I feel so sorry for the Koreans, they are in this state due to no fault of their own. They've been invaded and occupied hundreds of times over the
last 2000 years by various Chinese clans, Mongols and Japs. Then had to suffer abuse and humiliation by the Japanese Imperial occupation 1910 - 1945,
only to have what should have been their long awaited freedom destroyed by being caught up in the power struggles between the USSR, China and the USA.
In short outsiders have brought nothing but misery to Korea, who themselves have done nothing to warrant it. It is this deep suspicion of foreign
powers which is behind the mentality of the DPRK, as well as of the state ideology, "Juche", or self reliance - the concept that you can only rely
on or trust your own.
China is the only slight exception to this mind set, not only for propping up the regime and siding with the Great Leader in the Korean War, but
because in between invasions and occupations in the past, despite turning old Korea into a vassal state, friendly cultural and economic exchanges were
the norm - Buddhism, Confucianism, and script (which the DPRK has banned by the way for being Imperialistic! - too hard for the common person to
learn). There has never been such an exchange with Japan, only hostility and occupation, and current attitudes reflect this history.
Harder to understand is the attitude towards former WW2 allies America. Shortly after the WW2 and the Chinese Civil War, the official Communist line
was warm towards America who were seen as liberators and friends. There was an abrupt change in policy well before the Korean War, however, where pro
American references and pro Western thinkers were purged and a propaganda campaign was launched to portray the USA specifically as the evil empire.
The DPRK would have inherited this stance off their Chinese and Soviet benefactors in the early days of the North/South divide.
The attitude towards their brothers in the South has always been one of sympathy on the basis that they are occupied and downtrodden by the
Imperialist and Capitalists. The policy seems to be to liberate their less fortunate siblings and to reunite the family, and for this reason I think
it unlikely that nuclear weapons will be used in the South. More likely they will be used to threaten Japanese and American soil.
The current Chinese policy is possibly the most important and yet hardest to fathom aspect of the crisis. A South Korean national I met recently
explained it to me in terms of history - The old Korean Empire, Goguryeo c.37 bc to 668 ce, extended into Han Chinese Liaodong province in the North,
but not to the Southern portion of the Peninsula which was occupied by 3 independant states - more or less what South Korea is now. This empire was
eventually defeated by an alliance of one of these southern states and the Chinese Tang dynasty. Because China conquered this land, and because it was
theirs originally anyway under the Han, the current Chinese mindset is that the North is "their" territory in much the way they claim Tibet and
Inner Mongolia is theirs. This is why, so my Korean friend believed, they intervened in the korean war and why they will never allow Korea to be
united - it is their
land, they own it. Why they allow it to continue as a vaasal state now or in the past isn't clear to me. There are 56
ethnic groups in China today, one more shouldn't make much difference.
Somehow, though, despite all the odds, the Koreans have survived as a unique nation. I fear for their future, but they've been through much worse.
Don't underestimate their ability to come through against the odds.
Sorry for the ramble, I've become quite passionate about the country from watching all their TV Dramas online. The historical ones are the best -
when President Roh met Kim in 2007 he presented him with a box set of my favourite Dae Jang Geum. No idea what he made of it, I understand the Dear
leader prefers to watch Disney cartoons all day.