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North Korea

Yearbook 1996

North Korea. Politically isolated and financially impoverished, the communist North Korea continued to set conditions for relaxation on the peninsula. At the same time, food shortages continued after last year's floods, the worst in the country's history. A number of foreign experts reported after visits about a serious food crisis on the verge of starvation. In May, the UN's two food agencies WFP and FAO talked about "critical" supply situation in North Korea and appealed for the outside world's help. New floods in July worsened the situation. Among the states that sent food were the United States, South Korea and Japan.

This did not prevent the Pyongyang regime from threatening the rival in the south. The April march with armed troops in the demilitarized border zone at 38th latitude was one example, the intrusion into South Korean territory by a spy boat in September another. North Korea first claimed that the submarine had driven south with engine failures but shortly before the end of the year surprisingly apologized for the incident and promised that it would not be repeated.

According to Countryaah.com, a peace treaty between the two Korean states after the 1950-53 war remained distant, despite the pressure of the great powers. A Washington and Seoul proposal for four-power talks between North Korea, South Korea, the US and China was met with lukewarm interest from the North Korean regime, which would prefer to ignore South Korea and enter into agreements directly with the United States.

The uncertainty consisted of military commander Kim Jong Il, son and political heir to the 1994 deceased state and party leader Kim Il Sung. Also in 1996, the 54-year-old Kim shouldered the father's titles as president and secretary general of the Communist Party, although in official rhetoric he continued to be hailed as North Korea's "dear leader".

1996 North Korea

In December 1999, Japan decided to remove all sanctions against Pyongyang, which had been in effect since August 1998, when North Korea had fired a missile flying over Japanese territory. The Japanese sanctions had also resulted in immediate cessation of food aid, cancellation of charter flights to North Korea, and the cessation of Japanese nuclear power building assistance to alleviate North Korea's energy shortage. However, a problem still exists between the two countries, with the North Korean government demanding a formal apology from Japan for the pre-World War II attacks against Korea. This is a condition for the resumption of diplomatic relations.

In June 2000, a historic meeting was held between the two Koreans. South Korean President Kim Dae-jung met with North Korea's Kim Jong Il for, among other things. to discuss security policy issues - including the presence of 37,000 North American soldiers in South Korea and the missile programs. Both presidents signed an agreement to work for a reunion of the Korean Peninsula.

The agreement also promised to reunite the tens of thousands of Korean families who had been separated for more than 50 years due to the closure of the border as well as the promise of implementing a new summit, this time in Seoul, and finally South Korean investment in the poor north. In September, a North Korean envoy traveled to Seoul to arrange the details of the deal. Both countries' teams for the first time ever went side by side when the Olympic Games opened the same month in Sidney, Australia.

In January 2002, US President George W. Bush accused North Korea of forming, together with Iran and Iraq, an " axis of evil," engaged in terrorism and the development of weapons of mass destruction. Pyongyang termed these accusations as a direct declaration of war. In March 2002, the United States and South Korea carried out joint military maneuvers, prompting North Korea to terminate its 1994 nuclear deal, which obliged the country to abandon its own nuclear program against the United States supplying it with oil and assisting it in building nuclear power plants.

In October, the United States accused Iraq of being involved in the development of nuclear weapons, revealing at the same time that North Korea had a similar program that the United States urgently abandoned. The North Korean government refused to suspend the ongoing program, but at the same time declared its readiness to reach an agreement with the United States, when the superpower merely acknowledged North Korea's sovereignty and did not interfere with the country's economic development. Japan and South Korea sought to promote relaxation in relations with North Korea, and therefore asked the United States to consider this proposal and not abandon the 1994 agreement. At the same time, China stressed the need for a peaceful agreement through dialogue and negotiation.

 

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