How to respond to North Korea’s 5th nuclear test: stimulate internal…

first_imgAnalysis & Opinion RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Analysis & Opinion How to respond to North Korea’s 5th nuclear test: stimulate internal pressure with information SHARE AvatarLee Kwang Baek, UMG, President Facebook Twitter Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? center_img Analysis & Opinion Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center By Lee Kwang Baek, UMG, President – 2016.09.12 1:23pm Analysis & Opinion Despite repeated warnings and strong sanctions from the international community, Kim Jong Un has conducted another nuclear test. A mere eight months have passed since North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January. We know what the regime’s aim is: to continue developing nuclear weapons and missiles to the point that they are ready for use in battle. The regime believes nuclear weapons and missiles are a shield, protecting it from internal and external threats. That being the case, how should we respond? The international community has adopted strong sanctions and is already exerting strong military pressure on Kim Jong Un’s regime. It might even be difficult to ratchet up the intensity of these measures. In terms of military options, the only thing stronger than the current strategy would be a preemptive strike. International sanctions and external pressure are not sufficient to block the progress of nuclear and missile development and provocations. We need a new strategy, one that stimulates change from within and weakens Kim Jong Un’s grip on power. It is possible to weaken Kim Jong Un’s power base by changing the consciousness of ordinary North Koreans. This involves separating the people from the regime. The people lack sufficient access to outside information. They are told that “North Korea is a socialist paradise on earth, thanks to Kim Jong Un.” They are instructed that “South Koreans are living in poverty and subject to violence by the American Imperialists.” The real heart of any society is its people. As North Korean people’s consciousness changes, so too will the system and regime.  The U.S. Department of State recently submitted a report to Congress detailing strategies to help the North Korean people gain  access to outside information. It included exploring options related to importing media players – such as radios, USBs, “notetel [portable media players produced in China],” MP3s, and smartphones – into North Korea to ensure that more North Korean residents acquire access to outside information. The BBC will also soon begin broadcasting a radio service into North Korea.  In South Korea, the Ministry of National Defense and intelligence agencies conduct North Korea-facing psychological operations. With American support, civil organizations in South Korea broadcast into North Korea to inform the North Korean people. However, the current level of effort is not significant enough to provoke lasting change. In order to change their consciousness, weaken the regime, and escape the cycle of nuclear and missile provocations, we need to make outside information available to at least half of the population. To do that, we need to increase our current efforts ten-fold.    In order to strengthen the intensity of this effort, four initiatives are important. First, the South Korean government should provide radio time to civil organizations so they can increase broadcast time. These organizations are currently renting airtime from radio stations in Central Asia. That means that the signal can be weak and difficult to hear by the time it arrives in North Korea. If South Korea provides this air time, it will be much easier to deliver more information by reaching a wider audience with a higher quality signal. Second, KBS Hanminjok Radio needs to increase the importance of its North Korea programming. This station currently broadcasts to overseas Koreans in China, Russia, and Japan. It also broadcasts TV to all of these countries, excluding North Korea. The strongest radio signal reaching North Korea is, in fact, the KBS Hanminjok Radio signal. There is reason to examine altering and customizing the KBS Hanminjok Radio programs that are transmitted into North Korea, considering it presents such a unique media environment and social situation. Third, defectors should be assisted so that they can more easily communicate with their friends and relatives back in North Korea. These kind of interactions are already occurring, including making phone calls to friends and relatives and providing them with USBs loaded up with Korean movies and dramas. However, these efforts can be significantly increased. Fourth, it will be important to contact and give information to North Koreans living abroad. Almost 190,000 North Koreans received a personal travel permit and spent time in China in 2015. These individuals are using smartphones to consume Korean dramas, news, movies, music, and comedy programs. This audience pool should be targeted and given better access to information tailored to their tastes and needs.   The country that is most proactively pursuing measures relevant to the introduction of foreign media into North Korea is  the United States. However, South Korea is geographically closer and will ultimately be North Korea’s partner in unification.  Getting information to North Koreans in order to change their consciousness is a task that is integral to the pursuit of peace in Northeast Asia, the human rights problem in North Korea, and the unification of the peninsula. Those working to advance this cause – both in governments and in the private sector – should meet at once in order to make a plan and prepare the appropriate legislation.   Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke”last_img

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