North Korea is the last Stalinist state, a one-man dictatorship that also joined the nuclear club in 2006. Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of Kim Jong-il, was declared as his father's successor after the latter passed away.
It is in essence a failed state trying to suppress its people. It could be called fascism in its worst form as there is no free opinion, people are murdered in case someone speaks out against the “Great Leader”, citizens are being watched at all times, everything is being censored and foreigners who enter the country are closely monitored and cannot speak with locals about what is going on in the country. Citizens are being told what to do, what to say and even what to wear at all times. A good example of this is when Kim Jong-il died and the whole country was mourning, throwing them on the ground and crying their eyes out.
Loss of face:
In late February 2012, North Korea agreed to suspend all nuclear weapon tests and uranium enrichments as well as allowing international inspectors to verify and monitor activities at its main reactor. This was a part of a deal for American food aid to the isolated nation.
Although North Korea has agreed before to halt its nuclear program, only to back out and demand more concessions, still, both South Korea and Japan saw it as the first step towards improvement even though they were somewhat skeptical.
Then came the launch of the $450 million satellite “Bright shining star”, which exploded in mid-air about a minute after liftoff and plunged into the Yellow Sea. This failed project came at a time when Kim Jong-un wanted to mark his political power as the country marked its biggest holiday ever; the 100th birthday of his grandfather and North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung.
The failed launching brought broad international condemnation including the suspension of food aid by the United States amid suspicions that North Korea might have more tricks up its sleeve. The government tried it’s hardest to frighten the West including its neighbour in the South but instead suffered loss of face and 240,000 tons of food aid worth $200milion. South Korean foreign minister Kim Sug-hwan was quick to comment after the rocket launch. “It is very regrettable that North Korea is spending enormous resources on developing nuclear and missile capabilities while ignoring the urgent welfare issue of the North Korean people such as chronic food shortages”.
The Legacy of Kim Jong-Il:
Called the “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il had been the eccentric ruler of North Korea, which was founded by his father, Kim Il-sung. The two Kims have been the only leaders the country has known and have managed to lead the country into disaster with their policies.
The problem is in the sociopathic behavior that has been transferred from father to son for three generations. When Kim Jong-un was unveiled as his father’s heir in 2010, he was given two powerful military titles: four-star general and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. With his father’s death, the support of the military is crucial if Kim Jong-un is to consolidate power.
The bizarre mind of Kim Jong-un can be explained through his still immature state where he orchestrates temper tantrums and threats of punishments to get his way in the international world.
Provocative attitude and self imposed isolation:
Kim Jong-il transformed North Korea into a nuclear power as well as the most isolated state in the world, while a huge number of people starved as money flowed into the country’s military programs. The United States and its allies have for years been unable to find a solution except for applying sanctions and appealing to China.
Even though malnutrition has improved marginally, still one in five North Korean children are underweight according to the World Food Programme. Malnutrition has been caused by years of economic mismanagement and underinvestment, and was made worse in 2011 by poor weather and a reduction of food imports from China and South Korea.
Apparently North Korea hasn’t learned from past mistakes. In 2009, South Korea donated $13 million for a World Health Organization program to send medicine and medical supplies to the North, but then asked the United Nations to suspend the distribution of the aid following the sinking of its warship, the Cheonan, in March 2010.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Obama of being incompetent and naive in handling North Korea.
"Instead of approaching Pyongyang from a position of strength, President Obama sought to appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as naive as it was short-lived. This incompetence from the Obama administration has emboldened the North Korean regime and undermined the security of the United States and our allies," Romney said.
The international community must focus its attention to the plight of the North Korean people. The countries and agencies involved in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear crisis should come second and measures should be taken to relax the stringent rules for providing essential food supplies and basic commodities to North Koreans. The nations that advocate human rights and democracy must give serious thought to the people dying of hunger and disease. Sometimes values needs to put on the back burner and the helping hand must be provided irrespective.
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