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"Leading up to the 8th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea in January 2021, North Korea emphasized the notion of ‘self-reliance’ to overcome its calamities under COVID-19. It emphasized science and technology as the key to the concept, asserting the importance of self sufficiency and self-sustainability in the lessons of the socialist movement. ...As the pandemic unfolds and the digital economy expands, one of the biggest changes to the hermit kingdom’s capacity to enable “self-reliance” is indeed its hacking mechanisms in cyberspace."

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The Understanding North Korea roundtable series is a joint program of the National Committee on North Korea and the Wilson Center’s Hyundai Motor - Korean Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy. The roundtable series was established to enable emerging scholars of North Korea to share their research ideas with peers and experts in the field, and to publish their findings in a format accessible to a general audience.

This paper reflects the views of the author alone and not those of the National Committee on North Korea, the Wilson Center, or any other organizations.

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About the Author

Dr. June Park

2021-22 Fung Global Fellow of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University.

Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy

The Center for Korean History and Public Policy was established in 2015 with the generous support of the Hyundai Motor Company and the Korea Foundation to provide a coherent, long-term platform for improving historical understanding of Korea and informing the public policy debate on the Korean peninsula in the United States and beyond.  Read more