It’s called, by some, the Hermit Kingdom; withdrawn from world events and ideologically stern, North Korea has defiantly held out as one of the globe’s last Marxist-Leninist states. There are, however, signs of possible change. In the wake of August flooding that killed hundreds and destroyed important crops, North Korea has, at the behest of China, Japan, the United States, South Korea and Russia, vowed to dismantle its main nuclear reactor complex at Yongbyon.
The development is encouraging and one that belies a long pattern of negative behavior (abduction of foreign nationals, assassinations, invasion of South Korea) and reckless military spending (nearly one-third of the nation’s GNP--the U.S. spends between 4 and 5 percent). It’s hard to know if this is the watershed the world’s been looking for, but a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would be a big step toward alleviating the tension that’s hung over the region for over 60 years.
A great way to keep up on events in the Koreas and other regions is to check our periodical and newspaper databases. EBSCO offers timely access to popular and specialized journals and magazines like the Economist (1990-present) and Foreign Affairs (1922-present), while Newsbank provides access to award-winning newspapers like the San Jose Mercury News (1985-present), San Francisco Chronicle (1985-present), and Sacramento Bee (1984-present). To use these databases, you only need a library card number and a Personal Identification Number (PIN). For instructions on obtaining a PIN, click here.
The Sacramento Public Library also carries several books on the crisis between the two Koreas. Here are a few:
Jasper Becker, Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005.
Gordon Chang, Nuclear Showdown: North Korea takes on the World, Random House, New York, 2006.
Ted Carpenter, The Korean Conundrum: America's troubled relations with North and South Korea, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2004
Bruce Cumings, Inventing the Axis of Evil: the Truth about North Korea, Iran, and Syria, New Press, New York, 2004.
Don Oberdorfer, The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History, Addison-Wesley Pub., Reading, Mass, c1997, 2001.
Please also note that on Wednesday, January 30, 2008, at 6:00 pm at the Central Library, CSUS history professor Arthur Williamson, Ph.D., will discuss the Cold War and its impact on the current geopolitical state of the world. To register, call 264-2920 or logon to www.saclibrary.org.