Korea: August 19, 1999


North Korean Mig-21s: North Korea bought 30 Mig-21s for $1.3million each from Kazakhstan. Kazakhstans Air Force is currently being upgraded with MIG-29's, Su-27's and Su-25's it received in return for 40 Tu-95MS bombers. While some have suggested that the North Koreans will use the Mig-21's as a source of spare parts for the 130 Mig-21's they already have others have said that the new Mig-21's are more likely to be used to replace heavily used Mig-21's in the current inventory. Given the critical shortage of food and other items in North Korea it's unclear why they would be buying Mig-21's. In a war with South Korea and the U.S. the Mig-21's wouldn't be a significant threat. It would seem the money would be better spent on missiles, ground forces, or even food. --Tom Trinko

August 18; North Korea announced that it was willing to negotiate over whether or not it would conduct it planned missile test. Based on past performance, North Korea will probably ask for a substantial bribe to cancel the test.

August 15; Japanese and American officials doubt that the North Korean missile launch will take place in the next two weeks. Meanwhile, North Korea announced that one of it's soldiers had broken the record for women throwing hand grenades, with a toss of 53.5 meters. Japan announced it had monitored radio messages from two North Korean spy ships ordering them to sink themselves if they were about to be captured by Japanese warships. Japan had recently chased these electronic reconnaissance ships out of Japanese waters.




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