“Nobody believes a liar... even when he's telling the truth”
U.S. officials have reportedly delivered an “emergency demarche” to Beijing, alerting Chinese officials of heightened activity at North Korean missile and potential nuclear test sites, according to a Wall Street Journal article. Washington detected suspect activity via its network of spy satellites and, given Pyongyang’s recent moves regarding the ongoing nuclear crisis, called upon Beijing to rein in its wayward neighbor.
North Korea repeatedly warns of anything from the classic turning Seoul into a sea of fire to the claims by its unofficial spokesman in Japan that Pyongyang is both capable of and considering testing long range ballistic missiles off shore near New York City and Washington DC.
And there have been trickles of information out of Pyongyang that this August, for the 60th anniversary of Korean Liberation Day, North Korea will end the attempts at a peaceful resolution of the nuclear crisis it started in late 2002 and instead offer undeniable proof that it is a de jure nuclear power. This, of course, means a nuclear test. And this year North Korea has suspended operation at Yongbyon, claiming it will remove the nuclear fuel rods, reprocess the plutonium, and increase its nuclear arsenal accordingly. That after declaring itself in posession of nuclear weapons.
Now, North Korea, particularly under the Kim Jong Il regime, has survived on a policy of threatening bluff – operating under the presumption that the threat that North Korea might threaten to do something is enough to get others (the United States, South Korea, China…) to do something for the North. Pyongyang creates crises so it can gain rewards for returning to the status quo. That policy hasn’t worked this time around, and the nuclear crisis that was supposed to be ended by the summer of 2003 (the fiftieth anniversary of the Armistice Agreement) is still dragging on. Washington has finally called Pyongyang’s bluff.
That is, if it is bluff. North Korea has bluffed so much no one is really sure when it is (or if it is even capable of) telling the truth. So maybe Pyongyang is dead serious. Maybe in August, for the anniversary of National Liberation Day, or maybe in September, for the anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK, or maybe in October, to mark the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s election as General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, or the anniversary of the Foundation of the Workers Party of Korea, Pyongyang will just go and test a nuclear device.
And then the world will be left wondering why they didn’t know it was coming…
Or maybe, North Korea is trying to make people think that it isn’t bluffing this time because they are afraid of Pyongyang crying wolf so that Pyongyang really is bluffing but double bluffing but…
(oooh, my brain hurts)