Global Politics

Seeing the World from North Korea's Perspective

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The USS McCain, a guided missile destroyer, has now been deployed off the Korean coast. (Photo: US Dept of Defense)

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, issued a warning on North Korea Tuesday.

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Pyongyang, he said, appears to be "a collision course with the international community."

Ban is from South Korea, and was once foreign minister of that nation.

He was speaking after North Korea took the tension back up a notch by announcing plans to re-open a closed nuclear facility at Yongbyon.

That facility by the way had been shuttered in 2007, in exchange for US aid.

But in the text of a speech released Tuesday by North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong-Un, there were no new threats to attack the United States or South Korea.

Joel Wit is a former US negotiator with North Korea.

He says the North's behavior is predictable, from their perspective.

"They feel threatened," says Wit. "And the best defense is offense."

It's all posturing, he says. "They're not going to attack anyone."

But there is a danger of an accidental war. North Korea cannot afford to look weak, because "for the North Koreans, looking weak is almost as good as committing suicide."