North Korea under Kim Jong Il

From Consolidation to Systemic Dissonance

By Sung Chull Kim

Subjects: Asian Studies
Paperback : 9780791469286, 292 pages, June 2007
Hardcover : 9780791469279, 292 pages, October 2006

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Table of contents

Tables and Figures
Note on Romanization


1.  Introduction: A Conceptual Frame for Systemic Changes
        Emergence of the Systemic Identity of North Korea
        Embodiment of the System: Functional Differentiation
        Systemic Dissonance and Major Conjunctures
        Requirement for Systemic Viability: Openness
        Tour of the Book

2.  Kim Jong Il: The Political Man and His Leadership Character
        The Shaping of a Political Personality
        The Political Man's Road to Succession
        Active-Negative Leadership Character
        Implications for Systemic Changes

3.  The Party's Strengthening Discipline and Weakening Efficiency
        Kim Il Sung's Legacy: From a Mass Party to an Institutionalized Party
        Kim Jong Il and Organizational Changes
        Party-Life Criticism as a Disciplinary Instrument
        The Declining Efficiency of the Party
        Dual Implications

4.  Military-First Politics and Changes in Party-Military Relations
        Power Dynamics and Party-Military Relations
        Military-First Politics under Kim Jong Il
        Institutional Differentiation between the Party and the Military
        Relevance to Kim Jong Il's Management Style
5.  Chuch'e in Transformation
        Chuch'e and Power Succession
        Socialism in Historical Development
        Estrangement from Marxism-Leninism
        On Capitalism and Opening Up
        Reflections on Chuch'e: With Special Reference to Systemic Identity

6.  The Fluctuation of Economic Institutions and the Emergence of Entrepreneurship
        Institutions of Economic Management: Traditions and Their Dislocation
        Increased Local Latitude
        The Emergence of Private Entrepreneurs
        Informal Transition of Property Rights
        Implications for Systemic Dissonance

7.  The Changing Roles of Intellectuals
        Socialist Transformation and Persecution of Intellectuals
        Socialist Mobilization and Changes in the Class Status of Intellectuals
        Kim Jong Il's Rise and His Mobilization of Intellectuals
        The Perceived "Internal Enemy" in Times of Decaying Socialism
        Facilitation of the "Skip-Over Strategy"

8.  Conclusion: Dilemmas of Opening Up
        Special Features of Systemic Dissonance
        Defiance in 2002


Examines internal changes in North Korea under the expanding rule of Kim Jong Il.


North Korea has long been a country of mystique, both provoking two nuclear crises and receiving aid from the international community and South Korea in more recent times. North Korea under Kim Jong Il examines how internal changes in North Korea since the early 1970s have structured that nation's apparently provocative nuclear diplomacy and recent economic reform measures. To understand these changes, author Sung Chull Kim uncovers relatively unknown internal aspects of the country under Kim Jong Il's leadership. His account, based on a thorough examination of primary sources, traces the origins, consolidation, and dissonance of North Korea's systemic identity. He reveals how official and unofficial developments in the domains of North Korea's politics, ideology, economics, and intellectual-cultural affairs have brought about system-wide duality, particularly between socialist principles embedded in the official ideology and economic institutions.

Sung Chull Kim is Associate Professor of Northeast Asian Studies at the Hiroshima Peace Institute in Japan.