This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Balázs Szalontai. They speak about the origins and the evolution that occurred with in the North Korean socio-political system from 1945 to 1994 with the death of Kim Il-sung, the impact of Japanese colonial rule, the creation of this system under Soviet occupation, the impact of significant events such as the Korean War, the factionalism and in-fighting that happened, the purges and the eventual dynastic succession, and importantly why the North Korean socio-political system looks the way it does today and why it has been able to hold onto power for so long.
Balázs Szalontai is a Professor at Korea University, a former-Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor at Mongolian International University of Science and Technology, and a former-Research Associate at the Institute for International Education in Seoul. Balázs is the author of ‘Kim Il Sung in the Khrushchev Era: Soviet-DPRK Relations and the Roots of North Korean Despotism, 1953-1964’ and ‘North Korea Caught in Time: Images of War and Reconstruction’. He is also the author of ‘Captives of the Past: The Questions of Responsibility and Reconciliation in North Korea’s Narratives of the Korean War’, and his academic works can be found at: Balazs Szalontai | Korea University, Republic of Korea - Academia.edu