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For the past couple of posts I’ve referred to the word “Korea” many times. For most of those times I’ve used “Korea” to refer to the Republic of South Korea. Today, I’m going to talk about North Korea. Now, before I begin, I just want to preface this blog by saying that I don’t want to get into a political discussion over whether “Korea” refers to both the South and North combined or whether it refers to the South alone. This post that I’m currently writing right now will refer to North Korea, or the country north of the Korean peninsula.
North Korea is a one party state, which means that Kim Jong-il the current leader of North Korea, is the head of state and the only leader of the state. Being that North Korea is a one party state, there are no elections and no opposing parties. Kim Jong-il will remain the head of state until he passes away or abdicates his power to a successor. The successor will most likely be his son or relative, operating much like the successor systems of kings and queens.
Moreover, North Korea follows a juche (주체) ideology that centers its focus on being a self reliant state. This means that there is no trade conducted among nations and no dissemination of media outside of North Korea. Any outside media that is permitted is strictly censored to adhere to North Korean policy. This is a good way to ensure that nobody talks behind the leader’s back or criticizes his policies. You are not allowed to even criticize something as trivial as Kim Jong-il’s outfit, which I must say, is probably the nightmare of many fashion forward stylists. I would go so far as to say that it is a green sometimes burlap colored outfit that does nothing to accentuate the good parts of your figure. (Not that I’m a fashion expert, but if I were him I’d get a wig, some height elevation shoes, and cut back on the sweets and fats.)
Ok, back to North Korea. (Sorry for going off topic there!) I think Americans take it for granted when they buy a foreign watch or rent a foreign movie. The juche (주체) ideology would seriously limit many aspects of our lives. For example, I would be half traumatized and go into a mental breakdown if I could not get updates on what happened on Prisonbreak or Heroes which happen to be two of my favorite tv shows. Oh, and I would be sad if I couldn’t listen to the news or buy foreign books as well. (Sort of).
Back again to North Korea (having a lot of trouble staying on topic today!) North Korea currently faces many daunting challenges as it enters the next century. Conflict with the U.S. over nucleur weapons and mass starvation and famine are some of the problems that plague the country. As the role of increasing technology, particularly the internet; spreads throughout the globe, only time will tell whether North Korea will be able to sustain its juche (주체) ideology.