Video: Kerry lands in Seoul, ramping pressure on China

posted at 8:01 am on April 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The big question is whether a high-profile visit from John Kerry will get China’s attention at all, and if so, whether it will move the needle in Beijing.  In a joint press conference an hour or so ago, Kerry and his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se demanded that Pyongyang tone down the rhetoric, with Yun calling the threats a “grave provocation” and Kerry merely calling them “unacceptable.” However, Kerry also told reporters that the US will not accept the DPRK as a nuclear power, which leaves the impasse in place.

As CNN notes, though, the North Koreans aren’t Kerry’s intended audience:

Why not just ignore Kim Jong-un and his regime? Andrei Lankov agrees that’s a tempting thought, but it’s “utterly unrealistic“:

There is thus a great and growing temptation to say that North Korea is better off forgotten and ignored. This reasoning is attractive, and utterly unrealistic. North Korea has not the slightest desire to be left alone. Whilst being “benignly” neglected, North Korean leaders would work hard to improve their nuclear and missile arsenal. They would then try to sell their technologies abroad, both as a way to be troublesome and to earn extra cash.

All of North Korea’s most destructive policies — the nuclear and missile programs, the unwillingness to reform, the determined efforts to maintain a police state, the penchant for fomenting regional tensions — are designed to keep the regime afloat. The only way to alter North Korea’s behavior is to change the nature of the regime. The question is how.

Lankov points out that the Soviet Union didn’t collapse because of the political repression imposed by Moscow.  It fell when the subjects of the USSR realized the extent of their economic oppression, and the disparity between their own poverty and Western nations.  Although Lankov doesn’t draw this connection, it’s not a coincidence that the collapse of the Soviet Union began in Poland and then accelerated at the Berlin Wall, two places that were close enough to Western economies to see the difference beyond the propaganda.  That’s not dissimilar to the situation at the 38th Parallel:

North Korean propagandists face a bigger challenge. They have to explain the stunning prosperity of South Korea — a country populated by members of the same ethnic group, who share the same language and culture as the destitute inhabitants of the North. The more that knowledge about the fabulous success of South Korea spreads among ordinary North Koreans, the less tenable the status quo will become.

Three channels can be exploited to provide the North Korean populace with unauthorized information about the outside world. First, academic, cultural and other interpersonal exchanges, endorsed by North Korean authorities, will open the gates to potentially dangerous knowledge. Conservatives in Washington, Seoul and elsewhere may question the value of these exchanges, and no doubt the top functionaries in Pyongyang and their spoiled children will be the first to take advantage of overseas study trips or international student exchanges. Yet these are exactly the type of people who matter most. Changes to the North Korean system are most likely to be initiated by well-informed and disillusioned members of the elite.

The fax machine helped bring down the Soviet empire.  Today, as Lankov suggests, the DVD and the cell phone could be deployed to the same purpose. It certainly beats sending missiles across no-man’s-land.


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So we send the human Mr. Ed as the face of the United States. Well….that should strike fear into the North Koreans.

Seriously, I don’t think it’s possible to consciously arrange a bigger group of pinheads, dolts, and incompetents than Bark has managed to do after he was elected as Lead Dolt. Compare these retards to the men who created this nation, the disparity is shocking.

Bishop on April 12, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Today, as Lankov suggests, the DVD and the cell phone could be deployed to the same purpose. It certainly beats sending missiles across no-man’s-land.

Just so long as that DVD isn’t Season One of Honey Boo Boo. That’d be a step backward.

Seriously, they always teach DIME when talking about foreign affairs.

Diplomacy
Information
Military
Economic

Of these four aread, the information one is the least used but seeing that diplomacy, economic sanctions, and military preparedness have failed in North Korea, maybe it is time to drop DVDs in Pyongyang. Of course, it takes electricity to run a DVD player.

Happy Nomad on April 12, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Bishop on April 12, 2013 at 8:08 AM

The problem I have is that this administration has completely ignored Pyongyang for over four years. They simply didn’t care what was going on. So, to drop a SecState into the region now…..

At this point what difference does it make?

Not much.

Happy Nomad on April 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

So we send the human Mr. Ed as the face of the United States.

Er … hey

Ed Morrissey on April 12, 2013 at 8:12 AM

A full rice bowl and the flash suppressor of an AK touching the back of ones head causes one to not talk about western ways.

docflash on April 12, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Here he comes to save the daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!

To quote the immortal Dr. Smith: We’re doomed!

pilamaye on April 12, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Amended:

“so we send the human version of Wilbur’s animal companion”

Bishop on April 12, 2013 at 8:15 AM

North Korea is sure to be intimidated. Kerry showing up is reminiscent of Jhengis Khan‘s invasion of the peninsula.

forest on April 12, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Interesting timing for this visit while the peons are distracted with the 2A attacks.

indypat on April 12, 2013 at 8:17 AM

The only ‘pressure’ I can see Kerry putting on China is them needing to stop laughing long enough breathe.

Liam on April 12, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Ignoring the problem is “utterly unrealistic.”

I dunno.
That works regarding the debt crisis, right?

itsnotaboutme on April 12, 2013 at 8:22 AM

forest on April 12, 2013 at 8:17 AM

yep, exactly what I thought of, old buds getting together for some good times circa ’68…when Nixon ruled with his iron fist

DanMan on April 12, 2013 at 8:23 AM

First, academic, cultural and other interpersonal exchanges, endorsed by North Korean authorities, will open the gates to potentially dangerous knowledge.

So follow the liberal/progressive playbook to take over a country. Well it has the advantage of being done before. The USA was taken over in the same way by the hippies/REvolu!ioniers of 1960′s.

unseen on April 12, 2013 at 8:25 AM

So when does Kerry send the strongly worded letter to Kim and China?

Only then can there be peace.

unseen on April 12, 2013 at 8:26 AM

It fell when the subjects of the USSR realized the extent of their economic oppression, and the disparity between their own poverty and Western nations.

I dispute this. the USSR fell when the army would no longer back the regime. the citzens of the USSR knew about the difference in “economic disparity” for years. they caled us the decadent west after all. It was the call of freedom that toppled the USSR and strong leaders like Reagan, thatcher and Pope John that gave the peoples of the Soviet Bloc hope for a better life and for freedom. The Army made up of the people saw the economic disparity not between the West and east but between the rulers and the serfs. They saw because we had leaders pushing the benefits of capitalism how failed communism was and that it only rewarded the top people.

The fax machine might have helped the USSR fall by giving them information but it was the leaders of the West that saw to it that they were given the correct information.

What is the west going to show the north koraens now? That we have SSM? Massive provety? Massive debt? massive inflation? How is that a better life then what they live now? the two sides don’t have that stark didderence to motivate people to revol!. It’s all about the same anymore.

unseen on April 12, 2013 at 8:34 AM

I seem to remember him going to Asia at least one other time sometime in the past. Didn’t he serve in Vietnam?

Dan_Yul on April 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM

At this point what difference does it make?

Not much.

Happy Nomad on April 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Well at least this Sec of State will be sober.

unseen on April 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Compare these retards to the men who created this nation, the disparity is shocking.

Bishop on April 12, 2013 at 8:08 AM

yeap we have fallen so far from the golden days of our founding.

unseen on April 12, 2013 at 8:38 AM

I seem to remember him going to Asia at least one other time sometime in the past. Didn’t he serve in Vietnam?

Dan_Yul on April 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM

More than that! He spent Christmas in Cambodia one year.

Happy Nomad on April 12, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Slightly OT-

Dems in Senate are refusing to allow a resolution honoring Lady Thatcher. Talk about low class. Small wonder that lil Kim thinks he’s in a power position right now. With these people in charge he is.

Happy Nomad on April 12, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Well just how many DVD players and cell phone chargers are in slave labor camps these days?

Limerick on April 12, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Dems in Senate are refusing to allow a resolution honoring Lady Thatcher. Talk about low class. Small wonder that lil Kim thinks he’s in a power position right now. With these people in charge he is.

Happy Nomad on April 12, 2013 at 8:46 AM

The wonder is how any GOP can think they can work with these types of people. 16 thought so last night when they voted to push gun control and how many think immigration is a workable problem witht he dems

unseen on April 12, 2013 at 9:04 AM

pile of crap this nation has become. The horse-faced gigolo a nice fly.

renalin on April 12, 2013 at 9:08 AM

So when does Kerry send the strongly worded letter to Kim and China?

Only then can there be peace.

unseen on April 12, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Something like this?

Dear Kimmie,

my messiah and I don’t have a problem with your Communist juche state. People need a strong hand and to be ruled by their betters, as we all know, being those betters.

But the Great Unwashed are getting worried about your rhetoric. Can’t you just, you know, quietly nuke Seoul? Once it’s a fait accompli, we can move on.

Your friend,

John-Boy

No, he wouldn’t be that direct. It would require honesty.

He’ll say something more… conciliatory.

Something like,

Dear Kimmie-boo,

I’m getting a boo-boo over your nasty talk about nucular, uh, nukular, uh, you know, those big bomb thingies.

If you don’t stop it, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll

STAMP MY WITTLE FEET AND REFUSE TO EAT MY STRAINED PEACHES!!!!

Johnny-boo

Yes. That’s it.

Yes, I think of him as a six-month-old prone to tantrums. In this respect, Kerry and Mini-Kim are a match made in Hell.

For everybody else on Earth.

clear ether

eon

eon on April 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Train bomb Little Kim saving face?

Limerick on April 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Utter fool. This country is represented and governed by utter fools.

tom daschle concerned on April 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM

North Korean propagandists face a bigger challenge. They have to explain the stunning prosperity of South Korea — a country populated by members of the same ethnic group, who share the same language and culture as the destitute inhabitants of the North. The more that knowledge about the fabulous success of South Korea spreads among ordinary North Koreans, the less tenable the status quo will become.

This is a no-brainer, all they have to do is rely on explanations from American progressives. They will explain why communism has failed in Cuba (hint: our fault), why it failed in the USSR (hint: our fault), why it is failing in Red China (hint: our fault) and why it has failed in North Korea (hint: our fault).

Every time communism has been tried it has failed, yet its most stubborn proponents in the West assure us that is just needs to be tweaked a little and it will result in a paradise on Earth.

slickwillie2001 on April 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Limerick on April 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM

More like a trial run of the PRC’s plan to grab Taiwan once and for all.

They can’t invade- no adequate sealift/amphib capability (see Operation Seelowe, Germany, 1940).

They can’t just bomb it flat. Not from lack of capability, the PLAAF could certainly do it, but they want the industries and as much of the workforce as possible intact. (They want to run the place, not work it themselves; their definition of the proper order of things is them making everyone else do the work at bayonet point.)

They can’t force Taiwan to surrender by economic warfare. You compare the relative efficiency of the two, the mainland will lose, even if it has a numerical advantage. Resources cannot substitute for innovation and effective (as opposed to stupid and/or brutal) management.

That leaves subversion. The takeover of Taiwan will be by a supposedly “native” resistance movement against the “oppressive” Nationalist government. It will in reality be about as “native” as the Viet Cong’s NVA “advisors”, but will almost certainly be based on the usual run of local would-be Fearless Leaders found in every leftist clique’ on the planet.

They will work together to make Taiwan ungovernable, probably by doing their best to cripple its infrastructure and industries. BTW, look for cyberattacks by all those “freedom-loving students” on Beijing’s payroll.

Once the civil authority is seen to be unable to stop the destruction, there will be a “popular movement” demanding union with the mainland to “fix things” and “bring an end to six decades of division”.

And oh yes, The One and Horseface and all their gnomes will be right in there pitching. Pressuring Taipei to fold. Think what Jimmy Carter & Co. did to Southern Africa- only worse in the long run. (I don’t expect the old men in the Forbidden City to leave the “cleansing” of their new territory up to local talent working a capella.)

This is what’s coming.

Bet on it.

clear ether

eon

eon on April 12, 2013 at 9:49 AM

I seem to remember him going to Asia at least one other time sometime in the past. Didn’t he serve in Vietnam?

Dan_Yul on April 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Perhaps on his return leg he will stop in Vietnam and visit the museum of communist victory where there is a shrine to John F’n Kerry for all the assistance he provided to the North Vietnamese.

slickwillie2001 on April 12, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Ed, the game is much more complicated for Obama and Kerry.

They want to get rid of nukes. Norks say they deserve status as a nuke nation. OK, fine.

So, if Norks have nukes, then Iran wants nukes. And the beat goes on as all Mideast nations want nukes if Iran does.

If North Korea gets status, that leads to more credence for Japan to have defense and a military, including- yep, nukes. I’ve heard Taiwan wants them, too.

So instead of ridding the world of nukes, it is likely the Obama and Kerry legacies will be for proliferation, not the elimination. (Ed. note: that doesn’t preclude US from unilateral disarming).

There is a lot more at stake than just defusing this situation.

Kerry and Obama have to sweating bullets (oops, not PC).

bumsteaddithers on April 12, 2013 at 10:11 AM

This is what’s coming.

Bet on it.

clear ether

eon

eon on April 12, 2013 at 9:49 AM

When?

DarkCurrent on April 12, 2013 at 10:12 AM

So we send the human Mr. Ed as the face of the United States.
Er … hey …

Ed Morrissey on April 12, 2013 at 8:12 AM

I think “Bishop” was referring to the talking horse from TV land, and Kerry does resemble a talking horse’s posterior.

Maybe Kerry thinks that Seoul is Paris, and he’s negotiating peace with North Vietnam, or North Korea, or North something-or-other that’s seared in his memory.

Now is the time for Kerry to live up to his 2004 convention speech, and turn his Swift Boat full throttle up the Eastasian beaches. While he’s at it, he can attach jumper cables to Krazy Kim’s genitals and turn on the juice, in service to America.

Steve Z on April 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM

I seem to remember him going to Asia at least one other time sometime in the past. Didn’t he serve in Vietnam? Dan_Yul on April 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Cambodia too, a memory that is seared -seared- into his mind.

Akzed on April 12, 2013 at 10:35 AM

“The fax machine helped bring down the Soviet empire. Today, as Lankov suggests, the DVD and the cell phone could be deployed to the same purpose. It certainly beats sending missiles across no-man’s-land.”

Do they have cell phones and dvd’s in Saudi Arabia? Iran? Are Americans so arrogant that they think their pop culture will just appeal to everyone?

What will the NKoreans see when they observe our culture? A formerly prosperous capitalist nation that is CHOOSING to slowly go down the road towards a socialist police state.

Yeah big incentive there….

jephthah on April 12, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Well just how many DVD players and cell phone chargers are in slave labor camps these days?

Limerick on April 12, 2013 at 8:47 AM

You might want to check out the film “Kimjongilia” (2008). It’s fascinating look at life in NK. Although I suspect the answer to your question is zero.

oldleprechaun on April 12, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Do they have cell phones and dvd’s in Saudi Arabia? Iran? Are Americans so arrogant that they think their pop culture will just appeal to everyone?

jephthah on April 12, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Yes, yes, and yes.

DarkCurrent on April 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM

North Korean propagandists face a bigger challenge. They have to explain the stunning prosperity of South Korea — a country populated by members of the same ethnic group, who share the same language and culture as the destitute inhabitants of the North. The more that knowledge about the fabulous success of South Korea spreads among ordinary North Koreans, the less tenable the status quo will become.

What is needed is a Radio Free Korea, analogous to the Radio Free Europe of the Cold War era.

The South Koreans could be very helpful in this effort–they have the technology to broadcast into the North (Seoul is only 30 miles from the North Korean border), and they speak the same language as the North Koreans. They could broadcast TV images of bustling cities full of gleaming skyscrapers, modern Hyundai cars manufactured in South Korea, and healthy, well-dressed people, and of stores well-stocked with food. Let the North Korean people know that the grass is much greener on the south side of the DMZ.

The United States could help by using satellites to beam South Korean messages into the North. Satellite images of the Korean peninsula taken at night show a stunning contrast–brilliantly-lit cities and roads in the South all the way up to the DMZ, and nearly total darkness beyond. The North Korean people need to see this, and want what South Korea has had for decades.

Steve Z on April 12, 2013 at 10:48 AM

What is needed is a Radio Free Korea, analogous to the Radio Free Europe of the Cold War era.

Steve Z on April 12, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Probably already exists. North Korea certainly has English-language propaganda radio. I used to sometimes tune in for laughs while out late at night with the telescope in Japan.

DarkCurrent on April 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Yeah big incentive there….

jephthah on April 12, 2013 at 10:37 AM

my thoughts also. what are we going to tell them come join us and you too can have SSM? You too can be on welfare and food stamps. You too will be told you can’t have a 16oz soda? No salt? No red meat? no candy? You will be watched by drones? Maybe even killed by them at the whim of whoever is in the WH?

I mean what the hell do we have that is any different then what they have? +50% divocre rate, 50% unwed mothers, abortion on demand? upwards of 90 million out of work force. Hell even the illegals are leaving on their own. IRs that takes every penny? Why in all that’s holy would anyone want to come join us at this stage of our evolution as a country?

unseen on April 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Ugh, just heard Kerry’s statement in the mid hour news break.

“People are hungry for food, not missile launches…”

Fking buffoon.

tom daschle concerned on April 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM

So we send the human Mr. Ed as the face of the United States.

Er … hey …

Ed Morrissey on April 12, 2013 at 8:12 AM

I think “Bishop” was referring to the talking horse from TV land, and Kerry does resemble a talking horse’s posterior.

Steve Z on April 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Maybe out of respect for our host we can give Lurch the name of another famous horse. Like Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger. That should go over well with the Democrat Gun Grabbers.

“Can I gets me a Huntin’ License here?”

Del Dolemonte on April 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Today, as Lankov suggests, the DVD and the cell phone could be deployed to the same purpose. It certainly beats sending missiles across no-man’s-land.

Just so long as that DVD isn’t Season One of Honey Boo Boo. That’d be a step backward.

Happy Nomad on April 12, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Or ipods with 0′s speeches :) then they will want to preserve their current regime and I couldn’t even blame them :)

jimver on April 12, 2013 at 12:41 PM

When?

DarkCurrent on April 12, 2013 at 10:12 AM

I figure it will be rolling before Obama’s supposed to leave office. They can’t count on him being replaced with someone as “flexible”. The old men in Beijing have a limited time window there, plus another one with their own faltering economy.

BTW, the second factor is another reason I don’t expect the PLA to come to Mini-Kim’s rescue the way they did his grandpa in 1950. Their focus in terms of direct military action is more likely north across the Amur, not south across the Yalu. Benefits vs. costs strongly favor a “Bear and the Dragon” scenario if they use their army offensively. And they have to do something to deal with the “bulge” of young, unmarriageable men they’re stuck with due to the “one child” policy. Unless they want to use the Korean Peninsula as a giant Verdun- and lose face in Asia in the process. Which I don’t see happening.

Take Siberia and gain its resources, or buy brides from overseas?

I don’t think they’ll be taking out ads in Brides Monthly. Historically, they’ve never rolled that way.

cheers

eon

eon on April 12, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Kerry physically bowed to the idiots in S.K.

How low the USA has sunk.

Imagine a president Reagan. He weeps in his grave about his land.

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2013 at 2:58 PM

So, if Norks have nukes, then Iran wants nukes. And the beat goes on as all Mideast nations want nukes if Iran does.
oo.

bumsteaddithers on April 12, 2013 at 10:11 AM

“First we got the bomb, and that was good,
’cause we love peace and mother-hood…”
…well, we did when the song was written.
“Then Russia got the bomb, but that’s okay
’cause the balance of power’s maintained that way”

All together now on the chorus.

AesopFan on April 12, 2013 at 8:58 PM