When N. Korea runs out of money in months as speculated, will the isolated country go haywire or bend to the will of the United States and its neighbors?
Fox News, citing a South Korean lawmaker reported that Kim Jong Un’s cash flow is expected to run dry by October, if international sanctions continue crippling his regime’s economy. So what happens to North Korea after that?
According to Kang Seok-ho, of the Liberty Korea Party, North Korea’s recent ingratiation with the South; agreeing to the Olympics, the smile diplomacy and request for a summit are nothing more than last resort of a despot “scrambling to keep his regime afloat.”
Suspicions that Kim was running out of money heightened after he agreed to send a delegation to the PyeongChang Olympics, part of a deal that rewarded him with financial reimbursement for the expenses incurred by the Northern delegates.
So what happens when North Korea is completely depleted of money?
Once North Korea is no longer able to test missiles, or even support its massive military, what’s it gonna do with its stockpile of ammunition? Succumb to international pressure and forfeit decades of weapons experiments? How could a government built on resistance spin the story that years of deprivation for the sake of military might has ended for nothing?
It’s a precarious situation for Kim and he’s running out viable options, in the meantime he can increase its clarion call for unification, not because is feasible, but such advances will create a reconciliatory atmosphere conducive enough to promote cultural exchanges between the North and South, knowing that the South will bear the expenses and possibly reward the North financially.
However, in the long run, North Korea’s ultimate goal would be the reopening of the Kaesong manufacturing park, a joint manufacturing complex operated mostly with South Korean technology and by North Korean skilled laborers. According to South Korea Unification Ministry, North Korea generated more than $450m before the complex was shut down in 2013. The Guardian.
For now, North Korea is unlikely to escalate the situation, especially as China indicates readiness to cooperate with the international community in executing sanctions, any attempt to escalate the situation by the North would boomerang big time.
Kim’s only recourse is to pander to the South, which by the way is unlikely to watch reluctantly as the North despair into chaos.