September 27, 2023

Once again, North Korea is the Hermit Kingdom

Pyongyang increasingly isolates itself, even from old allies, through its refusal to change course

John Donne once said that no man is an island and this truism applies to everyone, including the so-called Hermit Kingdom. The North Korean government’s mouthpiece typically likes to extol the virtues of Juche (whatever that means) and of self-reliance. To a casual observer, it would seem that North Korea is willing to take on the entire world all by its little self. But can it really?

Upon a little further inspection, the truth turns out to be a little more complicated. It turns out that despite its affinity for talking about self-reliance, North Korea still needs friends, partners and allies; considering its economic standing (or lack thereof), it cannot afford to be all that picky. Of course, its most obvious friend, or frenemy as it seems lately, is China. But there are a few other countries that have at least been cordial with North Korea.