Robert Winstanley-Chesters, North Korean Pomiculture 1958–1967: Pragmatism and Revolution

Robert Winstanley-Chesters, ‘North Korean Pomiculture 1958–1967: Pragmatism and Revolution,’ Papers of the British Association for Korean Studies, Vol. 16 (2015): 117–128. 

Full text available here: Winstanley-Chesters, BAKS Papers 16

Abstract: Building on the author’s past analysis of North Korea’s history of developmental approach and environmental engagement, this paper encounters the field of pomiculture (or orchard development and apple farming) in the light of another key text authored by Kim Il-sung, 1963’s “Let Us Make Better Use of Mountains and Rivers.” At this time North Korea had left the tasks of immediate agricultural and industrial reconstruction following the Korean War (1950–1953) behind and was engaged in an intense period of political and ideological triangulation with the great powers of the Communist/Socialist bloc. With relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union in flux and Chairman Mao’s development and articulation of the “Great Leap Forward,” North Korea was caught in difficult ideological, developmental and diplomatic crosswinds. Utilising narratives of development in the pomicultural sector and accompanying political literature as exemplars, this paper considers Pyongyang’s negotiation of this flux as expressed in these developmental terms. Amongst the orchards of Chagang province, ultimately the paper uncovers elements of reflexivity, pragmatism and charismatic political articulation that will be familiar to the contemporary analyst of North Korean matters.