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Korea, North

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Flag of North Korea
Index
  1. Korea, North Main Page
  2. Partition of Korea Leads to War
  3. Famine Overshadows Nuclear Ambitions
  4. Secretive Government Opens Up in Exchange for Aid
  5. Kim Jong Il and U.S. President Bush Engage in Diplomatic Roller Coaster
  6. North and South Korea Establish Closer Ties
  7. Uncertainty Surrounding Nuclear Program Continues
  8. Tension Between North and South Reaches Crisis Point
  9. Kim Jong-il Dies
  10. Kim Jong-un Launches Satellite and Tests Nuclear Device, Testing International Patience
  11. North Korea Threatens U.S., South Korea with War
  12. Reported Leadership Shuffle Sparks Concern
Famine Overshadows Nuclear Ambitions

Kim Il Sung's death on July 8, 1994, introduced a period of uncertainty, as his son, Kim Jong Il, assumed the mantle of leadership. The country's suspected possession of atomic weapons was a much discussed topic, and in June 1995, the North received a South Korean nuclear reactor.

The nuclear standoffs that characterized the mid-1990s were overshadowed by a famine which struck the nation's 24 million inhabitants in 1998 and 1999. Two years of floods had been followed by severe droughts in 1997 and 1998, causing devastating crop failures. Because of a lack of fuel and machinery parts, and weather conditions that encouraged parasites, only 10% of North Korea's rice fields could be worked. The crippling food crisis necessitated foreign aid. In the fall of 1999, the severe famine, which claimed an estimated 2 million to 3 million lives, had begun to wane. Malnutrition and hunger, however, continued to plague North Korea into 2000. Thousands have attempted to flee to China or South Korea, and only a few have evaded capture. Those who are captured face torture or execution.

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