For decades, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been one of the world’s most secretive countries. Twenty-four million North Koreans live under a communist rule, which rigorously controls every area of their lives. While Kim Jong-un seems to be fairly popular, with people praising him at big public events, it’s difficult to determine whether such approval is genuine or comes from the fear of being imprisoned, as suggested in an Amnesty International Report.
In August 2017, North Korea fired a missile over northern Japan for the first time. It then crashed into the sea. Later that month the country fired a second missile over Japan, which flew further than the previous one and landed in the sea too.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe referred to the incident as a ‘serious’ threat to Japan. Two months ago, North Korea claimed it had successfully tested its most powerful missile, the Hwasong 5, which is able to reach the United States.
Given the secrecy with which the country operates, it is hard to predict what can happen next but only one week into 2018 and the North Korean leader engaged in yet another war of words with President Trump, making it clear that he always has the nuclear launch button on his desk, to which Trump responded that his button was bigger.
Earlier this month North Korea reopened a vital line of communication with South Korea, raising hopes of a diplomatic thaw. It’s been almost two years since this phone line was disabled by orders of Kim Jong-un. The first call between the warring nations took place on January 3, after two years of no serious communication.
Mr Kim said he would consider sending a team to the winter Olympics in the South next month as it would be, ‘a good opportunity to show unity of the people’ in North Korea. He also expressed hope for a ‘peaceful resolution’ to the conflict with South Korea and said that talks should start ‘as soon as possible’. South Korea said that the North’s participation in the Games would be welcomed and offered talks in response.