North Korea is one of the region’s most enigmatic states. It is one of the poorest states in Asia, yet is well on its way to developing a nuclear weapon. It has long sought isolation from the outside world, yet it is opening up more special economic zones. And its cult of personality around the Kim family dynasty seems at times almost a self-parody.
The transition of power to the third generation of the Kim family was completed with the public purging of Jang Son-thaek in December 2013. Six months on, with signs that North Korea is likely to conduct a further nuclear tests in the coming month it is timely to take stock of the current state and likely future trajectory of North Korea.
Dr Benjamin Habib (Politics and International Relsations, La Trobe University) considers the aims, ambitions and possible futures of one of Asia’s least well understood societies. Is North Korea finally going to acquire nuclear weapons? And how destabilizing would this be? Is economic reform a realistic prospect? Is any kind of reconciliation with South Korea possible?
You can access the full presentation audio here via the La Trobe University Podcast blog.
Audio recorded on Wednesday 28th May, 2014, at La Trobe University, Melbourne. Thank you to everyone who attended and took part in a stimulating Q&A.