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Hofstra University, Department of Global Studies & Geography GEOG 113C – Geography of East and Southeast Asia Professor: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue Topic 8.

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Presentation on theme: "Hofstra University, Department of Global Studies & Geography GEOG 113C – Geography of East and Southeast Asia Professor: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue Topic 8."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hofstra University, Department of Global Studies & Geography GEOG 113C – Geography of East and Southeast Asia Professor: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue Topic 8 – The Excluded: North Korea, Burma, Cambodia and Laos A – Geopolitical Exclusion: North Korea and Burma B – Socioeconomic Exclusion: Cambodia and Laos

2 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue Conditions of Usage ■ For personal and classroom use only Excludes any other form of communication such as conference presentations, published reports and papers. ■ No modification and redistribution permitted Cannot be published, in whole or in part, in any form (printed or electronic) and on any media without consent. ■ Citation Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Dept. of Global Studies & Geography, Hofstra University.

3 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue Southeast Asia: The Excluded South China Sea Thailand Cambodia Laos Burma India China Vietnam Philippines Malaysia Mekong

4 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue The Excluded: A Comparative Framework North KoreaBurmaCambodiaLaos 22 Million50 million14 million5.7 million Almost all Korean. Little information available; statistics unreliable. Buddhism and Christianity. “Cult of personality”. Ethnic diversity: Burmese (Tibetan and Chinese origin); 68%. Chin (India), Shan (Thais) and Mon (Cambodia) minorities. 90% Khmer. 95% Buddhist (Theravada). Chinese and Vietnamese minorities. Altitudinal distribution. Lao Loum (lowland 65%). Minorities in the hills and mountainous areas; Lao Theung (midland; 25%); Lao Sung (highland; 10%). Lao Sung Partition of Korea (1948). Korean War ( ). One of the most isolated country in the world. Kim Il-Song ( ). Kim Jong-Il (1994-). Became a British colony (1885). A frontline during WWII (Burma Road). Independence granted (1948). Southern part annexed by Thailand (1833). Annexed to French Indochina (1885). Independence (1954). Khmer Rouge gained control in ( ). Lao kingdoms (14 th to 18 th century). Vassal state of Thailand (18 th century). French protectorate (19 th century). Constitutional monarchy (1954). Civil war ( ). Lao People's Democratic Republic (1975-)

5 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue A. GEOPOLITICAL EXCLUSION: NORTH KOREA AND BURMA 1. North Korea 2. Burma

6 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ A divided country (part 2) Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Not democratic. More a dictatorship (leader oriented) than a communist system. Under a strict communist regime longer than anywhere else in Pacific Asia. Three-class alliance: Peasants / workers / intellectuals. Unlike China where intellectuals were not trusted by the Communist government. “Double-isolation”: The outcome of geopolitical considerations. Against the West (South Korea and the US); since the Korean War. Now against former communist nations: China and Russia; since the mid 1990s.

7 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ North Korea and the Korean War Kim Il-Song ( ): Kim Il-Song Backed by the Soviet Union (educated in Russia). Hard liner communist government north of the 38 th parallel. Preparation for an invasion of South Korea ( ). Known as the “Great Leader” or the “Eternal Leader”. Invasion of South Korea (1950): One year after American troops left. Triggered the intervention of the United States and the United Nations.United States Counter the expansion of communism in Pacific Asia (containment policy).

8 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ Collectivization; the socialist path Soviet backing in rebuilding the post Korean War economy. North Korea had the bulk of Korea’s raw materials and industries. Nationalism and equality in social classes: Abolition of old Confucian structures and the creation of new ones. Political elite with privileges. Mass events architecture.Mass events Agricultural communes. Labor shortages (Korean war casualties): Induced the recruitment of women in the labor force. Initial industrialization strategies successful: Because of Soviet technology and capital. Started a period of self-sufficiency which led to growing incoherence in its economy policy.

9 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ Socialism: From self reliance to self destruction The collapse of Chinese-Soviet relations reinforced North Korean isolationism (1960). Juche (literally self-reliance) ideology: Juche Improvised in the 1950s for the purpose of cutting off the Soviet Union’s influence. North Korea’s Great Leap Forward. Investment in the heavy industry in the early 1960s was a failure. North Korea stopped publishing economic statistics (1965). Goals of five-year plans were never achieved. Reliance on foreign capital and technology: Never paid its debt, which promoted isolationism even further. Lowest credit rate in the world. End of the Cold War: North Korea lost its main ally, the Soviet Union.

10 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ “The fuehrer doctrine”; the flawless leader Cult of personality: “The Suryong (Leader) is an impeccable brain of the living body, the masses can be endowed with their life in exchange for their loyalty to him, and the Party is the nerve of that living body.” To reinforce the authority of the leader (Kim Il-Song, then Kim Jong-Il). Death of Kim Il-Song (1994): Longest term held by an head of state in modern times (50 years). Had his body mummified. Kim Jong Il (The “Dear Leader”) replaced his father as the head of state.Kim Jong IlDear Leader The first father-son transition in a communist regime. Mystifications: Family members attributed heroic acts. The birth of Kim Jong-Il was marked by a new star.

11 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ Dimensions of intellectual enslavement Each household must have portraits of the two leaders. About 4% of the GDP spent in propaganda each year. Birthday institutionalized as the “People's Greatest Holiday”. About 40% of the contents of schoolbooks. Pilgrimage to sites visited by the “dear leader”, including his place of birth. ■ “State of mind” Attempts at creation of a new national identity. Portray North Koreans as morally superior. Control of the media. Control of the media Underline differences; South Koreans (and USA) as antagonists and inferiors.antagonists Mass games.

12 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ Militarized society 25-30% of the GNP in military spending. A standing army of about 1.1 million soldiers. Third largest army in the world. 7.5 million militia and reserve forces.militia 35% of the population integrated in militaristic activities. Maintain the dictatorial government.

13 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ Economic collapse; the failure of socialism Agricultural production: Low agricultural productivity (lack of fertilizers). Deforestation of marginal land for agriculture. Annual grain production from 1987 to 1996 was about 4.4 million tons. Demand was about 6.5 million tons. Shortage of 2.1 million tons of grain every year. Famine of : Combination and natural and economic mismanagement. End of the Soviet Aid (1990). Intense deforestation; flooding destroyed much of the harvest (1995). Claimed an estimated 2 to 3 million lives. Only 10% of North Korea's rice fields could be worked. North Korea had to rely on South Korea (and other nations) for food. Intense misallocations in unproductive projects.misallocations

14 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ The great confiscation of 2009 Development of an active informal economy that underlined the low value of the North Korean currency (Won). State stores unable to provide goods at fixed prices. Removing two zeros from the Won: New 10 Won bill replacing the old 1,000 bill. People could only convert 150,000 old Wons into new Wons (about $60 worth). Transferred wealth to the state. Destroyed savings.

15 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ Rogue State International blackmailing: Using the development of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear) to blackmail the international community for free help. Signed a nuclear non-proliferation pact (1992). Promised to stop nuclear research in exchange of help (1994). Admitted not respecting this engagement (2002). Claimed to have nuclear weapons (2005). Performed an underground nuclear explosion (Oct. 2006). Drug production and smuggling: One the world’s largest supplier; Production of about 40 tons of heroin per year. To earn foreign currencies. Farmers encouraged to grow poppies processed in government factories. Exported through North Korean companies and diplomatic channels.

16 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea Weapons smuggling: Became one of the few sources of foreign income. Sold ballistic missile parts to Pakistan. Tried to sell missile technology to Iraq months before the American invasion (2003). US currency counterfeiting: Producing a “supernote” using the same paper and printing technology than the US Mint.supernote Forced the introduction of new dollar bills designs.

17 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. North Korea ■ Signs of openness Sunshine policy (early 1990s): North Korea started to open to the outside. Played the nuclear game to gain some advantages such as technological and monetary aid. North Korean goods increasingly popular in South Korea (patriotic consumerism).North Korean goods Extraterritoriality: New industrial zone for South Korean industries opened in 2004 at Kaesong. About 33,000 workers. Low North Korean wages ($60 per month). Cultural and linguistic commonalities. Significant technical training required. First freight rail link 2008.

18 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Burma ■ Political control and repression Once the richest country in Southeast Asia (“White Elephants”). Democratic republic ( ): Burma was one of the few country refusing to become a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Political unity but cultural divisions. Different ethnic groups fighting for control. Military coup (1962): The media and the government under the control of a military junta. Political parties were banned and the economy was nationalized. Promoted isolationism. Several communist guerilla movements, promoting instability. Government responded by neutrality in the Cold War period.

19 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Burma ■ Burmese path to socialism and to self destruction Economic collapse: Declared one of the poorest country in the world by the United Nations. Foreign trade, mainly rice, handled by the government. Impose quotas (15-20%) on farmers, purchased at low price. Sold by the government at world price (institutionalized theft). Millions of farmers put into bankruptcy. 1 million Burmese working in Thailand. 50% of the budget taken by the military. The State Law and Order Restoration Council (1988): Official name of the military governing body. Burma was officially renamed Myanmar (1989). Civil wars by ethnic minorities (Shan and Karen); control a third of the country. Most rebel groups have signed cease-fire accords with the junta.

20 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Burma ■ Narcotic economy 70% of the population in agriculture. Informal economy oriented along drug production: Backed by the junta (military government). Parts of the country controlled by warlords: Notably the Shan state (Karen rebel group), formally part of Thailand. Been in a state of civil war for more than 50 years. Constant struggles to control the lucrative drug market.

21 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Burma ■ Conditions for drug production and trade Poor rural population living on marginal land: Limited productivity of rural land. Difficult to access. Often an ethnic minority. Limited political control and rule of law: Weak / corrupted nation state. Civil unrest, especially in remote regions. Lack of central government control. Warlordism. Porous boundaries: Same ethnic groups on both sides. Artificial or contested boundaries. Difficult to enforce border control.

22 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Burma ■ The Golden Triangle Highlands of northern Indochina: Overlaps Thailand, Laos and Burma, with parts of Vietnam and China (Yunnan province). Lawless segment of the region: Eastern Burma controlled by the United Wa State Army. Opium production by mountain tribes (19 th century): Opiummountain tribes Chased from southern China. Fast growth until the 1990s: 60-70% of the world’s opium. 98% of the production took place in Burma. 70% of the heroin in the US came from the Golden Triangle. Burma Vietnam Drug Hub Bangkok Thailand Yunnan Hong Kong Hanoi Laos Phnom Penh

23 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Burma Methamphetamine (“Ice”) is a more recent production: Increase the amount of dopamine in the brain. Instant addiction. Severe withdrawal effect. Known as Yaa Baa, “the drug that turns you mad”; caffeine added. $35,000 to $50,000 per kilogram. More lucrative than regular crops: Poppy farmers earn $ per kg of raw opium. Raw opium converted to 700 grams heroin brick in a factory worth $4,000. Brick worth $80,000 in New York. Turned into 28,000 doses of “cut” heroin earning $280,000.

24 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Burma ■ Demise of the Golden Triangle? Sharp decline in opium production since Drug production increasingly marginalized. Thailand: Produces little opium; production collapsed in the early 1990s. Subject to intense drug trafficking along its border. 2-3 million drug users in Thailand. Economic integration of Burmese border regions with China. New road between Kunming and Bangkok opened in 2008.

25 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue Opium Cultivation (in hectares),

26 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue “Street Price” of Heroin, Europe and United States ($US / gram)

27 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Burma ■ Reform failures First elections (1990): Winner of the League for Democracy (Aung San Suu Kyi) was placed under house arrest shortly after (released in 2010). Elections declared void by the military junta. Won the Nobel Peace Price (1991). Failed nation state. Economic embargo by most nations: Implicit protection from China since Burma is a provider of natural resources. “Saffron revolution” (2007):Saffron revolution Triggered by rising energy prices. Buddhist monks as activists.

28 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue B. SOCIOECONOMIC EXCLUSION: CAMBODIA AND LAOS 1. The Mekong 1. Cambodia 2. Laos

29 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue The Mekong: the hearth of continental Southeast Asia Over 60 million people depend on the Mekong and its tributaries:Mekong Food, water, transport. Production of rice and vegetables on the floodplains.floodplains Along the riverbanks during the dry season. Hydro potential: Many dam projects to harness the power of the Mekong. China has many dam projects upstream. May compromise water flow downstream. Burma Thailand Laos Cambodia Vietnam China 4,800 km (12 th longest in the world)

30 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Cambodia ■ Strong history, weak nation Bulk of the Cambodian population along the Mekong River: Khmer group dominant; ethnic homogeneity. Core of the Khmer Empire: Extended to parts of Thailand, Burma, Laos and Vietnam. At its peak in the 12 th century. Started to decline and being threatened by its neighbors. French protectorate (1863): Sought protection from its neighbors (Thailand). Annexed to Indochina (1887). Declared its independence during WWII (Japanese occupation). Independence (1955): Prince Sihanouk as the head of state. Neutrality in Vietnam wars between 1950 and Weak control.

31 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Cambodia ■ Ho Chi Minh Trail Supplying Viet Minh activities in South Vietnam. Ran through Laos and Cambodia. Neutrality prevented the United States to intervene directly. ■ Loss of neutrality Sihanouk evicted by a general backed by the United States (1970). Cambodia lost its neutrality. Extensive US military action: The world’s most bombed country. More ordinance dropped than during WWII. Triggered a civil war. Da Nang Saigon Phnom Penh Vientiane Laos Cambodia South Vietnam North Vietnam Ho Chin Minh Trail

32 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Cambodia ■ The killing fields North Vietnam supported a communist guerilla: Named the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot. Died without been prosecuted for his crime against humanity (1998). The guerilla was successful at overthrowing the government (1975). A policy of extermination was launched ( ): About 1.5 million Cambodians were exterminated (2) out of 7 millions (20- 33% of the population).exterminated2 Movement to remove pre-revolutionary thinking. Cities were emptied. Population sent to the countryside to be “re-educated”. Focus on canals and irrigation systems. Cambodia lost most of its population with technical skills. It has now become a source of tourism.tourism

33 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 2. Cambodia ■ Restoration and fragility Vietnamese invasion (1978): Vietnam invaded Cambodia and installed a puppet government. The Vietnamese invasion promoted geopolitical instability with Thailand. Vietnam pulled out of Cambodia (1989). UN intervention (1992): Reestablishment of a constitutional monarchy. Lawless society. Tourism as a development tool: Reclaiming its former role as a major tourist destination. Angkor Wat and international tourism.Angkor Wat Received about 1 million tourists in 2004.

34 © Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 3. Laos ■ Development issues Landlocked country: Strong impediment for economic growth. Increase imports and export costs. Almost non-existent industrial sector. Relationships improved with Thailand (1992): Construction of the Thai-Lao Friendship bridge (1994).Thai-Lao Friendship bridge Crosses the Mekong. Links northern Thailand with the capital of Laos, Vientiane. Important hydroelectric potential along the Mekong River basin: Enables Laos to gain foreign currencies. Tourism: Buddhist architecture (Luang Prabang; former royal capital).Buddhist architecture Relatively unspoiled landscape.


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