Home Asia Kim Jong-Un’s Biggest Fear, K-Pop, K-Dramas From South Korea

Kim Jong-Un’s Biggest Fear, K-Pop, K-Dramas From South Korea

There’s a country where the leadership, it seems, is less worried over the possibility of conflict (despite all its sabre rattling) and more about the infiltration of culture and ideas seeping in through porous borders.  North Korea is the country in question, and under Kim Jong-un, K-pop, K-dramas and K-movies all made in neighbouring South Korea, are not kosher.

Dr Narushige Michishita, a specialist on the hermit kingdom at Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies think tank, says Kim recently enacted a law aimed at curtailing the spread of such “negative influences”.

“They are concerned that the North Korean people might get attracted to South Korea and lose their loyalty to the regime in Pyongyang,” he told StratNews Global during an exclusive interview.

It’s very hard for the people of the North to resist the regime or stand up against it because they could get punished very severely, he said. “They can take you off somewhere, execute you, it’s a brutal regime, and if you are a North Korean citizen and you don’t like the regime, you don’t have a choice of leaving the country.”

Why does Pyongyang keep firing missiles towards Japan?  Dr Michishita says the North does not see Tokyo as the main enemy, rather it is South Korea which is seen by the North as the one posing an existential threat. South Korea has the potential to unify the Korean peninsula.

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“North Korean leaders cannot say we’re worried about South Korea because they could be regarded as weak and inferior to the latter. So they brag about how North Korea has nuclear weapons which the South does not.”

The North does not need the South, he argues, because most international trade takes place with China, 80% to 90% of such trade. So China is the most important economic partner.

Has the Ukraine war helped the North? “Definitely,” says Dr Michishita, “Russia needs supplies of weapons and North Korea is the perfect place for such supplies. In return they are getting energy, food, satellite technologies or missile technologies.”

Tune in for more in this chat with Dr Narushige Michishita on the enigma of North Korea.