News / Asia

North Korea Warns No Policy Changes Under New Leader

One of the magazines at a newspaper stand in Beijing highlights North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un, December 30, 2011.
One of the magazines at a newspaper stand in Beijing highlights North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un, December 30, 2011.

For the first time, North Korea is referring to the late Kim Jong Il's son as its "Great Leader." Kim Jong Un, who is in his late 20's, is assuming leadership of the impoverished and reclusive country following his father's death, said to have occurred on December 17. The North is also sending a clear message, especially to the South, that it will be business as usual in Pyongyang.

Just a day after ending an official period of mourning, North Korea wasted no time bluntly telling the world not to expect any policy changes from Pyongyang.

The National Defense Commission issued a statement. It admonishes what it called "foolish politicians around the world" - especially those in South Korea - not to expect any change from the North.

The statement was broadcast for 11 minutes at noon Friday on North Korean television. It reverted to a very tough tone about South Korea and its leader. President Lee Myung-bak is termed the head of a traitor group whose "evil misdeeds" have climaxed by failing to allow Koreans in the South to pay their final respects to Kim Jong Il.

The announcer, reading the statement, calls South Korea's president "clueless" when it comes to policy regarding the North. She says North Korea will shun his administration forever.

Georgetown University professor Balbina Hwang, a former State Department adviser on Korean policy, notes this is tough rhetoric, even by North Korean standards.

"The tenor, the sheer vitriol in the language that is used and in the tone of which, this sort of raging, specifically about South Korea and President Lee Myung-bak, it is a bit unusual," said Hwang.

Hwang says she views this as reflecting a sense of insecurity in North Korea's powerful National Defense Commission.

"I don't think any institution that does feel secure in its own power would feel the necessity to come out with such strong language and in such an intense way," she said.

Although President Lee has taken a harder line with the North than his two predecessors, in recent months he had been signaling a more flexible approach toward Pyongyang.

Whether that will still be the case, with the Kim Jong Un era beginning in North Korea, will likely be revealed in Seoul on Monday.

That is when President Lee delivers his New Year's address. Officials at the presidential Blue House tell say that it will, in great part, be devoted to his outlook on the future of inter-Korean relations.

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid