Opinion: North Korea one step closer to the edge

The isolated landNightearth Image Courtesy

The isolated land
Nightearth Image Courtesy





Pedro Rodrigues

Bullying in the wrong playground, North Korea is one step closer to the edge

Just like a kid showing-off his firecrackers in hope to play around with the grown-ups’ gang, North Korea is pushing the threads maybe a little too harsh as far as the transnational arena’s view is concerned. After the third nuclear test in a seven years period, the patience of neighbour countries is becoming increasingly thin as the motives behind the idiosyncratic regime’s actions are getting harder to decipher. What is Kim Jung-un trying to prove exactly?

When earlier this month a North Korean propaganda video was released, depicting the nation’s “arch-enemy” America as the target of a massive missile strike, experts knew that one more joker was about to be played by the secretive state.

At 11:57 (02:57 GMT) of the 12th, a powerful explosion was detected in the northern region of Punggye-ri, followed three hours later by an official confirmation from the regime-own news agency KCNA. Either in defiance of bans or just playing around the “I’m not scared of you” game over the “outrageous” US hostility, the test was confirmed to be twice as strong as the 2009’s attempt, still under Kim Jung-il’s rule.

To be fair, nothing is left for chance by the gigantic propaganda locomotive that is North Korea. Key moments in the country’s history always coincided with a peculiar mix of occasions and anniversaries, nailing both international and domestic affairs in one sparkly bam.

There is no denying that behind the party’s big brotherly figures there always have been some hawk-eyed strategic councillors on the backstage keeping the machine at full steam. More than hijacking Obama’s speech on the state of the union, in one shot Jung-un kissed the fragile net of the neighbourhood leadership while savouring a proven iron-first persona back at home, worthy of Kim Jung-il’s iconic rule over Pyongyang.

All in all, the grown-ups were swift in the response: expressions like “highly provocative”; “serious threat” or “isolation” flooded the western media as the UN vowed to strengthen the sanctions over Pyongyang. That Kim Jung-un has the moves there is no doubt. Yet this raises a subsequent question: Why the constant need to flash harassing power, even if it means further political and strategic isolation from its own allies?

I can hardly stress enough how much it feels like North Korea is moving towards a lonely cold-ward, played over a half filled chess board. Although the regime clings on to the “will never bow to any resolutions” state of mind, it’s impossible to ignore that apart from being the most heavily sanctioned country in the world, North Korea has a fragile closed economy, with nowhere to go but down.


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