Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

N. Korea Denies Developing Technology to Feed Population

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Kim Jong-Un, looking well fed.

Kim Jong-Un, looking well fed.

Seoul, South Korea (AP) – The tense mood on the Korean peninsula persisted Wednesday after the publication of a South Korean intelligence estimate that presented evidence that North Korea was attempting to develop population-feeding technology. The North denied the accusations.

If true, the news would represent a shift for the insular, repressive regime, which has focused more in recent years on pursuing the development of nuclear weapons and on maintaining strict isolation for its citizens from the outside world. Those pursuits have placed dictator Kim Jong-Un and his policies at odds with most of the rest of the world and antagonized  even the few allies it still has, such as China.

China, which has food supply issues of its own, and a population of 1.2 billion to feed, is unlikely to look kindly on its southern neighbor attempting to shift its own position in that regard, and actually pursuing the welfare of its population would remove North Korea from the classic mold of Communist dictatorships. One of the salient features of such regimes, from Stalin to Mao to Pol Pot, is an utter disregard for human lives that stand in the way of implementing Communist Party ideology. A shift by North Korea into actually providing for its population would be viewed as a destabilizing, possibly dangerous move.

It is also a scenario that the US and South Korea, the two countries most threatened by North Korea’s intransigence, have not adequately prepared for, according to an official at the American embassy in Seoul who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The whole carrot-and-stick approach that we’ve been following with the north has assumed that they need food assistance, and that they can leverage their technological progress to gain more of that assistance,” said the official. “But for Kim to start focusing on finding ways to feed his people directly, that’s a game-changer, right there. The international community is not sufficiently prepared to face a North Korea that is willing to focus on caring for its citizens at the expense of a nuclear weapons program.”

A similar situation is slowly developing in Iran, which denies it is pursuing such weapons technology in the first place, but nevertheless faces sanctions by an international community wary of the Islamic Republic’s intentions. Recent developments have seen a possible shift in Tehran’s orientation, with nuclear fuel being directed to civilian power generation instead of further refinement toward weapons-grade uranium. Western nations, principally the US and Israel, remain suspicious of Iran’s motives, aware that an Islamic state that can adequately provide for its people would be an anomaly in the Middle East and a threat to regional instability.

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Written by Thag

February 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm

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