December 03, 2023

A remedy for head-in-the-sand thinking on N.Korea

Give Park Geun-hye’s agenda of inter-Korean cooperation a chance to work

Allow me to begin with an image that we all can understand. Imagine sticking one’s head in the sand in order to avoid confronting a reality that challenges one’s beliefs or makes one uncomfortable. Then extend this visual analogy to its logical conclusion: Having one’s head in the sand exposes one’s backside to a swift kick in the pants. Head-in-the-sand as a course of action makes for very poor foreign policy – but that is precisely what has been happening on the Korean Peninsula for decades now.

The current uptick in relations between the North and the South notwithstanding, the apparent lack of tension on the peninsula is misleading, for the North is only biding its time. Nothing has changed and the political atmosphere ought to be seen as merely a calm before the next storm. Perhaps China has indeed been able to influence its wayward protégé, but it is doubtful that this sway will last. Is anyone willing to bet anything significant that it will?