Today, the government of the Republic of Korea announced that they had obtained definitive proof that North Korea was behind the sinking of the Cheonan. Forty-six sailors lost their lives in this attack, one which is a blatant violation of the armistice agreement of 1953. Pyeongyang has reacted in a typical manner, threatening to restart the war that never officially ended. At the same time, they’ve offered to send their own experts to prove that they weren’t behind it. You can read the Korea Times’ account by clicking here. So far, most of the governments around the world have expressed their solidarity with Seoul. The South Korean government intends to take this to the Security Council. However, it is not likely that they will gain much support from China who, as a permanent member of the council, enjoys a veto over any action. The best they could hope for is for China to abstain from voting in this particular case. The other concern is with Russia. Russia maintains diplomatic ties with North Korea. And Russia has a seat on the security council with a veto. South Korea would like for stern steps to be taken, preferably in the international community. However, one wonders what, if any, effect that these will have on the North. On Monday, President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea will address the nation to reveal what steps will be taken to punish the North.
Remember that this is the same country lead by men who have little qualm about starving their own people. Kim Il-sung, founder of North Korea who remains worshipped practically as a god, once told East Germany’s Erich Honecker that he preferred to keep the people poor. They were better behaved that way, according to Kim. There will be no change in North Korea as long as the Kim family remains in control, even if power passes to Kim Jong-eun, the rumoured successor of Kim Jong-il. One cannot even hope for a Chinese-style “reform and opening up” á la Deng Xiaoping.
For those who haven’t seen this, here is Professor Brian Reynolds Myers of Dongseo University in Busan talking about what makes North Korea tick.
This is only a teaser. For the complete video, please click on this link. It is about an hour long, but it is fascinating.