Korea: The Trust Issue and More F-15s

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June 1, 2006: The international consortium formed to build two nuclear reactors in the north, has officially cancelled the project. A 1994 agreement with North Korea, which included a halt to nuclear research in the north, required the two reactors to be built in the north by South Korea, Japan and other partners. But in 2002, North Korea admitted that it had cheated on the 1994 deal, and that eventually led to the cancellation of the project. North Korea is now demanding larger bribes for a new deal, to replace the 1994 one. However, there is a trust issue, which has proved difficult to deal with.

May 29, 2006: North Korea threatened another naval clash if the maritime border between the two countries is not redrawn to give the north access to larger catches of fish and crabs. The north indicated that the recent cancellation of work on a rail crossing of the DMZ was connected with this.

May 26, 2006: Two North Korean soldiers, apparently looking for food in the DMZ, strayed 30 meters into the South Korean portion of the zone. South Korean soldiers fired some warning shots, and the North Koreans troops went back. Because of the continued short rations in the north, North Korean soldiers assigned to patrol the northern portion of the DMZ, will seek food as they do so. Sometimes they are seen fishing in streams.

May 24, 2006: South Korea has ordered another 20 U.S. F-15K fighter-bombers. This is an enhanced version of the F-15E, which is the most agile all-weather precision bomber in use. Within the next five years, South Korea will have 60 F-15Ks, each capable of carrying over ten tons of smart bombs and missiles per sortie.

May 22, 2006: North Korea has managed to decrease the number of North Koreans getting to South Korea. This was done mainly by getting more cooperation from China. As a result, the number of North Koreans reaching South Korea last year (1,387). was down 27 percent from 2004. Part of this is quiet cooperation by the South Korean government in making it difficult for North Korean refugees to make their way to the south. This is because the South Korean policy is to maintain good relations with the north, and all those unhappy defectors arriving in the south does not make North Korea happy.

 

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