Will North Korea Invade for Food?
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Will North Korea Invade for Food?



The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, is a closed country with a very secretive regime. However, this country is notorious for saber-rattling rhetoric. This paper ...

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, is a closed country with a very secretive regime. However, this country is notorious for saber-rattling rhetoric. This paper investigates whether a pattern exists of increases of violence from North Korea and famine.



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Will North Korea Invade for Food? Will North Korea Invade for Food? Document Transcript

  • North Korea: Will invade for food?Genii GrimsleyINTL 500: Research Methods in Security and Intelligence StudiesAmerican Public University"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are notfed, those who are cold and are not clothed." –Dwight D. Eisenhower(1953).IntroductionThe Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), also known as North Korea, wasformed at the end of WWII when the peninsula was divided and became a communist state"under Soviet sponsorship" (CIA 2009). In 1950, the North Koreans invaded South Korea,sparking the Korean War. In July 1953, North Korea and South Korea signed an armistice,which was little more than a cease-fire, but did not officially end the war (Kim n.d.). Thearmistice established a demilitarization zone (DMZ) along the 38thparallel, which has been asource of many hostilities since its inception (Encyclopedia Britannica online 2009).In 2008, North Korea had a population size estimated at 23,479,088 living on a total of120,410 sq km of land, of which less than a quarter is arable (CIA 2009). This limits agricultureand requires over-fertilization for viable food production (Haggard and Noland 2007, 8). TheDPRK government implemented a food distribution system, seizing grain from the farms(Natsios 1999, 3) in rural North Korea and re-distributing it according to an individualsoccupation, age and hierarchy (Haggard and Noland 2007, 53-54) as a method to lessen foodshortages.The food shortages began after the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,their major aid benefactor and the Chinese government reforms (Natsios 1999, 2). With thefloods in 1995, the North Korean people experienced a devastating famine that lasted for several1
  • years (Haggard and Noland 2007). The United Nations World Food Programme and a numberof other foreign countries, allies and enemies, provided food aid and even fertilizer to alleviatethe famine in North Korea (Natsios 1999). The aid continues to combat current food shortagesalthough reports predict another famine looming (Janes Foreign Report 2008).In 2006, approximately 1,170,000 people, or 5.06% of the total population, served in theKorean Peoples Army (KPA) (Library of Congress 2007b, 18). The North Koreas "SongunChongchi," or "military-first," policy may explain the high military population(GlobalSecurity.org n.d.). The DPRK follows the Songun policy by not only allocating asignificant portion of the budget to the military, but also a higher amount of its scarce food(Haggard and Noland 2007; Library of Congress 2007b, 18).During times of food shortages, a number of aggressive acts between North Korea andSouth Korea occurred to include incidents around the Northern Limitation Line in the YellowSea and sometimes involving civilian fishing boats, that may have been harvesting crabs at thetime (Foley 2002, under "Political-economic pressures"; Library of Congress 2007a). In 2002,North Korea declared itself a nuclear power and proved it with their successful nuclear tests in2006 (Janes Intelligence Digest 2006). With the imminent possible testing of long-rangemissiles, that could reach the United States, North Koreas threat is elevated on to the globalscale (Griffin and Fishel 2009).The purpose of this study will be to predict the likelihood of North Korea invading SouthKorea because of food shortages by linking prior food shortages and infiltrations. At this stageof the study, the data focuses upon the food shortages, particularly the mid-1990s famine and themilitaristic events surrounding that same period, as well as current food shortages and militaristicpursuits.2
  • Literature ReviewNatsios (1999) government report focused upon the causes and consequences of theNorth Korean famine that occurred during the mid-1990s. This report concluded with thoughtson how Kim Jong Il uses the military to deflect international attention away from internalproblems. The report used documentation from aid agencies, interviews with North Koreanrefugees, defectors and government officials for data. Natsios used intuitive analysis following agrounded theory model to shed light on the situation occurring in North Korea at the time.The bias of this report is minimal as the information is as close to the ground truth asNatsios could obtain. He used a multitude of interviews with refugees who actually suffered theeffects of the famine and with individuals within the government or those who had directlyprovided aid to North Korea. A major fault of this paper is the lack of a reference list to verifyhis interpretation of the data.The importance of this report is that it gives a concise and apparently accurate view of thecauses and the sweeping effects of the famine that occurred between 1995 and 1998. It detailsthe governments response to not only the famine but also the international food aid theyreceived. It connects the famine with the effects it had on the military and even the plannedmilitary coup in a famine ravaged Hamhung City.Dies (2004) gave a historical overview of the infiltration operation of North KoreanSpecial Operations Forces (SOF) that took place between September 13, 1996 and November 5,1996. Dies used intuitive analysis of newspaper articles of the time, congressional reports andcontemporary historical books. He also used his own experience as the Operational Officer forthe Combined Intelligence and Operations Center, C/J2, Combined Forces/USFK (Dies 2004,under "author affiliation") during the 1996 submarine incident for the rest of his data collection.3 View slide
  • The flaw of this article, is limited to one side of the story, that of the US and SouthKorea. There appears to be no North Korea documentation to explain the North Korean side ofthe 1996 infiltration of Kangnung. Dies tries to limit the bias of the article by includingbackground on the North Korean Special Operations Forces, diary entries of one of the killedSOF infiltrators and the testimony of the captured North Korean Lee Kwang Soo. Dies alsoavoided introducing bias by not making deductions about the events, even though he was presentas an Operational Officer at the time.The article helps to illustrate that the North Korean army received orders to prepare forwar one year after the floods had caused massive food shortages (Haggard and Noland 2007, 34).Lee Kwang Soos testimony confirmed hostilities between North and South Korea ran high.Fischers (The Library of Congress 2007a) report is a historical overview of NorthKoreas hostilities against South Korea, the United States and Japan to create a chronology basedon newspapers from North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the United States. Fischer usedintuitive analysis of the data to select events to include in the report.There is a slight bias to this report as it is a US government document but is minimizedby the authors lack of supposition into the events. Fischer provides perspectives from both sidesof the DMZ. The report correlates North Korean aggressions to times of food shortages. Thereport also provides, in one location, the most current information on events that occurredbetween North Korea and South Korea.Janes Intelligence Digest (2006) is a journalistic paper that discusses North Koreasnuclear test on October 9, 2006 using data collected by various scientific instruments andsatellite imagery. The article shows inductive logic with intuitive analysis of the data to answerkey questions about the validity of the test, the weapons output and North Koreas capabilities.4 View slide
  • The article has bias since there is no North Korean perspective about the nuclear tests andthe authors frequent suppositions based upon the data concerning North Korea. This bias isunavoidable since North Korean officials offered no information about their true capabilities andintent (KCNA 2006).This paper is important as it reports upon the North Korean nuclear test and assesses theweapons effectiveness. It details North Koreas nuclear capabilities, the ability to use them inweapons, and assesses the possible proliferation of nuclear technology.Janes Foreign Report (2008) is a journalistic report that addresses the possibility ofanother famine occurring. The collected information for this report is from North and SouthKorean news articles, as well as the World Food Programme reports. The author utilizedintuitive analysis to answer the question of this report.There is very little bias, as all involved parties contributed information for this article.There is minimal data enumerating the shortfalls of food production or those people currently indanger of malnutrition. The report is significant as it details current food status and predicts thefuture of North Korean food shortages. This report correlates to Fischers (Library of Congress2007a) report on North Korean past hostilities and Griffin and Fishels (2009) article aboutpossible military developments.Korean Central News Agency (2009a, 2009b) released a couple of journalistic articlesthat addressed the North Korean perspective of the current food problem. Both articles usegovernment information with intuitive analysis detailing the food crisis. KCNA (2009a) alsodetails the plans to increase the size of the KPA.The articles are both highly biased, as the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) is agovernment controlled news agency that releases approved information only. Because of the5
  • closed nature of the North Korean government, what little news released by North Koreagenerally downplays their problems. The information from KCNA is mainly propaganda (Burns2004). Neither article discusses the shortages in the food supply directly choosing to blame theirlow food supply on a worldwide food supply crisis.The significance of these articles is that they point to a current problem with food supply,however minimal it may be. They also give a North Korean perspective into the current foodshortages.The Griffin and Fishel (2009) news article details the North Koreans plans to test theTaepodong-2, a long-range missile, by early March 2009. Griffin and Fishel gatheredinformation from satellite imagery analysis and interviews with South Korean governmentofficials. There is information provided by the KCNA demanding North Koreas "right to spacedevelopment" (Griffin and Fishel 2009, under "Pyongyang said").Suppositions within the article as to the ramification of this testing shows some bias. Thelimitation of this article is the amount of uncertainty left unresolved by the authors. This articledetails the most current information on North Koreas military movements, connects the threat ofa new famine as highlighted in Janes Foreign Report (2008) and the willingness of the NorthKorean government to initiate hostilities against South Korea.The Korean Central News Agency (2009c) article details North Koreas "right to spacedevelopment." North Korea does not verify nor deny a possible long-range missile test butaccuses others of inhibiting their space developments.There is a significant amount of bias because the KCNA is a government-controlled newsagency, which only prints approved information. The KCNA uses derogatory or abrasive wordsagainst South Korea and the United States to highlight their contempt.6
  • The article provides the North Korean position about missile tests. The KCNA concedesthat militaristic endeavors coincide with scientific pursuits.The first four articles are historical references to the North Korean mid-1990s famine andmilitaristic events. The last four articles are current references to North Koreas food shortagesand military actions. The first and fifth articles are on the food shortages in North Korea, whilethe rest of the articles detail the numerous hostilities and military developments of the KPA.The literature is quite extensive when researching the food shortages in North Korea orthe North Korean militaristic invasion of their southern neighbor. However, the wealth ofknowledge runs out quickly when investigating the direct connection of food supply with NorthKorean aggressive actions. This proposal will fill the gap by correlating periods of foodshortages to North Korean provocations.Theoretical FrameworkWhile there have been numerous studies that look at what could provoke North Koreainto breaking the armistice and invade South Korea, there is a significant gap when discussingfood as a variable. What the literature catalogs in extensive depth is the incursions andaggressive actions that have occurred between North and South Korea. The literature alsoencompasses the North Korean food shortages, both historically and currently, as well as the aidefforts of the WFP and South Korea.Few articles discuss the food shortages in North Korea as a possible cause for war, onesuch being Natsios’ (1999) report. Even though Natsios (1999) does discuss militaristic actionsthat occurred during the time of famine, it was an internal militaristic actions but not with SouthKorea. The articles that highlight aggressive actions generally do not discuss the underlyingcause for such hostilities. If lack of food is discussed as an underlying cause of war, it is a brief7
  • supposition by the authors. This study will attempt to show food shortages as being a possiblecause to North Korea invading South Korea by connecting the documents of aggressive actionswith times of food scarcity.The theoretical framework for this research comprises of three theories, which investigatethe causes of conflict. Each theory investigates one independent variable causing the dependentvariable. The first theory in this study investigates North Koreas need for food causing war asaccording to Realist Fundamentalism. North Korea suffered a famine between 1995-1998(Haggard and Noland, 2007). At the same time, hostilities with South Korea escalated to adangerous level. These hostilities occurred around the DMZ and NLL with losses of lives onboth sides (Library of Congress, 2007a). As food is a primary need as based on the Maslowshierarchy of needs, the need for food could cause North Koreans to invade South Korea.The second theory explores North Koreas need for food as a natural right through LiberalInstitutionalism. The World Food Programme is a UN relief organization that has beenproviding aid to North Korea since the mid-1990s famine (Natsios, 1999). This aid has help toalleviate some of the food shortages suffered in North Korea. With the decrease of food aid,North Korea has increased their weapons testing and threats of wars. Loss of food aid by theWFP could lead to North Korea starting a war to re-instate the food aid.Finally, the theory under Marxism-Leninism considers the exploitation of North Korea bySouth Korea. South Korea is a developed country neighboring the under-developed country ofNorth Korea. Under Marxism-Leninism, South Korea is exploiting North Koreas need for foodby demanding disarmament and cessation of their nuclear program (Korean Central NewsAgency, 2009c). Therefore, the North Koreans could instigate a war if South Korea withholdsaid.8
  • The model utilized in this research is a simple causal model, focusing on severalindependent variables causing the dependent variable of North Korea invading South Korea, asseen below.HypothesesHypothesis 1: A famine will cause North Korea to invade South KoreaHypothesis 2: A lack of aid from the World Food Programme will cause North Korea toinvade South KoreaHypothesis 3: South Koreas withholding food aid will cause North Korea to invade.Research DesignThis study uses a quantitative simple causal model to predict the possibility of NorthKorea instigating another war with South Korea because of food shortages. The threehypotheses stated above will be supported or refuted based upon the analysis of the evidence.The research will attempt to predict the dependent variable of the three hypotheses, NorthKorea invading South Korea. The independent variables of different types of food shortages willbe measured as a method of predicting its effect upon the dependent variable. Since thehistorical measurement of food levels is known, as is the resulting invasion of South Korea, thecurrent data will be measured against the past to prove or not prove the hypotheses.9FamineLack of aidfrom the WFPSouth Korea’swithholdingfood aidNorth KoreainvadingSouth Korea
  • The first hypothesis uses the independent variable of a famine as the causative agent forthe North Korean invasion of South Korea. As North Korea has faced a famine in the past, datais present in regards to food ratio level and North Korean aggressive actions during that sametime. Hypothesis two measures the ratio of food aid given by the WFP to North Korea to find arelationship to North Korean incursions. Finally, the third hypothesis will calculate the ratiolevel of South Korean aid as the cause of North Korean invasion.The multi-method plan will gather data using intensive interviews, observational fieldresearch and content analysis of the existing data through secondary literature. This method ofdata collection allows the researcher to not only gather evidence directly for current data but alsopast evidence from literature written during or about the period in question. All three methodswill directly measure the three independent variables as well as the dependent variable.With a number of intensive interviews, the project will include primary sources. Theseinterviews will be combined and analyzed for common themes utilizing a person’s demographicinformation to obtain a heterogeneous sample of data. North Korean interviews will give theresearch a first person view into the situation currently occurring and what actions the people andgovernment are taking to combat any food shortages, if they exist.With the total population size of 23,479,088 (CIA 2009) known, at least 600 interviewswill maintain a 95% confidence level with a confidence interval of 4%. Using stratifiedsampling, based upon demographics such as age, sex and occupation, the break down of the totalsample size will match the percentages of interviews completed within the sample size to thepercentages of the population that falls within the demographic parameters.Interviews of South Korean officials and residents near the DMZ could obtain differentresults, as the North Korean people may not speak freely about their shortages. South Korean10
  • interviews could also illustrate current and past policies in regards to the type, total amount,distribution and time of aid given to North Korea. The South Korean officials could also detailNorth Korea’s militaristic movements and developments, to include when and where these occur.For the interviews conducted in South Korea, the researcher will interview all of thegovernment officials that have responsibilities involving policies about North Korea. Randomlyselected villages near the DMZ with a selection of 10 to 15% of their population and apercentage of the fishermen that fish in the Yellow Sea near the NLL will be interviewed.The interviews of officials for the WFP will show another impartial viewpoint into thecurrent food shortages. The WFP could also give details regarding time of greatest need, totalamount, type, and distribution of food aid.Full interviews will be conducted of officials within the WFP that directly deal with thepolicies and procedures surrounding North Korean food aid. Interviews of the personnel thathave direct dealings with North Korea in relation to food distribution will also be performed.Through observational field research, the researcher will obtain answers to questions suchas food production levels, general nutrition levels of the people and typical meals. Because ofthe secretive nature of the North Korean government, field research will be more beneficial thanintensive interviews.Observational field research will be conducted throughout North Korea and along theDMZ. Using a map of North Korea, observations will start within Pyongyang and continue bychoosing several villages in each province at 20-mile increments radiating away from the capitalin a systematic sampling method. Field observations will take place for at least 1 to 2 weeks ineach village to observe the lifestyles of the individuals, how they get their food and how muchthe average person eats on a daily basis.11
  • Famine will be investigated by verifying food production levels and compare them withprevious years. The lack of aid from the WFP will be measured through observation of what aidthe people get, when they receive the aid and how much aid actually gets to the people. SouthKorea’s involvement in food aid will measure where the aid is coming from, how much aid isreceived, when is aid contributed and where the aid goes. The investigator will also verify thedisbursement of aid to the people. To measure North Korea’s intention to invade, satelliteimagery will be utilized to investigate the KPA’s deployments and weapons testing.There is a wealth of data within the secondary literature that will be incorporated throughcontent analysis. Articles containing information on the North Korean food production and aidreceived by either the WFP or South Korea will be analyzed for how much food, where the foodis from and when is food received to complete a food over time table. Another table will begenerated with data gathered about North Korean infiltrations and when they occur. These twotables will then be compared through pattern matching analysis to prove or refute the threehypothesesOne of the limitations of this research is the closed nature of the North Koreangovernment. A language barrier also exists that may effect the data gathered through intenseinterviews and field observations. Additionally, information about North Korean movementsand incursions may be difficult to obtain due to the secretive nature of North Korea. Interviewswith North Koreans may be limited, especially with government and KPA officials, due to theresearcher being an American.There are several sources where bias may influence this study. The interpreter utilizedfor the intensive interviews in both North and South Korea, as well as for the field observations,may introduce bias. To reduce this bias, a basic understanding of hangul and hangul-mal will be12
  • required of the investigator. The use of multiple articles for content analysis could introduceeach author’s bias. By looking at the facts detailed within the papers, authors’ bias should beminimized. Finally, the researcher’s own bias cannot be overlooked merely addressed as apotential bias.ReferencesBurns, Alicia. 2004. North Korea raises level of rhetoric. Digital Freedom Network: Currentevents: Asia-Russia. http://unix.dfn.org/NorthKoreaRaisesLevelofRhetoric.shtml(accessed February 22, 2009).CIA. 2009. The World Factbook: North Korea. Feb 10.https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/kn.html (accessedFebruary 20, 2009).Dies, Harry P Jr. 2004. North Korean special operations forces: 1996 Kangnung submarineinfiltration. Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin 30, no. 4 (Oct-Dec): 29-34.http://proquest.umi.com.ezproxy.apus.edu/pqdweb?did=846355001&sid=5&Fmt=4&clientId=62546&RQT=309&VName=PQD (accessedFebruary 14, 2009).Eisenhower, Dwight D. 1953. The chance for peace. Speech delivered before AmericanSociety of Newspaper Editors. Washington, DC. April 16.http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/All_About_Ike/Speeches/Chance_for_Peace.pdf(accessed February 20, 2009).Encyclopedia Britannica online, s.v. "demilitarization zone"http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1503299/demilitarized-zone [accessedFebruary 22, 2009]Foley, James. 2002. Sea battle may sink sunshine policy. Janes Intelligence Review. 10 July.http://search.janes.com.ezproxy.apus.edu/Search/documentView.do?docId=/content1/janesdata/mags/jir/history/jir2002/jir00318.htm@current&pageSelected=allJanes&keyword=Sea%20battle%20may%20sink&backPath=http://search.janes.com.ezproxy.apus.edu/Search&Prod_Name=JIR& (accessed February 18, 2009).GlobalSecurity.org. n.d. Military: Songun Chongchi.http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/dprk/songun-chongchi.htm (accessedFebruary 22, 2009).13
  • Griffin, Jennifer and Justin Fishel. 2009. North Korea plans to launch long-range missile within2 weeks. FOX News. February 18.http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,495264,00.html (accessed February 18, 2009).Haggard, Stephan and Marcus Noland. 2007. Famine in North Korea: Markets, aid, andreform. New York: Columbia University Press. Ebrary Reader e-book.Janes Foreign Report. 2008. Asia: Another famine in North Korea. June 9.http://search.janes.com.ezproxy.apus.edu/Search/documentView.do?docId=/content1/janesdata/mags/frp/history/frp2008/frp70550.htm@current&pageSelected=allJanes&keyword=North%20Korea%20AND%20famine&backPath=http://search.janes.com.ezproxy.apus.edu/Search&Prod_Name=FREP& (accessed February 18, 2009).Janes Intelligence Digest. 2006. North Koreas nuclear fizzle. October 25.http://search.janes.com.ezproxy.apus.edu/Search/documentView.do?docId=/content1/janesdata/mags/jid/history/jid2006/jid70115.htm@current&pageSelected=allJanes&keyword=North%20Korea%20AND%20nuclear&backPath=http://search.janes.com.ezproxy.apus.edu/Search&Prod_Name=JID& (accessed February 20, 2009).Kim, Jinwung. n.d. Northern Limitation Line: Korean War. ABC-Clio: United States at War:Understanding Conflict and Society. http://www.usatwar.abc-lio.com.ezproxy.apus.edu/Search/Display.aspx?categoryid=24&entryid=1246236&searchtext=north+korea+and+dmz+disputes&type=simple&option=all (accessed February 20, 2009).Korean Central News Agency. 2006. DPRK successfully conducts underground nuclear test.October 10. http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2006/200610/news10/10.htm#1 (accessedFebruary 22, 2009).Korean Central News Agency. 2009a. Joint New Year editorial issued. January 1.http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2009/200901/news01/20090101-02ee.html (accessedFebruary 21, 2009).Korean Central News Agency. 2009b. Socio-political activities get brisk. January 16.http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2009/200901/news16/20090116-11ee.html (accessedFebruary 21, 2009).Korean Central News Agency. 2009c. KCNA on DPRKs right to space development. February16. http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2009/200902/2009-02-16ee.html (accessed February 21,2009).14
  • Library of Congress. 2007a. North Korea: Chronology of Provacations, 1953-2007, by HannahFischer. April 20. Congressional Research Services. Washington, DC.http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RL30004.pdf (accessed February 22, 2009).Library of Congress. 2007b. Country Profile: North Korea. July. Federal Research Division.Washington, DC. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/North_Korea.pdf (accessedFebruary 22, 2009).Natsios, Andrew. 1999. The politics of famine in North Korea. United States Institute of PeaceSpecial Report 51. http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?ord516=OrgaGrp&ots591=0C54E3B3-1E9C-BE1E-2C24-A6A8C7060233&lng=en&id=39901n (accessed February 18, 2009).15