Korea: Support Your Local Communist Dictator, Or Else

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March31, 2006: North Korea is trying to get the most that it can for vague promises to talk about its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Of particular concern are the increasing number of defections by North Korean civilian and military officials. These men carry lots of embarrassing secrets with them, and the North Koreans are trying to get China and South Korea to give these people back. China has been somewhat cooperative, but not South Korea. However, the South Koreans are increasingly buying into the concept of propping up the communist government in the north, so that the more affluent south is not stuck with a huge reconstruction bill to rebuild the north. The North Korean communists play on this fear, pointing out that it's a lot cheaper to help keep the communists in power, than for the northern government to collapse, and the south being forced to pick up the unification bills. But the defectors tell another story, of despair and anger in the north, as more people realize how much better off the southerners are, and how incompetent and cruel the northern government has been, and continues to be.

March 30, 2006: The United States froze the assets (in the U.S.) of a Swiss trading firm it accuses of helping North Korea import weapons technology. This is yet another American move against foreign firms that have been assisting illegal North Korean activities. These sanctions have apparently hurt North Korea quite a bit, as the North Korean protests have been very energetic, and futile. The war on terror has given U.S. more muscle in the area of financial investigations overseas, and the North Korean illegal smuggling network has been revealed. Now it's being taken down, and hurting the North Koreans where they are most vulnerable.

March 30, 2006: South Korea has put into service two locally made missiles. One is a shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile, like the U.S. Stinger, while the other is an anti-ship missile, like the U.S. Harpoon. As the South Korean economy has boomed in the last thirty years, the nation has acquired the industrial capability to build high tech weapons and, increasingly, is doing so.

March 20, 2006: Japan is planning sanctions if North Korea is not more forthcoming about the kidnapping of Japanese two decades ago, and current underground operations in Japan. There has been a crackdown on the pro-North Korean movement in Japan, and the investigations have revealed far more dirty business than anyone ever suspected. North Korea has responded by demanding that Japan hand over four Japanese for prosecution on charges of aiding North Koreans to escape from North Korea.


 

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