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N. Korean leader’s whim

Posted December. 14, 2015 08:39,   


The Moranbong Band is North Korea’s girl band created at the behest of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2012. The Rodong Newspaper, the mouthpiece of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party, praised the songs of the band in May, saying, “They are a great power incomparable to tens of millions of tons of rice.” The band’s first ever performance outside North Korea, which was scheduled to take place in Beijing on Friday, suddenly cancelled right before the beginning and all band members returned home. As it is believed that Kim cancelled the performance, the cancellation could have significant ramifications in the diplomatic relationship between Pyongyang and Beijing.

Though Chinese media reported that the cancellation was due to communication problems, there are varying views on this. Some claim that the North Korean leader got upset as the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party decided to send lower-ranking officials to the show. China reportedly made the decision as it felt unpleasant about North Korea’s hydrogen bomb. Kim’s visit to China is also unlikely given that the show was carefully arranged by the two countries to soften the bilateral relationship that has been strained since Kim’s accession to power. The relationship seemed to thaw in October when Liu Yunshan, the Chinese Communist Party`s fifth-ranked official, visited North Korea. The relationship has become unpredictable again. If North Korea’s hydrogen bomb is the cause of the renewed conflict, its nuclear issue can be highlighted again.

Pyongyang also cancelled the inter-Korean talks in Kaesong on Friday, saying, “The South does not have willingness to resume the tourism program in Mt. Kumgang.” Kim Jong Un may be able to do whatever he can do at home but not his recent actions in both the North Korea-China relationship and the inter-Korean relationship, which revealed his limited capabilities as a leader. The North persistently insisted on the resumption of the Mt. Kumgang tourism program in the inter-Korean talks, linking it to the reunion of separated families. This implies that it is interested only in money.

Coincidentally, it was the day when Kim Jong Un surprised the world by brutally executing his uncle two years ago. His cruelty and unpredictability of ignoring the standards and practices of the international community went overboard. He does not seem to care at all about the criticism of North Korea’s human rights issue by the United Nations Security Council that have proposed bills on the issue for two consecutive years.

Kim Jong Un might think that the North can get whatever it wants by threatening the world with nuclear weapons and missiles. Unless it improves its relations with China and South Korea, it cannot get out of isolation. It is hard to predict whether the strained relationship between North Korea and China is advantageous to us or not. What matters is not to be swayed by Kim’s caprice.