Korea: February 6, 2004

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North and South Korea agreed to hold military talks to further reduce tensions. But the real purpose of those talks is for the south to agree how much money and goods it will give the north for whatever concessions the north has for sale. This includes letting families reunite or allowing economic investments into the north. Most South Koreans believe that this approach will either prop up the police state up north, and prevent a total collapse that will cost the southerners hundreds of billions of dollars, or, more optimistically, somehow trigger economic reforms as happened in China.

Meanwhile, all parties have agreed to another round of talks between the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas on February 25th. North Korea is demanding sufficient economic aid to keep it's Stalinist rule going. The North Korean government has been unable to run its economy efficiently. Starvation, and a brutal prison camp system for those who resist, has been killing over 100,000 people a year since the early 1990s. The food shortage has visibly stunted the growth of a generation of North Koreans, as can be seen by anyone visiting the North or seeing North Korean soldiers.

It is hoped that the next round of talks will get North Korea to put a price on the table so that a deal can be struck. In return for the aid, North Korea will stop developing nuclear weapons. There is no call for North Korea to stop killing its own citizens as part of this deal. This is considered an "internal matter."

 

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