As North Korea warned foreigners on Tuesday that they might want to leave South Korea because the peninsula was on the brink of nuclear war — a statement that analysts dismissed as hyperbole — the American commander in the Pacific expressed worries that the North’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, might not have left himself an easy exit to reduce tensions.
Why is this happening? Maybe this is the answer.
Divisions within the military, and the desire of a leader who may be only 30-years-old to consolidate his position, could be one factor behind the current spate of aggression.
“The further north you go (in North Korea), the more you hear rumours of dissension and divisions over who is or who would have been a better leader,” said Joseph Bermudez, an expert on the North Korean military and an analyst at DigitalGlobe.
On the other hand…
When asked if the North Korean army is still strong, Lt Kim answered automatically: “Yes, very strong”. The man who smuggled him out of North Korea, however, doubled up laughing at the officer’s response.
“They are taught that they are the strongest army in the world, and the best equipped. But in reality, their equipment is what we were using in China 60 years ago!” he said.