Korea: February 14, 2003

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North and South Korea opened the first road across the DMZ in over half a century. South Korea sent 498 tourists to a North Korean resort. The road is considered temporary, and efforts to rebuild the railroad is behind schedule because of foot dragging by the north. 

Outgoing South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung apologized for the secret government payment of $186 million to North Korea in 2000. He said the payment was part of a program to enable North Korea to rebuild it's economy along free market lines. But the North Korean's felt openly discussing this $500 million program would cause political problems in the north. Most South Koreans believe the payments were a bribe to get North Korea to behave. At the same time, most South Koreans are willing to pay the northerners if it will keep things quiet and bring about some reforms. The north has instituted some economic reforms, but these have had minor effect. North Korea is still basically an army with a nation attached, and the nation cannot afford to maintain a million troops. 

 

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