It's Naïve to Take Kim Jong-un's 'Friendship' Talk at Face Value

      October 12, 2020 13:36

      North Korea unveiled a new mobile intercontinental ballistic missile at a military parade on Saturday marking the 75th anniversary of the Workers Party. The new ICBM is believed to be capable of carrying a warhead that is twice as large as previous missiles and could be capable of carrying two to three nuclear warheads that can simultaneously strike multiple cities in the U.S.

      North Korea is faced with extreme economic hardship after years of international sanctions exacerbated by the border lockdown with China, coronavirus and recent flooding. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un fought back tears as he repeatedly thanked his people in his speech at the parade and even told them he is "ashamed," suggesting that the economic situation there is extremely bad.

      There is one simple way North Korea can resolve its economic woes -- scrap its nuclear weapons. U.S. President Donald Trump told Kim several times that his country faces a "bright future" if it gives up its nukes. Yet the North Korean leader is headed in the opposite direction. With the U.S. presidential election just around the corner, the North unveiled the new ICBM capable of striking targets on the American mainland, a blatant signal that it could resort to another provocation regardless of who becomes the next U.S. president. It was quite surreal to watch so many North Koreans attending the massive event without face masks. Did the North not use the excuse of coronavirus prevention for the brutal murder of a South Korean official at sea and incinerating his body?

      The North also unveiled new weapons designed to attack South Korea, and more than two weeks after the murder of the official, the North has yet to respond to President Moon Jae-in's demand for a joint investigation. But at the same time Kim said, "I hope that the day comes soon when this health crisis is overcome and the North and South can once again join hands." Kim is extending one hand to the South while clenching the other into a fist. Yet Cheong Wa Dae was quick to rejoice at this drivel and is "assessing the North's intention to restore South-North relations."

      The ruling Minjoo Party said Kim's comments were "unprecedented" and interpreted them as a "response to our will to restore the halted peace process." Of course this response should not really be surprising from politicians who were moved to tears of gratitude after Kim said he was "sorry" for the murder. Yet every time it provides a fresh jolt of incredulity.

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