Because I miss the old Pravda news blurbs from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, with all the hidden subtext and raging against the Imperialists doomed by Marxist theory to eventual destruction, sometimes I read the Korean Central News Agency of DPRK. You know, for nostalgia. Here's how the KCNA reported on Monday's nuclear test:
Pyongyang, October 9 (KCNA) -- The Korean Central News Agency released the following report: The field of scientific research in the DPRK successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on October 9, Juche 95 (2006) at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great prosperous powerful socialist nation.
It has been confirmed that there was no such danger as radioactive emission in the course of the nuclear test as it was carried out under a scientific consideration and careful calculation.
The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent. It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defence capability.
It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it.
Is it just me, or is Kim Jong Il conspicuous by his absence? Usually when something remarkable happens, technologically speaking, the propagandists in Pyongyang make sure that the Dear Leader is given suitable credit. Consider this hydro station project:
Pyongyang, August 3 (KCNA) -- A number of people are visiting the Samsu Hydro-power Station, the construction of which is progressing apace at the final stage as one more monumental edifice in the Songun era. As located at the junction of the Hochon and Unchong Rivers, the station can produce electricity without any restriction of water even in a drought year. Its dam can reserve much water so as to use it for several years.
The power station, which is promising and economically profitable, will supply ample electricity to arranging well the revolutionary battle and historical sites in the Mt. Paektu area and to the people in Samjiyon County.
A large man-made lake has come into being in the upper district of the dam, which will help transport a large amount of freight by ship.
Meanwhile, the annual average temperature will rise in favor of farming. Lots of trees of good species suitable to topographical features have been planted in surrounding mountains and the lower basin, adding beauty to their scenery. A rest home will be built on the shores of the lake, which resembles a "sea" in mountains. People call it a "treasure power station".
General Secretary Kim Jong Il initiated its construction, selected its site and has wisely led the project.
I recall reading news releases in prior years from the KCNA that had Kim Jong Il showing farmers how to plant more efficiently, and astounding generals with his grasp of strategy and tactics (which shows what a rube he really is, because everyone knows the real general worries about logistics first and foremost).
So the North Koreans light off a nuke, and Kim Jong Il is not mentioned, not even in passing?
In fact, no one is mentioned by name. No organization is given credit for organizing the test. The Korean People's Army is described as pleased, but even then it is in terms of being a spectator.
So who owns this test? The answer is no one does, which suggests to me that the North Koreans are willing to give up the nuclear program as part of some bargain. I'm not necessarily saying that the West ought to accept a deal, but what other use is a nuclear weapon to North Korea? Unlike Iran's goal to eradicate Israel, there is no higher religious goal to be accomplished with nuclear weapons for the North Koreans. They are the ultimate secular humanists, even worshiping humans in the persons of the late Kim Il Sung and the current leader Kim Jong Il. So whatever benefits are to be gained from having nuclear weapons has to be enjoyed in this life, and indeed in this lifetime. Nuclear weapons are not going to help reunite the peninsula, at least not militarily, and the North Koreans must know it.
Instead, the North Koreans are seeking legitimacy, and that shows in a remarkable news release today that has been entirely ignored as far as I can tell:
Pyongyang, October 9 (KCNA) -- Charles David, chairman of the Indonesian Federation of Transport Trade Unions, in a statement on Oct. 4 fully supported the proposal for founding of the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo and hailed the successes made by the north and south of Korea in the process of reunification after the publication of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration. Noting that Oct. 10 this year is the 26th anniversary of the proposal for founding the DFRK set forth by President Kim Il Sung, he said:
This proposal envisages that the country should be reunified by founding a Federal Republic through the establishment of a unified national government on the condition that the north and the south recognize and tolerate each other's ideas and social systems, a government in which the two sides are represented on an equal footing and under which they exercise regional autonomy with equal rights and duties.
This proposal is the most reasonable way of averting a war and achieving a peaceful reunification, given the fact that different systems have existed in the north and the south for more than half a century.
This DFRK is an idea that the North Koreans have floated for some time now:
Pyongyang, October 3 (KCNA) -- Rodong Sinmun today comes out with an article 25 years since President Kim Il Sung advanced the proposal for founding the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo (DFRK). The proposal is a most just one for reunification as it calls for achieving national reunification by establishing a federal republic on the basis of recognizing and tolerating the ideologies and systems existing in the north and the south of Korea, the article says , and goes on;
The President, with a scientific insight into the reality of Korea divided into the north and the south by foreign forces, considered federal formula as a great principle governing the efforts to reunify Korea and set forth the proposal for founding the DFRK on that principle.
The above-said proposal is, above all, a just one as it fully meets the actual conditions of the north and the south of Korea.
A hard nut to crack in achieving national reunification is that differing ideologies and systems exist in the north and the south and none of them is ready to abandon its ideology and system consolidated for a long period. Any attempt on the part of one side to achieve reunification on the basis of its ideology and system under this situation cannot but spark antagonism and clash and would only lead to prolonging the division. The proposal for federal formula for reunification is, therefore, a just and fair one as it makes it possible to protect and meet the interests of both sides. This offer is also in line with the interests of the countries concerned.
A unified state to be set up in accordance with the proposal will pose no threat to the countries concerned as it will be a neutral state. The federal state will not only respect the foreign capital invested and concessions granted before the reunification but allow the regional governments to have bilateral relations with other countries. The north and the south of Korea agreed to work for achieving the peaceful reunification on the basis of the co-existence of the two systems at the historic Pyongyang meeting held in June, Juche 89 (2000) and proclaimed this to the world through the June 15 joint declaration. The struggle to reunify the country by federal formula has been placed on a new higher stage under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il.
Of course, no one would willingly lie down with a snake, but that this idea is being pushed on the same day as the nuclear test is announced can't be dismissed. Nothing goes on the list of KCNA news releases unless it pushes a message the regime wants to send. The message seems to be this -- we've got nukes, but no one is going to lose any sleep if we trade them for something else, including some sort of guaranteed coexistance with the south, who by the way aren't the mad puppets of the raging imperialist Americans.
At least not today.
Unfortunately for the North Koreans, the rest of the world can't tolerate this sort of act from Pyongyang. Whatever the true intent, the reaction is going to be harsh, at least for the short term. If the North Koreans really are looking for a deal, I hope they are sophisticated enough to understand that they will have to suffer this pain for the next little while before the rest of the world can consider what the North Koreans want.
Of course, I could be wrong, and the 700,000-strong KPA is about to surge over the DMZ, bringing primitive nuclear weapons in the backs of trucks.