Korea: April 26, 2004

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True to form, North Korea refused humanitarian aid from South Korea because the south wanted to send it overland (which would take four hours), versus by ship (which would take 48 hours.) The north apparently does not want South Koreans driving through that much of the desolate and heavily militarized north, especially the area around the DMZ. North Korea is accepting aid from China, Russia and other countries. 

Aid workers, refugees and increasing numbers of commercial travelers (especially from China) report increasingly ominous changes in the north. The famine persists, and the country continues to be unable to maintain or rebuild infrastructure (transportation, communications, housing, medical, education, Etc.). Morale among the population continuers to slide, as more North Koreans become aware of what is going on in the outside world. But while most North Koreans are now aware that they have been screwed, increasing corruption and lack of discipline in the security forces and army is what will really decide how long the communists will retain control. Many South Koreans believe that the communist rule in the north will just collapse in the north, as it did in Eastern Europe and Russia between 1989 and 1991. 

 

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