Monday, 30 March 2009

April fool?

Recent events in the news have led me to think again about the tension/s in Korea. You may or may not know North Korea is set to launch some kind of rocket/satellite into orbit some time soon (April 4th-8th). America has now stated that it will not attempt to stop any rocket launch but I find that hard to believe especially as they have a vested interest in the area and have over 25,000 troops already here. This comes after the Japanese have openly said they will intercept any rocket that may fall upon its territory. Pyongyang has said any attempt to shoot down the rocket will be result in war.

How seriously should I/we take this latest development? Are their intentions sinister and is it wrong to be cynical? It is impossible to take anything the North Koreans say as fact as most things that come out of theDPRK are merely self satisfying propaganda as evidenced by the recent elections with only one candidate. And of course we have continued health speculation of their leader, KimJong Il and who may or may not succeed him. It is hard to believe that they do not have future nuclear intentions but perhaps it is an exaggeration to call it a delicate time. It is possible that this is another bargaining chip for future aid and another attempt to be taken seriously as some kind of power.

I have started to follow the situation more closely than in previous years because after a while it is impossible to ignore 'the elephant in the room'. The latest course of events are more than a curiosity. It must be remembered that Korea is still actually at war. No declaration of peace has ever been signed, only the armistice of 1953. Certainly tensions have been heightened since the current President in Seoul, LeeMyung-bak took office last year. The relative peace of the previous administration appears to have dissolved under new hard-line policies.

As a neutral observer in this peninsula. I have never heard a Korean co-worker or friend actively broaching the subject, nor a student for that matter. Is this talked about seriously by locals? Perhaps I have become blasé over the matter but not now! For the record I am not worried about next month and feel extremely safe. Ironically much safer than back home in England. However, I shall be watching developments with great interest. Is this just another example of attention seeking and posturing from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea?

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