Exasperated Neighbors Wish Regime Collapse for North Korea

South Korea has lost patience with North Korea after the nation stepped up missile and nuclear tests. “Kim Jong Un, who came to power in December 2011, is impatient to gain recognition as a nuclear state, apparently regarding this as a means to guarantee survival of his state and own life,” writes journalist Shim Jae Hoon. Meanwhile, the North’s 25 million people endure isolation, poverty, and rigid controls. China, hoping to avoid the chaos that would accompany the regime’s collapse, supplies the North with oil and funds by purchasing coal. An uptick in missile tests is driving South Korea to tighten ties with the United States and Japan even as South Korea’s president urges North Koreans to defect. Seoul is counting on the United States to maintain strong security policies for the Asia Pacific region. The article concludes: “By playing a dangerous nuclear gambit within the uncertain milieu of his isolated regime, Kim is unwittingly helping shape new geopolitical adjustments in the region that may not be necessarily beneficial to his leading big power patron, China.”