North Korea

 

 

 

A large part of the mystery of the story relates to North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un. One thing we do know is that Kim Jong Un takes himself seriously and that he is adored and even worshipped by the people he leads.  The roots of that go back to their worship of his grandfather, Kim Jong Il-Sung, a leader who was considered a god by the North Korean people.  It is reported that Kim Jong Un’s resemblance to his grandfather is not coincidental but, actually, has been carefully crafted.  Kim Kwang-in, head of the North Korean Strategy Center headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, states that research indicates that Kim Jong Un’s strong resemblance to his grandfather is because North Korea tried to make resemble his grandfather in many ways including possible plastic surgery, gaining weight and even wearing clothes that his grandfather would have worn.

 

 

This new, young leader mimicking his grandfather appears to have helped North Koreans immediately and enthusiastically embrace as a god-like person a man who, until his father’s death a few months ago, had been virtually unknown.  As his father, Kim Jong Il, had ruled in the shadow of his father, Kim Jong Il-Sung, the North Koreans struggled to establish a firm identity with their leader.  Kim Jong Il apparently lacked the appearance, personality and strong leadership skills to greatly inspire his people.  With Kim Jong Un now appearing as a reincarnation of his grandfather, he assumes his grandfather’s strong persona and is inspiring the North Koreans to look beyond their despicable living conditions, floods, droughts and hunger and, instead, to envision what he sees as their destiny of finding prosperity as they begin to rule the world with strong military efforts and nuclear weapons.

 

So, as a young man (whose actual age isn’t known but is suspected to be in the late 20’s) seeks to inspire his people by assuming a role that bullies the world, that world holds its breath as it waits to find out just our serious, or delirious, this person actually is.

 

The United States has worked to try to help diffuse the tension by announcing that it will return to the negotiating table if Kim Jong Un will reduce focus on nuclear weaponry and pledge that North Korea will become a non-nuclear state.  While there was initially no response to the United States’ proposal, North Korea did react to a similar proposal from South Korea by calling it a “cunning ploy.”  North Korea later responded that it would return to the negotiating table if the U.S. and South Korea cease their joint military drills and the United Nations lifts its sanctions.  The North Korean demands were characterized by South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young as “incomprehensible” and “absurd.”

 

North Korea has followed up by continuing to talk about their next missile launch, consistent with other recent missile launches and tests as demonstrations of its preparation for aggressive actions.  One of the best summaries of the situation came recently from former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell who said that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un would be committing “suicide” if its launches nuclear weapons in an attack.

 

As world leaders wonder if North Korea actually has nuclear weapons with significant range, their theories conflict. As people wonder if other countries with nuclear weaponry and animosity toward the U.S. will partner with North Korea or whether neighboring China might step in to ‘talk them down’, the world waits.  As people debate whether Kim Jong Un is naïve or mentally ill, it realizes that he proudly keeps his finger on a trigger and the world braces itself for what may happen next.