Let’s talk about the North: Swine Scare Week Off Day 4

I have been getting a lot of questions from friends and family about North Korea:  Is everyone over there freaking out?  Are you freaking out?

So let’s talk about the North.  Although definitely not a subject matter expert, I have paid attention over the years, and I am now smack in the middle of a nuclear threat, Seoul is only 30 miles from the DMZ.

No, people in South Korea are not freaking out.  They have been more concerned with politics here.   The focus has been on the suicide of former President Roh, and the people’s funeral that was yesterday, which is something I really would have liked to witness.  A lot of Roh’s supporters feel that the current Lee administration is partially at fault for his death.  They think too much pressure was put on Roh with the bribery allegations, and the court hearings and whatnot, that many South Koreans feel were not necessary.  Now, the big fear of the Lee administration is that this discontent will continue, and there will be protesters in the streets and unhappy South Koreans everywhere.

It seems like the South is just used to all of this madness from their neighbor to the North.  Kim Jong-il has been doing and saying crazy things for what seems like forever.  Remember Team America?  F yeah!

I think this quote by David Fulghum, senior military editor of Aviation Week, says it best:

“North Korea is talking war but planning how to best avoid it while maintaining the maximum international turmoil.  The rationale, believe U.S. analysts and military officials, is that constant provocation of the West is the only road to relevance.”

So basically…Look at me, look at me, I’m important!

Also, Lil’ Kim (that’s what Bill Maher calls him) is suspected to be doing all of this more to boost his image within North Korea than any other reason.  It’s no secret that he has been sick, look at him.  Apparently he had a stroke recently.  Speculation is that he is trying to prepare the nation for a hand off of power to his son.  And of course nobody knows anything about his son.

All that said, I think it’s kind of disturbing.  I’m not losing sleep or anything.  However, the second nuclear test that was just a few days ago was way stronger than the first in 2006.  And Lil’ Kim has been testing missiles every day since.  It’s the most active and belligerent the North has ever been for this many consecutive days.

All the sanctions placed on the North over the years don’t seem to have had much of an effect.  Now, the U.N. is working with China on getting tough.  China talks a big game, but has shown very little action towards the North.  China and the North have been allies for 60 years.  China supplies 90 percent of North’s oil demand, 80 percent of consumer goods, 45 percent of its food and accounted for 73 percent of the North’s international trade in 2008.  China could threaten to halt oil flows.  They could cut back on access to Chinese banks.  They could implement the U.N. ban on luxury items.  It’s believed that the North runs a lot like the mafia.  If Lil’ Kim can no longer deliver these items to his elite, they may question his authority.  I can’t live without Cognac, luxury sedans and caviar, how can we expect the North to?

That’s what I know.  That’s what I am reading.  That’s what I’m thinking.  Feel free to let me know what you’re thinking.

Learn Korean with KoreanClass101.com

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on May 30, 2009.

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