Korea: April 21, 2004


North Koreas leader, Kim Jong Il, met with Chinese leaders for a little dictator to dictator talk about the fragile state of the North Korean economy and the uncertain future of communist rule in the country. For years, the Chinese have been urging the North Koreans to reform their economy, while maintaining control by the Communist Party. But the North Koreans have hesitated, mainly because conditions are different in Korea. For one thing, the communist dictatorship is much more severe in North Korea than it ever was in China (which always allowed some economic freedoms totally lacking in North Korea.) Moreover, North Korea has South Korea to contend with. The south is democratic and rich. North Korea has become such a closed police state to prevent North Koreans from finding out what is going on in the south. While China had Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong as models of how Chinese could prosper without communism, these were considered exceptions. But South Korea has twice the population of North Korea, making the northerners the exception, and a bad one at that. 


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