Korea: Showdown With Russia


December 21, 2005: The United States is briefing people in the banking system about counterfeit $100 bills being produced in North Korea. Meanwhile, North Korea continues to refuse to negotiate a halt to its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The North Koreans appear to believe that this stubborn and hard ball negotiating style still serves them well. Actually, it doesn't, and has led to the deaths of millions of North Koreans. But this has not made much of an impression on the tiny (a few percent of the population) ruling class in North Korea.

December 20, 2005: After two weeks, and growing pressure from Russia, North Korea released a Russia cargo ship it seized on the 5th.

December 17, 2005: For the first time, a North Korean ship took shelter in South Korean waters. A North Korean tanker, running into bad weather, asked for, and received, permission to shelter in a South Korean port to escape a storm.

December 14, 2005: The United States has warned banks to be on the alert for North Korean attempts to commit bank fraud. North Korea is broke, and has tried many illegal schemes, including drug dealing and currency counterfeiting, to raise money.

December 5, 2005: A North Korean coast guard ship stopped and seized a Russian cargo ship that had entered North Korean waters to avoid a storm. Russian diplomats are working to get the ship released. The North Koreans will probably ask for some money (ransom, for want of a better word.) The Russian ship is being held at the North Korean port of Kimchaek.


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