An editor’s blog on 38 North says the media may be missing less bellicose signals about North Korean intentions amid the torrent of war-like words being exchanged between Pyongyang and Washington.
“There may be more to the story than meets the eye, certainly the eye that only skims the surface,” said an editorial on the respected website dedicated to analysis on North Korea.
“What, for example, did DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho mean when, in his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 23, he mentioned the formation of a North Korean ‘investigation committee’ charged with toting up a bill of damages caused by sanctions. Why raise this? Does one speak of collecting damages from sanctions if one is planning to launch a suicidal war?,” the editorial asked.
“What does it mean that in the North Korean propaganda campaign designed to express unusually broad domestic support for Kim Jong-un’s September 21 statement that responded directly and personally to President Trump’s UNGA speech, there are numerous references to turning anger at the US into increased efforts at meeting economic goals?,” the editors of the website, hosted by the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, added.
The editorial further noted that radio and TV programming in Pyongyang is normal and reporting mundane events such as a tennis match or the popularity of North Korean acrobats at a Moscow circus, despite leader Kim Jong-un’s end-of-the-world verbal slugfest with President Donald Trump.
“None of the above are as sexy as a North Korean assertion of a right to down an American bomber over international waters, but all of them together would seem to require a closer look to determine if, in combination and over time, they give us a more balanced picture of Pyongyang’s perceptions and plans,” the editorial said.