Recently it was observed, at his New Year’s Day address, that Kim Jong-Un called for an end to the war between North Korea, and the United States, Republic of Korea alliance. Words are nice, and these are certainly welcome words, but it will take more than words to repair the wounds of the Korean War and the intervening years following up to this point. When Kim Jong-Un first took control of North Korea in the winter of 2011, there was much hope as to what his succession would bring for that part of the world. It was hoped that the Soviet era Gulags would close. That he would hold the leadership, the current leadership mind you, accountable for the atrocities of the past sixty plus years. However as his reign went on, and we began to see the purges, and ever increasing methodical oppression of the North Korean people. It was clear that this was not going to be the case.
Kim didn’t dismantle the communist totalitarian state that his grandfather created, and his father perpetuated. But instead increased it, joyfully so, all while tightening his grip further and further on the reigns of power in the country. This strongman mentality that fails to match deeds with words is something that has plagued the DPRK since its very inception. So then as the people of the DPRK are forced to work in slave labor camps around the world, those unlucky enough to be unsuitable for such task are left to starve to death and die an early death in an ever more egalitarian system of governance. If this is the “Dear Leader’s” idea of prosperity, and comity between nations, forcing the North Korean populace to live off what meager existence they are able to scrap together, while continually increasing the size and scope of the nations showcase capital, the benefit of the few, to the detriment of all, then perhaps his worldview is more warped than had been originally thought.
North Korea’s words are one thing. But it’s deeds are quite another. So long as North Korea continues to threaten the world with nuclear weapons. So long as the North is content with threatening the Republic of Korea with all out war, and bullying its neighbors. That will never be the type of peace that we, as the most peace loving society to have ever existed, will accept.
If Kim Jong-Un thinks that this is the peace we desire, then perhaps he is mistaken. The peace we seek is one where the North Korean people are free to lift themselves out of the bonds of oppression, not extenuate those bonds. the peace we seek is a peace that allows for the United States, and the rest of the outside world to be able to converse freely with the North Korean people, and be able to show them a world outside of the structured, totalitarian, authoritarian environs of the DPRK. The peace that the United States seeks will usher forward a new era in the DPRK, an era where the populace is not afraid to speak its mind, an era where mass public executions come to an end, and an era where the North Korean elite are held accountable for past atrocities, and crimes against humanity. This is the peace we as a peace loving people seek for the future of not only North Korea, but the world as well.
Kim Jong-Un recently announced on his own accord that he would prefer peace but is “ready for war”. However If the statements above are any indication as to what sort of peace he desires. Then his deeds don’t match his words. And perhaps if this is the type of peace he thinks we desire, he is sorely mistaken.