Will Kim go Qaddafi’s way?

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Will Kim go Qaddafi’s way?

Minister of Unification Yu Woo-ik said that Muammar el-Qaddafi’s iron-fisted rule came to an end not because of his decision to give up a nuclear weapons program, but because his own people abandoned him. We share his view on why the 42-year regime came to such a violent, and deservedly so, end.

Even if it had developed and maintained a nuclear arsenal, no one can believe a government can survive when it attempted to massacre its own people by air raids. The bullet-ridden body of Qaddafi vividly shows what destiny awaits a dictator who abuses and slaughters his people, regardless of possession of nuclear weapons.

There seems to be some who still believe that North Korea’s Kim Jong-il regime will not follow in the tragic footsteps of Qaddafi because the regime has decisive differences in maintaining status quo: the G-2 ally China, which does not want its neighbor - and a blood-tied ally - to collapse abruptly; the “U.S. puppet regime” South Korea and American imperialism, both of which continue to fuel a sense of animosity among North Koreans and stave off any potential rupture within the ruling class.

But that is a skin-deep analysis of what’s going on inside the reclusive regime. North Koreans have been suffering from decades of starvation, which goes beyond our imagination. Due to the devastating malnutrition, a large number of North Koreans have been getting shorter and weaker. About 150,000 political prisoners in concentration camps across the nation have received subhuman treatment for decades. Under the circumstances, the Kim Jong-il regime must keep in mind that such a repressive system cannot serve as a tool for propping up any regime, no matter how many nuclear warheads it has.

The year 2012 is the first year of the “strong and prosperous nation” that Pyongyang has been promising its people. But the leadership knows better. They cannot even feed kids, and an ever-growing number of North Koreans flee their impoverished motherland in search of food and freedom on leaky wooden boats or via the long Chinese border, risking their lives. Against this backdrop, it sounds empty to beat a drum for a “prosperous country.”

Fortunately, North Korea and the United States resume dialogue today. We urge Pyongyang to demonstrate a genuine willingness to scrap its nuclear dream so that the international community can voluntarily provide various kinds of aid. Only then can Kim avert Qaddafi’s ultimately inevitable fate.

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