Tuesday, August 06, 2002

There has been a flurry of activity of late in regards North Korea. Relations between North and South Korea, N. Korea and Japan and N. Korea and US were all experiencing lows as the reclusive state kept itself to itself. But then just as the curtain was falling of a successful World Cup co-hosted by Korea and Japan, North and South navies clashed in disputed territory between the North-South border. This tragic event which seemed to thrust the relations into a lower ebb than before, but oddly, news since the event has been most unexpected.

Since the incident rumours have been seeping out of nascent market reforms in the North. Although, Marcus Noland points out these efforts seem not to be an altruistic move on the part of the leaders to seek a better future for their people, but rather a means of gripping power that may be slipping through their fingers as the country sinks ever deeper into economic despair. But any steps in that direction must surely be a good sign. And to go along with such reformist steps, the North attended ASEAN, had coffee with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and is now set to resume talks with South Korea. North Korea has also announced its intention to join in the Asian Games to be held in Busan later this year. And finally, KEDO has also recently met in an effort to kickstart progress of builing some lightwater reactors in the North.

Things are progressing, it would seem on the economic, political, and cultural fronts in North Korea. While it may seem premature to be optimistic over such events, it is nonetheless promising to see so much activity occuring at one time. Perhaps if the ball gets rolling in some areas the momentum can build up to push things along so that, in the future, we may be able to witness some real, positive change for the better in North Korea. For the sake of the starving masses which lies within its borders, lets hope so.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui