Chris Van Es

The Young General’s Old Tricks

Brinkmanship seems to be congenital in North Korea. Under the late Kim Jong-il’s pudgy young successor – his third son, Kim Jong-un – threats and thuggishness still mark the Hermit Kingdom’s diplomacy, with plans for what amounts to a long-range missile launch in April adding the latest twist to an old story.

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.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/lLSlrFZ;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.