chapter  6
52 Pages

Triage: 1994–2004

ByAdrian Buzo

On 9 July 1994 the DPRK media announced that Kim Il Sung had died of a heart attack the previous day. The country subsequently entered into a three-year period of state mourning, and with normal public Party and government activities suspended, it became difficult for outside observers to detect movements in policy and personnel matters. The death of Kim Il Sung brought no immediate change to state policies. The country entered into a three-year period of mourning, during which the prearranged succession of Kim Jong Il proceeded smoothly, and no purges, dismissals or demotions of senior cadres or other signs of a power struggle in Pyongyang took place. Over an extended period of time, depriving the civilian economy, and especially the agriculture sector, of productive investment inputs necessarily had its outcome in falling output and in the exacerbation of pre-existing and widespread food shortages, triggering the collapse of the PDS in many areas.