- President Donald Trump has consistently outlined his great hope for a prosperous, rich North Korea, but that could end up killing Kim Jong Un.
- Kim doesn’t want US investment and what he calls “imperialists” enriching his country and loosening his grip on power, a former CIA expert said.
- The history books are filled with examples of despots like Kim being dragged from their palaces and killed by their own people once they lose their iron grip.
President Donald Trump has consistently outlined his great hope for a prosperous, rich North Korea to rejoin South Korea and the international community, and while he may genuinely want that for 25 million in North Korea, it could literally kill Kim Jong Un.
“Imagine the amazing possibilities for a Korean Peninsula liberated from the threat of nuclear war where all Koreans can enjoy the prosperity that you have enjoyed right here in South Korea,” Trump said during a November visit to Seoul.
South Korea, Seoul in particular, is a technological and economic powerhouse that countries the world over envy, but the integrated North Korea described by Trump in November, and that he continues to push today, would likely amount to a death warrant for Kim.
“North Korea has a chance to be a great country and it can’t be a country under these circumstances they are living right now. …I think they should seize the opportunity,” Trump said in May. “His country would be very rich,” Trump said at another point in May.
Trump and his administration’s top officials have promised US investment and economic incentives for North Korea, but Jung Pak, formerly of the CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence, says those promises won’t appeal to Kim.
“US promises of sending in businesses to lift NK out of poverty is tone-deaf,” Pak tweeted. “KJU doesn’t want ‘imperialists’ running around in NK. These are not [economic incentives] but threats to destroy and exploit NK.”
Already, capitalist enterprises are forming out of necessity in poverty-stricken North Korea, and already it’s challenging Kim’s rule.
How would 25 million North Koreans react to the iron curtain lifting? Maybe by executing Kim
Kim doesn’t hold power temporarily or democratically. He’s an authoritarian that imprisons as many as 100,000 people at any time for political reasons. His regime has put to death untold thousands and stands accused of the worst human rights atrocities in the world. His system can’t stand comparison to South Korea, where people have the means to change their leadership.
If Kim allows US and other influences into his country, his people could become empowered with money and information. History is replete with examples of dictators being dragged from palaces and killed by their people once the state loses its iron grip, and Kim knows this.
Trump is rich, and he likes it. But North Koreans, with their information strictly limited by the Kim regime, have little conception of what US material wealth looks like. Kim would likely look at North Koreans gaining access to wealth outside his provisions as challenges to his rule.
For this reason, US offers to spread business and its version of prosperity to North Korea’s people won’t likely sway Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.
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