Fletcher in the News

Prof. Sung-Yoon Lee on South Korea Elections

Voice of America

North Korean Media Urge 'Great War' Ahead of South Korean, US Elections

North Korea’s state-run news agency has published new warnings to South Korea and the United States, threatening a “great war.”

The messages appeared just days after North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Kil Yon told the United Nations that a hostile U.S. policy toward Pyongyang has turned the Korean Peninsula into the world's most dangerous hotspot.

Sung-Yoon Lee, a North Korea expert at Tufts University’s The Fletcher School, said both the U.N. speech and the KCNA warnings are part of a well thought out strategy to remind voters in both South Korea and the U.S. that Pyongyang is a priority.

South Korea is holding a presidential election in December, just a month after the United States, and the frontrunner is Park Guen-hye, a member of the conservative ruling party that has taken a hawkish stance toward Pyongyang.

“By creating a mini headache, by causing problems, North Korea expects to be rewarded, not just with attention but by creating a political need in Washington and Seoul to take care of the problem,” Lee said.

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