NKIDP Coordinator James Person to deliver a talk on the origins and evolution of North Korea's Juche Thought at the University of Toronto.

Oct 29, 2009

NKIDP Coordinator James Person will deliver a talk on the origins and evolution of North Korea's Juche thought at the University of Toronto.

Thursday, 5 November 2009
2:00-4:00pm
108N - North House
Munk Centre for International Studies
1 Devonshire Place, Toronto
Visit the University of Toronto's North Korea Research Group website for more details.

North Korea's national ideology of self-reliance, or Juche, is in its simplest form a rejection of Korea's subservient role in the hierarchical Sino-centric system of international relations that prevailed in East Asia through the late 19th Century. North Korean leader Kim Il Sung first introduced Juche in December 1955, at the height of an internal policy dispute over post-war development strategies that nearly subjugated Pyongyang to the Moscow and Beijing-dominated international communist movement.

When first introduced, Juche served as an anti-foreign or anti-hegemonic slogan designed to discredit those who sought to mechanically import Soviet and Chinese practices to North Korea. Juche evolved over the course of the next decade through a series of practical responses to domestic and international challenges, and by 1965, Kim Il Sung declared Juche to be the official ideology of the DPRK.

Although North Korea has never been truly self-reliant (though the self-portrayal of self-reliance was nearly made a reality with the collapse of Pyongyang's trading partners in the late 1980s and 1990s), it has managed to balance its relations, never becoming overly-dependent or subservient to any other state. Indeed, North Korea's recent "150-day battle" can be interpreted as an attempt to mobilize indigenous human and material resources to avoid becoming overly-dependent on China.

Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Charles Kraus // Program Assistant
  • Roy O. Kim // Program Assistant