North Korea

A number of Asian countries have reported seeing US spy activity over their territory, now including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, better known as North Korea. Following this, South Korean and Japanese media reported that North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed just short of Japanese waters.

This is not anything new.

North Korean missile activity has been an active threat to Japan for a long time, with many tests being conducted around Japanese borders. And every time, it seems to have almost direct correlation to activities by the United States of America. Washington did not take long to completely dismiss the spying accusations, saying that the military patrols being conducted are within the limit of international law. North Korea, though, seems to disagree and has promised to shoot down any such plane they see again.

In response, US-South Korean military drills and exercises have strengthened. It is worth asking though that the North Korean test was also a response to an apparent breach of their sovereignty. This point can be backed up by the fact that testing nuclear capacity weaponry is no small ordeal, even for North Korea, and takes a large amount of trained personnel, time and money that a country wouldn’t typically spend over a false accusation. Still, exaggerated or not, neither party denies the presence of American military activity in the region and the question that then needs to be asked is why this activity is within international law.

The subject of international law is a tricky one, especially considering it’s very limited enforcement which is only done by a few agencies whose summons can be denied by countries who simply refuse to acknowledge the authority of bodies such as the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. These is also the factor that international law is dictated largely by the UN, a body dominated by Western influence which often turns a blind eye to offences committed by the West. A prime example would be the abject lack of UN concern in Pakistan when it was building nuclear weaponry outside regulation, because it served as a military base for the USA during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. It has thus often been criticised for being a biased body, especially because of the veto system in place in the United Nations Security Council that allows the USA, UK, France, China and Russia to veto any resolution and bar it from being passed.

When looking at North Korea through this lens rather

When looking at North Korea through this lens rather than one that has been intricately crafted by Western media who gain great advantage by posing one of the biggest threats to them as an oppressive and dangerous state, things become a little different. It can also be seen that North Korean media, though it exists and is readily available on the internet, is heavily suppressed on most popular platforms, stopping people from seeing it entirely. The official website, Naenara, does not show up in the first few search results at all and when this media is looked at, a completely different side of the country is seen, one with art and music festivals and international film events and celebrations.

It can be and has been argued that North Korean state media is mostly propaganda, but that same argument can be flipped to say that the media showing DPRK as a modern hell-scape are as much propaganda. Regardless of the status of freedom inside North Korea, the attitudes towards it, especially by the USA, are a case study of hypocrisy. The USA, which has launched whole invasions when it feels it’s sovereignty is under threat. The same attitude is being shown by North Korea which fires missiles in response to enemy troops increasing around its borders. The difference is that the North Korean nukes have never killed before.

However, this is not say there may not be oppression happening inside North Korea but given the state of censorship, there is not enough information to tell. Either way, it is worth considering that North Korea’s missile tests may not just be demonstrations of an intensely violent country, but somewhat reasonable actions by a state under threat.

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