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PacNet #39 – What a Week for North Korea

In 20-odd years of following North Korea, there have been weeks – months, even – when nothing much discernibly happened. In recent years that has been less the case. Last week events came thick and fast. On Tuesday, Sept. 17, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi flew to Pyongyang for what may prove a turning point in ties with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The same day, Seoul’s Mr. Football, Hyundai scion Chung Mong-joon, declared his long-expected candidacy for South Korea’s presidential election on December 19. As yet he doesn’t have either a party or a program, but polls suggest he could still become Kim Dae-jung’s successor.