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EPISODE – XXXXV
TOPIC: North Korea: A puzzle for China
BLOG: The Guardian
READ BEFORE YOU PROCEED:
D2G wears no responsibility of the views published here by the respective Author. This Editorial is used here for Study Purpose. Students are advised to learn the word-meaning, The Art of Writing Skills and understand the crux of this Editorial.
MEANINGS are given in BOLD and ITALIC
Looking at the bizarre (weird), sinister world of North Korea’s leadership, it is almost anyone’s guess why the world’s most reclusive (A reclusive person or animal lives alone and deliberately avoids the company of others) regime decided to mark the new year by exploding a device it claimed was a hydrogen bomb, sending seismographs quivering (trembling) and unleashing (suddenly start) new tensions in international relations. Detection of the explosion was swiftly followed by condemnation from Washington, Moscow, most European capitals – and even Beijing. A UN security council meeting was urgently convened (arranged to take place).
But the exact nature of the device remains in doubt. Experts and officials, notably in South Korea, the first potential victim of North Korean militarism (Militarism is a country’s desire to strengthen their armed forces in order to make themselves more powerful), noted that the explosive yield fell short of H-bomb force. Speculation suggested a hybrid weapon, or even bluff. Yet the uncertainty does nothing to diminish the shock of an event that shatters hopes that the North Korean threat had somehow been reduced in recent years. That North Korea has sought to acquire H-bomb technology is beyond doubt, as is its frequently demonstrated ability to exert a form of international blackmail. The underlying message runs something like this: beware, for we are ready to go to any extreme. Whether the H-bomb claim is substantiated (validated) or not, this latest development does nothing for Asia’s stability. It is a wake-up call, highlighting the dangers of proliferating (increase in number very quickly) weapons of mass destruction – and the use to which such devices could be put.
Ever since North Korea’s first atomic test in 2006 (followed by others in 2009 and 2013), the risk of escalation and confrontation in a region where peace only rests on the 1953 armistice (An armistice is an agreement between countries who are at war with one another to stop fighting and to discuss ways of making peace) has long been obvious. Central to these questions are the very characteristics of the North Korean regime, a totalitarian (one political party which controls everything and does not allow any opposition parties) state whose opacity, paranoia and unpredictability are as daunting as its repression (=oppression) of its own population. The current “Leader”, Kim Jong-un, may appear ridiculous, with his striking hairdos (hairstyle), bizarre propaganda videos and obsession with American basketball, but his ruthless system is no joke. It is a sect-like, highly ideological state that runs prison camps holding hundreds of thousands, where family members can be held for generation after generation if a single ancestor has been labelled an “enemy of the people”. In 2014, a UN report found that the North Korean terror machine was without contemporary (modern) parallel, with enslavement, forced labour, torture, rape, compulsory abortions, collective punishment and executions. Behind the eerie (strange and frightening) aesthetics of stadium choreography, and the PR stunts aimed at attracting tourists to Pyongyang, lies a regime that for decades has squandered (wasted) an estimated one third of its GDP on military spending and building a nuclear arsenal, rather than guaranteeing even minimal levels of food for its own citizens (as the famines of the 1990s demonstrated). Beyond its disastrous human rights record, it is an abject social and economic failure. Satellite pictures show a country plunged into darkness at night, while its southern neighbour on the peninsula is brilliant with lights. The stories from refugees that have managed to escape are heart-wrenching upsetting).
It is important to keep this human toll in mind when watching the shenanigans (Immoral behavior) of the 32-year-old Kim Jong-un, who may have calculated that detonating a bomb, just like political purges (=organization) and high-profile executions, would consolidate his four-year-old grip on power. It is equally crucial that outside powers get the balance right in reacting to the H-bomb claim. China’s role will be key – it is North Korea’s sole ally and economic backer, and it has made a staple of throwing its weight around in the region. Chinese impatience with this new test will likely show in the UN, and there is a possibility that a new layer of sanctions will be added to those already existing. But China has also long used – and upheld – North Korea as a bulwark against (A bulwark against something protects you against it) the kind of regional chaos and US military encroachment that Beijing fears would follow regime collapse.
China’s capacity to rein in Kim Jong-un is perhaps as uncertain as the motivation behind his latest provocation. That the detonation occurred 50 miles from the Chinese border, and after months of Chinese efforts to rekindle (makes it again) talks with North Korea, is a serious rebuff (reject). China will be wary (cautious) that South Korea and Japan may now be encouraged to strengthen defence arrangements with the US. Yet however uncertain China’s influence may be, it is the only real option. A strong, responsible Chinese show of determination is urgently needed, both within the UN framework and through economic leverage, to avert (prevent) the danger spiralling (dramatic Increase).
TEST YOUR SKILLS
b) neo – Nazi
c) Political Party
_ _ B _ F _
HINT: Do not Accept
S _ U _ _ D _ _ E _
HINT: have no value