Oct 17, 2006

On North Korea's War Rhetoric

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il with DPRK soldiers Left: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il with DPRK soldiers; photo courtesy of AP

The North Korean foreign ministry said Tuesday that, in essence, the United Nations declared war on the country when it imposed sanctions for the North's nuclear test.

"It is quite nonsensical to expect the DPRK [North Korea] to yield to the pressure and threat of someone at this time when it has become a nuclear weapons state," the statement read. "The UNSC resolution ... cannot be construed otherwise than a declaration of a war against the DPRK."

I have been unable to locate the statement on the website of KCNA (Korean Central News Agency), the official mouthpiece of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea). Still, the rhetoric is consistent with the bombastic tone generally found in press releases by the DPRK, and I have no reason to question the news reports that quote KCNA.

It is important to read DPRK statements with a built-in propaganda filter, and we should not be overly alarmed by the hyperbole present in its rhetoric, even in phrases such as the "merciless blows" it will mete out to those who violate its sovereignty. This is stock in trade for a regime that has consistently demonstrated a ferocious bark without the proverbial bite.

Chun Yung-Woo, South Korea's lead negotiator in the six-nation talks on the disarmament of the DPRK, described the statements as "the usual rhetoric that they have been using" and that there were "no surprises" in the foreign ministry release.

Unfortunately, my gut reaction is that the Bush administration will use these statements will be used as "evidence" in a continuing campaign to boost support for military action against North Korea, something even South Korea wants to avoid.

Propaganda and spin, alas, are not wholly-owned subsidiaries of the DPRK.


microdot said...

You are probably right about Bush using this, but in his own loopy fashion, he will use this provocative statement from North Korea as a good reason to attack Iran.

wjohnson said...

It is my understanding that the sanctions are on luxury goods that Kim Jong-Il and the upper military leaders have become accustom to. It is being explained to the citizens of the U.S. that the abusive leaders of North Korea are holding the world to a blackmail type scenario so that the industrialized countries give of North Korea financial aid propping up the corrupt government. The money starts with Kim Jong-Il, who will divide a large part to the military leaders, who divide it again to their officers, then enlisted men, to finally to the general population. It looks to me it is describing the “Trickle Down Theory” that has been marketed and sold to the population of our own country. I contend that true wealth trickles up

Mark said...

And lo and behold, our government promises military aid to Japan in case they need it.

Two thoughts: 1) With what troops? Aren't we spread thin enough in Afghanistan and Iraq? Weren't our National Guard troops deployed as well?

2) This isn't 1945 anymore. We aren't Japan's army. Japan is a highly competent and capable nation that can more than likely produce a military to match North Korea's. Do they even need our help?