In recent memory, North Korea has kept itself busy by showing its military might while also letting the United States know that it will not hesitate when it comes to a confrontation with Washington. However, it is quite shocking to know that Pyongyang keeps failing to realize that such tactics are only going to deepen North Korea’s isolation from the international community. Such isolation has a cost that the country’s innocent population has been paying for.
North Korea recently held a massive military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party. Kim Jong-Un, the country’s enigmatic and mysterious leader and the first secretary of the party, heaped praise on the party’s ability to continue developing the country’s economy while also ensuring that national defense is not ignored. What was perhaps the most surprising part of his speech was when he stated that the policy had brought improvement in the lives of North Koreans and has further reinforced the nation’s military might.
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North Korea and its false sense of national pride
However, those on the outside must be forgiven for discarding Kim Jong-Un’s speech as utter garbage. The reality is that the party’s history clearly shows a unenviable record of damaging its economy and putting citizens into party. Behind this veil of invincibility, there are some serious issues. North Korea is nowhere near stability or prosperity, and no matter how much the nation’s leader emphasizes these words, they are incorrect, and the general population knows that.
In his speech, Kim also said that North Korea is “capable of fighting any type of war the United States opts for.” From this, we can assume that the leader has the willingness to force the United States to the negotiating table by creating a serious threat to the region by developing nuclear weapons and missiles.
However, regardless of how much of a threatening posture Kim chooses to go for, it is clear that the United States and its current president are in no mood to accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state and will not make any shift in policy unless Pyongyang reassesses its obsession with nuclear power, which is the reason why the country is facing multiple economic sanctions based on the resolutions of the UN Security Council. And if Kim does not want to let go of this obsession, North Korea’s hopes for an economic revival are slim to none.
North Korea upping the ante
However, there is one issue that cannot be ignored, and it is something that does concern the United States and its allies. During the recent military parade, North Korea revealed a weapon that is believed to be an improved version of the KN-08, a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile currently under development.
According to North Korea media, the weapon is a “strategic rocket loaded with miniaturized nuclear warheads.” And although it is still unclear whether nuclear warheads are actually loaded on the weapon, Pyongyang’s recent move to miniaturize nuclear weapons is a serious threat and a serious cause for concern for the international community.
Among those who attended the military parade was Liu Yunshan, a very important member of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, which is ranked number five in Xi Jinping’s regime. He is now the highest ranking Chinese official to visit the state since the relationship between the two became strained, largely due to Pyongyang’s nuclear testing in 2013.
The main purpose of this visit was definitely to restrain North Korea’s testing of a long range ballistic missile disguised as a launch of a satellite.
Chinese attempts to make Kim see reason
Liu held a meeting with Kim ahead of the parade and informed him of Beijing’s willingness to create a new future between the two nations in a move that highlights the improvement of the strained relations these two have had over the years. However, the path remains littered with various obstacles, so the jury is still out on it for the time being.
Kim has been urged to accept calls for an early resumption to the six-party talks on the country’s nuclear development, in which China will be taking the lead. Kim is also fairly keen on promoting friendly relations between the two states, but so far, nothing has been reported about Kim giving a concrete reply to Liu’s request. In short, we can assume that Kim has not given China a clear answer that will stop Pyongyang from developing further nuclear weapons.
However, that is only the first attempt of many that China will be making in the coming weeks in a bid to build up pressure against North Korea in order to force Pyongyang into taking concrete actions. But China cannot do it alone and would be requiring the support of the likes of Japan, the United States and South Korea to reinforce deterrence against North Korea and prevent the reclusive state from further acts of provocation in a bid to add stability to a region that is always tiptoeing very close to one conflict or another.