The second half of 2002 witnessed dramatic ups and downs in North Korea's internal, external, and inter-Korean relations. The period contrasted with the relatively quiet first half. North Korea's shift started on the internal front with economic improvement measures unveiled on July 1. These measures were deemed extraordinary in both scope and intensity. On the external front, Pyongyang surprised the entire international community twice: on September 17, when the Japanese prime minister visited Pyongyang, and on October 17, when it was announced that North Korea had admitted to a visiting U.S. envoy the existence of a uranium enrichment program for developing nuclear weapons. After this disclosure, North Korea's external relations steadily deteriorated. The U.S. cut off its supply of heavy fuel oil to North Korea in December, and North Korea responded by removing seals and other monitoring devices installed by the International Atomic Energy Agency under the Geneva Agreed Framework. In inter-Korean relations, however, things went relatively smoothly. A number of important cooperative projects materialized, notably the connection of railways and roads, reunions of separated families, construction of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, and others. Overall, the future prospects for North Korea do not look promising, mainly due to the worsening external environment after the disclosure of the uranium enrichment program. Should this issue drag on, it is likely to aggravate not only North Korea's internal and external relations but inter-Korean projects as well.
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Errata: In the September/October 2016 issue (volume 56 number 5, pages 836 and 849), there was a technical printing error in Figures 1b and 2 of the article by Ajay Raina that resulted in a loss of data on the graphs. This online article contains the restored figures in their original, correct state. The error is regretted.