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Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un

by William H. Benson

December 14, 2017

The news out of Korea is a mix of bad and good, but perhaps more lopsided on the side of bad.

President Donald Trump continues to accelerate his war of words with North Korea, by calling the rogue nation’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, “Little Rocket Man,” and promising him “fire and fury.” 

Late in November, Trump re-designated North Korea as “a state sponsor of terrorism,” an action that unleashed a slew of additional U. S. financial sanctions that will hit hard the already starved and desperate North Korean people.

Trump’s decision enraged North Korea’s dictator, who said, “The hideous crimes committed by the lunatic president of the U.S are a blatant challenge to the dignity of the supreme leadership of North Korea. Those who trample on and make a mockery of North Korea’s dignity can never go scot-free.”

Kim Jung Un fears that the U.S. will dismantle their government and institute a regime-change.

Then, on November 29, Kim Jong Un’s military fired its third missile this year, an intercontinental ballistic missile, a Hwasong-15, that reached an altitude of 2,800 miles, “more than ten times higher than the International Space Station,” that then crashed down into the Sea of Japan.

The fear is that if North Korea’s military would lower that missile’s trajectory, it could reach cities in the U.S. North Korea’s weapons tests have prompted the U. N.’s Security Council “to pass sanctions that block 90% of North Korea’s exports and some of its imports.”

Russia and China, North Korea’s two friends, have had little success reigning in Kim Jong Un’s ambitious military plans. One reporter said, “Neither holds sway there now.” 

Last week, Wang Yi, a Chinese official, said that, “the outlook is not optimistic,” that “all avenues must be pursued to avoid conflict,” and that “all sides must end this vicious cycle of confrontation.”

If North Korea did attack the South, many fear that “it would be unimaginably bloody.” 

Two North Korean figure skaters qualified for the Winter Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, in February, but then North Korea’s officials missed the deadline to confirm their participation. Bad news. 

The good news is that, as of yet, North Korea’s long-range missiles are not equipped with a nuclear warhead. Kim Jong Un’s military officials lack “a re-entry vehicle that will protect a warhead from burning up in the atmosphere,” and they also lack “a miniaturized nuclear weapon small and light enough to fit on an ICBM without reducing its range.”

Jeffrey Feltman, a United Nation’s Undersecretary General, visited Pyongyang last week to try to negotiate a peaceful resolution. On Saturday, December 9, the day he left, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said, that “his visit contributed to a deeper understanding and that they agreed to communicate at ‘various levels.’”

Another slice of good news is that a few North Koreans choose to defect, either to China or South Korea. On November 13, a North Korean Staff Sergeant, Oh Chong Song, drove a jeep close to the Military Demarcation Line between North and South Korea, jumped out, and ran south. 

Four fellow North Korean soldiers shot forty rounds at him, hit him five times, but he fell unconscious fifty yards inside South Korea. Three South Korean soldiers then pulled him to safety. 

A Blackhawk helicopter carried Oh to a trauma unit at Ajou University in Seoul, where Dr. Lee Cook-Jong removed the bullets, repaired the damage, and stopped the blood loss. He also found and removed a number of tapeworms inside Oh’s intestines, some as long as ten inches. 

Because the North Koreans lack chemicals for agriculture, they rely upon human fertilizer, or “night-soil,” a practice that leads to the transmission of parasites.

Also, three North Korean soccer players, permanent residents in Japan, played against Japan in the final round of the East Asian Football Championship this week. Kim Jong Un could not stop them.

One wonders why the North Korean dictator acts like “a wild-eyed fanatic.” 

A reporter for the Economist said that Mr. Kim “sought nuclear capability not to bring destruction upon himself, but as a deterrent against American aggression. He saw what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi when they gave up their quest for nukes.” Mr. Kim knows though that if he deploys his missiles, it “will invite his destruction.” The sword of Damocles hangs over Mr. Kim. 

As usual, the news in Korea, and everywhere else, is a mix of bad and good. Christmas approaches, a time when we remember the angel’s good news. “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. On earth peace, good will toward men.” May it be so this Christmas for you, for your family, and for the Korean people.