AUTHORKihl, Young Whan / Kim, Hong Nack, Eds.
TITLENorth Korea: The Politics of Regime Survival
CITYArmonk, NY

This book is a collection of essays discussing the survival of the Kim regime in North Korea (DPRK), despite what many saw to be sure economic and political signs of imminent collapse. One of the editors, Young Whan Kihl, describes the political, economic, and military situation under Kim Jong-il, with particular emphasis on the concept of juche, or self-reliance, the ideological principle underpinning actions by the Kim regime. Other contributors describe the emergence of the Second Republic under Kim Jong-il, the military-first politics that have recently absorbed a large percentage of North Korea’s resources, nuclear brinkmanship, and economic shortfalls and reform policies. In addition, essayists discuss foreign policy relations between North Korea and the United States, Russia, Japan, China, and South Korea. In the last section of the book, Kihl details approaches to defusing the nuclear crisis as of 2006, and Nicholas Eberstadt explores why North Korea, despite all odds, has not collapsed. The book provides a valuable study of an isolated nation in a very open world, utilizing several disciplines to explore comprehensively the hindrances to North Korea’s progress and to discuss what is needed to enact economic and political reform.

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