Posted September. 27, 2010 16:16,
The North Korea Situation Index, which the Unification Ministry in Seoul has been developing since early this year, gauges stability, transition and crisis levels in the North.
The index is expected to spark strong protest from the North since it constitutes South Korea`s preparation of an analytical framework for predicting swift changes in the North`s situation, including signs of internal collapse in recognition of instability in Pyongyang.
Based on materials on the index that The Dong-A Ilbo acquired Sunday, the ministry will devise categorical and general indexes by developing detailed ones that show the trends of the North`s situation in four areas: politics and foreign relations, economy, military, and society and culture.
The ministry defined as barometers for its assessment stability of the communist regime, trends of transition, and crisis levels.
Of these elements, transition generally refers to a socialist country`s shift into a capitalist regime. As such, the ministry is apparently seeking to measure the penetration of market economics in the North to gauge the possibility of a transition there.
In a related move, the ministry`s North Korea Security Index development team acquired indexes to measure the transition of Eastern European nations from communism to capitalism in the early 1990s by visiting the U.S., Canada, China, Japan and Russia.
Analysts say the North Korea Security Index could also consider the situation after a transition. The index is being developed by a consortium of the Korea Institute for National Unification and Myongji University in Seoul.
The ministry secured 1.8 billion won (1.6 million U.S. dollars) in budget for the project this year, and requested 2.65 billion won (2.3 million dollars) for next year to the Strategy and Finance Ministry.
The Unification Ministry completed development of the "stability" category and will hold a briefing on the results in November.