'Half a century of disaster for the people of North Korea'. How far would you agree with this verdict on Kim ll-sung's period of rule in North Korea?

Kim II-sung came to power only with complete support of USSR and China. He continued a rule of total 40 years. He quickly removed all the political oppositions, whether communist or non-communist and claimed absolute power. Although in the initial period of his rule his government played a very significant role in making North Korea self sufficient and self dependent in many areas like industrialization, agriculture, it was mainly possible due to the aid of USSR and China. With their help North Korea could build its military strength and high living standards. But the rule was nevertheless quite disastrous for the people.

  • He had full control over media and communications. He had made North Korea the most isolated, secretive and closed state of all.
  • His rule on the basis of self sufficiency had four themes: autonomy in ideology, independence in politics, self sufficiency in economy, and self-reliance in defence.
  • As a result of continuous effort to prove himself as an infallible ruler and at the same time showing his power South Korea, Kim had neglected the affairs of his country. Due to huge focus on heavy industries and armaments the expenditure on consumer goods fell. This led to a fall in the standard of living. No effort was made to develop industries or agriculture which by now had started to go to a very poor state.
  • The constant support that he took from USSR and China also started disappearing in the 1950s. The two communist had gone on a feud and Kim did not know whom to support. As a result of this, the aid from Russia decreased significantly. The economy finally went to a sorry state when foreign aid was completely withdrawn in 1990s.
Question for UPSC Mains:
‘Half a century of disaster for the people of North Korea’. How far would you agree with this verdict on Kim ll-sung’s period of rule in North Korea?

Published: March 21, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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