[James Church (pen name of a former “Western” intelligence agent) is the author of the popular “Inspector O” series of mystery novels set in North Korea. In this article, written for our partner-site 38North, the long-time friend of CanKor examines words that are often used by the media to describe North Korean behaviours such as the recent satellite launch. His conclusion is that using words such as “defiance” and “provocation” are emotional labels that actually mask real issues and events, thereby leading to mistaken analysis and counter-productive responses. –CanKor]
So far this week, the very, absolutely, most favorite word of headline writers and reporters is “defiance,” as in “North Korean Missile Launch Act of Defiance.” Yes, that’s one way to look at what happened a few hours past dawn on December 12, when the North made up for its “botched” (another favorite word recently) launch attempt last April.
Logically, we suppose an act of defiance needs something to be defiant against—something like established order, a stronger power, or impossible odds. At times, an act of defiance can be deemed heroic. On occasion, it’s considered to be a dangerous challenge. Now and again, it may be seen as merely a pain in the neck. Partially, it’s situational (i.e., what’s going on) and partially positional (i.e., where you sit.)
In this case, the North Koreans are being described as defiant because: 1) they are ignoring the international community (however defined); and 2) they are not acting in compliance with several UN Security Council resolutions and statements. The resolutions have numbers, but in an act of defiance I will not mention them. Read the rest of this entry »