North Korea Still Wants to Conquer South Korea

Wallace C. Gregson

Security, Asia

And the United States needs to step up to the plate to prevent it.

Don’t Be Fooled: North Korea Still Wants to Conquer South Korea

Delegations from North and South Korea met for the first time in two years at the Truce Village in Panmunjom. Reports indicate that agreement was reached for the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to send a delegation composed of athletes, a martial arts demonstration team, high-level officials, supporters and journalists to the Olympics in Pyeongchang. This was considered a benevolent North Korean gesture. Both sides agreed to hold military talks to reduce tensions at some indefinite date. Family reunions were discussed, but discussion of nuclear weapons was angrily rejected. China’s Xinhua News Agency, citing official North Korean press statements, said that “an early national reunification is the goal of peace offer made by Pyongyang to Seoul, as officials of both countries started their first high-level meeting Tuesday.” Given that no surrender offer was made, one must assume that North Korea envisions reunification on its own terms.

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Even this discussion required an accommodation by South Korea and the United States, only to be rebuffed when the nuclear issue was raised. Rescheduling the U.S-ROK exercise to a time after the Winter Olympics was not, by itself, that significant. But the perception that this was done as an unrequited concession to gain North Korea’s attendance at these talks in the DMZ is significant. North Korea’s angry rejection of any nuclear discussion reinforced the perception of concession. The report that both Koreas did agree to future talks on tension reduction establishes another “new normal.” North Korea is changing the operations of our alliance with South Korea. These are precedents we will see again.

“What Kim wants” finally becomes clear. It’s not limited to regime survival: he’s a particularly brutal autocrat—and this type of ruler must keep moving forward and conquering new demons. Compromise or settling for some status quo is not possible—it would be his head. He seeks Korean unification on his terms. It would fulfill the Kim family destiny. Now he is backed…

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