The pictures here are of pieces of cloth hanging across doorways in Seoul’s Unhyeongung Palace over the Chuseok holiday period, but I’m not going to write about that: this is a blog about Jeju, after all. Instead, I want to comment about our prickly neighbour in the north, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
On 5th August, the BBC News on-line reported on the Japanese defence ministry’s annual white paper. As well as concerns over the tensions locally between Japan and China, it talks about the ‘serious and imminent’ threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons development. North Korea, it says, is widely believed to be working on making a nuclear weapon small enough to deliver via ballistic missile.
According to a report in The Guardian on 14 August, North Korea test-fired five missiles are the Pope started his recent tour of South Korea. “Pyongyang, which has a long history of making sure it is not forgotten during high-profile events in the south”, it says.
On 6th September, The Telegraph on-line reported that “North Korea on Saturday test-fired three short-range missiles off its east coast, putting the South’s military on alert ahead of a traditional harvest holiday.”
So, Kim Jong-un appears to be a man who has his own set rules for diplomacy, and who has apparently unconstrained power in his own country. Add that to a region where there’s real tension between the bigger players and it looks like an uncomfortable mix.
So, I’m not sure what Alex Salmon will make of the headline in The Telegraph on-line yesterday: “North Korea ‘Backs Scottish Independence'”, it says, with an explanation that Kim Jong-un would like to trade North Korea’s natural resources for Scotch whisky.
That’s just what you want from a man who may soon have a nuclear capability.