Wrong film on DPRK at the wrong time

By Wang Junsheng
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, December 11, 2014
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Admittedly, Kim's foreign policy, including making more nuclear threats, is far from flawless. The international community, including China, has already imposed sanctions on the DPRK for its wrongdoings. But one of the unspoken diplomatic rules of bilateral relationships is that no group or country should demonize a country's leader like The Interview does.

Like many new political leaders across the world, Kim is still learning how to fulfill his responsibilities toward his country, which have become even more difficult because of the DPRK's continuing isolation from the rest of the world and sluggish economy. Kim has been working hard to portray the DPRK as a more open and confident country. Sending Choe Ryong-hae, secretary to the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, as special envoy to Russia in November is one example of his efforts.

More importantly, Pyongyang is ready for the restart of the Six-Party Talks without any pre-condition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after meeting with Choe on Nov 20. And the Six-Party Talks is the only platform that can help resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

In the background of such positive developments, the stereotype presented by the Sony film sticks out like a sore thumb. Instead of helping restore peace on the Peninsula, it will only widen the rift between Pyongyang and Washington. Worse, it could force the DPRK leader to withdraw from his commitments. And an angry DPRK will not be in the interest of any country.

The need, therefore, is to maintain the necessary pressure on the DPRK to keep it on the track to denuclearization. The Interview is contrary to this need.

Although American movies are known for their commercial features, they should be sensitive to political concerns. A couple of important questions have to be answered before The Interview is released: Is this really a good time to screen this movie? If it is, could Kim's name be replaced by any other name and could the action be shifted from the DPRK to some fictitious place? Let us not forget, proper diplomatic moves are required to keep Washington-Pyongyang ties and the Korean Peninsula situation from worsening.

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