As a secretive nation, North Korea has been one of the most isolated and aggressive countries on the planet. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has recently launched nuclear missile tests as a show of force to those who wish to threaten the country or its way of life. After refusing to budge for decades, North Korea appears to have displayed a dramatic change of heart, going from war threats to seeking peace with South Korea and the United States.
The direction in which Kim Jong-un says he wants to take his nation has caught most of the world by surprise. While some experts welcome possible peace talks with the isolated and hostile nation, others protest that it’s only a ploy. Although nobody knows for sure what Kim Jong-un has in mind, we can look at the facts and make a few educated guesses.
Depending on who you ask, some people say that North Korea is seeking peace to avoid a possible war with the United States and its allies, which makes sense at first glance. Taking a deeper look, however, paints a different picture. While America has a superior military, North Korea has its own set of advantages. Located next to South Korea, North Korea could easily launch a missile strike on Seoul, a city home to more than 25.6 million people.
Whether or not the United States could defeat North Korea does not matter. What matters is that North Korea could inflict apocalyptic damage to Seoul, causing an untold number of deaths. Since American leaders know how much harm North Korea could inflict, a direct act of war would be a diplomatic disaster that would further strain relations with China. North Korea’s leaders know about this advantage and likely agree that an assault on their country is unlikely.
Even though North Korea is an isolated nation, it has still relied on other nations for trade and economic growth. China, India, Russia and several other nations have been trading goods with North Korea for years. But recent pressure from some of the most powerful nations in the world has caused China and other countries to reduce or halt trade with North Korea, which has likely devastated the nation.
Being cut off from the few countries that worked with it can potentially cripple North Korea’s economy. If Kim Jong-un wants to save his country from an economic collapse, his only choice is to seek peace so that he can remove the sanctions. If he can set aside his bias for a short time, he will see that working toward peace is the best way to avoid disaster.
A Smart Political Move
By restricting the media and threatening death and torture to those who speak out against him, Kim Jong-un has maintained a tight grip on the people within his nation. North Korean propaganda has always painted the rest of the world in a negative light, making the people of North Korea believe that Kim Jong-un’s way is the best. Even though he has a lot of control over his people, dictatorships rely on a delicate balance.
If the people lose faith in a dictator’s ability to lead, a revolution won’t be far behind. Seeking peace is the only way North Korea has any hope of removing global sanctions and saving its economy from destruction. Also, making friends with former enemies gives Kim Jong-un another way to showcase his leadership abilities and retain the trust of his people.
Without being able to read Kim Jong-un’s mind, nobody can claim to know what the leader’s intentions are. What we can do is look at the facts and consider what North Korea and the world will gain by moving in this direction. The United States and its closest allies can reduce the odds of a nuclear war, but North Korea’s leadership can protect the economy and maintain its grip on the people.
With this information on hand, the only thing left to do is wait and see how the story unfolds in the coming months and years. Some people are against talks of peace, but others welcome it with open arms. No matter where you stand on the issue, only time can reveal the truth.