North Korea's intentions sincere but denuclearization unlikely, says Kim Young Hwan
Today North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will become the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korean territory since the Korean War ended 65 years ago. Ahead of the inter-Korean summit, the first such formal event in eleven years, Daily NK spoke with NKnet researcher and North Korean human rights activist Kim Young Hwan about what to expect from today's historic event.
DNK: What do you think North Korea wants from all of this?
Kim: It’s very clear that their goal is to become a global power, and becoming a global power requires economic development. I believe North Korea will spend the next 20 years building up its economy. In order to do this, it will need nuclear weapons to offset reductions in defense spending and military manpower.
DNK: Are you saying that North Korea’s biggest goal right now is economic development?
Kim: Yes. North Korea’s number one goal is economic development, and in order to accomplish this it will need to free itself of economic sanctions. Even more important than the sanctions, it needs to attract investors from other countries by first mending relations with the United States. It seems that this is the primary goal that North Korea is working towards with the upcoming summit.
DNK: Do you think North Korea is trying to undergo a reformation similar to China?
Kim: It isn’t trying to, it already has, despite being limited by current sanctions. One of the first steps toward any reformation process is undergoing agricultural reform, which has already been well underway, having started 3-4 years ago in North Korea. Looking forward, North Korea will be actively working towards reformation. ......