North Korean state media on Brexit: It’s America’s fault

An editorial published in a North Korean state newspaper on Monday pins the blame for Europe’s Brexit crisis on a familiar foe: the United States.

(Article by Adam Taylor)

The unsigned Rodong Sinmun opinion piece is titled “European Union confused.” Attempting to explain the crisis to North Korean readers (it is not among the articles translated into English in the Rodong Sinmun’s online edition), the author argues that the European Union was created as a counterbalance to the “U.S.’ imperialist monolithic system” but that it had forgotten its “original spirit” and ended up supporting the United States.

The United States helped create the problems that are now causing division in Europe, the article says.

“The reality of Europe today, vividly shows that the U.S. is the very country that brought about the refugee crisis and the crisis of E.U. collapse,” the article reads, according to a translation from NK News. “It shows that yielding to the U.S. without having any firm principles leads to the inescapable catastrophic destiny (such as the EU).”

NK News notes that this isn’t the first time that North Korean state media has talked about Britain’s vote to leave the E.U. Rodong Sinmun has previously warned of a “domino effect” in Europe from the vote. The official Korea Central News Agency also published a short story on the results of the June 23 referendum in Britain a few days after the vote, and this week it published a brief item on the unemployment rate in the euro zone reaching 10.1 percent.

The focus on America’s role in the E.U. drama is typical for North Korean state media, which often focuses on the perceived failures of Washington. That President Obama and other prominent U.S. politicians opposed a Brexit adds some weight to the North Korean arguments. Pyongyang maintains relations with a number of E.U. states, but the E.U. has been vocal in criticizing human rights abuses in North Korea and has imposed economic sanctions on the country.

Although North Korea was not a major factor in the British referendum, it did come up a few times. In April, former prime minister John Major told Brexit campaigners to “go to North Korea” if they wanted “undiluted sovereignty.”

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