds skepticism; higher levels of education were associated with more negative perceptions of economic conditions and reform efforts. Other demographic markers such as gender or provincial origin are not robustly correlated with attitudes. Instead, personal experiences appear to be central: A significant number of the respondents were unaware of the humanitarian aid program and the ones who knew of it almost universally did not believe that they were beneficiaries. This group's evaluation of the regime, its intentions, and accomplishments is overwhelmingly negative—even more so than those of respondents who report having had experienced incarceration in political detention facilities—and attests to the powerful role that the famine experience continues to play in the political economy of the country.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Nermeen Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Marcus Noland is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. His work encompasses a wide range of topics including the political economy of US trade policy and the Asian financial crisis. Mr Noland is unique among American economists in having devoted serious scholarly effort to the problems of North Korea and the prospects for Korean unification. He won the 2000–01 Ohira Masayoshi Award for his book Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Asia, North Korea, Korea
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: RICHARD HOLBROOKE: My name is Richard Holbrooke. I'm the Chairman of Asia Society and we welcome you to a very special, indeed we hope historic, evening in the fifty year history of the Asia Society. But before I make any other remarks I want to welcome just a handful of the many very distinguished guests in the room. We have Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Chris Hill here, who many of you may have seen on television today and is on his way back to Beijing to continue the six party talks with the North Koreans. And we welcome him. We have the Consul General from New York of the People's Republic of China here in New York, Ambassador Liu. The acting ambassador in Washington from China, Ambassador Jian and Mrs. Jian and the Counselor of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations and many, many other distinguished people.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, China, New York, Washington, Beijing, East Asia, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Korean peninsula has entered a period of considerable change and uncertainty. This paper attempts to sketch out how internal and external forces may shape outcomes in North Korea over the next several years. The range of plausible outcomes is huge, and the paper identifies four possible end states: successful reform and engagement, “muddling through,” elite conflict that could affect the nature of the state, if not the regime, and finally, mass mobilization that could threaten the regime itself. This analysis proceeds under a number of assumptions.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Israel, East Asia, North Korea