Individual research: A Logical Way to Understand North Korea

People know about North Korea as much as they care about. A lot of people know North Korea mostly because of their nuclear weapons. Prejudices and stereotypes have turned North Korea into an evil nation. As there are not many sources and information to simply conclude analyzing North Korea, an objective point of view on North Korea is necessary.

Despite of international society’s effort to stop, North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on February 12t, 2013. It was not just a threat but it symbolizes few things. Rather than using plutonium, it is believed that high enriched uranium (HEC) was used. It is significant as North Korea has developed their nuclear weapons by miniaturization and weight reduction. According to Der Spiegel, U.S. Geological Service, and Korean metrological administration, seismic wave of nuclear test was between 4.9 Mb and 5.2 Mb. These numbers can be converted into TNT equivalent and they are over 10 kt. The minimum level for a country to be ackowleged as a nuclear power is 10 kt and technically North Korea has met the standard as of their last nuclear test. Nevertheless, international society will not recognize North Korea as a nuclear power in accordance with the Treaty on Nuclear Non-Proliferation (UN).

As a result of the nuclear test, North Korea has aggravated their relationships with South Korea and the United States. The tensions have arisen globally and people around the world were disappointing as North Korea’s new leadership of Kim Jung-un is not different from the old leadership of Kim Jong-il. It’s is important to understand North Korea’s nature and motivations to objectively comprehend eccentric behaviors of North Korea.

North Korea has few motivations behind their third nuclear test: 1) developing nuclear weapons and the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) so that international society would acknowledge North Korea as a nuclear power. 2) To overwhelm South Korea militarily. 3) The relationship between North Korea and South Korea should be a vertical relationship as South Korea supports North Korea unconditionally. 4) Getting more revenues from external but not internal. 5) Strengthening ‘internal framework’ as giving more rewards to more patriotic officers (KINU). Continuing in nuclear development is one of North Korea’s tools to satisfy their wants and needs.

Here’s an another perspective to understand North Korea unbiased way. Until 1980, North Korea’s ideology was based on Marx-Leninism. Kim il-sung adopted his new theory, based on idolization, called ‘Juche (self-reliance) ideology.’ This unique government system of North Korea has been a dilemma for new leader Kim Jong-un due to its hereditary dictatorship. Kim Jong-un must follow his father, Kim Jong-il’s will. It’s the only way to keep the legitimacy of hereditary dictatorship that has been ruling North Korea since the Korean War. In Kim Jong-il’s will, he emphasized keep developing nuclear weapons and missiles so that they can take advantages in international meetings. Also in his will, unification with South Korea is vital and the war against South Korea should be avoided. The most interesting part of his will is that he called South Korea as ‘potential partner’ and reminded that North Korea should be alert on China as well even China is the closest ally (Joongang).

Kim Jong-un has been doing what he has had to do for stabilization of public sentiment and successive regime to gain legitimacy through practicing the will of Kim Joing-il. He followed Kim Jong-il’s will to satisfy the elites and high officers of North Korea for its maintaining status purpose.

On July 1, 2013, North Korea criticized the 2005 agreement and the hostile policies of the United States toward North Korea in ASEAN regional forum. North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear tests on the 2005 agreement that had been broken. Although it’s hard to predict when will be the next North Korea-the United States meeting regarding nuclear, North Korea is believed to use several plans in a negotiation table with the United States. The offers may include, freezing its nuclear capability at the current level, proclaiming nonproliferation of nuclear technology and its material, suspending Yongbyon plutonium plants, and accepting International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s inspections on nuclear facilities (Jeon).

Among the many reasons to answer where did North Korea go wrong, brainwashing and idolization can be influential factors. These characteristics have locked North Korea and the collapse of socialism and communism since late 1980s has put North Korea in a worse and more isolated position (Understanding North Korea 2013). At this time, North Korea decided to push through by brainwashing their citizens, to the point where ‘other ideas’ do not exist for the citizens. As a result North Korean citizens blindly believed their government and status quo when the status has long gone for North Korea.


Cho, Hyeonsook. “Kim Jong-il’s first 44 clauses.” . Joongang Ilbo(Joongang Broadcast), 29 Jan 2013. Web. <|news|politics>.

Jeon, Seongwhun. “North Korea’s Nuclear Policy after its Third Nuclear Test: Analysis and Forecast.” Center for North Korean Studies, KINU. (2013): n. page. Print.

Kim, Dongsung. “International Journals of Korean Unification Studies.” Korea Institute for National Unification. (2012): n. page. Print.

“The 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.” The 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Department for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations, 27 May 2005. Web.

“Understanding North Korea 2013.” Ministry of Unification. (2013): n. page. Web. 2 Jul. 2013. <>.



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