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North Korea

Yearbook 1998

North Korea. The Geneva talks between North Korea, South Korea, the United States and China on a Korean peace treaty, initiated in December 1997, continued in March and October but without progress. One reason was N's demand for calls even for taking home the US's 37,000 soldiers from South Korea and for separate peace between North Korea and the US, demands that the US completely rejected.

1998 North Korea

The contacts between North and South Korea, formally still at war, were marked as before by both peace messengers and deep mistrust. In June, when the founder of South Korean Hyundai Group Chung Ju Yung shipped 500 cattle across the border to help with food shortages in the north, North Korea claimed 71 animals had died since being poisoned in South Korea. In October, however, Chung was able to deliver a second, equally large livestock transport.

Hyundai was also behind the two historic tourist cruises that in November, for the first time, allowed South Koreans to visit the closed North Korea. The tour gave over 1,000 tourists, many born in the north before the country's split in 1945, an insight into the neighboring country's tough, poor everyday life, but the visit was also rigorously monitored by North Korean guards.

Despite three years of emergency deliveries from the outside world, N's food shortage and famine persisted. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders said in April that a large part of the aid has stayed with the military and officials. Five months later, Doctors Without Borders announced that they had to leave North Korea after collaboration with the regime broke down. In November, the Red Cross maintained that the state of livelihood was critical and that "a whole generation of North Korean children received but for life" by the famine.

In other ways, the communist regime also raised concerns. On August 31, the country fired a rocket over Japan, which angrily protested against what was seen as a trial shot of a long-range robot. North Korea claimed to have placed its first satellite in orbit.

In the fall, tensions between North Korea and the United States increased since Americans demanded to inspect a large underground complex, discovered via spy satellites. The suspicion was that North Korea where again trying to develop nuclear weapons, something the country declined in exchange for modern nuclear technology from the United States, Japan and South Korea. N. refused to let inspectors get there and accused the United States of wanting to trigger a war.

According to Countryaah, the country's highest leader, party and military chief Kim Jong Il, was elected to parliament on July 26. But his long-awaited appointment for president also failed. Instead, his father, the 1994 deceased Kim Il Sung, was named North Korea's "eternal president".

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