The New York Times and North Korea

Is there something about the slight shift in ‘The New York Times’ coverage of North Korea that we should know?
NYT in stories, analyses, and editorials has walked lockstep with hard line US policy.

Well, today, it has a ‘pictorial essay’ of North Koreans at a football match, well dressed students descending a stair well, and a reveler in a night club at a Kumgang san [Diamond Mountain] hotel having a swell time at karaoke.
A few weeks ago, the Grey Lady of American journalism was warning in an editorial of the dangers of North Korea’s reckless nuclear programme, as well as its intransigence in boycotting the six party talks in Beijing. And then, there are the articles filed from Seoul, of the DPRK’s collapse, famine, lack of hard currency, and so on.
Is the NYT now telling us of a softening of the Obama administration’s tack? Maybe the decision of the hard line government of South Korea’s president Lee Myung bak to deliver much needed medical supplies to the North is a clue?


Lee is a fierce adversary of Kim Jong il, and a self styled fancier of pushing the North Korean leader to the edge of war, if not starvation, and regime collapse. Ironically, the ROK leader’s strategy backfired when he and the US conducted war exercises with live ammo within spitting distance of North Korea’s territorial waters in the Northern Limit Line in November 2010. The saber rattlers’ shells landed in the DPRK which riposted hitting an ROK military base on Yeongpyeong island. That moment of braggadocio gave Obama food for thought. The US was unwilling to restart the quiescent 67 year old Korean War and stayed Lee’s plans for more military exercises. Washington was in no mood for a third war in Asia, nor would China nor Russia stand for it.
So what’s happening at the present moment? Will Obama deliver on his promise of us$900 million in food aid, in order the relieve famine in the DPRK? Will there be an announcement of a reprise of talks in Beijing?
GuamDiary cannot say for sure. Nonetheless, it keeps an alert eye open.
Once before the US and the world had a more sympathetic and nuanced appreciation of the DPRK in February 2009. At that time, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra preformed an all ‘American’ programme in Pyongyang, to much acclaim. The good will that the event displayed had the half life of a yet unknown element, and then nothing but the same old hard cheese of US foreign policy urged on by the hardliners among the US North Korean clerisy.
Is another opening on the horizon?

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