Most people think of North Korea as a dusty, backwards, and isolated part of the world. But while it has been a closed society since the Korean War, the country is slowly inching towards a more globalized state. Though heavily regulated by the government, citizens have more access to the outside world with increased access to the internet, lower tariffs, and more economic ties.
In 2017, the nation began to engage more with the world, taking steps toward a more globalized presence. North Korea became a member of the International Telecommunications Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations, signaling its intent to join the global community. In the same year, it announced plans to develop its own cryptocurrency, a move meant to increase its global efficiency as payments could be processed more quickly.
Perhaps the most notable event that occurred in 2017 was when North Korea sent a representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. This was an especially important moment because the North Korean representative discussed the importance of strengthening ASEAN-Korean relations, a notion that was previously unimaginable.
In 2018, North Korea further stepped up its globalizing efforts by expanding its internet access, allowing citizens to access popular websites like Facebook, YouTube and Google. The country also opened up more trade routes with its allies allowing for more imports and exports and setting up infrastructure for international economic and business endeavors. North Korea even opened its doors to foreign tourists, with the country’s official tourism site now providing information and maps to travelers considering a visit.
These efforts show signs of progress. Yet, the country still has a long way to go in terms of globalization. In 2020, North Korea was listed as one of the least globalized countries in the world, according to the Globalization Index. The country lags behind virtually all of its global peers, with an economic score of only 0.82 out of 10, a port score of 0.19 out of 10 and a postal score of 0.44 out of 10.
That said, experts see hope in North Korea’s potential to become more globalized. The country is in a unique position to take advantage of the knowledge and resources of its neighbors, as well as global technology and investment.
Some experts suggest that North Korea engaging in global affairs could be beneficial, as it could potentially lead to a more stable economy, more foreign investment, and improved infrastructure. Increased engagement could also lead to increased access to political, social, and economic information, as well as increased opportunities for its citizens.
Though it has been slow to catch up to the rest of the world, North Korea may yet become a more open and globalized society. As it loosens its strict regulations and becomes more embedded into the international community, there is the potential for progress and growth.
North Korea’s Trade Partners
North Korea has become increasingly active in international trade. In October of 2018, the nation joined the World Trade Organization, as part of a larger agreement with the United States. Now, more than 150 nations participate in trade agreements with North Korea, while 15 countries have signed a free trade agreement.
North Korea’s largest trading partners are China, Russia and South Korea. China is North Korea’s most important economic partner and the country accounts for around 85% of North Korea’s total trade volume. Russia is the second largest partner with 10% of the country’s total trade volume, while South Korea accounts for 5%.
North Korea is also increasingly engaging in trade agreements with African nations. It has recently signed trade agreements with Uganda and Zimbabwe and is exploring other opportunities across the continent. This is an important move for the country, as it will provide greater access to economic and social resources.
Trade between North Korea and other nations is helping to increase the country’s global presence. New markets and more diverse partnerships provide more opportunities for economic growth and development.
The Role Of Technology In Increasing Globalization
Technology is playing a major role in North Korea’s increasing globalization. The country has begun to invest in technology, particularly in the digital and communication sectors. Connectivity and broadband access are improving, allowing citizens to access global information, news, and entertainment.
North Korea is also investing in renewable energy projects and utilizing new technologies, such as 3D printing, in its industries. Moreover, the country is looking to develop, or purchase, its own satellite technology. This could provide even greater access to global resources and information, which could, in turn, help fuel economic and social growth.
The country is also exploring ways to increase its efficiency. In 2017, the North Korean government tested its own cryptocurrency, which could potentially be used to increase global efficiency in payments and other financial transactions.
Though North Korea is still inching forward carefully when it comes to globalizing its society, technology is playing a major role in the process. As the country continues to develop and purchase technology, it will likely become more embedded in global society and move even closer to becoming more globally connected.
The Benefits Of Globalization For North Korea
Globalization could provide North Korea many benefits, including access to new markets, and a better understanding of international financial and trading systems. Globalization could also help the country in terms of economic growth and development. By participating in global economic events, North Korea could learn about and implement modern methods of production and service delivery.
Globalization could also lead to increased access to political, social, and environmental information. By engaging with other countries, North Korea could become more informed about global events, helping to shape its foreign policies and create better international relations.
Finally, increased globalization could lead to increased opportunities for its citizens. As the country becomes more connected, its citizens will have greater access to education and open up more global career possibilities.
Though globalization may be an uncomfortable transition for North Korea, it could provide many benefits and open up new possibilities for its citizens. By further engaging with other nations, North Korea could become more informed and open to global events, creating a more prosperous and secure future.
The Challenges Of Globalization
Globalization could also present a few challenges to North Korea. One challenge is creating a more open society while still preserving its values and way of life. North Korea is committed to preserving its traditions and culture, and this could be difficult in a more globalized society.
Another challenge is managing its resources. With increased access to global markets and technologies, North Korea must be careful to ensure it does not become overly reliant on foreign suppliers and technologies. It is important for the nation to develop and utilize its own resources in order to maintain economic and political stability.
Additionally, particular tensions may arise in a more globalized North Korea. By engaging with other countries, the nation will have to confront a range of different opinions and perspectives, potentially complicating decisions and foreign policies.
Globalization can be a difficult process, and North Korea will have to remain mindful of potential problems. By ensuring it develops its own resources and remains committed to its values, North Korea may be better equipped to face the challenges of globalization.
Assessing North Korea’s Progress Towards Globalization
In the past few years, North Korea has taken several steps towards becoming a more globalized society. From its membership in the International Telecommunications Union to its engagement in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the country appears to be making progress in its attempts to become more connected to the global community. However, there is still a ways to go. North Korea still lags behind its global peers in terms of economic and port scores and access to global markets.
The country’s progress in this realm also appears to depend heavily on its relationship with the United States. As the two nations engage in more dialogue, North Korea may be better able to take advantage of the knowledge and resources of its trading partners, as well as global technology, and investment.
The process of globalization is complex, and progress is often slow. Yet, with time, and by engaging carefully with other nations, North Korea has the potential to become a more open and globalized society and reap the rewards that come with it.