A DPRK (North Korean) view on the current situation

Might it possibly be the case that we will begin to hear more of the DPRK’s view? Perhaps it is the recklessness of that rogue state known as the USA, perhaps it is the destabilising drive from South Korea’s conservative government, perhaps it is a newly belligerent Japan – all of these may be forcing a few people to ask: what is the DPRK’s position?

A hint may be found in an extraordinary interview on the BBC, of all places. In response to some rather aggressive questions, the Vice-Foreign Minister of the DPRK, Han Song-ryol, offers carefully considered and calm responses. It is worth watching.

Apart from the obvious point that the DPRK has been forced into a weapons program to defend itself from external aggression, especially by the USA, I am taken with the point that the DPRK has taken a particular path of socialism and they do not appreciate being told by others how to live. So also have you taken a path, says Han to the journalist, and you would not take kindly to someone else telling you what to do.


8 thoughts on “A DPRK (North Korean) view on the current situation

  1. Roland, what’s going on with China? From all appearances it seems that China is distancing itself from the DPRK. I’m not ready to jump to any conclusions just yet, but I need your help to figure this out. This is where the rubber meets the road for me. China has got to stand firmly with North Korea even if Russia punks out (and I hope they don’t).

    Why won’t Russia and China make clear to the Americans that they will go to war if the US dares to attack the DPRK? Wouldn’t the Americans have no choice but to back down at that point?

    1. Not sure I can give a full picture here. Above all, China is keen for peace so it can focus on internal processes and problems (and the transition to the second state of socialism – xiaokang – beginning in 2021). At the same time, China is preparing itself more and more to hold its own against any provocation, from working closely with the Russians to updating its armed forces. They have a long tradition of independent foreign policy, but also not provoking war. So Xi Jinping has been on the phone to Trump a couple of times to tell him to back off on North Korea. So far Xi has Trump’s measure, but Trump is like a drunken cowboy. As for the DPRK, China is keen to keep the USA away, so the official position is that nuclear weapons should be removed from the DPRK as a way to do that. Behind the scenes, the Chinese also know that Sadam Hussein and Gaddafi may well have been around today if they had such weapons, so they are not averse to North Korea functioning as a deterrent to US aggression. In the midst of all this, the South Korean elections may see a return to the Sunshine Policy of the early 2000s, with dialogue and cooperation between north and south. That would be clearly in China’s interest.
      Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the Chinese and Russians are closer than they have been for a long time, despite Trump’s claims to be a buddy of Xi Jinping. After all, THAAD is aimed at China and Russia, although both are confident they can negate its effect (the Russians especially have the best system in the world).

      1. Thanks, Roland! It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on because we’re on the outside looking in, but I wonder if I could ask just a couple of follow-up questions. Do you think China is still going to buy their full quota of coal from DPRK despite what they have said officially? Also, can you recommend some good English-language online news sources of official Chinese policy?

        I realize the Chinese have to be very cautious about how they deal with the US, but for the record, I think it looks bad when China votes in the UN security council to support sanctions against DPRK. I was also mad at Russia for doing the same, but Russia doesn’t claim to be socialist anymore. I have to hold China to a higher standard. I am called upon to defend China being socialist a lot, but it’s difficult when they do things like this and also when they have so many billionaires. I think those billionaires could be the reason for some of China’s own schizophrenic behavior when it comes to domestic and foreign policy, from a socialist point of view.

        I’m still with ya, and with China, but my “faith” could use some restoring!

      2. You have probably picked up the latest developments, but the Russians broke the news first. A high level delegation went to Moscow and discussed the Korean situation extensively – in light of ongoing cooperation between the two. One result: both China and Russia have told the USA to get THAAD out of Korea, stressing that this is causing significant instability. Until now, they haven’t said it together, but now they are openly working together.

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