The Pyongyang paradox

Journal: 
Issue: 
Winter 2017
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Pyongyang is trapped in a paradox. The very measures it feels to be essential to the ensuring of its long-term survival are precisely those that are putting it in short-term peril. Kim Jong Un’s Byungjin line - which gives equal importance to the building of the nuclear deterrent and the development of the economy - is designed to provide the security and space necessary to allow time for the economy to grow. The ultimate intention is to transform North Korea into a variant of Vietnam or China. Yet the nuclear strand of this policy makes the country vulnerable to a ‘preventive’ strike by Washington and its ‘Coalition of the Willing’ (which would devastate Northeast Asia, not just North Korea).

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Soundings 67: Ways of resisting