Benjamin Young, ‘The Struggle for Legitimacy: North Korea’s Relations with Africa, 1965–1992,’ Papers of the British Association for Korean Studies, Vol. 16 (2015): 97-116.
Abstract: From the mid-1960s to the late 1980s, Seoul and Pyongyang sought to gain international recognition as the sole government on the Korean peninsula. Africa, the site of many newly independent nations during the Cold War, became the primary battleground for this inter-Korean competition. Focusing on North Korean-African relations, this article examines several African dictators who admired North Korea’s alternative brand of socialist modernity, Pyongyang’s exportation of its Juche (roughly defined as self-reliance) ideology to Africa, and African students who studied in North Korea as part of official diplomatic exchanges. Using archival sources from North Korea’s former communist allies, North Korean newspapers, declassified documents from the U.S. Department of State, and interviews with African students who studied in North Korea in the 1980s, this paper explores an under-researched dimension of North Korea’s diplomatic history and the North Korean leadership’s efforts in Africa to depict the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a model of Third World development.