Commentary: Trash balloons another sign of North Korea’s refusal to act within global norms

by Admin
South Korea to suspend military agreement with North Korea over trash balloons


The result of all this careless, provocative behaviour is isolation. And that self-created isolation is, ironically, at odds with North Korea’s long-standing goal of acceptance into the world as a peer equal with South Korea.

North Korea has definitively lost the inter-Korean competition. Its elite knows this, as do its Russian and Chinese allies. Serious regime turbulence could lead to collapse and reunification.

The solution to this existential dilemma is recognition and acceptance – for North Korea to become a proper state in the world rather than the weird, dysfunctional Korea no one likes.

Recognition would reduce the US and South Korean security threat to the North and, potentially, unlock foreign investment and aid. Hence, the North’s detente efforts with former US President Donald Trump and various progressive South Korean presidents in the past.

But all these efforts have failed, mostly because outsiders do not trust North Korea enough to make risky concessions to it. It has long been an unsocialised, truculent rogue state which would hack into the companies of other countries or traffic methamphetamine into them.

A balloon launch with trash and faeces is exactly what we expect of North Korea. It captures, in its own small way, why North Korea is still isolated and backward 35 years after the Cold War.

Robert Kelly (@Robert_E_Kelly) is a professor of political science at Pusan National University.

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