The Foreign Policy Systems of North and South Korea

By Byung Chul Koh | Go to book overview

4
OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT: INTERNAL SETTING

ECONOMIC POWER

Just as important as the external setting of the operational environment is its internal setting, of which three dimensions are particularly noteworthy: economic power, military power, and political dynamics. We begin, therefore, by delineating the respective economic capabilities of the two Koreas. It must be stressed at the outset that our goal here is not to present a comprehensive comparative analysis but simply to highlight the salient aspects of the two economies. A major impediment to even a cursory comparison of the North and South Korean economic systems is the paucity of data concerning the North Korean economy. Since the early 1960s, North Korea has not published any comprehensive statistics on its economic performance; most of its published data are in the form of ratios and percentages, rather than in absolute figures. Moreover, there are significant differences in the concepts and methods used by Seoul and Pyongyang in measuring their respective economic activities, further compounding the task of comparison.

Despite these difficulties, one thing clearly stands out in the economic landscape of both halves of Korea: during the three decades since the Korean armistice, both have succeeded in turning their war- shattered economies into sizable industrial complexes; in so doing, they have both registered impressive rates of growth. In the last few years, however, North Korea appears to have encountered growing difficulties. South Korea, after maintaining its momentum of growth

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