How is it possible that North Korea, a hard-core communist regime, which constantly makes nothing of human rights, still exists today despite the increasingly aggressive nuclear threat it poses to the world, news portal oxox.hu asked from Dr. Mózes Csoma, head of the Korea department of the Budapest-based ELTE University. According to the Hungarian East Asia expert, the answer is surprisingly simple: the big powers are not interested in challenging the status quo in the region.
In the early 1950s North Korea was just one of the many Stalinist countries of the world, borrowing its inhuman structures and methods from the big brother Soviet Union. The situation had changed singificantly in 1956 after Khrushchev condemned the policy of stalinism at the 20th congress of the Soviet Communist Party and the anti-communist uprisings in Poland and Hungary also shocked Kim Ir Sen’s country. In order to avoid the collapse of communism, North Korea chose its own way of building a full-fledged dictatorship. From the 1960s onwards, North Korea has become a very different country comparing to South Korea and even to the Soviet Union’s Eastern European puppet states, which could get rid of communism in 1990.
Despite the fact that the Korean peninsula had been a homogeneous region for centuries, the differences became so big between the communist North and capitalist South in 1990s that North Korea could not remain unnoticeable in its aggressive self-isolation any more. That was the time when international media started paying more attention to North Korea, which basically limited its economic relations to China. According to Dr. Mózes Csoma, the sanctions introduced by the Western countries against North Korea, have had very limited results so far and it is yet to be seen how can the world handle the threat of a humanitarian catastrophe in the overpopulated region. The West should avoid a military conflict at all cost, otherwise millions could die in a day or two, the researcher said.
Who could change the hopeless situation then? Probably no one in the near future, Dr. Mózes Csoma took the view. South Korea’s liberal governments had spent enormous amount of money on its Northern neighbour between 1998 and 2008. Although Seoul hoped that the financial aid would ease the tensions between brothers in the long run, North Korea used the financial support to strengthen its military power instead of consolidating its ravaged economy. The United States would not risk an intervention against North Korea either as the American geopolitical interests are far better aligned with the oil-rich Middle East. As for China, it takes advantage of the current economic situation as the one and only trade partner of North Korea, not to mention the millions of refugees who could take the roads to the giant neigbour in case a war broke out in the Korean peninsula.