Chan Young Bang, Transition Beyond Denuclearization: A Bold Challenge for Kim Jong Un

Published date01 October 2021
AuthorPorkkodi Ganeshpandian
Date01 October 2021
Subject MatterBook Reviews
International Studies
58(4) 533 –534, 2022
© 2021 Jawaharlal Nehru University
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DOI: 10.1177/00208817211045534
Book Review
Chan Young Bang, Transition Beyond Denuclearization: A Bold
Challenge for Kim Jong Un (Springer Nature, 2020), 169 pp., 85.59
(e-book). ISBN: 9789811543166
North Korea is the only surviving totalitarian state under the iron-rule of Kim
Jong-Un. Poor foreign relations, illicit nuclear weapons programmes and the
consequent US sanctions have left DPRK economically ravaged and politically
isolated. Kim Jong-Un attempts to rally the country’s resources to revive the
economy while defending his prised nuclear weapons. Academic circles speculate
on the collapse of DPRK, which would engender reverberating consequences
across the world. Through his refreshing work, Chan Young Bang proposes
measures by which North Korea and the United States could design a working
agreement that would result in a win-win scenario for all concerned parties.
Chapter 1 explains the work’s motive of detailing a plan of economic
modernization based on market-oriented reforms in DPRK as the best survival
strategy after denuclearization (pp. 1–3) and Bang postulates that denuclearization
is necessary to ensure regime survival in DPRK (p. 11). Chapter 2 states that the
division of Korea into North and South, and the consequent hostility, have
remained the unchanged factor behind DPRK’s political and economic decisions
(p. 14). Bang narrates DPRK’s degeneration from a traditional socialist economy
to a totalitarian regime (pp. 20–25), which is on the verge of collapse due to
erosion or irrelevance of factors such as the prevailing control system and
economic model (pp. 34–35). The notion of market socialism as a means of
DPRK’s survival is also elaborated (pp. 28–33) with a clear foresight into its
difficult applicability (p. 51).
After a detailed analysis of the potential disintegration of DPRK (pp. 65–77),
Chapter 3 delves into incentives as opposed to the prevailing sanctions that could
be used to negotiate with DPRK (pp. 77 and 84–87). Bang argues that the excessive
sanctions on DPRK would prove unbeneficial (pp. 78 and 81). Chapter 4 outlines
the prerequisite conditions for DPRK’s agreement to denuclearization and its
consequent survival (pp. 100–101 and 108–109). The stakes of stakeholders such
as China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, and with a focus on the Trump
Administration in the US, are elaborated, emphasising collective action towards
DPRK (pp. 102–106, 116–134). Chapter 5 indicates the definition of ‘survival’ as
sought by DPRK in the negotiating table (p. 149). Bang posits that the grave
situation that DPRK finds itself in could be alleviated through a combination of

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