|All the rage in Pyongyang: |
the Button-pushing game
(warning: some old-timers may detonate)
South Korea and the US will hold their yearly drill between March 11 and 25, for the first time under Seoul leadership. Pyongyang might be tempted to add a few fireworks, Yeonpyeong-do style (see "We need to talk about KIM"). Of course, the year of the Snake already started with a bang, KIM The Third detonating his first nuclear device on February 12th. As usual, the underground test was carried in Kilju-gun, Hamgyongbuk-do, not far from the border with China, and closer to Russia than to South Korea.
The country's third test had been announced soon after UN Sanctions approved by Beijing, before Barack Obama's State of the Union address, and well ahead of the changing of the guard at Cheong Wa Dae**. A message delicately wrapped in a new-yet-vintage propaganda package: yes, our so-called space launches were actually missile tests, gloves and masks are off now, we'll wipe the US from the surface of the Earth, and its South Korean sidekick while we're at it... beware, we're as Off the wall, as Bad, and as Dangerous as Michael Jackson.
KIM Jong-un remained much more secretive regarding his wife's alleged pregnancy*; maybe he's less worried about the Chinese Syndrom than about the Kate Middleton Syndrom. Actually, the message is as usual first directed to the powers that be at home and in Beijing, stretching the long-time ally's patience to reedrichardsian limits.
This time, the people of China started complaining about the ambivalence of their own leaders. XI Jinping, who's been encouraging critics of the regime up to a certain point, could leverage this apparent climate change. Now that China can pose as a victim, and North Korea as an independent nation, backstage negociations could reach faster and deeper than ever.
Seoul Village 2013
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* RI Sol-ju is rumored to have delivered a KIM The Fourth to celebrate KIM Il-sung's 100th anniversary
** PARK Geun-hye officially replaces LEE Myung-bak on February 25 at 0:00:01, even if her inauguration is celebrated on Monday