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Tuesday, 21st May 2013

North Korea: Taking Account of the View from Pyonyang

Source: Oxford Research Group (UK)

From Context:

While tensions between North Korea and the United States peaked early in April, by the end of the month, there were indicators that relations were entering a longer-term period of difficulty. Following the withdrawal of many thousands of North Korean workers from the Kaesong joint economic zone, over a hundred South Korean managers stayed on to oversee the considerable investments of their companies. By the end of the month, they had been reluctantly withdrawn across the border to South Korea, making it likely that the zone would remain inoperative for many months in spite of the inevitable impact this will have on the North Korean economy. This - together with the regime’s decision to prosecute Korean-American Kenneth Bae on charges that carry the death penalty, and the announcement of plans for new military exercises on the west coast of North Korea - suggests that the regime is intent on maintaining a forceful image, with little prospect of progress on negotiations over the status of its nuclear programme....

There is currently something of a consensus among external analysts that regime behaviour may have much to do with the internal necessity of promoting the new leader and may also concern relations with China. There is also a powerful argument that an accurate representation of the motives for regime behaviour must take into account an assessment of the “view from Pyongyang” - an ability to recognise aspects of North Korea’s world-view from its own perspective, however odd that might appear. In this regard, an important factor, which is rarely included in the analysis, relates to the US security posture immediately after the 9/11 atrocities and how North Korea came to figure in that posture.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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