North Korea has ratcheted up its propaganda. The situation is the most tense, since I first came to Korea in the mid 1990s. However, most of my friends and colleagues, that have lived in Korea far longer than I, are not concerned.
For these old Korean hats, North Korea is simply rattling its little saber, since the tension between the North and the South allows the North Korean population to have an increased sense of nationalism and loyalty to Kim Dynasty; when North Korea, in the past, shook its rattle, the international community provided more foreign aide and the international community increasing accepted the Kim Dynasty as a legitimate government.
Most of these old hates believe that North Korea will never invade the South, since an invasion will, simply, lead to the total destruction of the Kim Dynasty. The saber rattling know is simply to appease the North Korea’s population, obtain more foreign aide and obtain a peace agreement in order to obtain more legitimacy.
I agree with these old hates and, thus, I don’t worry about the new round of saber rattling, I only worry that the South Korean, Japanese or United States will misconstrue the saber rattling and launch a “preemptive strike” that could lead to a small volley of missiles hitting Seoul and Tokyo.
All signs point to these governments not reacting in any way other than the reaction in the past -increased recognition of North Korea as a legitimate government and additional foreign aide.
Maybe the answer is just to ignore and let the North play its hand.
What do you think?
Sean Hayes may be contacted at: [email protected]
Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the only non-Korean to have worked as an attorney for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.