Thursday, February 19, 2009

North Korea Mum on Hillary Clinton’s Visit to Japan

Recently, North Korea has been making noises about U.S. plans for all-out war and throwing verbal stink bombs at South Korea’s Lee Myung-bak regime, all the while going through the motions of preparing for a Taepodon launch. However, it has been relatively quiet with regard to Japan and, unless I’ve missed something, has studiously ignored Hillary Clinton’s visit to Japan and her meeting with family members of the abductees—as well as her comments regarding its nuclear program. Instead, the Korean Central News Agency has chosen to focus on more groundbreaking news such as a third secretary from the Indonesian embassy and a first secretary from the Cuban embassy “visit[ing] the venue of the 13th Kimjongilia Festival on Feb. 18 on the occasion of the February holiday.” (February 18, folks. The site does not have direct links to individual articles.)

Nothing surprising here if you conceive all of North Korea’s actions and words as tactical moves in the service of a strategy that is intended to maximize economic returns without giving up and when possible enhancing its two bargaining chips. And what are they? One, we will pee on you (conventional and nuclear military power); and two, we will throw up on you (internal meltdown). Yes, North Korea is Bizarro baby. It does need a U.S. interlocutor, though, and likely figures that, with her Billary Albright associations, the Secretary of State is better than most.

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