chapter  6
22 Pages

Reversal of fortunes, 1971–80 The talks begin – The DPRK in the 1970s – The Yushin years in

When the Fifth KWP Congress opened in Pyongyang on 2 November 1970, it confirmed that political authority in the DPRK rested solely with Kim Il Sung. The Party had left its collectivist phase behind and now celebrated its dependence on the wisdom and judgement of Kim as its genius-leader. Kim reached this position of supreme power at a time when the DPRK faced a number of significant challenges to its basic state policies. The stagnating economy represented a growing dilemma, for by the early 1970s new inputs of investment and technology and more sophisticated, decentralized economic decision making were essential if the country was to address the serious shortcomings that had emerged during the 1960s. Similarly, the foundations of the DPRK’s foreign policy were severely challenged by Sino-US rapprochement and Soviet-US detente. These processes strengthened the commitment of the DPRK’s major allies to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, and hence to a continuing division that remained unacceptable to the DPRK.