As North Korea conducts a two day elaborate ceremony before entombing Kim Jong il, the uninvited foreign press continues to magnify over the top coverage and perpetuate rumours that may or may not have any ties to reality.
Since the announcement of the ‘Dear Leaders’ death, the western media and South Korea’s have mutilated his corpse and his country as though they had lopped, scrapped, and tied the operation by a blunt knife.
The media coverage has been incomplete: it has dropped many stitches in a loose fitting garment that barely clothes the body of North Korea’s history.
Consider the zeroing in on the misery and starvation of North Koreans. Barely mentioned is the ill luck global warming has visited on the DPRK: sudden flooding wiping out the rice harvest, or the unwelcome affliction of unexpected frost. Furthermore, there is the willful sanctions by the US, the European Union, Australia, and South Korea cutting off food aid and fertilisers, especially since 2008 when Obama and the revanchist Lee Myung bak came into office.
Now these countries, lecture North Korea verbosely and windily on the virtues of democracy and reform that from their bully pulpit they enact policies which not only contradict the high moral tone they have adopted but expose to the world the heartlessness and truly lack of concern for the very people of North Korea they are wanting to rescue from starvation and general misery.
This sleight of hand is cloaked in the false language of promoting human welfare and philanthropy. At the bottom of all this claptrap is a paramount political aim of ‘rolling back’ North Korea to the point of collapse, internal revolt; in plainer terms: regime change.
As GuamDiary has commented, intelligence agencies in the US and South Korea have a sorry record when it comes to North Korea. Like a Diogenes with a candle burning down to its end, they search in the dark for any hint of what’s really going on in the DPRK.
It is a guessing game, and this is no more evident than in resurrecting of the old game of poring over photographs as to who is standing a Kim Jong eun’s side or who is absent. We are ‘rolled back’ to the days of primitive of Kremlinology. And still, the kernel of truth is elusive and even if it is there, you can bloody well count on the US and South Korea to either miss or misinterpret it.
An easier way out of their predicament is to open talks with North Korea. One thing you can say about Kim Jong il is that he never tired in making overtures for talks without preconditions with the US. And each time he made them, the US rebuffed him and heaped on ‘preconditions’, which when examined were really terms of surrender of national sovereignty, something Kim Jong il would never accept for his country. Not only are the US and ROK insistence on their talking points but they are so framed that the North could not in all good conscience accept them.
As GuamDiary has already pointed out, the US and ROK have a garbled understanding of North Korean history going back 80 years to the day Kim Il Sung began his guerrilla war against the Japanese colonisers. These two countries and allies who have rigorously coordinated their policies towards the DPRK have deliberately pushed the envelop to the extremes: they have revived the Korean War in Cold War techniques in the hope that North Korea will collapse on its own fragility and weight. Wrong!
The pendulum does swing back, and in the end, the US and the ROK, especially the ROK after the 2012 presidential elections, will have to revive in some form or the other the ‘Sunshine Policy’ which the revanchist Lee Myung bak scuppered within the first few hours he occupied the Blue House. It is not for nothing that the ‘unofficial delegation from the South’ to pay respect to Kim Jong il had Kim Dae Jung’s widow as well as the widow Hyun of the man who founded Hyundai and funded projects in North Korea.
The US still has the chance to release us$900m in food aid and begin thinking of calling a conference on a peace treaty ending the Korean War, a conference which will result in mutual diplomatic recognition as well as modalities to denuclearise the divided Korean peninsula. Is the Obama administration savvy to do this or will it remain prisoner to the Korean War already in its seventh decade?