Last month, the world saw an extremely well-documented flight by a North Korean soldier from his home country to the South. He was shot at by his former comrades, and severely wounded.
More recently, however, another defector made the dash across the DMZ and the elite troops meant to protect the most isolated nation on earth from southern invaders gave a reaction that is even more telling, and possibly indicative of major change to come.
At the time of the defection, which took place Thursday, according to the U.K. Daily Mail, the elite guards of dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime did nothing. Not a single shot was fired, and according to writer Don Surber, such mild reaction could well be indicative of major change ahead.
“Is North Korea about to collapse?” he asked in a recent opinion piece.
“I ask this because it seems like Kim Jong Un’s most elite troops — the ones he places along the border with South Korea — no longer protect that border,” he continued.
“If people figure that out, they will start walking south by the dozen, then hundreds, then thousands. We saw that happen in 1989 when East Germans began crossing the Austro-Hungarian border to freedom unmolested.
“Two years later, the Soviet Union — which had survived World War II — was no more.”
What followed then could well follow now. North Korea certainly doesn’t possess the collective will of Great Patriotic War-era Russia. This man isn’t the only one to escape peacefully month, either. As The Daily Mail reports, two North Korean fisherman were found requesting asylum in waters off South Korea.
It’s worth pointing out that the most recent defector escaped under cover of fog. Also, the North Koreans did mount a search for the man — and drew warning shots from South Korea in the process. But there’s no getting around the fact that the defection took place without injury to the defector. And that can’t make the dictatorship in Pyonyang very happy.
But let’s put all of that in context, here.
North Korea is speeding up its work on gaining the ability to launch a nuclear attack against the United States. President Donald Trump and our military are fully aware of that, and will take action to protect the United States as necessary. There have to be some elements of the North Korean military who are aware of that.
Could it be that this uncontested defection is an indication of something bigger — something representative of the mindset of a portion of the North Korean military? It might be sloppiness. It might be something deeper.
Time will tell.