North Korea is Far From Suicidal: Prof.Sung-Yoon Lee


Sung-Yoon Lee is the Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor in Korean Studies and Assistant Professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

North Korea is no laggard when it comes to bluster and vituperation.

For decades, the regime has issued threats of turning South Korea into a "sea of fire" or used choice words such as "human scum" or "political idiot" when denouncing South Korean and U.S. leaders.

But even measured against such standards, North Korea's barrage over the past month, from threatening to launch an "all-out war" to "diversified precision nuclear strike" against Washington, "wipe out" a South Korean island, or hurling a sexist insult against Park Geun-hye, South Korea's first female elected leader, to, most recently, warning of an imminent "moment of explosion," is quite unusual.

And now, after saying that plans for merciless operation has been "finally examined and ratified," Pyongyang is hinting at another long-range missile launch.

What's going on?

First, we must assume the North Korean leadership is not crazy or suicidal in spite of bizarre things it says and does.

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