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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 10/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) NORTH KOREA is continuing its tradition of fiery rhetoric and vehement threats. After South Korea unveiled its new missile deal with the US on Saturday, Pyongyang has issued a statement claiming that it possesses long-range missiles capable of hitting US bases in Asia and also the US mainland.

Even though experts say that the recent tests of its nuclear long-rang missile programme have failed, North Korea does possess short and medium-range missiles that can strike South Korea and neighbouring lands.

Due to its image as a trigger-happy rogue state, the international community finds it difficult to ignore North Korea's threats. However, the truth is that the country's leadership, often demonised in the international Press, in reality is quite different from its irrational and unrestrained image. North Korea's authoritarian regime has used its nuclear programme to bargain and extract concessions from the international community and impede the latter from interfering in its domestic politics.

Thus, in an age of globalisation, the country remains one of the most secretive and guarded places on Earth. By keeping its enmity with the international community alive, the regime is able to exaggerate the foreign security threat and consequently distract its population from demanding any sort of political change. North Korea has also used this external security threat to justify restrictions on travel and flow of information, and hence successfully use propaganda to brainwash its citizenry. The North Koreans remain cut off from the world and its concerns.

The international community needs to stop thinking that Kim Jong-un, just like his father, is some eccentric loony on a mission to launch nuclear war and destroy the world. In fact, he is keenly adhering to his father's rational goal of ensuring his regime's survival by assuming a defensive posture vis--vis the outside world.

Thus, North Korea's recent statement might sound menacing, but the country's bark is certainly worse than its bite. The regime won't translate its provocations and threats into large-scale hostile actions; it will rather continue to use them as a tactic to perpetuate its own insecure existence.


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