If there is any world leader today that deserves to be called ‘provocateur par excellence’, it should be no other than North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un.
Ever since Kim took over the reins of the hermetic country after his father Kim Jong-Il’s death on December 17, 2011, he has always been observed to be taking the path of belligerency.
As if persistent rumors are not disturbing enough that people are so hungry in North Korea that they are eating other people, now comes another alarming news that this impoverished nation has allegedly been placed under martial law and that the young tyrant has ordered the army to “prepare for war”.
South Korea must have felt being alluded to that its President, Lee Myung-bak, has ordered the military to make a “strong response” to any provocation from North Korea.
The last time North Korea was placed under martial law was in March 1993, just days before it withdrew from the Treaty for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and the regime also ordered its troops to be ready for war.
Could this just be another ‘saber-rattling’ mode by the despot to show that he could not be cowed by the western power?
The North Korean leader is said to have issued a series of orders to his top defense and security officials to complete preparation for a nuclear weapons test.
According to a South Korean daily, the nuclear test could come earlier than expected. Other analysts have said it would likely be held on February 16th, the birthday of the former leader Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011.
Another suggestion as to the test’s timing included February 25th, the inauguration day of South Korean President-elect Park Geun-Hye.
This latest provocation comes in the heels of new rounds of sanctions on North Korean entities and individuals, including travel bans and asset freezes, which were passed unanimously by the United Nations Security Council that included China, in December 2012 for carrying out the launch of a long range rocket in December 2012.
While Pyongyang claimed it was for the peaceful launch of a satellite, critics, however, say it was a thinly veiled test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Since the UN resolution was approved, North Korea has issued a number of warnings, including a statement on the day it was implemented, that there will be “no more dialogue or denuclearization.” It also threatened “all-out war” against Washington, which it said was its sworn enemy and blamed for leading the sanctions.
The question now is: Can North Korea proceed with its new nuclear test at the risk of antagonizing China who is its foremost ally, trusted supporter of the regime and much valued trading partner?
One can’t help but wonder how long the world has to put up with the crazy and dangerous antics of this provocateur par excellence, who, is said to be only 29 years old.