Neo-cons Rule in Pyongyang (updated)

8 12 2008


By Leonid Petrov

These days North Korea is heading for a major retreat, back to Military Communism. Only those elements of market economy which are necessary to keep the country afloat are being preserved. The economic policy of partial liberalisation, which started in July 2002 waned in mid-2005, and is now a history. The old patterns of central economic planning, public distribution system, and strictly controlled market activity are back in place. This might be surprising to those who expected from North Korea to open up and become a transitional economy, but its current economic policy attests to the contrary.

In late 2007, active anti-market actions were launched in the DPRK when its top leader’s ill health became apparent. This was the time when Kim Jong-il’s brother in law, Chang Sun-taek, was promoted to the newly created post of First Vice-Director of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party, with oversight responsibility for the police, judiciary, and other areas of internal security. He visited the border area with China to “clean up” smuggling and speculation, and issued a special instruction tightening the regulations relevant to free markets elsewhere in the country. These and other measures were consistent with the opinion that a conservative group in the North Korean leadership was victorious.

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비핵화인가 협상중단인가?

14 03 2008

LMB_force1레오니드 페트로프 박사
(Leonid Petrov PhD)

새롭게 취임한 한국의 이명박 대통령은 남북관계에 대해 “이념의 잣대가 아니라 실용의 잣대’로 풀어나가겠다고 밝혔다. ‘실용적인 남북관계’는 그가 대통령 후보로 선거활동을 펼칠 때부터 고수해온 대북정책이다. 많은 이들은 이 대통령이 청와대에 입성하기도 전부터 “이제 남북관계는 잠재적으로 악화될 것이다” 또는 “남북 관계가 완전 동결되진 않더라도 일정수위로 차가워 질 것”이라는 쪽에 힘을 실은 견해들을 밝혀왔다. 몇몇 정치 그룹들은 이 대통령의 보수적인 자세와 방해가 되는 수사법에 주목해왔으며 몇몇 그룹들은 남북문제에 대한 참신한 접근법을 반겨왔다. 남북문제와 관련한 여러 말 싸움은 무조건적인 협상 및 지원을 지지하는 쪽과 실용적인 보수주의를 외치는 쪽으로 좁혀진다. 양쪽의 논쟁은 쉽게 종결될 것 같지는 않다. 북한 관련 문제에 대해서는 아직도 확실한 해법이 없기 때문이다…

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President Lee Myung-bak’s North Korea Policy: Denuclearization or Disengagement?

12 03 2008

President LeeMyungbakBy Leonid Petrov

Just days after his inauguration as the President of Republic of Korea, Lee Myung-bak faces an important decision. The so-called “pragmatic” approach to North Korea, which was formulated and promulgated during his election campaign, is now going to be implemented. What will be the short- and long-term consequences of President Lee’s North Korea policy?..

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