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Friday
Dec262014

White House Negotiates Truce With North Korea Over Free Expression

Agreement In Works Would Allow Producer Rogan To Continue Film-Making In Exchange For Easing Pressure On North Korea's Nuclear Research

By TRAVIS MOORE

Published December 4, 2014

 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiled broadly as a huge crowd surrounded him.  The 31-year-old leader paid a visit to the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang Textile Mill in order to “give guidance” in the wake of the Sony release of the controversial film “The Interview.” The unusual PR campaign comes as White House officials leaked what some see as a breakthrough in U.S.–North Korean relations. 

The North Koreans declared the film to be an “act of war,” and was feared that Sony’s recent decision to release the film might cause rhetoric to heat up even further.  Deft diplomacy by the White House might have averted a near-term crisis.  According to White House officials, the North Koreans will agree to not protest any future American film or other art form depicting the North Korean dictator authored by actor-producer Seth Rogan.  In exchange, the U.S. will agree not to take any action to pressure North Korea to shut down its nuclear centrifuges at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

The cyber attack against Sony Pictures prompted the Japanese firm to withdraw a film that showed the fictitious assassination of North Korean despot Kim Jong-un.  The FBI believes that North Korea was behind the attack.  Sony said they were left with no choice but to pull the film after US cinemas refused to screen The Interview.

In an actual interview with CNN, President Obama said: “I don’t think the film was an act of war against North Korea, but it could have been more respectful.”  Nonetheless, the president said that he has been a fan of Seth Rogan and thought that Rogan should be able to make more films about North Korea if he is that passionate about it.  “The North Koreans have spent a lot of energy on radiological research, and we have been making films they don’t like,” he said.  “Why not agree to disagree on at least one thing per side.”

Non-proliferation expert and author James P. Luvak said that the president has made a tough trade with Jong Un.  “Seth Rogan’s movies might have topped out one or two movies ago,” he said.  Luvak believes that in light of recent advances in North Korea’s multi-stage rockets, we could be “trading an unlikely ‘Interview’ sequel for millions of American lives.”

In December 2012 North Korea successfully launched a satellite into space demonstrating its new prowess in multi-stage rocketry.  In April 2013 the Pentagon’s intelligence arm – the Defense Intelligence Agency – said with “moderate confidence” that North Korea has learned how to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be delivered by a ballistic missile.

Seth Rogan’s next project has not been announced but given lackluster reviews of the controversial film it is not very likely that he will be producing a sequel, say many Hollywood observers.