Decoding contemporary Korean crisis,An evolutionary perspective

Posted by Pritom Joy Sarma
December 5, 2017

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The period was the aftermath of world war two, when along with other events, Korea got divided along 38th parallel on ideological lines. The northern part followed the principles of communism and state-led growth and the southern part followed the principles of liberal economy. The Korean war took place between (1950-1953) when the North Korean army led by its leader and its eternal president Kim-ll-sung tried to invade South Korea and marched inside its territory. The North Korean army got active support from its ideological mentor soviet union (USSR) which led to the entry of united states into the war. At that time united states was busy in reconstruction activities in Japan after the second world war and it did not have any strategic interests in the Korean peninsula,but as the crisis initially happened along ideological lines and the cold war in its initial phase, the US Army under  General Douglas Macarthur pushed the North Korean army back to its home turf. The talks under US president Harry S Truman failed and it was under President Dwight D Eisenhower that both sides decided to demarcate their boundaries along 38th parallel which we today know as the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

The development of North Korea was going on in a much more faster pace than its southern counterpart until 1990, but after the disintegration of the soviet union and the fall in its economic support declined its economy.During this phase unlike other countries which directly or indirectly followed the soviet model of command economy reversed it under the unipolar capitalist world through its structural adjustment policies(SAP), north korea maintained status quo and proceed with the state led economy. As contrary to other communist regimes with an exception of cuba,kim-ll-sung announced the name of his son, the eternal general secretary and father of current supreme leader kim jong un as his successor, thus establishing the foothold of the kim regime.

North Korea under Kim jong ll suffered the ravages of extreme poverty, human rights violations, military led state and the initiation of nuclear weapons.Although initially DPRK signed the non proliferation treaty(NPT) when US president Bil Clinton visited pyongang and offered eight hundred million of aid in return for ending its nuclear programme.However North Korea later defied NPT  and other UN resolutions and proceeded to become one of the nine nuclear power countries in the world.According to many political experts it is china under whose aegis Pakistan transferred nuclear technology to DPRK.

After the death of kim jong ll, the heirs of the regime went to kim jong un.North Korea under kim jong un recorded highest levels of humanitarian crimes with extreme torture and violence for the ones who defied strict state orders.At present north korea is the most isolated country in the world with its twenty five million people being restricted from using internet, make overseas phone call, posses bible, view south Korean and western movies etc. Any one found guilty of the state define rules have to pass through rigorous punishment upto three generations of the particular person. A complete state led economy with its capital pyongang open only to the trusted military generals and officials of the kim regime. Its current dictator kim jong un even killed his own uncle and his half brother kim jong nam in the kuala lampur airport by using banned nerve agent.

North korea is a propaganda regime which used to brainwash its people that they live in the most happiest place on earth.Its economy mainly runs on exports with china and by sending its people as labourers to the factories of Russia and Africa for which the recipent countries send money to the totalitarian regime.Its  statue making industry in the African continent also suffered because of the continued sanctions by the united nations on the democratic people’s republic of korea(DPRK).Presently its allies include Russia, china, cuba, Mongolia, and some African countries. However after repeated sanctions for years, the north Korean economy managed to survive it without disrupting its nuclear arsenals. It is because sanctions won’t work on DPRK unless the Bank of China halts its economic activities with the north. According to many experts, it is said that the North Korean economy operates secretly through the Chinese city of Macau. Because of this factors, the current US president Donald Trump has given immense pressure to China to stop its economic activities with the north.

The previous US administrations maintained silence on the issue and relied only on UN sanctions, which led to the threatening of the North to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the new york city. The current occupant of the white house Donald trump since the inception of his four-year term maintained a very staunch and hard stance on the current crisis in the Korean peninsula. The war of words and subsequent activities by Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim jon un feared many political analysts about the possible outbreak of a nuclear war. Even many experts in Washington criticised Donald Trump’s repeated rhetoric and twitter wars against the north as not a very calculative move. US vice-president mike pence, US secretary of state rex Tillerson, US defence secretary James Mattis and President Donald Trump recent state visit to South Korea and to the DMZ by his VP and secretaries signalled a reversal of diplomatic policies as compared to the previous US  administrations. President Trump’s recent remarks in the UN General Assembly and in the national assembly of South Korea was full of repeated warnings to the north to end its nuclear programme.

According to North, the ouster of Gaddafi in Libya, Saddam Hussain in Iraq on the false pretext of having weapons of mass destruction(WMD), the continued military exercises and drills between US-south military forces spearheaded its determination to carry forward its nuclear programme.Thus China and Russia asked USA to end its military bases in South Korea and Japan for having multilateral talks on the issue which the US has declined.

Although Washington has repeatedly said about its military option ready if in case diplomacy fails, a war with the north is not out of danger with its repercussions being felt not only in the Korean peninsula but also in China and the rest of the world.Options such as dismantling its nuclear sites through cyber and satellite image attacks, the assassination of Kim Jong-un, direct military attack are on the table. Among the options available, the direct military advancement can bring Russia and China also into the fray, thus the possibility of having another world war with other world economies including India have to face its wrath because of the integrated world market mechanisms.The assassination of Kim Jong-un will also lead to the collapse of the regime with its population completely alien to the civilised world and cultures. Thus a poverty-stricken north Korean collapse will accelerate refugee crisis in China and South Korea. Reunification although seems unlikely will render the North Korean population as second class citizens compared to the advance south Koreans.with more than fifty years of divided Korea, today there is even language differences between both the countries. Moreover, China’s repeated support to the DPRK also involves its strategic interests as it sees the north as a part of its extended territory.

Thus although it seems unlikely that the Hermit Kingdom will end its nuclear programme, a UN-led multilateral dialogue involving north, south, Japan, China, Russia and USA is the need of the hour. The Korean crisis is not only a matter of nuclear threat, humanitarian crisis but also a matter of long-cherished ideologies of the neo-cold war. Thus “détente” should be the top priority of both Washington and Pyongyang.

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