One of those phrases that anyone dealing with Korean history must learn to live with is the ‘5,000 years’ business. Today I came across one of the most creative uses of this cliche yet from Kim Jong-il’s ‘unofficial spokesman’ Kim Myong Chol (crazy guy, not very crazy name), who claims that last October’s nuclear test was the fulfilment of a 5,000-year old Korean ambition:
One of the 5,000-year-old aspirations of the Korean people is to acquire powerful national defenses equipped with long-range deep-strike capabilities of hitting the enemy’s heartland and turning it into a sea of fire, instead of letting Korea become a war theater. For the first time in Korean history, Kim Jong-il has fulfilled this historic aspiration as he has put the Korean Peninsula under North Korea’s own nuclear umbrella, neutralizing the US nuclear umbrella.
I can just imagine the neolithic people of the peninsula, kicking back around the cave fire, having just feasted on a prime cut of deer meat, saying to one another, “you know what we really need, it’s a great big thermonuclear weapon and a nice ICBM to deliver it with.”