Defining the Nature and Future of the Partyâ€“Military Relations in North Korea
Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 2018, vol. 5, issue 3, 227-244
Abstract Since Kim Jong-il officially launched his Songun politics in 1998, conflicting assessments have generated two competing arguments regarding the political role of the Korean Peopleâ€™s Army (KPA). The military garrison state argument suggests that Songun politics brought about the decline of the party and political ascendance of the military, while the partyâ€™s army model argues that the KPA is still the partyâ€™s army and under the partyâ€™s firm control. This article suggests that the debate mischaracterizes the KPAâ€™s political place in North Korea and that the military has not been a politically influential organ from the state-building to the current Kim Jong-un era. This article identifies two distinct patterns of military control mechanismsâ€”namely partisan (1960sâ€“1990s) and personalistic (1998â€“2008)â€”and argues that the different control methods have little to do with the KPAâ€™s political strength or weakness. Rather, they merely reflect the dictatorâ€™s ruling method of choice for regime survival. The analysis illustrates that the current Kim Jong-un regime is more stable than many outside observers may estimate, and a military coup is highly unlikely in the near future.
Keywords: North Korea; Songun politics; coup dâ€™Ã©tat; partyâ€“military relations; Kim Jong-il (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sae:asseca:v:5:y:2018:i:3:p:227-244
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