Daily Memo: North Korea Backs Down, Putin Promises Changes

Kim Jong Un reportedly halted plans to attack South Korea.

Kim backs down. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un suspended plans for “military action” against South Korea, per state media on Wednesday. North Korea also reportedly began taking down loudspeakers blasting propaganda toward the South – something that doesn’t particularly bother Seoul but that drives Pyongyang batty when South Korea cranks up its own loudspeakers. This caps several weeks of hostility from the North toward Seoul, ostensibly over the launching of balloons carrying food and anti-Kim propaganda across the Demilitarized Zone by activists in the South. The North’s recent moves have been peculiar, to say the least, but point mostly toward internal stresses. The most likely explanation was that Kim was trying to help his sister, Kim Yo Jong, consolidate some power, as his alleged health problems over the past few months exposed how unprepared the regime is for an untimely demise by the leader. When the regime gets preoccupied with power struggles in the capital, it often makes a big show of external hostility in order to both impress the masses at home and warn outside powers against any attempts at political meddling. Meanwhile, North Korea is widely believed to be under immense economic pressure. (China is reportedly quietly […]

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