View Poll Results: What is the near-term future of the DPRK

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  • It will fall into chaos as a result of renewed famine and poverty, resulting in military crackdowns.

    3 15.79%
  • There will be a military coup that displaces the current leadership, hopefully soon.

    4 21.05%
  • It will continue to remain a closed society, technologically dormant and otherwise insignificant.

    12 63.16%
  • The leadership will eventually make a misstep, forcing military action from the United States.

    0 0%
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Thread: North Korea: 2012-2016

  1. #281
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    This will either be big news and big change over the next few weeks/months or just another transition in the hermit kingdom. S. Korea's stocks fell 5% already on the news, and their government is holding emergency meetings. Tensions are going to be high for some time, and the potential for a mis-step that leads to a localized or large conflict will be much higher than normal as North Korea conducts its peaceful or not so peaceful power transition.

  2. #282
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    Default North Korea: Kim Jong Il Dead at Age 69

    North Korea: Kim Jong Il Dead at Age 69

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  3. #283
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Anything is now possible. Anything could happen in North Korea

    one of the few, if not the only UK expert on North Korea (DPRK) Aidan Foster-Carter has written this:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-new-dawn.html

    Which opens with:
    Anything is now possible. The range of possible scenarios runs from benign to apocalyptic. The world wants North Korea to come in from the cold and embrace peace and reform. That seems unlikely, alas. The Kim regime is heavily invested in an avowed military-first policy, and in continuity – despite marching down a cul-de-sac. The mighty Korean People's Army (KPA), whose clout grew under Kim Jong-il, has much to lose from any outbreak of peace.
    And ends with:
    Anything could happen in North Korea. For now the rest of the world can do little more than watch, hoping that a bad situation does not become worse. To that end, discreet consultation between Seoul, Washington and Beijing is essential. But don't expect to hear about it.
    If conflict returns it is unlikely to be a 'small war'.
    davidbfpo

  4. #284
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    I wonder if anything will change.

    But who knows?

  5. #285
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    Default Intelligence on North Korea: expecting to fail

    It has been interesting to read the commentaries on the supposed intelligence failure over the North Korean leadership moves, particularly since one SWJ Blog piece refers to the lack of contact with non-senior staff.

    was this a failure as such or rather just a demonstration of the limitations surrounding the gathering of intelligence about this secretive and reclusive country?
    There was good 'strategic' intelligence on the fact that Kim was ill, had been for a while, and would likely not survive very long. But there was poor 'tactical' intelligence as to when, exactly, he was going to die...
    BBC News:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16287506
    davidbfpo

  6. #286
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The view from "Down Under"

    I always find the Australian viewpoint useful on regional matters in the Pacific, partly as the UK has drawn in somewhat of late.

    So the Australian "think tank" the Lowy Institute has this, with multiple links to those who cannot get enough of matters Korean:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/...rth-Korea.aspx

    Their summary on the last link writing is useful too:
    Depending how the crisis evolved, and how key powers responded, a Korean strategic shock could contribute greatly to turning any of this paper's four scenarios – US or Chinese primacy, balance or concert – into a reality. Korea and what happens there could well prove to be the strategic pivot of Asia in the twenty-first century.
    Then there's the nuclear issue:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/...the-grave.aspx

    Given the potential in Korea (both nations) it does rather make the recent US-Australian basing agreement rather dull and peripheral.

    Secondly just what role China (PRC) will play is - to me - unclear. Is North Korea best described as a "sick, starving child (or neighbour) with a dangerous military" or "a neighbour who is useful, with a hereditary ruling family"?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-23-2011 at 12:28 AM.
    davidbfpo

  7. #287
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Secondly just what role China (PRC) will play is - to me - unclear. Is North Korea best described as a "sick, starving child (or neighbour) with a dangerous military" or "a neighbour who is useful, with a hereditary ruling family"?
    A little bit of both... though while North Korea may have its uses to the Chinese, it is also unpredictable and an be a loose cannon.

    Certainly there are all manner of possible implications, but there's little the West can do beyond watching, waiting, and reacting to events as they emerge. The Chinese have presumably cultivated contacts in the North Korean military and may have more influence, though it's hard to say how much they actually can do.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  8. #288
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    It is a pretty fascinating development to be sure and also a worrying one. The thing that worries me more then anything is that the most likely scenario for renewed hostilities doesn't involve a premeditated North Korean attack but, instead, a South Korean overreaction to a North Korean provocation along the lines of the sinking of the Cheonan or the shelling of YPO Island last Winter. The biggest issue, IMO, with the ROK Armed forces and government was that they have never established a clear "line" on what is an acceptable amount of military provocation from the North. The North only knows that the sinking of the Cheonan and the shelling of YPO did NOT cause a war... South Korea has said that they will retaliate much more aggressively in the event of another YPO style incident... but do the North Korean's know that for sure? Do even we know that for sure?

    Kim Jong Il, as one of those links put it, was a "known unknown." While volatile, it was generally known that he would use the threat of small scale military actions as a counter-weight to try and win North Korea food aid and hard currency. He seemed to get the picture after YPO and did not launch another provocation... but is that because he legitimately heeded South Korean warnings or just because he was waiting for a better opportunity? Does Kim Jong Un have a similar mindset?

    Kim Jong Un, on the other hand, is an "unknown unknown." With his European education and background does he harbor a more cooperative view towards the West? His education and experience surely makes him more then aware of the disparity between North Korean economic conditions and those of the rest of the world... Does he want to close that gap? Does the answer to either of those questions even matter if North Korea's military leadership won't allow him to consolidate power? If the military leadership doesn't allow him to consolidate power... then who, really, is in charge in North Korea? What is their agenda?

    At the end of the day there's just too many questions and not enough hard answers yet. I have a feeling that the next six months might see some interesting events in North Korea.
    Last edited by nightowl; 12-27-2011 at 04:54 AM.

  9. #289
    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Default North Korean State Collaspe-The next Small War?

    This has been a topic constantly discussed since Kim-Jong-Il departed this world for that great land of cognac, women, and Hollywood movies in the sky about a week ago. However, with Kim’s passing the question of whether the DPRK that he and the ruling clique has presided over with an iron fist will be able to stand up? Despite what some analysts in the media say about the unlikelihood of the DPRK collapsing, I find that at least on paper the possibility is very likely.

    North Korea is a nation that ranks in the bottom 5 or so among states in the world in terms overall quality of life and livability for its citizen’s, alongside
    places like Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Congo . As large sections of the North Korean population are starving and a min of upwards of 1 million+ people have died in a famine that has plagued the country since the mid-1990. The famine was brought on by a mixture of the collapse of the North’s patron power the USSR at the beginning of that decade, along with other Warsaw Pact governments that the Kim regime had close relationships with, a strong reluctance to reform on the part of the DPRK’s govt, and just general incompetence & corruption.

    Since then the North’s infrastructure, health, education & welfare system has completely ceased to exist. The DPRK also basically has economy or exports to speak of except selling weapons & technology to other rogue states like Iran and Syria (including information & assets used to create WMD). Other illicit exports of the North include the manufacturing and distribution of drugs to overseas markets like meth and heroin, along with other activities like counterfeiting currency. For instance, North Korean diplomats overseas basically function as moneymakers for the regime, and many have been caught dealing drugs, knockoff goods, or in automobile theft rings.

    North Korea also ranks at the top as the world’s most oppressive state, with the Kim family regime actually making into the totalitarian rankings in history alongside such governments like Nazi Germany, Stalinist Soviet Union, and Maoist China. The North Korean regime runs a highly complex, massive, and sophisticated secret police network that has reach both inside and outside the country that systematically targets dissidents with a wide variety of methods. In North Korea one can be thrown in prison or even killed for owning something(sometimes the individual’s extended family as well) like a cell phone , or listening to foreign music.

    Additionally, the DPRK runs a sizeable system of labor and concentration camps where those imprisoned are held under extremely harsh conditions, denied of adequate food, shelter, and clothing and are virtually worked to death or eventually killed over by camp guards. Not to mention running a cult of personality system in which the Kim family leaders like Kim Jong-Il, his son, and his father are revered as a almighty Gods. All while resisting even economic reforms like those seen in neighboring China.

    Like mentioned above the DPRK government spends virtually all resources and money the country has on the armed forces under the “Songun” or strong military policy or luxuries for the Kim Family and related elite, at the expense of the rest of society. The North Korean government by some estimates is reputed to spend something like 50+% of its budget on the military. The DPRK has also pursued a very well-known WMD program over the year that includes a modest nuclear arsenal since 2006 and a large chemical and biological program as well.

    With all of this being said, compared to the South of Korea the North obviously doesn’t register on the charts. The ROK has a stable democratic political system, which has existed in full for the past 20 or so years and is relatively uncorrupt overall. Individuals can openly criticize, the government, its leaders, and more without fear of imprisonment. The South’s economy is advanced and state of the art and delivers a wide range of services and opportunities to its citizens, has a very high development rate, along with the fact that numerous South Korean conglomerates like Hyundai, KIA, and other has made the country a major exporting power. South Korean society also provides first world standards of living for its population, with the nation’s education and infrastructure system ranking amongst the best in the world, even surpassing western countries like the US, UK, and France in these areas.

    South Korea has also become a major regional military power in recent years possessing a large force that is regarded as one of the most professional and best equipped in the world. It has been estimated by some that if North Korea were to attack the South now and days the DPRK would be handily defeated even without US assistance.

    Now after my lengthy look at North Korea, does anyone else here think that the DPRK could completely collapse one day in the coming years. I mean given when compared to every other country in Asia, esp it’s geographical and cultural counterpart South Korea and increasingly how many Northerner’s are becoming aware of how well off the former is I think it’s certainly possible at least on paper.

    I know people on here who are more familiar then I know in terms of what plans there are to deal with the collapse of the DPRK etc. However, from a foreign & defense policy standpoint I figure that since the war in Iraq has ended, this has to be one of the top priorities and in South Korean circles has been mentioned as something that is not if but when. Spefically, since the North has a huge( if antiquted) military and has WMDS too. And especially, since the North appears to far gone to actually reform at this point.

    If there are any thoughts on North Korean state collaspe I would like to hear them.

  10. #290
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Dominoes falling lead to change?

    Kevin23 asked:
    .... does anyone else here think that the DPRK could completely collapse one day in the coming years?
    Yes, only if China (PRC) was to dramatically change.

    I have only considered what happened in Eastern Europe, with the sudden, incremental collapse of the Warsaw Pact - which started in Hungary and a decision on allowing holidaying East Germans to leave for West Germany. Self-doubt certainly existed within parts of the regimes in power, some independent groups notably the church and the USSR's refusal to support coercion. None of these factors apply in North Korea.

    We simply know so little about the internal factors at play in North Korea no-one I venture can predict the future.
    davidbfpo

  11. #291
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Kevin23 asked:

    Yes, only if China (PRC) was to dramatically change.

    I have only considered what happened in Eastern Europe, with the sudden, incremental collapse of the Warsaw Pact - which started in Hungary and a decision on allowing holidaying East Germans to leave for West Germany. Self-doubt certainly existed within parts of the regimes in power, some independent groups notably the church and the USSR's refusal to support coercion. None of these factors apply in North Korea.
    Also, though there was some diversity among the Eastern European and even the Warsaw Pact member nations, their governments were generally imposed by a foreign government to a far greater degree than was the DPRK’s (note that I’m not saying that the Soviets didn’t play rough between 1945 and 1950; the U.S.’s hands aren’t entirely clean there, either, but I’m kind of getting off track) and some of them qualified as satellite states in a way that the DPRK doesn’t (I think a decent comparison for the current situation between China and North Korea is USSR/Cuba and not USSR/Czechoslovakia).

    We simply know so little about the internal factors at play in North Korea no-one I venture can predict the future.
    *accurately
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  12. #292
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    OSAKA, Japan — North Korea doesn't just do a nice line in belligerent rhetoric; it also has the military hardware to make life difficult for its enemy South Korea, according to a new report.

    Just as the North risks economic collapse and starvation the regime has diverted funds to its 1.2 million-strong army and its nuclear weapons program, according to the Korea Economic Research Institute in Seoul.

    It has also acquired a record number of tanks, warships and air defense artillery, the independent think-tank said in an unsettling report published this week.
    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/n...kim-jong-il-un

    BEIJING — With its secretive dynastic dictators and its nuclear-armed military, North Korea produces its fair share of intrigue even without the help of Chinese social media. But in recent days, netizens in China added their own plot twist, posting rumors about a military coup that upended young leader Kim Jong Eun.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...washingtonpost
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  13. #293
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    The Chinese micro-blogging service Weibo has exploded with rumors that new North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was assassinated today at the North Korean embassy in Beijing. Twitter death rumors are totally cross-cultural.
    http://gawker.com/5884033/chinese-tw...ing-in-beijing
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  14. #294
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    Reconnaissance satellites have identified the huge missile at a government research and development facility in Pyongyang, South Korean government sources told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

    Analysts estimate the weapon to be around 130 feet long and, equipped with a more powerful booster unit, capable of delivering a warhead more than 6,200 miles.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...nental-US.html
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  15. #295
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    Surprised nobody has raised the special forces in North Korea saga this week.

    Found this podcast that goes into the details of how the mouthy general's press office massively goofed the way the story was handled;

    http://defencereport.com/defrep-week...atest-victims/

  16. #296
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Surprised?

    Burkean,

    The story did not feature here in the UK; it did appear on SWJ and attracted only one comment:http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/loo...-sink-ships-or

    Embarrassment I suggest made many here reticent to comment, plus concern that is allegedly SOF activity in a rather fraught context.
    davidbfpo

  17. #297
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default The source...

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Embarrassment I suggest made many here reticent to comment, plus concern that is allegedly SOF activity in a rather fraught context.
    Could be that -- or it could be that most here pay little to no attention to most anything David Axe writes...

    Could also be that if it were true, this would not be a place to discuss it and if it were not true, there'd be little point in discussing it.

  18. #298
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The South Korean government is investigating unconfirmed intelligence reports that a gun battle, leaving between 20 and 30 soldiers dead, broke out when the North Korean regime removed army chief Ri Yong-ho from office.

    The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean daily newspaper, reported that some intelligence analysts believe Mr Ri, who has not been seen since his abrupt sacking earlier this week, was injured or killed in the confrontation.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-2...4/?site=sydney

    North Korea's top military official looked healthy in recent appearances, and his departure fed speculation among analysts that Kim purged him in an effort to put his own mark on the nation he inherited seven months ago when his father Kim Jong Il died.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/worl...#ixzz21BtRne3W
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  19. #299
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    Default North Korea's military capabilities and deterrence

    I'd like to draw some attention to a blog post of mine:

    North Korea's military capabilities and deterrence

    It's neither centred on machines nor centred on the nature of the regime or the character of its dictator.

    Instead, I attempted to make some sense of the headlines of the past two decades and think I had some success.


    I can guarantee you that the usual pundits would not publish such conclusions. I suspect they earn better money with more alarmist tendencies.

    Moderator's Note: There is a main thread 'North Korea: catch all thread', where this thread may one day be merged into:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...read.php?t=919
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-31-2012 at 12:55 PM. Reason: Add Mod's Note

  20. #300
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    Default The DPRK is the guy you come to with a carrot in one hand and a stick in the other

    who takes both of them from you and starts beating himself in the head with the stick. That’s the real deterrent, if you ask me.

    I spent February of 1997 in Cuba. I was lodging on the same street as the DPRK embassy which I walked past at least twice a day. It was into my third week there before I saw the gate open. I asked the Cuban cop out front if that meant they were taking visitors. He said he had no idea, it was the first time he had ever seen the gate open but that he would go in to ask for me. He re-emerged and said someone would be out to speak to me in just a moment. Long story short, a kindly-faced tall older man in military uniform who spoke broken Spanish appeared and we had a very pleasant conversation during which I conveyed to him that I was from the U.S. and it was almost impossible to find anything about his country out there and was wondering if his embassy had any educational literature geared towards foreigners as embassies often do. He seemed to be pleased that I was interested in his country (Koreans are rarely lacking in national pride, in my experience! ) and told me he thought that they did have some of that sort of thing, that if I would wait just a minute he would go ask his jefe. So… I waited longer than just a minute, and eventually an unsmiling short middle-aged man in military uniform who spoke impeccable Spanish emerged. We had a short conversation punctuated by him yelling, “ˇLas revistas no llegaron este mes!” and slamming the gate in my face. That left me with the impression that the leadership of the DPRK is dead serious if nothing else.
    Last edited by ganulv; 08-29-2012 at 01:23 AM.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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