North Korea are bound by ties of blood and nationalism. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:
We are told by practically everyone that nationalism is an archaic, aggressive, and downright evil sentiment, one that causes wars, racism, bigotry, and probably the common cold as well. And we get this from both the right and the left. Nationalism of any kind, we are told, is a dangerous atavism, a throwback to primitive “tribalism” and an insult to sacred “modernity.” While this nonsensical view is pretty widespread throughout the Western world, it is especially dominant – at least among the political class – here in the United States, where it is routinely alleged that America isn’t a place, it isn’t the American people: America, they solemnly intone, is an Idea. What sort of idea, or, rather, whose idea, seems to be a matter of some dispute: but, in any case, we aren’t really an actual country, according to the wise and wondrous elites who let us know what to think, so much as we’re an abstraction, floating in the ether, like a cloud in the sky imprinted with the image of a giant welcome mat.
Things are quite different on the Korean peninsula.
They called it the Hermit Kingdom before its forcible opening by the Western powers, and for a very good reason: unlike Japan and, later, China, the Koreans stubbornly resisted trade – or, indeed, any sort of contact with the West, which was strictly forbidden. While Western writers routinely attribute this to the supposedly tyrannical rule of Yi Ha-ung, the Regent (1864-97), Koreans then and now revere him as the defender of the nation from European encroachment and domination, which was China’s sad fate.
An American crew in service to a British company made the first serious attempt to “open” Korea: in 1866 the General Sherman tried to sail up the Taedong river to reach Pyongyang, but were ordered back by the Korean authorities. The Westerners ignored this edict and continued on their way, but were soon beached when the river waters ran low. They were then set upon by the Koreans, who rescued the Korean officials who had been taken hostage by the crew and killed everyone on board. An inauspicious beginning to a relationship rife with conflict: today there is a monument on the spot where the General Sherman was burned which informs visitors that the leader of the attackers was the great-grandfather of Kim Il-Sung!
To continue reading: Korea, the Winter Olympics, and the Spirit of Queen Min