It’s that time of year again, when North Korea issues a long and deluded Joint New Year’s Day Editorial. The 2012 edition clocks in at 5,721 words, with no mention anywhere of the term “Cheonan.”
Which is too bad, because nothing could more immediately change the tenor of things on the Korean Peninsula than the new leader of North Korea solemnly re-addressing the fateful events of March 26th, 2010. Although the DPRK outwardly denied about a month later that it had it anything to do with the sinking of the corvette ship and death of 46 South Korean soldiers, everything would seem to indicate that it did.
While an outright “apology” is impossible to expect, given that it would collapse the military-might framework Kim Jong-un has inherited, there are some other fanciful possibilities. He could foist most of the blame on dad and apologize for the incident under the auspices of a new era of cooperation; he could announce that an official North Korean inquiry will be launched into the incident, in cooperation with South Korea and the U.S.; he could scapegoat a couple of military personnel for the attack, and hang them out to dry in lieu of an official apology; or he could perhaps acknowledge North Korea‘s “insensitive” handling of this “regrettable” incident.
In the latest New Year’s Day editorial, North Korea at one point oxy-moronically declares that “the entire nation, under the unfurled banner of anti-war and peace, should smash every move of reckless military provocation, arms buildup and war exercises against the north.” But what about South Korea? Doesn’t DPRK‘s ROK neighbor deserve credit for not reacting to the Cheonan and Yeonpyeong provocations in such a manner?
Even the announcement of a DPRK Cheonan memorial, to be dedicated March 26th, 2012, could have gone a long way towards sailing Young Son into new diplomatic waters. Without throwing his cadre cronies overboard.