Tough task to crack Pyongyang’s isolation

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-10-9 0:13:01

Top North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Tuesday was absent from a national meeting to mark the 17th anniversary of late leader Kim Jong-il's election as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, fueling more rumors as to the state of his health and the political situation in Pyongyang.

The rampant speculation over North Korea mirrors the strategic quagmire that confronts the country. It's an arduous task for Pyongyang to break the long spell of diplomatic isolation and catch up with its neighbors in development. In South Korea, the US and Japan, quite a number of people hold that the Korean Peninsula won't witness a dramatic turnaround until subversive political changes take place in North Korea. Such a point of view has fueled varied rumors and haunted North Korean politics for a long time.

It's in the common interests of all parties concerned to solve the North Korea conundrum. But they unfortunately are engaged in competition rather than in an ideal state of cooperation. Pyongyang keeps stirring up divergences among neighboring countries for the sake of securing its own interests. But in the end, it will be the biggest victim of turbulence on the peninsula.

Here we try to analyze the realistic options of Pyongyang. To begin with, North Korea must make a change, which is not only a result of the heightened pressure it faces, but also the judgment of its young leadership. The backwardness of North Korea will to some extent convert into political pressure. Boosting economic and societal development is the only path for Pyongyang. Given the risks that will accompany development, the North Korean leadership must get a grip over the transformation process ahead of the time when it embarks on large-scale changes.

There will be many concerns about "opening-up" in Pyongyang. However, the closed-door policy has been proven wrong in history. If North Korea wants to develop, it has to emerge into the current of globalization. 

By insisting on possessing nuclear capabilities, former North Korean leaders intended to build up its leverage to deal with risks. However, 20 years on, the international isolation brought by nuclear ambitions and the resulting backward development have plagued North Korea with a myriad of problems.

Pyongyang needs political courage and wisdom to introduce considerable change. It's normal that the country appears hesitant and capricious. But there is the moderate possibility that North Korea will turn to openness in the end.

The future of North Korea is highly uncertain. It remains on high alert to external powers, which may drive Pyongyang to take "incomprehensible" actions.

Facing a capricious Pyongyang, China must firmly stick to its standpoint. We won't be enemies of Pyongyang at any time. We support it to improve ties with any other countries, and have confidence in our influence on the Korean Peninsula.

Posted in: Editorial

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