Is North Korea Aiming for Complete Isolation?
Over the past few years, Korea has become even more isolated internationally than ever. With its nuclear threats and famine, North Korea, the poorest country in the world, is constantly threatening and creating tension with its neighbors.
An article from New York Times on March 19, 2009 titled “North Korea rejects U.S. food aid” explains how North Korea wants to be isolated. Despite North Korea’s chronic food shortages and severe poverty, Kim Jong Il requested all of the five aid groups in North Korea to leave by the end of March without giving any reason. “We’re obviously dissapointed. Clearly, this is food assistance that North Korean people need. That’s why we’re concerened,” said Robert Wood, a U.S. State Department spokesman. The U.S. food aid groups are concerned that this rejection may have been a result to the hostilie political tensions going on because of the nuclear warnings. Another suspicion is that the North does not want to follow America’s “demand for close involvement in how the aid gets distributed”. Whatever the reason is, North Korea is slowly closing off all contact with the rest of the world during a time when they need the most help both economically and politically.
On top of North Korea’s rejection of food aid, the North also announced that they would launch a “satelite” on April 4th. This article titled “Japan warns North Korea against rocket launching” is also from New York Times, published on March 16, 2009. It states that Japan condemned North Korea’s plan to launch a rocket that will fly over Japan and the Pacific. “Under our law, we can intercept any object if it is falling towards Japan, including any attacks on Japan, for our safety,” said the Japanese government’s chief spokesman, Takeo Kawamura. Clearly, the Japanese government is hostile towards the North, even though the North claims to launch a harmless satelite. More importantly, many countries suspect that the satellite is actually a cover; the satallite is most likely to be testing the North’s Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missle. Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso said, “They can call it a satellite or whatever, but it would be a violation of a UN resolution.” The Prime Minister also said that he would intercept the satellite before it could harm anybody. However, Kim Jong Il has said thait they will consider any act to intercept its rocket as an act of war, and he will attack Japan if they shoot down the satellite. This creates an imobolized tension between the North and Japan. If Japan intercepts the satellite, then they would be calling for war. Since Japan already developed a missile defense system, it is ready to shoot down the rocket if it falls toward its territory.