Imitation is a third potential source of illicit income. Given the considerable expertise of North Korean counterfeiters, the transition to new U.S. monetary models has been partly undertaken to discourage their activities. In Macau, Cambodia and Russia, there have been high-level counterfeit busts. South Korean secret service estimates $15 million per year (Perl 1999); U.S. officials believe that this estimate is high. In 2000, North Korea experienced strong diplomatic activity, culminating in the North-South Summit in June 2000. The announcement of the North-South Summit in April 2000 stunned the world. The time, three days before the elections to the South Korean National Assembly, where the Kim Dae-jungs party was lagging in the polls, raised the question of whether this rapprochement was real or whether it could be more than a tactical maneuver on the part of the North Koreans who, in real time, make maximum concessions from a weak Kim Dae-jung and buy insurance against a harder line from the U.S. government that could come into office in January 2001.
Skepticism has been fuelled by the history of North Korea`s blackmail on foreign resources to ensure its participation in diplomatic activities, and by South Korea`s own history of “checkbook diplomacy,” particularly in the process of normalizing relations with the USSR. Faced with the Berlin Declaration and Kim Dae-jung`s desire to directly support the economic rehabilitation of the North, many continue to speculate on what President Kim was able to promise the North to secure the announcement of the primary summit. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the main source of foreign aid, North Korea announced in December 1993 a three-year transitional economic policy focusing on agriculture, light industry and foreign trade. However, the country`s shortage of fertilizers, natural disasters and poor storage and transportation practices have remained more than one million tonnes below the country`s per year.   In addition, the lack of foreign exchange to purchase spare parts and oil for electricity generation has left many mills idling.  The evidence on this point is mixed. Some evidence can be provided from North Korean statements. Over the past decade, North Koreans in general (including in writings or statements attributed to Kim Jong-il) have completely appeased reforms in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Foreign influences have been compared to “germs,” “mosquitoes” and other vermin to be contained.
“Reform” has been described as a “honey-coated poison” and an “openness” as a “destabilizing Trojan horse of socialism.” 11 A final evidence can be drawn from North Korean actions. The most important example of economic cooperation between North and South was Hyundai`s contract with Pyongyang.