Speculation over NK’s future may be rash

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-10-8 0:43:01

Rumors concerning North Korea have been swirling in recent days. Out of sight for over a month, North Korea's top leader Kim Jong-un is rumored to be ill. There is also speculation that Kim's absence is a sign of instability in his leadership. It remains to be seen what is going on within the country.

It's abnormal that Kim has not been seen in public for more than a month. Meanwhile, reports from the North Korean media continue as usual. This is not a signal for any major political change in countries like North Korea.

That Kim is ill is somewhat more convincing. North Korea's state-run Central TV did make an official mention of the leader's "indisposed condition" on September 25.

Many have perceived a cooling in the China-North Korea relationship in recent years. Meanwhile Pyongyang has shown interest in contacting Seoul, but patrol ships from the two sides exchanged warning shots Tuesday near their disputed maritime border. There has been speculation that North Korea is seeking a rapprochement with South Korea, Japan and even the US. It's presumed that Pyongyang will lean to the side of the US in the end.   

Noticeably, under the current state system, it's more difficult for Pyongyang to mend fences with South Korea, Japan and the US than to develop relations with Beijing. The key divergence between North Korea and China lies in the nuclear issue, but there are multiple conflicts among North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the US. South Korea aims at dictating the unification process of the Korean Peninsula, while the US longs for a revamp to North Korea's system, which is unacceptable to Pyongyang. 

Despite a demonstration of its strong diplomatic posture and initiative, Pyongyang is weak in economic and military strength. It is unable to lead the situation on the peninsula and the effect of its diplomatic maneuvering is limited.

Washington remains hostile to Pyongyang. Seoul is fully guarded against it. Japan, although hoping to reap some benefits from developing diplomatic ties with Pyongyang, dare not divert too far from the US and South Korea.

The China-North Korea relationship is complicated. But China is still the most important and positive neighbor of North Korea. It is of irreplaceable strategic significance to Pyongyang. If there are subversive changes in Pyongyang, every nation will be confronted with severe challenges.

North Korea seems in haste to break the current diplomatic stalemate it faces. Western analysts say it is anxious to attract external attention and Kim's absence is one of their tactics.

North Korea's isolation and mystery have led to varied imaginings over its politics. Some media outlets are fixated on bizarre stories about Pyongyang. However, any assertion about the future of the country may be reckless.

Posted in: Editorial

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