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While we're discussing horsemeat in frozen foods


Forum Editor
Resolved

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others are getting on with the job of destabilising the world.

It's a demonstration of what can happen when a deluded, all-powerful youngster at the helm of a totalitarian state starts messing with stuff he doesn't understand.

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pavvi

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The trouble is that NK is so secretive that we don't know whether Kim Jeong-Un is just a figurehead being run by the army or vice versa, or a combination. I have always found it slightly amusing that the communist states are/were called things like Deutsches Demokratik Republik, People's Republic of China, and in the case of NK, People's Democratic Republic of Korea. Nothing like a bit of irony.

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pavvi

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Correction - Democratic People's Republic of Korea

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Forum Editor

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pavvi

This is how the North Korean government likes to present itself to the world:-

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a genuine workers' state in which all the people are completely liberated from exploitation and oppression. The workers, peasants, soldiers and intellectuals are the true masters of their destiny and are in a unique position to defend their interests."

I wonder how many North Korean workers and peasants feel liberated from exploitation and oppression, and masters of their destiny.

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fourm member

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North Korea doesn't always fit into our picture of it.

Try this interview with a former UK ambassador or listen

And this will probably suprise.

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pavvi

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forum member

Very interesting links. One of the key parts of the first article is the reference to Axis of Evil. The ambassador and the americans appear to completely misunderstand Asian culture. It's not because they don't know, of course not. It's just that the political niceties of the West over-rule it. The reassurances could very well have had little value to DPRK because of how they were being portrayed. This is where they would run slap bang into the whole "face" aspect, and the shutters go up. To the North Koreans the Face issue can be more important than the political convenience for the West of labelling them as evil.

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Forum Editor

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fourm member

From the Ambassador's interview - he says:-

"More likely is the smoke-filled room scenario, where either China finally decides it’s had enough of North Korea and sits down with the U.S. to cut a deal so that one day Kim Jong Un wakes up to find his world has collapsed around him."

I totally agree.

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Forum Editor

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pavvi

I can't agree with you when you say that "The ambassador and the americans appear to completely misunderstand Asian culture."

I think they both understand it very well. I have worked a good deal in China and Kong Kong, and in my youth I lived in Sri Lanka, spending a lot of time in India. I learnt plenty about Asian culture, and about 'Face', and in my business dealings with the Chinese I discovered that they're actually interested in one thing above all else, and that's winning. Once you understand that, it's not difficult to get along with them. Some of them like to play up the inscrutable Oriental , but deep down they're as easy to understand as anyone else. I got on very well with them,once I realised that in a business meeting business is the last thing to be mentioned. I'm sure that the same applies in diplomatic contacts.

North Korea is ruled by a despot of the worst kind, he'll pursue his aim of becoming a world influence if he possibly can, even if he has to bleed his country white and take it to the brink of a nuclear confrontation. Negotiating with him is a complete waste of time - he will only understand pressure, which brings me back to what I said in an earlier post about China's pivotal role in all this.

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pavvi

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FE

I should have said that they chose to disregard it rather than misunderstand it. I share your experience of business meetings right across South East Asia, that never seem to discuss business. It's more the other party trying to get their measure of you.

My take on face is that it isn't necessarily about winning but about not being seen to lose. Despots will always want to be seen to win, however, and one issue that is relevant is that the way to play it might be to portray the end of successful negotiations showing that NK achieved something. Often, however, the West wants to show how powerful it is and wants it to be demonstrated that it has won. This goes head to head with the asian concept of face.

The only chance that NK can be persuaded to stand back will be if someone can convince them that by pulling back, they haven't lost. The only people that might be able to achieve this would be as you say, China. Allowing NK to think it hasn't lost will dampen the West's ability to say it has won. Will the WEst's triumphalism be more important than peace?

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spider9

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"Will the WEst's triumphalism be more important than peace?"

Sadly, I think the answer to that might be yes. But that doesn't mean conflict is necessarily the outcome.

Since weapons (particularly those of mass destruction) were invented, man, by his very nature, will always strive to dominate others - and nothing suggests to me that this will ever change.

Fortunately, in some respects, the more fearsome the weapon the less likely will it ever be used, since we arrive at the scenario where if any nation used it then the probability would be that mutually assured destruction would follow - only worldwide - and including the instigators!

Even 'rogue' states have leaders who ultimately realise this and so the chances of any of them starting such a chain reaction seems less likely than ever.

The real fear might just be a development of a chemical/biological weapon with only one nation having a protective 'antidote'.

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LastChip

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Quite right. It's a very disturbing development.

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