Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator, rejects the idea of uniting the Korean states. This marks the beginning of a new, dangerous era on the peninsula, said the Financial Times. According to some experts, Kim is determined to start a war.
A dramatic confirmation of the regime’s change in position was the demolition of the Arch of Reunification in Pyognyang – a monument symbolizing hopes for the unification of the two Koreas, which have formally remained at war since the brutal armed conflict of 1950-1953.
According to analysts cited by “FT”, Kim’s turn has begun a new, dangerous stage in the frozen conflict between the two Koreas. Some believe that Pyongyang’s actions are intended to prepare the ideological ground for another war.
The break with the unification policy shows that Kim is emboldened by his country’s progress in its nuclear weapons program and the development of military cooperation with the Russian leader Vladimir Putin – said “FT”.
“The situation is the most dangerous since June 1950”
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is now the most dangerous since June 1950 (…). We believe that Kim Jong Un, like his grandfather in 1950, has made a strategic decision to go to war,” they warned in a recent commentary for the Washington think tank Stimson Center experienced American diplomat Robert Carlin and nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker.
For decades, North Korean propaganda has portrayed South Koreans as compatriots held hostage by a subordinate USA “puppet regime” in Seoul. The intention to liberate them legitimized the authorities in Pyongyang, and provided the oppressed North Koreans with a sense of moral purpose – explains “FT”.
This policy changed completely when, on January 16, Kim said in a façade parliament that the relations between the two Koreas “are no longer those of kinship or homogeneity, but of two hostile countries and two belligerents at war.”
Stimson Center analyst Rachel Minyoung Lee stressed that before announcing the change, Kim had “laid the military and legal groundwork to use nuclear weapons against South Korea if and when necessary.” In her opinion, it would be difficult to justify using such weapons against someone who is part of the same nation.
According to Lee, this does not mean that Kim has made a decision to go to war. – His actions suggest that he will be more willing to take military action than in the past – said the researcher.
Kim has more and more offensive options
Although the situation on the Korean Peninsula is entering “difficult waters”, the fundamental nature of the conflict has not changed – says Sydney Seiler, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who dealt with North Korea at the US National Intelligence Council in 2020-2023.
– As Kim’s arms program develops, both qualitatively and quantitatively, more and more offensive options and coercive possibilities are available to him (…). Perhaps he hasn’t decided yet what he will do and when. However, people are finally starting to understand that North Korea has not pursued nuclear weapons solely for defensive purposes all this time, Seiler said.
Main photo source: KCNA