This is NewNations’ first update on Korea since July, so instead of a month there is almost half a year to catch up on. As a new year approaches, the third with Kim Jong-un at the helm, it is also apposite to ask what 2014 may bring. So we shall look forward, but first backward.
Overall, the second half of 2013 was quieter than the first. The lurid threats which peaked in March and April died down thereafter – until now: see our concluding paragraph. It remains hard to see what Pyongyang thought to gain from such extreme sabre-rattling, or why – God forbid – it might be tempted to try it on again. All interlocutors, China included, are utterly fed up with this rebarbative, recalcitrant, recidivist regime. Those who support engagement – as many still do, faute de mieux – now do so warily and wearily, rather than with enthusiasm or real optimism. Everyone has had their hopes dashed and fingers burned too many times.
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