Korea: October 27, 2003

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  Russia and China have been openly urging North Korea to cut the game playing and negotiate for aid. Both nations do not want a nuclear armed North Korea and are threatening to stop what little aid they give the north if the north does not become more agreeable. The north is apparently responding to this, although there is also apparently a debate within the North Korean government over whether it's better to make a deal for aid as quickly as possible, or to keep playing games in the hope of getting more aid. South Korean observers fear that government control in the north could suddenly collapse, especially given the growing decline of discipline in the armed forces.  There is also a growing market economy in the north that is producing an independent minded (though tiny) middle class, but has made life harder for far more people who cannot afford market prices. The north is unwilling to completely reform their command economy, as that would risk loss of too much political control. But meanwhile, another winter approaches and more starvation and unrest among the long suffering population.

 

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