North Korea is racking up the bargaining chips. Not only does it have nukes, but now the pariah state has arrested a U.S. citizen who had been teaching in an elite school in Pyongyang.
North Korea confirmed on Wednesday the arrest of Tony Kim, which occurred amid rising tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump, who said he will not accept a nuclear armed North Korea.
North Korea’s actions beg the question of what were North Korea’s true reasons for detaining Tony Kim – the third American to be held by the regime. The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim was detained for “committing criminal acts of hostility aimed to overturn (North Korea).” But some observers note the possibility that Pyongyang wants to have another bargaining chip at its disposal.
Indeed, in recent weeks, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has had his back against the wall, and is crapping himself over Trump’s missile strike against Syria. The strike has shown that Trump is ushering in a new era of more aggressive U.S. foreign policy. The missile attack has also showcased Trump’s unpredictability, and echoed statements on the campaign trail that he would not warn U.S. adversaries ahead of time about any pending military strikes, as his predecessor did.
The North has always been an astute observer of the global political landscape, which is how such a brutal regime has survived for 60 years, despite the nation being a third world backwater with an economy the size of a tiny African agrarian nation.
North Korea’s hyper-violent ruling family watched in fear in 2003 when the United States overthrew strongman Saddam Hussein, hunted him down and put him on trial, which ended in his execution. The brutal family of boy-king Kim Jong Un also watched as Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was beaten to death by a local militia group of his own people, following his overthrow by Washington. The Libyan strongman was then kept in a freezer in a local market for several days so citizens nationwide could come and gawk at him.
Kim Jong Un does not want this to be him, and will do anything to prevent such a scenario from unfolding. Fear of Washington is the main reason why North Korea’s medieval regime is pursuing nuclear weapons. Having extra bargaining chips to use against Washington could also be helpful for Pyongyang’s ultimate goal — regime survival.
Experts said while North Korea has nuclear weapons, it so far does not have the ability to mount a nuclear explosive device onto a long-range missile that can hit the United States, However, some experts believe that, at the current rate of progress, the Hermit Kingdom will be able to reach that goal in a few years.
The elite school at which Tony Kim taught made global headlines a couple of years back, when investigative journalist Suki Kim went undercover as a teacher there, and published a book in detail about her six-month stint, during which she had constant contact with the sons of North Korea’s elite.
Borderless News Online interviewed Suki Kim, and you can read it here.
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