The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future
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Former White House official Victor Cha has written the definitive volume on North Korea, arguably the world’s most menacing and mysterious nation. In The Impossible State, Cha, a singular expert on the region, exposes North Korea’s veiled past; sheds light on its culture, economy, and foreign policy; and explores the possibilities of its uncertain future in the post-Kim Jong-il era. A timely and engaging insider’s look at a volatile, and isolationist Asian juggernaut, The Impossible State will carry readers far deeper into this frighteningly adversarial country than they’ve ever traveled before.
gas-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor. Only one country in the world has built this type of reactor in the past thirty-five years—North Korea. According to a video that was released after the bombing and sourced by authoritative intelligence officials, Syria’s reactor was nearing operational capacity by August 2007, and therefore the Israelis sought to destroy it before it could be fueled. The video goes on to say: “We are convinced, based on a variety of information, that North Korea assisted
Party shall immediately extend military and other assistance with all the means at its disposal.” Like China, the Soviet Union extended through this treaty a security guarantee to the North and provided decades of material assistance and subsidized trade that enabled Kim Il-sung to thrive during the Cold War. Kim deftly used the rivalry between North Korea’s two Communist patrons to maximize aid from each. Moscow was aware of this, but continued to shower the North with aid in the form of
energy: nuclear; International Atomic Energy Agency; Joint Denuclearization Declaration (1992), ROK-DPRK; Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (1985); nuclear program, DPRK—testing for; Yongbyon nuclear complex nuclear program, DPRK—testing for: Bush administration and, 293; China-DPRK relations and, 11, 317, 329–34, 336, 344, 345, 419; deterrence and, 239, 245; DPRK as full-fledged nuclear state and, 239; DPRK provocations and, 10, 15, 245, 267; DPRK underground, 88, 267; as game changer, 268–70;
somewhere in the guesthouse. The Sit Room patched me through to Steve Hadley, the national security adviser. I said, “Mr. Hadley, I just wanted to let you know that the party has safely arrived in Pyongyang.” “Good,” he responded. I then said, “Mr. Hadley, we are staying at the Paekhwawŏn Guesthouse, where I am calling you from a phone designated for international calls in my room.” There was a brief pause on the other end of the line, after which Hadley, fully aware of the lack of any secure
escape the North. No other country has singled out one North Korean refugee by name and sought their rescue at the highest levels of government. The statement was released only weeks before a visit by Chinese president Hu Jintao to the White House, and in his meetings with Hu, President Bush specifically raised Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭi’s case. Critics argue that Bush pursued the human rights issues with North Korea as part of a regime-collapse strategy because he despised Kim Jong-il. Or that he was