The Young General’s Old Tricks
TOKYO – Brinkmanship seems to be congenital in North Korea. Under the late Kim Jong-il’s pudgy young successor – his third son, Kim Jong-un, dubbed “the Young General” – threats and mendacity still mark the Hermit Kingdom’s diplomacy.
With North Korea’s announcement of plans to use an Unha-3 rocket to launch its Bright Star-3 satellite into earth orbit in mid-April, the newest threat is a continuation of an old one. Indeed, it signals a quick demise for the agreement reached with the United States just weeks ago.
The decision to launch the satellite, which had been planned by Kim Jong-il, is clearly intended to provide a “heroic” martial achievement for a new leader who lacks any military experience. The regime aims to boost North Korea’s international prestige and domestic morale simultaneously, with the population supposedly keen to support this show of the country’s technological and military might.