Press Round-up: On North Korea

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The media storm in response to North Korea’s short-range missile tests on Monday runs the gamut between calls for continued diplomacy to questions about a renewed Cold War. Here’s a short list of key articles:

Daniel Politi summarizes the mainstream press coverage for Slate, including: how this incident spells an early test for Obama’s foreign policy from the New York Times; questions about North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s motivations from the Los Angeles Times; and, speculations in the Washington Post on how big a bomb the communist regime can actually produce.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mr. Kim may be preparing a transitional leader on the heels of his alleged stroke in August of last year. A top candidate may be his brother-in-law, Jang Seong Taek, whom he recently appointed to North Korea’s National Defense Commission. U.S. officials suspect that Mr. Kim’s third son, Kim Jong Un, is also in the running.

Korea Times wonders if their peninsula may be regressing to Cold War-era tensions after a decade of uneasy yet promising relations with their northern neighbor, as defined by the “Sunshine Policy” doctrine. Articulated in 1998 by then-South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, the Sunshine Policy established a peaceful stance towards North Korea that anticipated eventual reunification. However, since his 2008 election, current President Lee Myung Bak has taken an increasingly hard line approach toward Pyongyang.

Lee Chi-dong reports for Yonhap News that South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan has vowed to try to “bring North Korea back to the bargaining table” of peaceful negotiation.

And, New Scientist sees a silver lining in Monday’s missile tests: “The network of blast detectors intended for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which has not yet come into force, seems to have perfectly identified the explosion as a nuclear test, despite its small size.” In other words, at least our nuclear-monitoring technology is working.

 Sources:Slate, Wall Street Journal, Korea Times, Yonhap News, New Scientist

Image by Borut Peterlin, licensed under Creative Commons

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