In the News – Rising Instability Fuels North Korean Rhetoric
SEOUL—North Korea’s increasingly inflammatory criticism against South Korea is a sign of instability in its authoritarian regime and doesn’t appear likely to end soon, the South’s top official in charge of dealing with the North said.
Since the death of Kim Jong Il in December, the North’s government has been trying to build support for his son Kim Jong Eun and resorted to greater extremes of rhetoric in the process, Yu Woo-ik, South Korea’s Minister of Unification, said in a recent interview.
“The reason why North Koreans criticize South Korea ever more strongly, we believe, is an expression of anxiety,” Mr. Yu said.
He noted that the younger Mr. Kim has begun reshaping the North’s government and, in an environment where jobs are on the line, people and organizations are jockeying for power by showing loyalty to him—and one way to do that is to criticize the South.
The period has also opened an opportunity for China, North Korea’s political ally and economic benefactor, to wield more influence on the regime, said Mr. Yu, who was South Korea’s ambassador to China until taking his current post last September.
“If China thinks more progressively, it will be more effective in bringing change to North Korea,” he said. “We believe this is the right time to go in that direction.” Continue reading