Current Weather
The Spy FM

North Korea’s Brinksmanship: Same As Before, More Dangerous Or Both?

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
April 3, 2013

Wednesday’s news from the Korean peninsula, where tensions seem to rise each day:

“North Korea … barred South Korean workers from entering a jointly run factory park just over the heavily armed border in the North, officials in Seoul said.”

On Morning Edition, NPR’s Louisa Lim told host Steve Inskeep that this has happened before. In 2009, she said, North Korea cut off access to the factory three times to protest joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises that were then underway. So it’s very possible this “could be a short-term move, not an irreversible step,” Louisa added.

But Louisa also said that while North Korea’s regime is skilled at “this sort of cycle of threats” — particularly at times, such as now, when the U.S. and South Korea are holding joint military exercises — “the context [this time] is slightly different.”

The closing of the border to the factory workers, for instance, “comes against the backdrop of other North Korean moves” — including a recent nuclear test and the launching of a long range rocket. The North has also cut a hotline to the South, warned of a “simmering nuclear war” on the peninsula and has threatened the U.S.

Also different this time: Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, is “young, relatively new … and inexperienced at brinksmanship,” Louisa said.

So there is a case to be made that while North Korea’s rhetoric and some of its actions are familiar, the chances of a misstep are higher.

As The Associated Press says of North Korea’s move to keep South Korean workers from getting to the jointly run factory, “it’s [just] the latest sign of deepening tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”

Hopefully, AP adds, “the rising tide of threats in recent weeks” won’t be followed up with action, but are “efforts by the North to force new policies in Seoul, diplomatic talks with Washington and to increase domestic loyalty to young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by portraying him as a powerful military commander.”

The industrial park inside North Korea where the joint work has been done is about six miles inside the communist state. About 800 South Koreans were already there when the North moved to block others from entering. Those inside will be allowed to leave — though Louisa tells our Newscast Desk that only 36 had chosen to do so as of early Wednesday (ET).

Among our previous posts about North Korea and its rhetoric: Scott Neuman’s look at: “How Credible Are North Korea’s Threats?” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

12AM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 6AM Living On Earth

Living On Earth

Living on Earth with Steve Curwood is the weekly environmental news and information program distributed by Public Radio International.

View the program guide!

6AM to 7AM On Being

On Being

On Being engages listeners across the spectrum of belief and non-belief in conversation about life's deepest questions. From autism to the ethics of torture, Krista and her guests reach beyond the headlines to probe faith and meaning, ethics and new ways of being, amidst the political, ecological, economic, cultural and technological shifts that define 21st century life.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center