Commentary in the Financial Times

I published a op-ed in the pages of the Financial Times in London on Friday, 19 December, entitled For North Korea there is nothing comic about killing off Kim’:

Hot-headed North Korean protests over disrespectful portrayals of their leaders are hardly a new phenomenon. In a world where even an online meme could be taken as a slight against its “supreme dignity”, even Pyongyang’s only formal ally, China, has been subject to censorship demands. So, to understand why The Interview has triggered such a strong and sustained rhetorical response from the North Koreans — who called it an “act of war” — it pays to look back at a history strewn with assassination attempts.

The full text of the article can be read here (login/subscription required).

Update: The FT has translated the piece into Chinese: 《刺杀金正恩》为何激怒朝鲜?
英国利兹大学中国历史讲师 亚当•卡思卡特 为英国《金融时报》撰稿 . An excerpt follows:

尽管看起来联合国正寻求让金正恩为其前任过去几十年的暴政负责,但实际上它并非提倡暴力推翻朝鲜政权。然而金氏家族极力让朝鲜民众相信,联合国调查委员会报告的最终目的是武装干涉。朝鲜民众与拥护“白头山血统”的“社会体系”密不可分——白头山是宣传中金日成的神秘出生地,以及上世纪30年代政治征战的地方。这些基础神话如今成为金正恩主张权力的主要依据。

血统本身就是替换朝鲜领导人的障碍,除非朝鲜政权彻底崩溃:朝鲜领导人将必须由近亲、而非其他官员接替。中国著名的朝鲜事务评论员张连贵最近表示,朝鲜政权痴迷于家族传承让人想起了封建主义而非社会主义。他愤慨地问道:“你们觉得这还像马克思主义吗?”

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