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Changes in the Climate Change Discourse of North Korea: A Media Coverage Analysis

  • Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Abbr : JAPS
  • 2019, 26(3), pp.65-101
  • DOI : 10.18107/japs.2019.26.3.003
  • Publisher : Institute of Global Affairs
  • Research Area : Social Science > Social Science in general
  • Received : August 17, 2019
  • Accepted : September 17, 2019
  • Published : September 30, 2019

Yun, Sun-Jin 1 Saerom Ahn 1 Hong, Jong Ho 1 Lee, Chan-hee 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In order to cope with consequences of rapid climate change on the Korean peninsula, active environmental cooperation between North and South is critical. To do this, we need to look at how North Korea understands climate change. This study traces North Korea’s discourse on climate change from 2009 to 2017 through an analysis of North Korean media reports. 968 articles related to climate change were collected from “Rodong Sinmun” and “Minju Joseon,” which are representative media of North Korea. In addition, only nouns were extracted from the headlines of articles containing ‘climate’ or ‘warming’ in the text, and the contents and characteristics of the discussion on climate change over time were reviewed by comparing the yearly word cloud and the keywords network. Analysis of discourses on climate change over time were carried out through news reports, and the contents and characteristics were reviewed by yearly word cloud and key word network analysis. As a result, the biggest change in North Korea’s discourse on climate change was the regime change. Both Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un regimes, in general, stress that climate change is a serious problem that can bring about a global food crisis, and that international joint efforts and alternative energy developments are needed. However, unlike the Kim Jong-il regime’s self-rehabilitation and Arctic development discourse, science farming and forest response discourse were formed in the Kim Jong-un regime. In particular, the Kim Jong-un regime is distributing more concrete discourses on the meaning, consequences, and countermeasures of climate change compared to the previous regime, and actively discourses on climate change adaptation. This study can contribute to the search for directions and measures for future North-South climate cooperation by identifying North Korea’s understanding of climate change, its willingness to respond, and its needs.

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