When North Korea comes up in a conversation the usual associated ideas are communism, evil, poverty, and barbaric, all for a certain reason. This all happened in 1945 when Korea, which was annexed by Japan, gained its independence but only to the Soviet Union where a reign of terror and communism, lead by Kim Il-sung, would set North Korea back decades at a time. Almost 70 years later North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is still under the same communist reign, under the same family, Kim Jong-un, who is Kim Il-sungs grandson, and still seen with the same infamousy and notoriety as the USSR, Red China, and Fidel’s Cuba.
North Korea has had a track record in detaining and imprisoning foreigners in their country. Just last week two Americans that were detained and sent to hard labor camps were released allowed to go back home.
Why now? Why did North Korea allow its prisoners to return after 2 years of being held captive rather than fulfilling the 15-year imprisonment sentence? It would seem as if the North Korean Government is trying to “change” the way they are viewed. The reason why I say “changed” in between parenthesis is because given recent events it is possible to see why North Korea wants to be seen differently, but only for the next weeks to come.
President Obama has been traveling in Asia recently and has held talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping and the subject of North Korea will inevitably arise. “The leadership in North Korea would certainly see value in offering an olive branch to the US just before President Barack Obama prepares to sit down with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.” This is all part of a UN resolution trying to be passed condemning North Korea of human rights violations. The European Union and Japan are spearheading a new resolution that makes North Korea accountable for human rights violation and even asks for Kim Jong-un to appear in court to be tried, risking prison time. North Korea decided to counter these allegations and this resolution “with their own lengthy human rights reports and proposal language in the resolution that would praise Pyongyang’s record.”(Nichols)
This is not likely of North Korea seeing as they tend to stay quite and never get involved with the UN. It seems like this is part of strategy to be left to their own devices, even though their system does not work entirely.
North Koreas animosity also seems to have gotten worst over past weeks as a former bodyguard of Kim Jun-il, who was able to defect and leave the country. The bodyguard gives insight as to Kim Jong-il’s reigning style, based around fear, but explains that “he is worried that Kim Jong-un may be the worst of all. Kim Jong-un ended up killing his uncle, who even Kim Jong-il could not kill.” (Hancocks)
With such news surfacing It is possible to see why North Korea is taking these more humanitarian approaches, by releasing its prisoners and getting involved with the U.N. It will be important for the other nations of the world though, to keep North Korea closely monitored, seeing as they do have nuclear weapons, and are very against and opposed to western ideals.