Uncovering North Korea’s Energy Security Dilemma

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  • 7/31/2019 Uncovering North Koreas Energy Security Dilemma



    unCovering north KoreAsenergy seCurity dilemmA:PAst PoliCies, Present ChoiCes,

    future oPPortunities

    V G

    Arac: Over the past two decades, the Democratic Peoples Re-

    public of Korea has allegedly developed nuclear energy while sueringnear collapse caused by catastrophic economic policies. This article

    presents an evaluation of North Koreas contemporary energy policies

    and suggests that despite retaining communist ideals and Chuchepolicies, North Korea has slowly started to modernise its energy sectorand recognises the necessity to start engaging with the internationalcommunity. While it is argued that Pyongyangs newfound concerns for

    sustainable development, equity and the environment are a welcomeddeparture from its usual belligerent rhetoric and present a number of

    exciting engagement opportunities, the regime has not abandoned itsnuclear energy programme.

    Kor: Nth Ke, enegy seity, eni piy, en-egy seity die


    Nested est Chin nd sth Rssi, the Ken penins hspyed pinent e in histy de t its gegphi tin.

    Lgey igned by westen pwes ny enties, it weth-

    eed ny nqests by neighbing Jpn bee being niptnt sttegi stpve n j tde tes inking Epend the Aeis in the te 19th enty. Eventy, Ke bee

    sty Wd W II nd divided int tw hves t iittethe ev Jpnese ni sttes. I Ke ws ges-

    ttegi se, it ws neve ptiy sght te its nteses s st h its ndss is veed by ests nd

    wdnds, whie nes ntins eve ny bt th

    the teity s be nd. Nt eses inde , whih

  • 7/31/2019 Uncovering North Koreas Energy Security Dilemma




    bth the Deti Pepes Repbi Ke nd the Repbi Ke hve bndnty ined. Bth Nth nd Sth Ke hve

    hsen vey dieent devepent pths, with Nth Ke t-tepting t sstin iing nist syste whie Sth Ke

    ebed pitis. It is nw geney epted tht Se s-eeded in being wd eni pye, nd tht Pyngynghs tned st its ttentin twd deveping ne wep-

    ns in bid t ense its wn seity in the egin, given the USsge iity es sti sttined in the Sth nd Jpn.

    A gene ndestnding Nth Kes psitin egding en-egy nd enis, espeiy ing the Se-Pyngyngpetitin pttens tht wee seen ding the 1960s nd 1970s

    ybe hvested Cings nd Obede s they pvide gd pite Nth Kes enegy set ding the Cd W

    nd int the 1990s.1 Me eenty thgh, the Ntis Instittehs gtheed extensive dt n Nth Ken ines, pwe gids

    nd enegy shtges, nd hs been be t pint pt Nth K-es enegy pite by eeting, n nes sins, with Nth

    Ken is.2 A t ttentin hs been given t Nth Kespee nd iity ne enegy pges,3 bt titey,Nth Kes pph twd its wn enegy sittin, nd wht

    its ptenti gs e within the syste hs gey been igned.







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    This tie ses n hw the Nth Ken egie neives enegy nd enegy seity by de-inking enegy nd eqenty

    ited intentin nens ve Nth Kes devepent ndpssessin wepns ss desttin (WMD). As sh, the

    wk ges tht thgh Nth Ke ppes t be the n-ithi stte tht esists hnges nd des nt dpt we t new idesnd tehngies, Pyngyng hs stted t devep the n-

    ned enegy disse. The wk theee ses n: 1. s-ising Nth Kes tditin enegy nens tht s n p-

    dtin nd viding eni deine, 2. intding the ntintht Nth Ke hs begn t shit ets twd e eientnd geen tehngies, nd 3. sggesting tht Nth Ke ight

    be seeking new pe within the intentin enegy nityby tking e tive e in sstinbe devepent.

    The dt pesented in this tie hs been extted p-pxitey 1,200 enegy-eted news ites pbished by the K-

    en Cent News Ageny (KCNA) between 1997 nti 2011. TheKCNA is the ny i pess gn in Nth Ke nd hs pb-iised news n beh the Nth Ken eite sine 1946 whie

    pviding n essibe hive te 1997. Athgh the KCNA isknwn its nti-Aein heti nd gene Ki-iy--

    sed ppgnd, it hs s wys pvided vey tehni in-tin n Nth Ke nd the est the wd. Hene, despite

    the shtings tht shd be ntiipted the bsene tentive intin hnnes t bte ts, the dt pe-sented hee gives n npeedented ed Nth Kes evv-

    ing stne n eni hnge nd denistin, its heti ndndestnding pst, pesent nd te enegy des with thes

    nd its ve ndestnding enegy seity nd evving p-

    phes twd deveping stbe nd sstinbe desti en-egy set.

    Nor Kora Traoal Er Focu

    The Ken W (1951) et the Kes tiiy septed by n

    Aistie sine 1953. Nthing, hweve, is tii bt the di-eenes tht hve spted the septin, bth pitiy

    nd eniy. Sth Ke ws eniy nd iitiy

    bsteed by the US dedes, enbing Se t devep ight

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    indstiistin in the 1960s nd 1970s bee it bee n Asin

    Tige nd tnsed int ne the st dvned tehngy-pding nties in the wd. Sth Kes piti syste

    s tted ne-ttitinis in the 1960s nd 1970s int

    fishing dey: the nty is nw egnised inten-tin pye, spnsing events sh s the FIFA Wd Cp, nd

    hsting the 2010 G20 Sit. In the Nth the sty d nt bee dieent: nde Sviet nd Cnist Chinese infenes,

    Gene Ki I Sng, the Deti Pepes Repbi Kesspiit nd piti the, tivted istin nd tky, p-

    ting eni pns nd ve-indstiistin. Pyngyngintined snt ntts with the est the wd, with the ex-

    eptin Beijing nd Msw: n ine with Ms Chin en-bed Nth Ke t eeive peeenti tetent nd enissistne whie seness with the USSR ent tht hd eny

    ws nt wys needed when tding with the Sviet gint. By theey 1990s it ws e tht Nth Ke hd ied t devep nd

    denise engh t pete with Sth Ke, nd with st the deveping nd deveped ntins in the wd. Ki sggeststht highy neisti eni pns bsed n is gwth

    pjetins in the 1980s ed t sh debe, bt thse wee, n-

    tntey, ny pede t wht ws t e: the end theUSSR hd devstting eets Nth Ke, s it sddeny st ge pt its de i sppy ng with ket t se its

    nted pdts.4

    Producing At Any Cost

    Whie indstiistin ten eied n nd-the k expit-

    tin bth pepe nd eses, iti nditins swept wyny the Nths hpes bst eny: dghts nd

    fds ed t tgi ines in the 1990s with iins ives stwith stte teeteing n the vege eni pse.5 Sbseqent

    ne ventes ied t keeping the US t by whie ptenti-y pviding eibe se h-needed enegy entenhed

    Nth Ke even e s Pyngyng ws heviy sntins by theintentin nity nd d ey ny n ew sttes iited eni exhnges. Od ies sh s Rssi nd Chin

    stted t eqest tht Nth Ke py teis nd gds in

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    North KoreasEnergySecurityDilemma


    sh. Even intentin id ws exteey egted nd iited,nd ny ew gnistins enty pete n Nth Ken

    si.6Given thse extee nditins, it is hdy spising tht

    Nth Ke hs sed its ets n tw j tsks: pdings h enegy s pssibe nd tying t evite the devsttingeets tht its bing eny hd n its instte by t-

    tepting t see id nd investents. Whie ny thght thtNth Ke ws n the bink pse pn the deth Ki I

    Sng in 1994, his sn Ki Jng I nged t nsidte pwend ttepted t hieve se the piy gs ted byhis the.7 Enegy dietives eted by Ki I Sng ephsised hy-

    d-eeti pwe nd wee sti being ipeented in 2009 whenPyngyng nnned tht Pesident Ki I Sngs desies hd

    e te thgh the nsttin the Kngwn, Anbyn ndWnsn pwe sttins.8 In the te 1990s, Nth Kes enegy

    disse ws sti ented n inesing tpts, bt with bdgettht wd bth sppt the nsttin new pwe sttins t

    evite pwe shtges s we s investents in new tehn-gies sh s gsitin.9 Ephsis ws s pt n pbiisingthe nsttin nbe new hyd-eeti pns nd Ki

    Jng Is ed visits wee sed t shwse Nth Kes dive t de-vep new tehngies: visit t the Hihn Mhine T F-

    ty highighted new hydeeti genets,10 whie visit t theKen Pepes Ay Unit 614 in ey 2004 shwed tht pt-

    neship with Ki Chek Univesity Tehngy hd devepedwind-pwe.11 On ny his ed gidne tings, Ki Jng Is

    essge ws ey vied: piity ws given t inesing NthKes pwe tpt, ing deveping enegy innvtin


    The DPRKs fg is efetive this eni bi-tin, s it epesents Mt. Pekt, ne Nth Kes st ip-tnt ntins nd sppsed bithpe Ki I Sng ng with

    the epesenttin hyd-eeti pwe sttin.13 This dive enegy n be seen in the pts Nth Ken ie s we: the

    2005 Wkes Pty Cittees sgn hnted tht its desshd pde e nnes ines nd nn-ines t eines!14 whie new bks nd CDs pded in the pst ew yeseebte sty ed Sping in My Ntive Twn whih ds the

    ets thse wh bit hyd-eeti pwe sttins.15

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    A System Reaching its Limits

    In ndid nne, Nth Ke gey pbiised its enegyshtges nd hd t sve the eetiity pbe the n-

    ty nd evitise the independent ntin eny.16 Peepting Ken speiist Oh, in te 1999, highighted this

    shtge by desibing Nth Ke s nd whee wkes eide, ty hineys e d, pwe tges e eqent, -

    tised tnspttin is sw nd inteittent.17 Me spising-y is the k ne enegy ppgnd piy thgh Nth

    Kes tendeny t be Wshingtn nt hding its end the Ageed Fewk bgin,18 ney biding tw ight-w-

    te ets nd pviding Pyngyng with hevy i shipentst penste enegy sses de t Nth Kes eezing its iviin ne pge ed t e vies tbsts

    ginst the US thght 2003 when the Ageed Fewk wsiy bied nd Pyngyng withdew the Nn-Pi-

    etin Tety.19 Ding this tie, Nth Ke ten insisted nhw Wshingtn hd ied t its bigtins, nd esed

    the DPRK ne pge.20 Thee is evidene whih sggeststht Wshingtn did i t ense tht the ie enhned

    dipy shd be denstby ttibtbe t Pyngyng21thgh Pyngyngs ni enihed pdtin ws key ee-ent in the Ken Penins Enegy Devepent Ognistin

    pge pse.22 Nth Ke s tivey sght pen-stin sses eetiity KEDO whih hd been eted

    t nge the 1994 Ageed Fewk, bt ws denied n sevesins.23

    Seeing tht ssigning be d nt sienty extt enegy

    thes, Nth Ke swity eised tht it hd t seek newptneships with bth Chin nd Rssi. Reg e