On North Korea

In a new review article at JCA, Jihyun Kim’s “Understanding the Hermit Kingdom As It Is and As It Is Becoming: The Past, Present and Future of North Korea” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2015.1040820) examines several recent books and collections on the so-called hermit kingdom.

The books reviewed are Charles Armstrong, Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950−1992, Andrei Lankov, The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia and the collection edited by Kyung-ae Park and Scott Snyder, North Korea in Transition: Politics, Economy, and Society.

Kim’s abstract explains: “The idiosyncrasies that revolve around North Korea do pose challenges for understanding the country through the “conventional wisdom.” Nonetheless, as acknowledged by the scholarly works reviewed in this article, the regime in Pyongyang must be dealt with as it is and as it is becoming so as to better understand both the challenges and opportunities for the country. The difficult task for the United States (US) and its allies in East Asia, however, is to be pragmatic in terms of dealing with the regime in Pyongyang and to project strength in a way that promotes long-term regional and global peace as well as the betterment of people in the country.”

 

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