North Korea opened its nuclear
weapons programs to foreign inspectors. In return, China and the U.S. are each
sending 50,000 tons of fuel oil. South Korea is sending food. North Korea
expects a lot more aid, as well as investments in the North Korean economy. The
North Korean government is losing control of its population, and needs more
fuel, food and economic opportunities to buy loyalty. For decades, North Korean
rulers used a carrot and stick approach, with emphasis on the stick, to rule
the country. But with growing disobedience in the population, more carrots are
being offered. because this approach is proving more effective in halting any
growth of revolutionary activity.
September 13, 2007: Recent
Israeli reconnaissance flights in northern Syria were apparently in search for
nuclear weapons development work, using material purchased from North Korea.
Syria has been buying missiles and chemical weapons from North Korea for over
September 11, 2007:
South Korea brushed off criticism of paying Taliban terrorists $20 million in
ransom to secure the release of South Koreans kidnapped by the Taliban.
Germany, which also has one of its nationals held by the Taliban, and refuses
to pay ransom, criticized the South Koreans for supporting terrorist activity
in a very concrete way. That's because Germany recently broke up a terrorist
plot. Some of the terrorists arrested had been trained in camps in Pakistan,
run by the Taliban. The South Korean ransom money will help keep camps like
this going, and this bothers the Germans, and other European countries, a lot.
South Korea, which has not had any problems with al Qaeda at home (mainly
because there are so few Moslems in South Korea) is unconcerned.
September 8, 2007: The growing
corruption in the north hit a nerve recently when it became widely known that
North Korean museum staff were selling off valuable artifacts to foreigners.
Some of these items are worth half a million dollars, or more, to foreigners.
That provides sufficient cash to bribe security officials, avoid a firing
squad, and still have plenty of cash for yourself. Minor historical
treasures have been available on the black market up north for over a decade,
but in the last year or so, museum staff members have been quietly offering
more valuable items to foreign collectors.
September 5, 2007: The North
Korean Army has started a special propaganda effort to discourage soldiers from
practicing religion. There's apparently an outbreak of Christianity in the
ranks, and it's so widespread that the generals are getting nervous.