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186The Journal ofKorean Studies Koreans. With such a visible challenge to ethnic nationalism, intellectuals and social movement elites will most likely face another contested period in which to redefine who is Korean and what is Korea. Reviewed by William A. Hayes Gonzaga University NORTH KOREA: BETWEEN SURVIVAL AND GLORY North Korea: The Politics ofRegime Survival edited by Young Whan Kihl and Hong Nack Kim. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2005. 322 pp. $82.95 (cloth) North Korea: 2005 and Beyond edited by Philip W. Yun and Gi-Wook Shin. Stanford, CA: Walter H. Shorenstein AsiaPacific Research Center, 2006. 256 pp. $24.95 (paper) Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies by Victor D. Cha and David Kang. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003. 280 pp. $68.00 (cloth) A TroubledPeace: U.S. Policy andthe Two Koreas by Chae-Jin Lee. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. 376 pp. $27.95 (paper) North Korea's Nukes and the Politics of Regime Survival Despite the warnings from the United Nations (UN) Security Council and many other UN member states, North Korea detonated a nuclear device on October 9, 2006. In responding to North Korea's first nuclear test, U.S. president George W. Bush sent a strong message that North Korea had defied the will of the international community, and that the international community would respond. The UN Security Council then embarked upon levying sanctions against North Korea. North Korea was thus forced to choose between survival and glory. Its impoverished economy threatened its very survival, while it sought glory from nuclear power status. Under these circumstances, North Korea returned to the Six Party talks and agreed upon "Initial Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement" on February 13, 2007. However, it is debatable whether the February 13 agreement was the result of international pressure BookReviews187 on North Korea or a shift in U.S. North Korea policy after President Bush's defeat in the midterm elections. Against this backdrop, a question arises: Will North Korea be able to survive international pressure if it resists implementing the Joint Statement? Despite rampant speculation ofimminent collapse, North Korea has muddled through economic hardship and diplomatic pressures. While there is little doubt that North Korea's domestic politics and foreign relations are in a difficult condition, the longevity of the Kim Jong Il (Kim Chöngil) regime has proved many soothsayers wrong. North Korea: ThePolitics ofRegime Survival contains thirteen essays written by internationally renowned North Korea specialists. It provides views on and explanations of the key motives and policy objectives of the Kim Jong Il regime. The book is organized into three parts: (1) "Domestic Politics and Political Economy," (2) "The Politics of Foreign Relations," and (3) "Future Prospects." Using this structure, the volume situates North Korea's survival in both domestic and international contexts. Coeditor Young Whan Kihl's characterization ofNorth Korea as a "failing state" (p. 3) is correct in the sense that it is politically repressive and economically dependent on humanitarian assistance to overcome chronic starvation. However, Kihl does not provide a clear analysis of whether and why North Korea is a "failed state" on the verge of collapse. Kihl argues that Kim Jong IPs power is based on tight control of the Korean People's Army (KPA) and on the military-first ideology, but he is unclear about the durability of this power base. Robert Scalapino's essay, "U.S.-DPRK Relations in the Kim Jong Il Era," provides a partial answer to the question. Scalapino expresses doubts that the North Korean army is divided on foreign policy toward Washington. The broad thrust within the KPA is one oftoughness, matching that ofthe Pentagon . The North Korean army regards nuclear weapons as a necessary substitute for the country's obsolescent and expensive conventional arsenal. Kim Jong Il can maintain the military-first policy on the basis ofunity within the army as long as he continues to explore the regime's nuclear capability and nuclear power status. On this basis, Kim Jong Il is unlikely to give up his nuclear weapons program. Further, as Nicholas Eberstadt points out in his chapter, "Why Hasn't North Korea Collapsed? Understanding the Recent...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1665
Print ISSN
0731-1613
Pages
pp. 186-198
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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