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Massive Aid & Support Unlike to Affect Change in NK

Posted July. 11, 2003 21:40,   


Will North Korea change if it receives more support? Analyses of the erstwhile relations between North Korea and the USSR and Eastern Europe nations suggest not.

This conclusion is attracting considerable attention since it questions the very premise that the North will relinquish its nuclear arms in return for economic support and security guarantees.

The Christian Science Monitor reported the above on July 10th based on research commissioned by the Woodrow Wilson Center and conducted by scholars from around the world.

As the newspaper notes, the research team found that North Korea has been playing the same game with traditional enemies America, South Korea and Japan that it employed years ago to extract huge amounts of aid from the former Soviet Union and China. That is, North Korea is using other countries following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The daily presented many cases depicting how North Korea has extorted aid from other countries, particularly China and Russia, over the past several decades, while limiting the influence those two nations had over North Korea.

The Christian Science Monitor cited the following cases:

The Soviet Union built some 60 factories in North Korea, while also providing considerable amounts of weaponry, oil and food. Other nations including East Germany also built factories, trained workers and provided medical assistance.

At the same time, North Korea depended entirely on outside support, unable even to clothe its own people at recently as the 1980s.

The North Korea authorities routinely harassed Soviet or East German citizens stationed within its boundaries, but the Soviet Union countenanced this outrageous behavior while acquiescing to North Korea`s outright opposition against its foreign policy direction.

Rather, the Soviet Union conceded to North Korea to prevent N.K. from getting involved in a competition with China over communist hegemony while N.K. frustrated most efforts made by the Soviet Union and China to control and influence then-leader of N.K. Kim Il-sung.

The relationship between North Korea and the Soviet Union began to strain in 1955 when North Korea ordered that half of its crops should not be collected in the process of establishing an agricultural collective work system. Expectedly, people suffered from poverty and Kim Il-sung entreated the Soviet Union to get food support. The country came back to the impoverished state a few years later due to its superficial revolution efforts.

The Soviet Union told Pyongyang that it would cut off aid if the North were to launch an aggressive action against South Korea, though North Korea went ahead with the attempted assassination of South Korean President Park Jung-hee in 1968.

North Korea was compelled to enter direct talks with South Korea because of pressure from China after former U.S. President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, but its aggressive policy still persisted.

In 1994, China encouraged North Korea to sign the Geneva Agreement by promising to support the country, though North Korea’s ongoing nuclear program demonstrates the limits of Chinese influence.