Powerful and prosperous? Atomic bombs, missiles won’t solve North’s problems
North Korea is well on its way to becoming a ``powerful and prosperous” country by 2012.
This is a natural ― rather inevitable ― conclusion from the two latest media reports: First, the North has been digging special tunnels at a site in North Hamgyeong Province to prepare for another nuclear test. Second, it also completed building a sophisticated missile launch facility near its border with China late last year to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Pyongyang must be thinking it would be able to unveil a nuclear bomb-tipped ICBM on the 100th birthday of its founder, Kim Il-sung, in April, or the National Foundation Day in October, realizing its long-held dream of becoming a ``powerful” country. It would then attempt major negotiations with South Korea and the United States and wrest political and economic concessions to also turn itself into a ``prosperous” country.
There are too many questions splintering the North Korean leadership’s daydreams, however. Would Washington and Seoul, long and well aware of the North’s true intentions, allow one more nuclear test or missile launch to take place? If the North has its way in conducting additional tests, would its capitalist rivals pay in humanitarian aid as the price for peace? Even if Pyongyang succeeds in exchanging weapons for money, would North Koreans ― let alone foreigners ― think the last Stalinist holdout in the world is powerful and prosperous?