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Energy Security in North Korea: From Defiance to Survival

The article below was written by IWP alumna Patricia L Schouker and published by the Foreign Policy Association.

With our ever-growing needs for electricity and our consumption habits, night time is not like what it was a few decades ago. Now our cities are as illuminated as in the middle of the day. Hence the astonishment in discovering this photograph of North Korea plunged into complete darkness.

It is easy to imagine the surprise of astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) when they photographed East Asia and saw a ‘black hole’ between China and South Korea. No, the Sea of Japan has not joined the Yellow Sea by drowning North Korea. According to the NASA: “Coastlines are often very apparent in night imagery, as shown by South Korea’s eastern shoreline. But the coast of North Korea is difficult to detect. These differences are illustrated in per capita power consumption in the two countries, with South Korea at 10, 162 kilowatt hours and North Korea at 739 kilowatt hours.”

How can we explain the total blackness of this country of 25 million inhabitants? In a few words, the legacy of the Kim Dynasty.

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