Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea

By Jasper Becker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Famine and Flight

The Chinese shopkeeper spotted a ragged figure stumbling about the garbage that cascaded from a nearby hilltop, gave a triumphant yell, and set off in hot pursuit. I plunged after him through the deep snow. He was shouting and grinning when I caught up with him and his prey. As the shopkeeper fished around his pocket for some plastic twine, a dirt-covered face scabrous with pellagra that looked about fifty years old shrunk back into the shadows of a hood made from grey sackcloth, like a medieval leper. The creature whimpered feebly but put up no resistance as the shopkeeper bound her hands. The manhunt was over, and I now found myself bargaining for the life of this woman.

The winter of 1997/98 marked the nadir of North Korea’s famine. Millions died in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). People have described how they would wake up each day and immediately check with their neighbours to see who was still alive. At the writing of this book (2004), many are still dying from hunger and disease, others have been left stunted, marked by a lifetime’s deprivation. How many remain from a population that officially peaked at over 24 million? No one is quite sure. Some refugees say that official registries record less than 19 million. As factories shut and schools and hospitals ceased to operate, many abandoned their homes in search of food, and some headed toward China.

In 1995, the DPRK applied to the United Nations for emergency food aid after reporting a disastrous summer of flooding. Despite this call for

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Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Rogue Regime - Kim Jong IL and the Looming Threat of North Korea iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface: Rogue State ix
  • Rogue Regime xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Famine and Flight 20
  • Chapter 2 - The Kim Dynasty 40
  • Chapter 3 - The Making of a God King 64
  • Chapter 4 - Slave State 85
  • Chapter 5 - North Korea’s Economic Collapse 101
  • Chapter 6 - Kim Jong Il’s Court 124
  • Chapter 7 - Kim Jong Il—the Terrorist Master 146
  • Chapter 8 - Nuclear Warlord 165
  • Chapter 9 - Kim Jong Il—the Reformer 190
  • Chapter 10 - The United Nations and Genocide 209
  • Chapter 11 - Kim Dae Jung and the South Korean Way 228
  • Chapter 12 - Grappling with a Rogue State 249
  • Afterword 266
  • Notes 275
  • Bibliography 287
  • Acknowledgments 293
  • Index 295
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