Japan has exercised it's diplomatic and economic muscle against North Korea, a trend that has been growing in the last few. Japan put the screws to Kazakhstan, which is now trying to get back the 40 MiG-21 aircraft it sold North Korea. Meanwhile, threats to cut off the flow of cash from supporters in Japan has caused North Korea to publicly announce it is rethinking its missile testing policy. Japanese officials have said that a missile launch is at least two weeks away, if it ever happens at all.
August 13; North Korean dictator Kim Jong IL is demanding that China give his country two million tons of food, forgive $800 million in debts, and promise to never develop security links with South Korea as the price for his attendance at this fall's celebration of 50 years of communist rule in China. --Stephen V Cole
August 11; Apparently is was Kazakhstan, a central Asian nation formerly part of the Soviet Union, that sold North Korea 40 MiG-21 warplanes.
August 10; Two U.S. missile tracking ships have left their Japanese bases, indicating preparations to monitor a North Korean missile launch.
August 7; North Korea purchased 40 MiG-21 fighters from an unnamed nation (one of the former Soviet republics). Satellite photos revealed the existence of the new aircraft. North Korea has about 850 warplanes and some 500 supporting aircraft. South Korea's 530 more modern combat aircraft, and 220 supporting airplanes. South Korea can also call on several hundred US air force and navy aircraft in the Pacific.
August 4; U.S. recon satellites spotted preparations being made to fuel North Koreas new long range missile. This means the launch could be within a week.
August 3; North Korea threatened to back out of it's 1994 agreement not to develop nuclear weapons (in return for a multi-billion dollar bribe from South Korea, Japan and the U.S.) if every one did not stop complaining about North Korean missile tests. The Japanese responded that they would prohibit cash transfers from Japan to North Korea. This is the main source of hard currency for North Korea, as many Japanese of Korean ancestry support North Korea, or relatives in North Korea. North Korea responded with warning of "unpredictable consequences" if it's missile tests were interfered with.