North Korea. In February, North Korea conducted its third nuclear test of nuclear weapons. This was despite clear warnings in advance from the country’s only ally, the powerful neighbor China, which also expressed strong dissatisfaction afterwards. The outside world condemned the unison nuclear test. The UN Security Council found that it violated UN resolutions and tightened sanctions imposed following the 2006 and 2009 test blasts. to inspect all transportation to and from the country.
According to Countryaah, North Korea responded by screwing up its war rhetoric. The regime announced a state of war in relation to South Korea and urged foreigners to leave the country for a forthcoming attack. Threats were also directed at the United States; long-range rockets were reported to be ready to fire on the American mainland. The tone was further sharpened when the US and South Korea conducted a planned joint military exercise, and two US bombers flew over South Korea.
In April, North Korea closed in protest the Kaesong Joint Industrial Zone, which is on the border of the North Korean side and represents an important source of revenue for Pyongyang. The 53,000 North Koreans who worked at 123 South Korean factories in the zone were allowed to stay home. It was the first time all work had been closed since Kaesong was opened in 2004. Only in August, after a number of rounds of negotiations, did North and South Korea agree to resume operations. As another sign of relaxation, the parties also agreed to re-allow family reunions.
In the fall, reports came from a UN commission on serious human rights violations in North Korea. Skipped North Koreans told of systematic and widespread abuses, including torture, murder and starvation in prison camps.
A dramatic clean-up at the highest level was carried out in December before an open curtain. State TV showed pictures of when Jang Song Taek, the uncle of the senior leader Kim Jong Un, was abducted by guards during an ongoing party meeting. Jang had been regarded as a very influential mentor to the young Kim. After a few days, state media reported that Jang had pleaded guilty to treason and executed.
In June 2010, Choe Yong-rim replaced Kim Yong-Il as prime minister. He also became chairman of Pyongyang’s Communist Party branch.
In November, the South Korean right-wing government launched a provocative military exercise a few kilometers from North Korea. As in other high-tension security crises throughout history, the exercise aimed to provoke and test the North Korean defense. North Korea responded again, firing the South Korean island, Yeonpyeong with artillery. The United States backed its right-wing ally and sent the aircraft carrier George Washington to participate in the South Korean military exercise in the Yellow Sea. However, North Korea refrained from responding to the South Korean provocations. In mid-December, South Korea conducted new military exercises up the border with North Korea, but this time, too, North Korea refrained from responding to the provocation from the south. The right-wing radical government in the south had for three years laid the policy of relaxation between the two Koreas in the grave.
Kim Jong-Il died after a long illness in December 2011. The post of the country’s head of state was then taken over by his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un. Kim Jong-Un also became Secretary General of the Korean Workers Party, Chairman of the Party’s Central Military Commission and Commander-in-Chief of the Korean People’s Army. The family dynasty thus continued. On April 11, 2012, Kim Jong-Un was named First Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party and in July as Marshal of the Korean People’s Army. In July, the country was hit by severe flooding; 212,000 became homeless; 169 lost their lives and extensive material damage occurred. That same month, Chief of Staff Ri Yong-ho was replaced at the post by Hyon Yong-chol. There was no explanation for the replacement that gave rise to many guesses in the West.