North Korea – an East Asian country on a mission

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPKR) generally referred to as North Korea, a country in East Asia is on a mission.

The elaborate Kim family, the founders of the DPKR and the present rulers continue to dominate the North Korean state, and will perhaps do so for eternity. During December 2011, Kim Jong-il died and his youngest son Kim Jong-un was named his successor, thus continuing the Kim dynasty, and casting a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the future of North Korea.

North Korea, dominated by a turbulent history of war and devastation, has been referred to as a socialist republic and remains an isolated country. Pyongyang, the capital city is the largest in North Korea, in land and population. It has the world’s largest military force presently projecting almost a million in personnel. The army of North Korea is the fourth largest in the world, and recently boast a developing nuclear weapons and space program.

Education, medical services and food rations are state funded, and electricity and water rations remain a constant challenge due to severe economic problems. The country is plagued with heavy flooding, poor economic conditions, and the loss of major trading partners continue to cause the North Korean’s to become increasingly more dramatic in their approach for recognition. By displaying military power and conducting missile launches over the last week, the North Korean leadership appears to be telling the World that they are a formidable foe to contend with.

It was during 1945 and at the end of World War 2, when Japanese rule ended, and the Korean Peninsula was divided into two occupied zones. The northern half was occupied by the Soviet Union and the Southern half by the United States in accordance with a prior arrangement within the United Nations. South Korea declared its independence during 1948 after years of uprising by the citizens of that state. During 1948 and 1949, Koreans saw the withdrawal of both the Soviet and US forces from North and South Korea.

Hence, two separate nations emerged with opposite political, economic and social systems. The Korean Demilitarized Zone forms the boundary between North Korea and South Korea. Yet both states do not accept this border and both claim to be the legitimate government of the entire Peninsula. During that time, the two Korean powers continued to try and control the entire Peninsula and this led to escalating border conflicts.

After the withdrawal of forces by both the Soviet and US, a move that dramatically weakened South Korea, Kim ll-sung, founder of the DPKR, and the country’s first president, establish an invasion plan to reclaim the land. His proposal was rejected several times before he gathered enough support from the USSR and China, which initiated the infamous 1950 Korea War. It was a full-scale civil war that claimed the lives of more than a million civilians and soldiers. This war often referred to as a cold war, with the South Korean state under the endorsement of the United Nations, received support from the United States and other countries. A shifting of the balance power became evident when China intervened on behalf of the North. Both North Korea and South Korea committed to a cease-fire resolution in 1953, although they officially remain at war with each other. Border skirmishes and assassination attempts continue to damage the relationship between North and South.

Since the truce in 1953, the relations between the North Korean government, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Canada and the European Union remains tense; and hostile incidents occur often.

During 2000, North and South Korea signed a declaration to pursue peaceful negotiations between both states within their region. South Korea aligned toward a more liberal democracy over the years and only after the transfer of power from Kim Il-sung to his son Kim Jong-il did the two nations begin to engage publicly.

With sanctions imposed during 2009, the North Korean leadership, labelled as an ‘evil nation’ by countries worldwide, saw the withdrawal and diminishment of United States troops from South Korean. The dominant leadership of North Korea continues to anger the world with their constant short-range missile tests conducted off the East Coast, and causing an anxious reaction from a liberated South Korea. North Korea continued its threatening action by warning the United States of a nuclear strike, and in April announced that war was approaching rapidly. Although the firing of several short-range guided missiles over a period of three days, during last week, did not place neighboring countries at risk.

It is evident that Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, is doing nothing more than asserting his control over his people to gain recognition. His only gain will be continued isolation from the rest of the world.

Written by Laura Oneale

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