Political Situation in North Korea

Topics: North Korea, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il Pages: 26 (8714 words) Published: December 18, 2013
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Political situation in
North Korea

Initially the state of North Korea was created as a result of the Cold War conflict between communism and capitalism.1 In August 1945, two young aides at the State Department divided the Korean peninsula in half along the 38th parallel. The Russians occupied the area north of the line and the United States occupied the area to its south. 2 It was, and in one way remains, a classic Cold War state, driven by the demands of the long-standing conflict with the Republic of Korea and the United States and its allies. It also emerged in the heyday of Stalinism, which as is widely known influenced North Korea's decision to give priority to heavy industry in its economic program. Nevertheless North Korea was a country forged in warfare: by a civil struggle fought at the beginning of the regime and by a vicious fratricidal war fought while the system was still in infancy. All these influences combined to produce a hardened leadership that knew how to hold onto power. But North Korea also evolved as a rare synthesis between foreign models and native influences; the political system was deeply rooted in native soil, drawing on Korea's of unitary existence on a small peninsula surrounded by greater powers.3

Whether in response to United States initiatives or because most Koreans despised the trusteeship agreement that had been negotiated at the end of 1945, separate institutions began to emerge in North Korea in early 1946. In February 1946, an Interim People's Committee led by Kim Il Sung became the first central government. In August 1946, a powerful political party, the North Korean Workers' Party, dominated politics as a result of a merger with the Korean Communist Party; in the fall the rudiments of a northern army appeared. Central agencies nationalized major industries that previously had been mostly owned by the Japanese and began a two-year economic program based on the Soviet model of central planning and priority for heavy industry.

On Saturday, 24 June 1950, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s forces invaded the Republic of Korea. The United States, acting with a mandate from the UN, took the lead in defending the ROK. The Chinese entered into the fighting, and the war's inconclusive end led to a return to the status quo at the 38th parallel. An armistice, signed in July 1953, was followed 2 months later by the signing of a mutual defense treaty between the United States and the ROK.4

After spectacular failing in the Korean War to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea in the southern portion by force, North Korea, under its founder President Kim Il-sung, implemented a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against foreign outside influence. In general the DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, as well as military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. Kim Il-sung's son, Kim Jong-il, was officially nominated as his father's successor in 1980, taking into consideration a growing political and managerial role until the elder Kim's death in 1994. Kim Jong-un was unveiled as his father's successor in the public eye in September 2010. After Kim Jong-il's death in December 2011, the regime began to undertake actions to transfer power to Kim Jong-un and Kim has now assumed many his father's former titles, responsibilities and duties.5 GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITIONS

The Korean Peninsula protrudes southward from the Asian mainland separating the Yellow Sea (West Sea) to the west from the East Sea (Sea of Japan) to the east.6 Korea's geographic position serves as a natural bridge between the Asian continent and the Japanese islands. The coastline is highly indented with approximately 3,500 islands, mostly...
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