Problems and Prospects for the DPRK’s Development: Forecasting Model-2021

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Leading Research Fellow, Korean Studies Center
Affiliation: Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Российская Федерация, Москва
Occupation: Academic Secretary
Affiliation: Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 4

Since the 1990s, there have been many publications predicting an imminent "collapse of the North Korean regime" or a shift of the country’s political vector. However, this has not happened so far, and the DPRK’s political regime continues to exist. What leads to such chronically unrealistic forecasts for North Korea, and what are alternative options for the future of this country in the short and medium term?

Revising a number of unfulfilled predictions, the authors try to explain the reason for these failures. They are usually closely related to an ideological framework, lack of information and dependence on certain sources, which leads to an underestimation of the DPRK's capabilities and misinterpretation of data, when any event is seen as a sign of the regime’s imminent collapse. Using the theoretical approaches of G. Tallok and V.I. Lenin, the article identifies the main types of threats to the current political regime (external invasion, a coup within the elite, economic collapse, mass protests), as well as the likelihood of their implementation under the current policies of the DPRK leadership.

The authors describe several development scenarios based on an analysis of factors that can affect the situation in North Korea in the short and medium term. Maintaining the status quo stands out in the first place in terms of probability. Less likely scenarios include “sinofication” due to Beijing's growing influence on Pyongyang, military escalation leading to an armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula, political and economic crisis.

KeywordsNorth Korea, domestic policies of the DPRK, North Korean economy, Kim Jong-un, scenario forecasting
Publication date20.08.2021
Number of characters40521
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