North Korea 2019: Issues and Analyses
Author: CHEONG Seong-chang, LEE Jong-seok, CHOI Eunjoo, KIM Jin Moo, LEE Young-Hoon, JEON Young-Sun
Publishing Date: 2020.02.
Volume: 420 Pages
In South Korea, most of the annual reports on North Korean issues have been published predominantly by the press. Meanwhile, in other states, major think tanks on foreign policy and security regularly published annual reports of specific states or regions. Furthermore, reports and analyses published by the South Korean governmental agencies are often classified confidential with only few exceptions, restricting the accessibility of various experts on detailed analysis of North Korean issues.
In this context, the Sejong Institute, one of the preeminent private think tanks in South Korea dedicated to the fields of unification of Korea, foreign policy, and security affairs, published North Korea 2019: Issues and Analyses in cooperation with experts of North Korea issues in and out of academia. The entire contents of the report is released through the institute’s website for easy access of specialists from think tanks and academia in general, government officers in the field of unification, foreign policy, and national security, and journalists from the press. This report from the Sejong institute clearly differs from other annual reports related to North Korea in such manner.
North Korea 2019: Issues and Analyses is the outcome of rigorous participation by various specialists of North Korea, such as North Korean politics, economy, social culture, foreign policy including inter-Korean relations, and security and defense. For this report, the research team conducted countless discussions and meetings. The research process continued for a year.
With the organization of the report, the research team focused on in-depth analysis of major issues of North Korea in 2019, while other related reports mainly rearranged a series of facts. For instance, North Korea revised its constitution provisions twice last year. Comparing this change of 2019 to the former constitutional provision revision of 2016, the report suggests the direction of policy change that Kim Jong-un regime seeks. Also, two experts who studies North Korean economy assesses economic affairs that are currently in veil. By analyzing signals such as currency changes, food price shifts, and economic stability during sanctions, the report provides evidence to accurately evaluate the effectiveness of sanctions on North Korea. It also includes an analysis of primary literature such as Rodong Sinmun, newspaper, to figure out ongoing competition in the market and technological innovation within North Korea along with various pictures for easy understanding of the public. Also, profound studies on Kim Jong-un’s summit diplomacy and changes of inter-Korean relations are also added.
This volume includes major primary texts needed to understand North Korea’s approach in 2019 to domestic and foreign policies: Chairman Kim’s New Year’s speech, Supreme People’s Assembly speech, a letter guiding a new direction of propaganda and agitation, a news report on the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea, and information related to the U.S. and South Korea from major institutions, personnel, and the media, which must be analyzed to understand 2019 North Kore’s position.
This research was a part of the project “2019 Development Project of Data-based North Korea Analysis,” funded by the Ministry of Unification of the Republic of Korea. The perspective and opinion expressed in this report are personal and do not reflect those of the Ministry of Unification or of the Sejong Institute.
※ The report is only available in Korean.
※ Translator’s note: This is a summarized unofficial translation of the original paper which was written in Korean. All references should be made to the original paper.