Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 06/2014

East-West Center Working Papers, Environmental Change, Vulnerability, and Governance Series

Alex S. Forster

March 2014

East-West Center


North Korea is an extremely isolated and impoverished nation. While its political elites are able to enjoy some degree of luxury in spite of UN sanctions, the lower classes suffer from shortages of food, electricity, healthcare, and other basic needs. Many of the lower class and fringe populations reside in rural areas with limited infrastructure, and rely on black markets to survive. Their situation could be dramatically improved if electricity could be provided to their communities to power heating, health clinics, manufacturing facilities, fertilizer plants, and water pumps for agricultural irrigation.