Wednesday, September 15, 2004

On the Prospect of Trade Liberalization

In Tuesday's class we discussed the "Open Port" period and the distrust, seemingly deserving, Koreans have long held for foreigners and their interests. I was reading an article from one of the links Prof. Larsen provided, NKZone and on there I came to an interesting article, "Why Trade Won't Change Kim Jong-Il's North Korea". I think mere quotes of the article would not do it justice, and it should be read in its entirety to gain a picture of what the author is describing.

The reason this article I feel is so pressing is a hallmark of the Bush plan to deal with North Korea is disarm and we will give you grand economic rewards. Many who look at the North Korean problem point to the example of China and say that we only need to liberalize their trade and everything will be solved: radios, computers, and information of the rest of how the world lives will flow into North Korea and everything will improve. Yet, taking into account the author's review of the DPRK's intense grasp it holds on any foreign influence and most of all trade that does seem quite unlikely.

The author also brings up points of juiche, the idea of self-reliance that we discussed.

So all things considered, is the view of opening North Korea to trade a worthy route to pursue. I feel that if we were able to accomplish the liberalization of trade that we would see the positive effects of a free market society. Yet when we take into account the reluctance of the leaders and the KWP does this leave US diplomatic routes barking up the wrong tree?

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