ad info


Asiaweek TIMEASIA.com CNN.com
 > magazine
 home
 intelligence
 web features
 magazine archive
 technology
 newsmap
 customer service
 subscribe
 TIMEASIA.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL

Other News
TIME.com
TIME Europe
FORTUNE.com
FORTUNE China
MONEY.com
Asiaweek Services
Contact Asiaweek
About Asiaweek
Media Kit
Get up to 3 months of Asiaweek free when you subscribe online!


June 30, 2000 VOL. 29 NO. 25 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK

Once a Stalinist . . .
North Korea will be slow to change
By JONATHAN SPRAGUE and LAXMI NAKARMI Seoul

So did the Kim-Kim summit change North Korea from rogue state to pragmatic partner? Listen to this from Pyongyang's official media four days after the talks: "The outstanding greatness of [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Il as a peerless politician lies in the fact that he has scientifically led the revolution and construction to a brilliant victory without a mistake or failure for nearly 40 years . . . The moves of the imperialists and reactionaries to stifle [North Korea] have been totally smashed by his bold grit and just politics." Sounds like the Stalinists are alive and well in Pyongyang.

North Korea is changing. The surprises that emerged from the summit -- from Kim's smiling welcome at the airport of southern President Kim Dae Jung to the ending of the loudspeaker war across the demilitarized zone -- are the latest in a series of many small steps. The reclusive regime recently opened diplomatic ties with Italy and Aust-ralia. The reputedly hermit-like and ideologically calcified Kim Jong Il traveled to Beijing and voiced his admiration for China's market-oriented economic reforms. At the summit, he told his guests that he is a "pragmatist."

Southern analysts say that Kim has little choice except to put aside hardline communist ideology if he wants to revive his starving nation. "I am certain that he will give more thoughts to economic development," says Kim Jae Chull, chairman of the Seoul-based Korea International Trade Association. But whether opening up North Korea to investment will also lead to looser restrictions on its society is doubtful. There is no way to tell if any Northern hardliners are opposed to opening the nation economically, but certainly there are no signs that any elements are thinking of opening the totalitarian state socially or politically.

And what of the ordinary people? Southerners who accompanied Presi-dent Kim say they felt a change. On previous visits they had found North Koreans to be unsmiling and stiff, but this time they felt genuine warmth from the crowds that lined the streets. "The people may have been asked [by the government] to welcome us, but the affection they showed could have come only from their heart," says painter Cha Bum Suk. Maybe so. But until Pyongyang loosens its tight hold on society, affection has little chance of turning into mutual understanding -- the kind needed for reunification.

Write to Asiaweek at mail@web.asiaweek.com

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek.com Home

AsiaNow


Quick Scroll: More stories from Asiaweek, TIME and CNN

   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
 Search
  ASIAWEEK'S LATEST
Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?


  THIS EDITION
COVER STORY
Best Universities: Higher education will never be the same as governments mandate reforms and the Internet impact sets in
Rankings: How 116 multi-disciplinary and science and technology schools stack up
Reforms: Can Beijing build world-class institutions?
Virtual: What you should know about online diplomas

ASIAWEEK.COM
New Economy: The lowdown on the wired workplace

THE NATIONS
Korea: Following through on the summit's feel-good factors
The North: How it might -- and might not -- change
Business: What the prospects really are

Malaysia: The law minister okays commentary on the judiciary
Strategy: Keadilan needs to think beyond Anwar Ibrahim

Vietnam: Dissident monk Thich Quang Do, a Nobel nominee

Interview: China's Zhu Rongji on cross-strait relations

ARTS & SCIENCES
Books: A macabre novel explores China's heart of darkness

Health: Tough therapy that gets stroke patients moving

Cinema: John Woo sets himself another mission

Viewpoint: Sharkfin soup is not so good for the sharks

Newsmakers: You wonder what Suchinda Kraprayoon knows

BUSINESS
Acer: A venerable tech company aims to recapture its youth
Up Close: Stan Shih -- Acer's ace in the pack

Investing: Stay the course: telecommunications and electronics

Housing: Did falling property prices unnerve Hong Kong?

Business Buzz: Failed merger in Singapore

EDITORIALS
Watershed: After Korea's successful meeting, the work begins

Priorities: Indonesia needs reform more than Suharto's "fortune"

LETTERS
Islamist-led Malaysia?

NEWSMAP
This week's news round-up by country

STATISTICS
The Bottom Line: Asiaweek's ranking of world economies, now online

Monitor: Arms spending on the rise


Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.