Did you know that the United Nations actually has a disarmament conference that meets regularly. That’s a bad enough oxymoron but it gets worse. Its current chair is North Korea which has more nuclear weapons than it has food to feed its people.
Much like most things in life, it occurred through happenstance; the chair goes by alphabetical rotation and the N’s had been coming up.
Needless to say, Pyongyang took to its new role with its usual tact. “My country is still at war with the United States,” declared Pyongyang’s ambassador, Han Tae-Song with the characteristic belligerence all North Korean diplomats are trained to display at multilateral meetings.
The country is ruled by Kim Jong-un, a rotund rascal who routinely suffered bad hair days which he blamed on the US because its sanctions were making it impossible for his people to get good shampoo. In fact, the dumpy despot was sick and tired of shampoo and insisted that the United Nations get him the real poo.
The people of North Korea were so poor they couldn’t even pay attention but they admired the fortitude with which the moneyed Kim tolerated the disadvantages of his wealth.
The ample autocrat adored the good things in life and his larder was full of the good stuff, groaning under the weight of delectable Parmar hams, wheels of robust Roquefort’s, enough sweet Persian figs and the choicest French wines. “Nothing succeeds like excess,” he told himself cheerfully while prescribing his people patience with kimchi on the side.
Kim felt he had governed his country with skill and great leadership not seen in Asia since Hideki Tojo, a Japanese politician who’d urged his country into the Second World War and a true visionary in Kim’s eyes.
In Tojo-like fashion, the tubby tyrant had built up his country’s military might into Herculean proportions. Its arsenals bulged with nukes, missiles, ICBMs and enough guns to force the President of the National Rifle Association to take a knee in covetous admiration.
North Korea was armed to the teeth and continually reminded its neighbours that it was by carrying out various weapon tests on every which weapon but the pea-shooter.
It isn’t even clear why.
After all, it was North Korea, then under Kim’s grandfather, which began the Korean War of l950 when it invaded its southern neighbour although it was clear that the war was principally directed from Moscow and Beijing.
UN troops supported South Korea and backed by US air power, finally drove the invasion back to the borders we see today.
Seventy years after the war, South Korea has grown, according to Wikipedia, more than 55 times richer than its northern neighbour in terms of nominal gross domestic product. Meanwhile, almost a thousand North Koreans defect to the South every year while the numbers of those who die trying are unknown.
These statistics alone should give the tubby totalitarian pause but the grandson of the man who started the Korean War still seems more interested in beefing up his military than in making life better for his people.
Meanwhile, North Korea is now being tasked with chairing the world’s foremost multilateral disarmament forum.
There goes the neighbourhood.