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Author Topic: North and South Korea  (Read 54145 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #50 on: August 16, 2009, 08:15:26 PM »

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=57e_1250289703
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #51 on: September 12, 2009, 11:59:59 AM »



http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/09/us-shifts-policy-willing-to-meet-1on1-with-north-korea.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #52 on: January 04, 2010, 11:19:47 AM »

By PETER M. BECK
North Korea's nuclear program has preoccupied foreign policy makers for years, but it's not the only problem on the Korean Peninsula. Kim Jong Il's regime looks increasingly unstable and could collapse. That could lead to North Korea's reunification with the South and could present foreign leaders with the expensive task of modernizing the North's economy.

There are three plausible scenarios for a Korean reunification. One would be sudden and bloodless like what Germany experienced. The worst would be a reunification marked by the kind of violence Vietnam suffered. The third is somewhere between the first two and akin to the chaotic post-Communist transitions of Romania and Albania.

Any one of these outcomes would be expensive. The North's economy is in shambles. It collapsed in the 1990s amid a famine that likely killed hundreds of thousands of people. Fixing the economy will require new infrastructure, starting with the power grid, railway lines and ports. This alone will cost tens of billions of dollars. Few of the North's factories meet modern standards and it will take years to rehabilitate agricultural lands. The biggest expense of all will be equalizing North Koreans' incomes with their richer cousins in the South, whether through aid transfers or investments in education and health care.

Even the best-case German model will cause South Koreans heartburn. Despite the $2 trillion West Germany has paid over two decades, Bonn had it relatively easy in the beginning. East Germany's population was only one-quarter of West Germany's, and in 1989 East German per capita income was one-third of the West's. The two Germanies also had extensive trade ties.

North Korea's per capita income is less than 5% of the South's. Each year the dollar value of South Korea's GDP expansion equals the entire North Korean economy. The North's population is half the South's and rising thanks to a high birth rate. North and South also barely trade with each other. To catch up to the South, North Korea will need more resources than East Germany required if living standards on both sides of the peninsula are to be close to each other.

More than a dozen reports by governments, academics and investment banks in recent years have attempted to estimate the cost of Korean unification. At the low end, the Rand Corporation estimates $50 billion. But that assumes only a doubling of Northern incomes from current levels, which would leave incomes in the North at less than 10% of the South.

At the high end, Credit Suisse estimated last year that unification would cost $1.5 trillion, but with North Korean incomes rising to only 60% of those in the South. I estimate that raising Northern incomes to 80% of Southern levels—which would likely be a political necessity—would cost anywhere from $2 trillion to $5 trillion, spread out over 30 years. That would work out to at least $40,000 per capita if distributed solely among South Koreans.

Who would foot such a bill? China is the greatest supporter of the current regime in Pyongyang, with trade, investment and economic assistance worth $3 billion a year. Even if that flow continues, it's only a fraction of the $67 billion a year needed to equal $2 trillion over 30 years. Japan is willing to pay $10 billion in reparations for having colonized the North in the 20th century, but that too would barely make a dent.

That leaves international institutions like the World Bank as well as South Korea and the United States. Building a modern economy in North Korea would be a wise investment in peace and prosperity in North Asia. Policy makers need to think about where that money will come from and how it should be spent to minimize the risk of wasting it in post-reunification confusion.

Mr. Beck is the Pantech Research Fellow at Stanford University and teaches at American University and Ewha Womans University.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #53 on: January 27, 2010, 08:38:26 AM »


http://alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/TOE60Q019.htm
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G M
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« Reply #54 on: January 27, 2010, 09:28:13 AM »

Whenever the NorKs act up, either they need a cash/aid infusion, or China needs to pressure the US for something.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #55 on: July 22, 2010, 04:45:16 AM »

Power Balances and the ChonAn Incident

United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates met Tuesday with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae Young and announced the official date for the long-delayed naval exercises called “Invincible Spirit,” which will be held on July 25-28 in the East Sea. The exercises will include the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group and four F-22 Raptors among a host of other American and Korean ships and aircraft. On Wednesday, Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — accompanied by a delegation of top U.S. officials from the military, State Department and National Security Council — will hold the first ever “2+2” round of talks with their South Korean counterparts in a show of solidarity after the alleged North Korean surprise attack on the South Korean navy corvette, the ChonAn, on March 26.

In short, the United States is attempting to give a substantial commitment to South Korea to show that it will come to its defense when needed, and dispel fears to the contrary that were raised following the ChonAn incident. Gates, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Pacific Command Chief Admiral Robert Willard, stressed that the military exercise is only the first step in what will be a series of exercises between the two states to demonstrate alliance strength, improve operational skills and readiness and deter North Korea from future provocations. The meeting will conclude with a joint statement about the alleged attack and an outline of future military cooperation. Previously, the United States held 2+2 talks with regional partners like Japan and Australia, but not South Korea, so the meetings between the top defense and foreign affairs ministers are meant to represent a promotion of the status of the U.S. and Korean alliance. The two sides will also likely discuss their decision to delay the transfer of wartime operational control over Korean forces for three years to 2015, and may discuss ways to ratify the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement that was signed in 2007.

From the Korean point of view, this commitment badly needed demonstrating. Seoul’s response to the ChonAn incident has been constrained from the start, and the United States bears some responsibility. Unwilling to risk a war with North Korea, Seoul pursued mostly symbolic and diplomatic means of retribution. But even these efforts were diluted or moderated, primarily due to intervention by China and unwillingness on the part of the United States to pressure Beijing. The limitations on Korea’s ability to rally an international response was emblematized by the United Nations Security Council’s presidential statement on the incident, which condemned the attack without naming North Korea as the attacker.

“The ChonAn incident has brought into relief the constraints that bind the different players in Northeast Asia.”
From the United States’ point of view, instability on the peninsula became entangled in the broader U.S.-China dynamic, and Washington proved unwilling to risk a deeper rift with China. This is why the United States repeatedly delayed the military exercises and has resisted sending its aircraft carrier to the West Sea. But the vacillations and cautiousness in dealing with Beijing gave Seoul the impression that Washington’s response was not as rapid and unequivocal as it should have been and that its commitment to the alliance was weaker than promised.

In this way, the ChonAn incident has brought into relief the constraints that bind the different players in Northeast Asia. In the aftermath of the Korean War, a balance of power was put in place enabling the United States to remove the majority of its forces, as it is currently attempting to do with Iraq and eventually Afghanistan. This balance has held so far, but it has faced serious tests. The ChonAn incident presented yet another test, and each player performed a role. North Korea orchestrated a sudden and inflammatory provocation as part of its strategy of keeping enemies off guard and neighbors divided, called attention to matters of its concern — such as the disputed maritime border and lack of a peace treaty — and managed to pull all of this off with relative impunity. South Korea scrambled to respond to the incident in a way that would appear strong without triggering an internecine war, while striving to reassure its public, get assistance from the United States (its chief security guarantor) and win over other international players.

Meanwhile, China served as an abettor of the North Korean regime amid a barrage of criticism from the United States and its allies. It managed to mount such harsh resistance to U.S. plans as to extract concessions, creating divisions between Washington and a disappointed (but still needy) Seoul. Japan and Russia remained aloof; Russia basically supported Beijing, and Tokyo basically supported Washington. The United States struggled to balance its commitment to the alliance with its desire to maintain relations with China, a crucial economic player and one Washington would rather not fight with at present. And yet Beijing inevitably remained opposed to the U.S. response since it brought the most powerful navy in the world — and by no means an ally — right up to China’s strategic core.

While the balance of power continues to hold, recent events reveal that it cannot be taken for granted. The sinking of the ChonAn would normally be considered an act of war, and not all regions would be able to prevent a downward spiral of unintended consequences after such an event. Pyongyang’s alleged ambush seems a particularly flagrant and reckless example of its time-tried strategy – a fact that may reflect the political elite’s attempt to manage a potentially highly destabilizing leadership succession. Most importantly, China’s regime is facing up to some deeply held fears about future strategic challenges. It sees greater U.S. pressure coming to bear against its economic policies and growing regional influence; it sees heightening internal and external risks to its economic model and social cohesion; and it fears that too much compromise with foreign powers will lead it to the fate of its predecessor, the nationalist Chinese republic that undermined its own credibility by allowing foreign powers to take advantage of it through economic and naval means. Beijing’s perspective explains its staunch resistance to the American and Korean show of force. But crucially, with the United States preoccupied with the task of establishing balances of power elsewhere, Washington itself has played a decisive role in putting limits on the alliance’s show of force.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #56 on: November 19, 2010, 08:02:38 AM »

Dispatch: Koreas Refocusing Policy Postures
November 18, 2010 | 1938 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:



Following South Korea’s declaration that the Sunshine Policy has failed and North Korea threatening another nuclear test, Analyst Rodger Baker examines politics on the peninsula.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

The South Korean Unification Ministry’s latest white paper declares the Sunshine Policy a failure. The Sunshine Policy set up under former President Kim Dae Jung to encourage North Korea to change its behavior through friendly actions through economic assistance. The Unification Ministry said that this is been a failure, that the North Koreans have not changed their behavior, the North Korean population is no better off, and that it remains in effect a threat to South Korea.

As the South Koreans are reviewing their North Korean policies, the North Koreans appear to be ramping up for another nuclear test or at least making it appear that that’s what they’re doing. There are increasing reports from the region that there is activity at North Korea’s nuclear test site, and this is raising concerns that Pyongyang is going to carry out its third test.

The North Koreans have a reputation of raising the stakes before they reenter negotiations. What they will do is that they will use that to shape the discussions and shape the sense of immediacy. It brings people into the negotiations in a way where you want to deal with the immediate issue of the nuclear test, and other issues that are long-standing maybe take out second place. The North Koreans gain the benefit of going back to the status quo before they have to start stepping down from there.

As the North Koreans really try to solidify the new leadership, there is always a push for some grand and bold action to make it clear who’s in charge. When Kim Jong-Il came to power there was the Taepodong launch. With Kim Jong Un, it very well may be a nuclear test just to show that from the beginning he is strong, he is tough.

From the South perspective they’re looking at starting to take over security responsibility for the peninsula from the United States - you have changes in that dynamic with the U.S. defense relationship where really the two Koreas are our re-looking at each other. In North, you have the leadership transition underway, in the south we really moved beyond some of the past types of governments considered pro-North Korean. But also you have a new pressure building for both Koreas.

The Chinese have become much more assertive in their political behavior and even in their military behavior in the region. Japan is starting to wake up it seems - feeling threats from China, feeling threat from Russia. The United States is re-engaging in the region. And what happens when you have these large powers coming and pressing against each other in the Pacific region, very often where it all overlaps is the Korean peninsula. In southern Seoul and in Pyongyang, they’re feeling this increasing pressure, an increasing sense of concern for what historically they would’ve called the minnow between whales.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #57 on: November 21, 2010, 01:29:14 AM »

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Sat, November 20, 2010 -- 9:00 PM ET
-----

North Koreans Unveil New Plant for Nuclear Use

North Korea showed a visiting American nuclear scientist last
week a vast new facility it secretly and rapidly built to
enrich uranium, confronting the Obama administration with the
prospect that the country is preparing to expand its nuclear
arsenal or build a far more powerful type of atomic bomb.

Whether the calculated revelation is a negotiating ploy by
North Korea or a signal that it plans to accelerate its
weapons program even as it goes through a perilous leadership
change, it creates a new challenge for President Obama.

The scientist, Siegfried S. Hecker, a Stanford professor who
previously directed the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said
in an interview that he had been "stunned" by the
sophistication of the new plant.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/world/asia/21intel.html?emc=na
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #58 on: November 23, 2010, 02:12:57 AM »

Woof,
 It is about to hit the fan in Korea guys: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40329269/ns/world_news-asiapacific
                  P.C.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 02:17:45 AM by prentice crawford » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #59 on: November 23, 2010, 09:27:49 AM »

Before moving to this disconcerting developement I would like to take a moment to note that on Fox's Brett Baier Special Report yesterday, there was a good discussion (especially Krauthammer-- no surprise there) on the role of China in enabling the Norks and that the real issue was to  , , , demotivate the Chinese in this direction.  Apparently a trial balloon has been floated quite recently about the US lending the Sorks some tactical nukes, something the Chinese really don't want.  The conversation went on to suggest that encouraging Japan to nuclearize would really freak the Chinese too.  Bottom line, the idea is to make clear to the Chinese that if they don't want the Sorks and the Japanese going nuke, they had best choke the supply lines to the Norks-- without which the Norks cannot survive.


=========
North Korea and South Korea have reportedly traded artillery fire Nov. 23 across the disputed Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea to the west of the peninsula. Though details are still sketchy, South Korean news reports indicate that around 2:30 p.m. local time, North Korean artillery shells began landing in the waters around Yeonpyeongdo, one of the South Korean-controlled islands just south of the NLL. North Korea has reportedly fired as many as 200 rounds, some of which struck the island, injuring at least 10 South Korean soldiers, damaging buildings and setting fire to a mountainside. South Korea responded by firing some 80 shells of its own toward North Korea, dispatching F-16 fighter jets to the area and raising the military alert to its highest level.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak has convened an emergency Cabinet meeting, and Seoul is determining whether to evacuate South Koreans working at inter-Korean facilities in North Korea. The barrage from North Korea was continuing at 4 p.m. Military activity appears to be ongoing at this point, and the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff are meeting on the issue. No doubt North Korea’s leadership is also convening.

The North Korean attack comes as South Korea’s annual Hoguk military exercises are under way. The exercises — set to last nine days and including as many as 70,000 personnel from all branches of the South Korean military — span from sites in the Yellow Sea including Yeonpyeongdo to Seoul and other areas on the peninsula itself. The drills have focused in particular on cross-service coordination and cooperation in recent years.

Low-level border skirmishes across the demilitarized zone and particularly the NLL are not uncommon even at the scale of artillery fire. In March, the South Korean naval corvette ChonAn was sunk in the area by what is broadly suspected to have been a North Korean torpedo, taking tensions to a peak in recent years. Nov. 22 also saw South Korean rhetoric about accepting the return of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the peninsula, though the United States said it has no plans at present to support such a redeployment.

While the South Korean reprisals — both artillery fire in response by self-propelled K-9 artillery and the scrambling of aircraft — thus far appear perfectly consistent with South Korean standard operating procedures, the sustained shelling of a populated island by North Korea would mark a deliberate and noteworthy escalation.

The incident comes amid renewed talk of North Korea’s nuclear program, including revelations of an active uranium-enrichment program, and amid rumors of North Korean preparations for another nuclear test. But North Korea also on Nov. 22 sent a list of delegates to Seoul for Red Cross talks with South Korea, a move reciprocated by the South, ahead of planned talks in South Korea set for Thursday. The timing of the North’s firing at Yeonpyeongdo, then, seems to contradict the other actions currently under way in inter-Korean relations. With the ongoing leadership transition in North Korea, there have been rumors of discontent within the military, and the current actions may reflect miscommunications or worse within the North’s command-and-control structure, or disagreements within the North Korean leadership.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #60 on: November 23, 2010, 01:24:27 PM »

second post

Summary
North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near their disputed border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident raises several questions, not the least of which is whether Pyongyang is attempting to move the real “red line” for conventional weapons engagements, just as it has managed to move the limit of “acceptable” behavior regarding its nuclear program.

Analysis
Special Topic Page
Conflict on the Korean Peninsula
North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), their disputed western border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident damaged as many as 100 homes and thus far has killed two South Korean soldiers with several others, including some civilians, wounded. The South Korean government convened an emergency Cabinet meeting soon after the incident and called for the prevention of escalation. It later warned of “stern retaliation” if North Korea launches additional attacks. Pyongyang responded by threatening to launch additional strikes, and accused South Korea and the United States of planning to invade North Korea, in reference to the joint Hoguk military exercises currently under way in different locations across South Korea.

The incident is the latest in a series of provocations by Pyongyang near the NLL this year following the sinking of the South Korean warship ChonAn in March. Over the past several years, the NLL has been a major hotspot. While most border incidents have been low-level skirmishes, such as the November 2009 naval episode, a steady escalation of hostilities culminated in the sinking of the ChonAn. The Nov. 23 attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeongdo represents another escalation; similar shellings in the past were for show and often merely involved shooting into the sea, but this attack targeted a military base. It also comes amid an atmosphere of higher tensions surrounding the revelation of active North Korean uranium enrichment facilities, South Korea’s disavowal of its Sunshine Policy of warming ties with the North and an ongoing power succession in Pyongyang.

Over the years, North Korea has slowly moved the “red line” regarding its missile program and nuclear development. It was always said that North Korea would never test a nuclear weapon because it would cross a line that the United States had set. Yet North Korea did test a nuclear weapon in October 2006, and then another in May 2009, without facing any dire consequences. This indicates that the red line for the nuclear program was either moved, or was rhetorical. The main question after the Nov. 23 attack is whether Pyongyang is attempting to move the red line for conventional attacks. If North Korea is attempting to raise the threshold for a response to such action, it could be playing a very dangerous game.

However, the threat North Korea’s nuclear program poses is more theoretical than the threat posed by conventional weapons engagements. Just as it seems that a North Korean nuclear test would not result in military action, the ChonAn sinking and the Nov. 23 attack seem to show that an “unprovoked” North Korean attack also will not lead to military retaliation. If this pattern holds, it means North Korea could decide to move from sea-based to land-based clashes, shell border positions across the Demilitarized Zone or take any number of other actions that certainly are not theoretical.

The questions STRATFOR is focusing on after the Nov. 23 attack are as follows:

Is North Korea attempting to test or push back against limits on conventional attacks? If so, are these attacks meant to test South Korea and its allies ahead of an all-out military action, or is the North seeking a political response as it has with its nuclear program? If the former, we must reassess North Korea’s behavior and ascertain whether the North Koreans are preparing to try a military action against South Korea — perhaps trying to seize one or more of the five South Korean islands along the NLL. If the latter, then at what point will they actually cross a red line that will trigger a response?
Is South Korea content to constantly redefine “acceptable” North Korean actions? Does South Korea see something in the North that we do not? The South Koreans have good awareness of what is going on in North Korea, and vice versa. The two sides are having a conversation about something and using limited conventional force to get a point across. We should focus on what the underlying issue is.
What is it that South Korea is afraid of in the North? North Korea gives an American a guided tour of a uranium enrichment facility, then fires across the NLL a couple of days after the news breaks. The South does not respond. It seems that South Korea is afraid of either real power or real weakness in the North, but we do not know which.
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G M
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« Reply #61 on: November 23, 2010, 01:39:39 PM »

Any expect Barry to vote present and/or grovel?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #62 on: November 24, 2010, 10:06:19 AM »

This is a genuine question GM, what would your propose?

======
WASHINGTON — President Obama and South Korea’s president agreed Tuesday night to hold joint military exercises as a first response to North Korea’s deadly shelling of a South Korean military installation, as both countries struggled for the second time this year to keep a North Korean provocation from escalating into war.


The exercise will include sending the aircraft carrier George Washington and a number of accompanying ships into the region, both to deter further attacks by the North and to signal to China that unless it reins in its unruly ally it will see an even larger American presence in the vicinity.
The decision came after Mr. Obama attended the end of an emergency session in the White House Situation Room and then emerged to call President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea to express American solidarity and talk about a coordinated response.

But as a former national security official who dealt frequently with North Korea in the Bush administration, Victor Cha, said just a few hours before the attack began, North Korea is “the land of lousy options.”

Mr. Obama is once again forced to choose among unpalatable choices: responding with verbal condemnations and a modest tightening of sanctions, which has done little to halt new attacks; starting military exercises that are largely symbolic; or reacting strongly, which could risk a broad war in which South Korea’s capital, Seoul, would be the first target.

The decision to send the aircraft carrier came as the South Korean military went into what it termed “crisis status.” President Lee said he would order strikes on a North Korean base if there were indications of new attacks.

North Korea’s artillery shells fell on Yeonpyeong Island, a fishing village whose residents fled by ferry to the mainland city of Inchon — where Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s troops landed 60 years ago this fall, three months after the outbreak of the Korean War.

Today, Inchon is the site of South Korea’s main international airport, symbolizing the vulnerability of one of the world’s most vibrant economies to the artillery of one of the world’s poorest and most isolated nations.

A senior American official said that an early American assessment indicated that a total of about 175 artillery shells were fired by the North and by the South in response on Tuesday.

But an American official who had looked at satellite images said there was no visible evidence of preparations for a general war. Historically, the North’s attacks have been lightning raids, after which the North Koreans have backed off to watch the world’s reaction. This one came just hours after the South Koreans had completed a long-planned set of military exercises, suggesting that the North Korean attack was “premeditated,” a senior American official said.

Television reports showed large plumes of black smoke spiraling from the island, as dozens of houses caught fire. The shelling killed two marines and wounded 18 people. The South put its fighter planes on alert — but, tellingly, did not put them in the air or strike at the North’s artillery bases. Mr. Obama was awakened at 3:55 a.m. by his new national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, who told him of the attack.

Just 11 days before, North Korea had invited a Stanford nuclear scientist to Yongbyon, its primary nuclear site, and showed him what was described as a just-completed centrifuge plant that, if it becomes fully operational, should enable North Korea to enrich uranium into nuclear fuel and add to its arsenal of 8 to 12 nuclear weapons.

Taken together, the nuclear demonstration and the attack were widely interpreted as an effort to bolster the credentials of Kim Jong-un, the heir apparent as the country’s leader, and the son and grandson of the only two men who have run the country. When his father, Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s ailing leader, was establishing his credentials, the North conducted a similar series of attacks.

“They have a 60-year history of military provocations — it’s in their DNA,” said a senior administration official. “What we are trying to do is break the cycle,” a cycle, he said, that has North Korea’s bad behavior rewarded with “talks, inducements and rewards.” He said that the shelling would delay any effort to resume the six-nation talks about the North’s nuclear program.

While Mr. Obama was elected on a promise of diplomatic engagement, his strategy toward the North for the past two years, called “strategic patience,” has been to demonstrate that Washington would not engage until the North ceased provocations and demonstrated that it was living up to past commitments to dismantle, and ultimately give up, its nuclear capacity.

The provocations have now increased markedly, and it is not clear what new options are available. Beijing’s first reaction on Tuesday was to call for a resumption of the six-nation talks involving North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States. The last meeting was two years ago, at the end of the Bush administration.

Mr. Obama’s aides made it clear in interviews that the United States had no intention of returning to those talks soon. But its leverage is limited.

When North Korea set off a nuclear test last year just months after Mr. Obama took office, the United States won passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution that imposed far harsher sanctions. The sanctions gave countries the right, and responsibility, to board North Korean ships and planes that landed at ports around the world and to inspect them for weapons. The effort seemed partly successful — but the equipment in the centrifuge plant is so new that it is clear that the trade restrictions did not stop the North from building what Siegfried S. Hecker, the visiting scientist, called an “ultramodern” nuclear complex.

============

Page 2 of 2)



By far the biggest recent disruption of relations came in March, when a sudden explosion sank a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors. South Korean and international investigators said the blast was caused by a North Korean torpedo. The North has vehemently denied it. If the North was responsible for the sinking, it would be the most lethal military attack since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

President Lee of South Korea decided not to respond militarily to the sinking and was praised by Washington for his restraint. To make North Korea pay a price, he imposed new food restrictions on the North and ended trade worth several hundred million dollars that had been intended to induce the desperately poor North Koreans to choose income over military strikes. But some analysts believe that the cutoff in food aid was an excuse, if not a motivation, for Tuesday’s attack.
Choi Jin-wook, a North Korea expert at the Korea Institute for National Unification, a research institute in Seoul, said, “It’s a sign of North Korea’s increasing frustration.”

“Washington has turned a deaf ear to Pyongyang, and North Korea is saying: ‘Look here. We’re still alive. We can cause trouble. You can’t ignore us.’ ”

Yet for Mr. Obama, much stronger responses, including a naval quarantine of the North, carry huge risks. A face-off on the Korean Peninsula would require tens of thousands of troops, air power and the possibility of a resumption of the Korean War, a battle that American officials believe would not last long, but might end in the destruction of Seoul if the North unleashed artillery batteries near the border.

Pressing against a precipitous reaction is that the North’s attacks have a choreographed character, even a back-to-the-future feel. The last time North Korea engaged in acts this destructive was in the 1980s, when it blew up a South Korean airliner and also detonated a bomb in Myanmar in a botched attempt to assassinate the visiting South Korean president. Both attacks were said to be ordered by Kim Jong-il, who was then the heir to Kim Il-sung, his father and North Korea’s founder.

Now Mr. Kim’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un, is in that position. He was promoted on Sept. 28 to the rank of four-star general, a prerequisite for his ascendancy to power. Many see these attacks as the effort of a man the Chinese now say is 25 years old to establish his military credentials.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #63 on: November 24, 2010, 04:13:06 PM »

The shelling across the Northern Limit Line between North Korea and South Korea recently has raised a lot of questions as to just what the North Koreans are doing — why they carried out this act at this particular time. One of the elements to that is really to better understand what is the Northern Limit Line, why is it there and how do the North Koreans view this.

At the end of the Korean War, as the armistice was being discussed, there was a general agreement on where the DMZ — the demilitarized zone - would go between the two Koreas. However, there was no agreement on where the maritime border would go on the west coast. The United Nations unilaterally drew the Northern Limit Line — putting it within three nautical miles of the North Korean coast, which was standard territory at the time. It also placed five islands just south of the NLL under South Korean or under U.N. control at the time. And in many ways, that boxed in the North Koreans, and it protected the southern port at Incheon.

The North Koreans never recognized the NLL, and by the late 1950s they were already complaining about it. They were suggesting the creation of what they called the MDL — the military demarcation line. This would have been a line that matches more along the 12 nautical miles and runs fairly diagonally between North Korea and South Korea in the West Sea. For the North Koreans, this would give them access to Haeju, their southern deepwater port. It would also give them access to critical crab-fishing grounds in the area.

For the South Koreans however the shape of the MDL, from their perspective, would put Incheon at risk, and South Korea and the United Nations refused to change the line.

As the Cold War was drawing to a close, the North Koreans were looking at ways to modify and change their economic structure. They knew they couldn’t be fully reliant upon the Chinese, upon the Soviets or the Russians after that point. And they started looking into the idea of special economic zones, of trying to increase trade. Ports became very important for them, and they started looking again at Haeju and they started looking again at the Northern Limit Line.

By the end of the 1990s and the firm establishment of Kim Jong Il as the new leader of North Korea, the Northern Limit Line became a very hot area once again. There were two incidents at the end of 1999 and the beginning of the 2000s of shelling between the two Koreas — a maritime fight which had ships sunk on both sides. Tensions began to rise along that line. The North Koreans started calling for a renegotiation of the line and demanding that the South Koreans back away from their positions along that line.

When we look at North Korea’s broad strategic behavior in trying to force negotiations over critical issues, we see them posturing, we see them raising crises so they can step back from them in return for talks and for negotiations. But as we’ve seen in the issues of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles, they’ve reached a point where it’s very hard now to create a crisis because they’ve already tested nuclear weapons; they’ve already launched long-range missiles. In general, any red line — real or imagined — has already been crossed.

We’re seeing now on the NLL that the North Koreans are having a step up even to a higher state of activity to be able to draw attention to the NLL. So shelling into the water doesn’t do it, missile tests doesn’t do it, shooting between boats doesn’t necessarily do it, even the incident with the Chon An didn’t seem to bring this NLL issue back up onto the table. They’re now shelling South Korean islands.

The question is how far do the North Koreans have to go before the crisis either draws attention in the way they want or forces a response from the South Koreans and, ultimately, from the United States.

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« Reply #64 on: November 25, 2010, 12:26:44 AM »

Building on the previous post, , ,


Deciphering North Korea's Provocations

North Korean artillery began shelling the island of Yeonpyeongdo in disputed waters Tuesday afternoon (local time). The island is occupied by South Korea and located in the West (Yellow) Sea south of the Northern Limit Line that South Korea claims as its territory, but north of the Military Demarcation Line that North Korea claims as its territory. Homes were destroyed and at least two South Korean soldiers were killed. South Korean artillery responded in kind, and South Korean F-16 fighter jets were scrambled.

Looking back, in 1968, North Korean commandoes staged an attack on the Blue House, the South Korean president’s office and residence, in an assassination attempt against South Korean President Park Chung Hee. In 1983, North Korean special agents killed four members of the South Korean Cabinet on a visit to Myanmar, and in 1987 they caused an explosion on a South Korean airplane that killed 115 people. There were running gunbattles in the hills of South Korea in 1996 as Koreans pursued commandoes that had infiltrated the South via submarine. Even today, small arms fire and even artillery fire are routinely exchanged between the North and the South — particularly in the disputed waters west of the Demilitarized Zone. Naval skirmishes occurred there in 1999, 2002 and 2009, and it was in these same waters that the South Korean corvette ChonAn (772) sank in March.

The ChonAn sinking combined with the wider context really brings this recent incident into relief. Despite what Seoul and its allies consider to be irrefutable proof of Pyongyang’s culpability in the sinking of the ChonAn, there was no meaningful reprisal against the North beyond posturing and rhetoric. Needless to say, international sanctions have not succeeded in chastening North Korea in recent years.

“The question is, what exactly is Pyongyang pushing for?”
History is rife with examples of sunken warships that either served as a pretext for war or were ignored in the name of larger geopolitical interests. But while the ChonAn sinking was not incomparable to other fatal incidents in North-South relations on the Korean Peninsula, it has certainly been a new low-water mark for the last decade. And historical precedent or not, it is generally worth taking note when one country does not respond to the aggression of another that has committed an overt act of war by sinking a ship and taking dozens of sailors’ lives. Perhaps the most overt result of the ChonAn sinking other than some very serious internal retrospection regarding South Korea’s military and its defense posture was the tension between the United States and South Korea over Washington’s hesitancy to deploy an American aircraft carrier at Seoul’s request as a demonstration of the strength and resolve of the alliance (due to Washington’s sensitivity to Beijing’s opposition).

Indeed, the subsequent compromise between Seoul and Washington was supposed to center on an enhanced schedule of military exercises over time — including both new exercises and the expansion of existing ones. Among these was supposed to be the Hoguk 2010 exercise that began Monday and included some 70,000 South Korean troops conducting maneuvers — including on the very island shelled by North Korea, Yeonpyeongdo — an annual exercise in which the United States has often participated. Yet American participation was withdrawn earlier in the month at effectively the last minute over a “scheduling conflict” — in reality once again likely due to American concerns about the broader regional dynamic, including China’s and Japan’s reaction (the drills would have involved U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa partaking in an amphibious invasion of a small island, which would have been somewhat provocative in the current tense atmosphere over island sovereignty in Northeast Asia). What’s more, the United States has little interest in seeing conflict flare up between the North and the South, so its calculus may in fact be not only wider regional concerns but also specifically the tension on the Korean Peninsula. In other words, part of the American motivation to withdraw its participation in Hoguk 2010 may very well have been to avoid provoking North Korea, even at the expense of further disappointing its South Korean ally.

Even before the Hoguk 2010 withdrawal, the U.S. hesitancy had enormous impact on Seoul, which, in the South Korean mind, was refused immediate and unhesitating reinforcement by its most important ally at the worst possible moment because of other American interests in the region. The state of the alliance is still strong, and exercises at more convenient times can be expected. But the course of events in 2010 in terms of the American commitment to the alliance may well define South Korean strategic thinking for a decade.

For North Korea, on the other hand, it is hard to imagine a more successful course of events. It struck at its southern rival with impunity and, as a bonus, provoked potentially lasting tensions in the military alliance arrayed against it. The North also wants to avoid all-out war, so Pyongyang is not without its disincentives in terms of provoking Seoul. Note that North Korea’s actions have been limited to disputed areas and of a nature that would be difficult to interpret as a prelude to a larger, broader military assault (one to which the South Korean military would be forced to respond). Instead Pyongyang appears to be calling attention to the disputed maritime border, at least in part a bid to emphasize the need for a peace treaty or some similar settlement that would resolve the disadvantageous status quo in the sea and give Pyongyang the assurances of non-aggression from the United States that it desires.

Yet Pyongyang enjoys a significant trump card — its “nuclear” option. By this, STRATFOR does not mean North Korea’s fledgling nuclear program, which may or may not include workable atomic devices. We mean the legions of hardened conventional artillery positions within range of downtown Seoul and able to rain down sustained fire upon the South Korean capital, home to about 46 percent of the country’s population and source of about 24 percent of its gross domestic product. Though North Korea’s notoriously irrational behavior is actually deliberate, carefully cultivated and purposeful, Seoul is still an enormous thing to gamble with, and South Korea — and the United States, for that matter — can hardly be faulted for not wanting to gamble it on military reprisals in response to what amount to (admittedly lethal) shenanigans in outlying disputed areas.

The problem that has emerged for the United States and its allies is that “red lines” exist only if they are enforced, and both Iran and North Korea have become expert at pushing and stretching them as they see fit. Though (despite rhetoric and appearances) Pyongyang absolutely wants to avoid war, especially during the transition of power, it has now established considerable room to maneuver and push aggressively against its southern rival.

So, what exactly is Pyongyang pushing for? What does it seek to achieve through the exertion of this pressure? Is it still within the realm of its behavior throughout most of the past decade, in which provocations were intended to give it the upper hand in international negotiations, or is it now asking for something more? The North Korean regime has been extraordinarily deliberate and calculating, and one would think it remains so. But is this ability to calculate weakening as a result of the internal strains of the power transition, or other unseen factors? Finally, what is Pyongyang ultimately aiming at as it takes advantage of South Korea’s inability to respond?

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« Reply #65 on: November 25, 2010, 12:44:40 AM »

The NorKs wouldn't do shiite without the nod from with China's power structure, at least no big moves. Were I the president, I'd advise China informally that Japan is not reacting well to the NorKs having nukes and is strongly considering withdrawing from the US-Japanese defense treaty and developing their own nukes. The China-NorK gambit depends on us and the other interested countries trying to be reasonable and allowing ourselves to be shaken down. The answer is to say no mas, and force China to work with us and S. Korea to work on a "soft landing" for the end of the NorK monstrosity. China does not want a nuclear and militarized Japan (no one else in asia does either) and China doesn't want a shooting war between the Koreas either, or a violent collapse of the NorKs with  waves of millions of starving N. Koreans flooding into Northern China.

Time to put an end to the shakedowns and push China to act in it's own long term interest.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #66 on: November 28, 2010, 02:49:33 AM »

Woof,
 From the horse's mou...well pick your body part tongue

 www.korea-dpr.com/forum/

                        P.C.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #67 on: November 28, 2010, 03:18:47 AM »

 Second post:

Woof,
 Artillery fire heard as war games begin:

 www.businessweek.com/news/2010-11-27/artillery-heard-in-north-korea-u-s-carrier-enters-yellow-sea.html

                            P.C.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 03:20:25 AM by prentice crawford » Logged
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« Reply #68 on: November 28, 2010, 01:06:36 PM »

Regarding the 'horse's mouth': http://www.korea-dpr.com/forum/

The name of the other Korean entity is the "South Korean puppet"? Try a word count on that, lol.  The U.S. then is the real enemy?  We are the "imperialists" even though for half century plus have never invaded their space or rescued a single starving innocent from their millions.  Amazing to me how this writing style is nearly identical to that of the former Saddam Hussein regime.

Who other than their own leadership says that DPRK couldn't quit threatening the world and open their economy for commerce, aid and travel tomorrow?
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« Reply #69 on: November 28, 2010, 05:55:14 PM »

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/ground-defense-command-likely-to-be-set-up-to-coordinate-armies

Ground Defense Command likely to be set up to coordinate armies

Sunday 28th November, 03:21 PM JST

TOKYO —

The Defense Ministry has been making final adjustments toward establishing a Ground Defense Command that will coordinate the operations of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s regional armies, sources at the ministry and the Self-Defense Forces said Saturday.

The proposed change is likely to be included in the new National Defense Program Guidelines the government plans to adopt at a cabinet meeting on Dec 10, according to the sources.

The move is aimed at boosting operational coordination within the GSDF, but the sources said the new higher body is unlikely to be given a command authority, although it was originally sought.

Under the current SDF command structure, the defense minister, in times of emergencies, gives operational commands to the Air Self-Defense Force mainly through its Air Defense Command and to the Maritime Self-Defense Force via its Self-Defense Fleet.

Because the GSDF has no such unified command, the minister would give commands to each of the five regional armies, a process some critics say is cumbersome compared with the other two defense branches.

Efforts had been made within the ministry since 2004 to consider unifying the lines of command in the regional armies at a ground command, but they fizzled out due to opposition from the GSDF.

Under the new plan, the Eastern Army, now headquartered at Camp Asaka in and around Tokyo’s Nerima Ward and responsible for defending the Kanto region, would be abolished and replaced by the new command.

**Looks like Japan is moving to address the growing threats from China and the NorKs.**
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« Reply #70 on: November 28, 2010, 07:45:33 PM »

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2010/11/28/korea-verbose-silence-interpolation/

Korea: Verbose Silence, Interpolation
posted at 8:27 pm on November 28, 2010 by J.E. Dyer


One of the most worrisome aspects of the Obama administration’s foreign policy is the effective inconsistency of its “information” posture. The crisis on the Korean peninsula is a case in point. Most Americans are probably under the impression that the USS George Washington carrier group is being sent as a show of force in response to North Korea’s provocative shelling incident on 23 November. But the naval exercise the carrier group is heading for has been scheduled for months.
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« Reply #71 on: November 29, 2010, 06:29:45 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/11/29/new-wikileaks-docs-revealed-china-open-to-korean-reunification/

New Wikileaks docs revealed: China open to Korean reunification?

posted at 6:00 pm on November 29, 2010 by Allahpundit


Time for the daily diplo document dump, which should be a 5 p.m. staple for at least the next week. Most of you will go looking for the Times’s write-up but the Guardian’s is better in this case. Here’s what I meant yesterday when I said that, for an ostensibly anti-war organization, Wikileaks sure is cavalier about the sort of escalation between rivals that some of these documents might ignite. At a moment when U.S./ROK wargames are going on in the Yellow Sea, with four South Koreans dead within the past week from North Korean shelling, how’s crazy Kim going to react upon learning that his chief benefactor might soon be ready to pull the plug on foreign aid and let North Korea disintegrate? Anyone excited to toss that particular match into the powder keg and see if anything pops?

    The leaked North Korea dispatches detail how:

    • South Korea’s vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul’s control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing…

    In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington…

    “The two officials, Chun said, were ready to ‘face the new reality’ that the DPRK [North Korea] now had little value to China as a buffer state – a view that, since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, had reportedly gained traction among senior PRC [People's Republic of China] leaders. Chun argued that in the event of a North Korean collapse, China would clearly ‘not welcome’ any US military presence north of the DMZ [demilitarised zone]. Again citing his conversations with [the officials], Chun said the PRC would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ – as long as Korea was not hostile towards China. Tremendous trade and labour-export opportunities for Chinese companies, Chun said, would also help ‘salve’ PRC concerns about … a reunified Korea.

China ran the numbers and concluded they could absorb up to 300,000 North Korean refugees, so clearly they’re taking this possibility seriously. More ominously, a Chinese diplomat also allegedly told his American counterpart that China has “much less influence than most people believe” over the North Korean leadership. Maybe that’s self-serving spin aimed at creating plausible deniability for China the next time Kim does something nutty, but officials in the White House told Marc Ambinder last week that China was as surprised as we were by the revelation of North Korea’s new uranium enrichment facility. That jibes with a bunch of cables highlighted in the NYT’s story tonight claiming that Chinese knowledge of — and control over — the NorKs’ activities isn’t as robust as we’d like to think.

    On May 13, 2009, as American satellites showed unusual activity at North Korea’s nuclear test site, officials in Beijing said they were “unsure” that North Korean “threats of another nuclear test were serious.” As it turns out, the North Koreans detonated a test bomb just days later.

    Soon after, Chinese officials predicted that negotiations intended to pressure the North to disarm would be “shelved for a few months.” They have never resumed…

    In June 2009, at a lunch in Beijing shortly after the North Korean nuclear test, two senior Chinese Foreign Ministry officials reported that China’s experts believed “the enrichment was only in its initial phases.” In fact, based on what the North Koreans revealed this month, an industrial-scale enrichment plant was already under construction. It was apparently missed by both American and Chinese intelligence services.

The Chinese also allegedly believed that Kim would hand power to a military junta and not the young, untested Kim Jong-un. Wrong again. Could be that they’re simply playing dumb, but if they’re not then (a) the situation right now on the Korean peninsula is even more precarious than thought and (b) it’s unclear whether China could bring about reunification even if it wanted to. This takes us back to yesterday’s post about McCain’s comments: What reason is there to believe that, faced with a Chinese embargo and total social collapse, the North Korean military would opt to reunify instead of to go out fighting? Some soldiers might agree to lay down their arms for survival’s sake, but others will be so rabidly nationalistic that they’ll prefer death to absorption by South Korea. (Wouldn’t be the first time that cult members have opted for suicide.) All it would take to touch off a war on the peninsula is for a few well-placed NorK officers to give the orders to shell Seoul. What then?

Another question: To what extent have Chinese and South Korean actions over the past week been guided by the looming release of these documents? Remember that the State Department has been warning allies about what was coming, so today’s news won’t be a surprise to Beijing or Seoul (but it probably will to Pyongyang). Does this explain why South Korea’s president is suddenly talking very tough about responding to provocations while quietly canceling artillery drills that might escalate the situation further? He needs to put on a brave face for South Korean voters who are turning increasingly hawkish towards the NorKs, but he may be worried that the news about China favoring reunification has North Korea in an unusually desperate position. The solution: Speak loudly and carry a conspicuously small stick.
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« Reply #72 on: December 02, 2010, 11:35:14 PM »

U.S. Calls On China to Rein in North Korea

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen called on Wednesday for China to “step up” its efforts in handling of the latest crisis on the Korean Peninsula in a speech at the Center for American Progress. Mullen specifically dismissed China’s offer to host a new round of consultations among the six parties involved in Korean peninsular affairs, saying that to do so would merely reward North Korea for its “provocative and destabilizing” behavior. His comments echoed rejections of China’s offer by the South Koreans, Japanese and even the North Koreans.

The situation on the peninsula remains edgy. Washington and Seoul have concluded military exercises, only to declare they will hold more. South Korea warned of further attacks and North Korea persisted in defiant statements and actions, yet again advertising its ongoing uranium enrichment. Meanwhile, the flurry of crisis diplomacy continues. South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, while China allegedly prepares to send State Councilor and top foreign policy expert Dai Bingguo to North Korea, possibly for a meeting with Dear Leader Kim Jong Il. The United States, South Korea and Japan have scheduled a trilateral meeting in a week’s time to unite their positions.

The spotlight fell on China almost immediately after North Korea fired artillery shells at South Korean-controlled Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23. Mullen and other American leaders called upon China to act “responsibly,” and the Korean and Japanese presidents did the same. Needless to say, Beijing is North Korea’s primary supporter through economic, military and political relations, and Beijing has often shielded Pyongyang from international criticisms and sanctions through its seat on the United Nations Security Council. China received Kim twice this year, a year commemorating the 60th anniversary of their alliance since Chinese intervention into war on the North’s behalf in 1950.

” The question is whether the North meets preconditions acceptable to the United States and its allies, or whether they can be assured in some substantial way that those conditions will be met.”
But the focus falls on China not only because of its direct leverage over the North. It also does so because of perceptions among foreign powers, intensifying over the past year, that China is becoming increasingly hard-headed and aggressive in managing its foreign policy across its periphery and beyond. One of the signal examples of this tendency was Beijing’s staunch defense of North Korea after the sinking of the ChonAn in March, which caused the United States to balk in making shows of alliance strength throughout the region. South Korea, the United States and even Japan have a firm interest in preventing China from exercising the same amount of control over the aftermath of the latest incident, for fear that it should be further emboldened. They see this repeat offense by North Korea as a crucial test of whether they can still shape the way China interacts with the international community, or whether Beijing has, in effect, become unresponsive to its obligations to them.

But Beijing is being asked to compromise on a subject it considers essential for its strategic well being. North Korea is a buffer zone that China fought to gain in 1950, and has maintained despite numerous North Korean-engineered crises. Nor does China consider any alternative scenario attractive — previously, China suffered invasion and humiliation at the hands of the Japanese through this very route into the Chinese heartland. Putting pressure on the North runs extreme risks for the regime’s stability, either collapse with dire ramifications on the Chinese border provinces, or capitulation that could bring the American alliance to China’s border. Better to keep the North standing and isolated and require that foreign powers seek redress for their qualms through China.

Yet, keeping a leash on North Korea is difficult. Pyongyang is demanding direct talks with the Americans on forging a peace treaty to replace the 1954 armistice, and has called attention to the disputed maritime border, where violence has occurred for years. It’s an effort to raise awareness of its grievances, to show that conditions will never be stable or secure on the line without a peace treaty, and to avoid having to discuss its nuclear program. The United States and its partners have refuted the concept of a peace treaty or other arrangement without first addressing the nuclear weapons program, but the North replies by ratcheting up the tension.

Therefore, North Korea has become a liability that the Chinese cannot abandon. The result is a test of Beijing’s much-vaunted assertiveness in foreign affairs. If it refuses to yield, it makes itself more conspicuous as an abettor of North Korea’s belligerence and invites greater pressure from foreign powers that are becoming more and more distrustful of how Beijing intends to wield its growing international influence. Yet, if Beijing backs down, and agrees to provide token participation in pressuring the North, it risks either succeeding and precipitating dramatic change on the peninsula or miscalculating and watching in dismay as its inch of lost North Korean leverage turns into a mile. And at this point, backing down will also risk appearing weak in front of its increasingly nationalistic domestic audience.

The six parties involved in peninsular stability are still committed to holding negotiations. The question is whether the North meets preconditions acceptable to the United States and its allies, or whether they can be assured in some substantial way that those conditions will be met. If China is not seen nudging North Korea in this direction, or is seen as obstructing it, then it risks attracting increased negative attention to itself and even getting sidelined in the event that a breakthrough between North Korea and the United States occurs. Tellingly, Russia has reiterated its condemnation of Pyongyang’s attack, leaving China with less cover in the event that it does not shift to a position that is more accommodating toward American and South Korean demands.

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« Reply #73 on: December 02, 2010, 11:53:46 PM »

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/09/office-39-200909?currentPage=all

NorKfellas.
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« Reply #74 on: December 03, 2010, 01:46:00 PM »

A resumption of six-party talks will not resolve the Korean crisis, as all parties have different goals, Vice President of Strategic Intelligence Rodger Baker says.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Colin Chapman: North Asia remains on edge with no sign of an end to the tension after the attacks by North Korea just over a week ago. Welcome to agenda I’m Colin Chapman, and on the agenda next week is a significant tripartite meeting between Japan, South Korea and the United States, but the chances for any kind of solution to the crisis are not good. You can see the tactical details of the exchange of fire between North Korea and South Korea on our website, along with satellite imagery that we’ve obtained and military analysis. Joining me to discuss this is Rodger Baker. Rodger, what’s your analysis of where things stand now?

Rodger Baker: We’re at a very delicate position right now in Northeast Asia. Certainly, every side is making a case that none of them want war, none of them want this to escalate, and yet the South Koreans have a incentive to — if there’s another North Korean action — to respond extremely strongly. The North Koreans may have a sense that they need to show one more time that they’re tough. The Chinese are offering talks that they don’t nobody’s going to come to, so we’re at kind of an uncertain moments as we watch the situation unfold.

Colin Chapman: Yet some people are clutching at straws. For example, North Korea has hinted it might allow international investment in mining in its country, a strange step if you’re planning a major war.

Rodger Baker: One of the things they been watching it to see whether or not the North Korean behavior with the shelling of this island fits within their typical pattern of creating crises in order to head into negotiations, and this seemed a step beyond what they’ve normally done in the past. Yet in the background we’re seeing certain actions but that still fit in the old patterns. So we’ve seen regular inspection tours by Kim Jong Il and his son. We’ve also seen an announcement today by the North Koreans that they’ve upgraded to ministry status a natural resources department and that’s suggesting that they’re going ahead with earlier plans to expand foreign investment in mining and try to draw in other individuals and if you’re about to head into a war that’s probably not something you would be doing.

Colin Chapman: The key to all this is of course China, but as you’ve said yourself North Korea is a liability that China simply cannot abandon.

Rodger Baker: Certainly when you look at China’s relations with North Korea its been a bit contentious. The Chinese sometimes appear not to be able to control the North Koreans or they get drawn into situations of tension with their other neighbors or with the United States over North Korea. At the same time the Chinese are able to manipulate that. But in the end when you look at the Chinese, North Korea serves as a strategic buffer. North Korea presents effectively the United States from being able to place troops right along the Chinese border and so no matter what you hear from the Chinese talking about maybe supporting reunification or not supporting the North Koreans or standing back, in the end they’re going to ensure that something is that position whether it be North Korea ,whether it be a Chinese-run North Korea, that creates that sense of space so they can’t have the United States coming up against the Yalu River.

Colin Chapman: Did WikiLeaks come up with anything that might be relevant here?

Rodger Baker: Some of the things we’ve seen and what got a lot of play was the idea, for example, that the Chinese had considered letting the two Koreas and letting South Korea run that. It’s kind of a misrepresentation of the Chinese position. Certainly at times Chinese scholars or Chinese officials will say things like that and they say that to appease the South Koreans. They say that to let the United States think that they’re not offensive or they’re not out trying to be dominant in the region. But in general if you look at the Chinese position the Chinese now no less than in 1950 have an interest to prevent the United States from coming up to the Yalu River.

Colin Chapman: The date in the diary is this tripartite meeting between Japan and South Korea, and the United States but is there any real prospect that it could come up with any kind of solution?

Rodger Baker: The meeting between the United States and its two key Northeast Asian allies — Japan and South Korea — is probably not going to come up with some amazing new policy on North Korea or new way of resolving the situation. However the United States really feels it does need to demonstrate first and foremost its strong commitment to these allies, solidify that that military commitment as well as the political commitment and only then after talking with the three of them will the U.S. even begin to consider how it might go back into negotiations with North Korea and maybe allow China to facilitate those. So right now this is about the U.S. showing to its allies and showing to the region that the United States does give a strong defense commitment to countries that it works with.

Colin Chapman: I talked to three former envoys to Seoul this week and all of them agreed that South Korea had handled this in a pretty cool and sensible fashion, but they think the solution is now going to be the resumption of the six-party talks. Do you agree with that?

Rodger Baker: Well I think if you look at the six-party talks, its questionable whether the six-party talks or any other multilateral forum is going to resolve the situation and that’s because as you look at each of the players they don’t necessarily have the same end goal in mind. So for China, as we’ve noted, the Chinese are really not ultimately interested in a reunified Korea at least not one that would in any way be a potential challenger or competitor or be an ally to the United States. The South Koreans don’t necessarily want to rush reunification. The United States is not looking to get involved in either a conflict in the region or to abandon its position in the region and the Japanese are always cautious about the idea of a unified Korea as being really something that could that could challenge Japanese interests in the region. The Russians haven’t decided whether or not they’re getting back involved. The North Koreans certainly don’t want to become subservient to the South Koreans so we when look at the six-party talks, the six-party talks may be about stopping the North Koreans from having nuclear weapons but the North Koreans already have them. There is very little that the North Koreans would get in giving up a capability they already have. So I think if you look at the six-party talks in particular, the Chinese use the talks as a way to manage the situation but not as a way to resolve the situation. They use it to keep the other players in check, they use it to gain leverage over some of the other players, but in the end I don’t think we have anybody who’s actually expecting these talks, these negotiations, to resolve either the North Korean nuclear issue or the broader picture which is the division of the Korean Peninsula.

Colin Chapman: Rodger Baker there, ending this week’s Agenda. I’m Colin Chapman at STRATFOR, thanks for being with us today.

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #75 on: December 05, 2010, 08:35:32 AM »

A comprehensive, and glum, assessment of what will likely occur if the Kim Family regime in N. Korea collapses:

http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/609-maxwell.pdf
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« Reply #76 on: April 10, 2011, 09:50:56 AM »

The Korean peninsula was divided by the world’s great powers as World War II came to an end. That division persists today, of course, and is the greatest source of instability in East Asia, thanks largely to North Korea’s belligerence.

The division also feeds a sentiment in both Koreas of victimization, the sense that outsiders hurt us, ripped us apart.

In many discussions about Korean reunification between, for instance South Koreans and Americans, the statement “We didn’t ask for this” is the ultimate trump card a South Korean can pull to make the American stop, reconsider themselves and feel a twinge of guilt.

In South Korea, there’s also another way that this sense of victimization manifests itself. Many South Koreans say they believe that, even now, the world’s great powers don’t want the two Koreas to get back together.

Well, it’s rare that a moment presents itself for other countries to actually say how they feel about the reunification of the two Koreas, but it happened Friday afternoon in Seoul.

Ambassadors from three of South Korea’s neighbors spoke at a conference marking the 20th anniversary of the Korea Institute for National Unification, a government-funded think tank associated with the Ministry of Unification, which deals with North Korea-related matters.

Now, normally, the words of diplomats are a bit convoluted and, well, boring, so journalists like us usually just summarize them.

But on Friday, each of the three ambassadors talked about experiences in which South Koreans had told them they didn’t think the country they represent wanted reunification to happen. And each of them had a strong, succinct response that yes, actually, they would like to see the Koreas reunite with Seoul in the lead.

So we decided to give them to you without a filter on this post.

We should point out – as the hosts of the KINU conference did several times – that China’s ambassador to South Korea was also invited to Friday’s meeting, had confirmed his attendance but canceled at the last minute. In other words, the stance many of us would like to hear on the topic, Beijing’s, remains a mystery.

The key statements from the diplomats:

Kathleen Stephens, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

“The U.S. vision on Korean unification is in the context of our vision for the entire Asia-Pacific region. We want to see shared prosperity, shared peace and genuine stability. It’s within that context that we support reunification – too long postponed, too long delayed, too tragically prolonged – by peaceful means and in accordance with the wishes of the Korean people.

“President Obama and President Lee Myung-bak in June 2009 signed a joint vision statement, a vision of the U.S.-Korea relationship. I want to read to you one sentence, there’s more, but one sentence, because this is our vision. ‘Through our alliance, we aim to build a better future for all people on the Korean peninsula, establishing a durable peace on the peninsula and leading to peaceful reunification on the principles of free democracy and a market economy.’

“That’s what we’re trying to do. Now, I emphasize this because nothing has disturbed me more over the years than at times having it suggested to me by Korean friends or others that somehow the United States thinks the division of the Korean peninsula is right or even serves U.S. interests. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“We look, from the perspective now of 2011, at the division of this peninsula and at the division of the Korean people as one of the great tragedies of the 20th Century.”

Muto Masatoshi, Japan Ambassador to South Korea

“I want to talk about [South] Korean people’s perception of how Japanese look at unification. A lot of people used to say we are negative or reluctant to support it. People would say Japan does not want a very strong country next to us. Well, that is not true. That is not based on reality or how our relations are.

“The reunification of Korea is a big benefit for us. I would like to quote three reasons for that.

“First of all, the reduction of tension on the Korean peninsula will certainly promote peace and stability in East Asia.

“Second, with reunification, we will have a big market here and big business opportunities will emerge out of reunification.

“Thirdly, South Korea is very active in promoting peace and stability and prosperity in the world. Korea is a very good partner in our international relations. And we would like to see a very strong partner next to us, which has a very similar interest to us.”

Konstantin Vnukov, Russia Ambassador to South Korea

“The situation on the Korean peninsula directly affects the security of the Russian people who live very close on the neighboring Russian Far East as well as influences the large scale, rapid-development plans of my government for Siberia and the Russia Far East region.

“From this point of view, the establishment in future of a democratic, prosperous and friendly-towards-us united Korea fully reflects Russian political and economic interests.

“We are convinced that there is no alternative to political and diplomatic settlement of the situation. Moreover, the six-party talks from our point of view is the optimal mechanism for making necessary decisions on all the issues, including, of course, the main issue, which is the nuclear problem.

“Using our obvious advantages, in particular good relations with both Korean states … Russia is doing everything possible to normalize the situation on the peninsula.”

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #77 on: December 18, 2011, 10:03:16 PM »

This could get interesting , , , 
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« Reply #78 on: December 18, 2011, 10:12:08 PM »

This could get interesting , , , 

Ronery no more.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TEvacFETvM
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« Reply #79 on: December 18, 2011, 10:24:47 PM »

ROK on "emergency alert".
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« Reply #80 on: December 18, 2011, 10:40:15 PM »

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il on Aug. 24
STRATFOR Book
•   North Korea’s Nuclear Gambit: Understanding Pyongyang’s Survival Strategy
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died the morning of Dec. 17, according to an official North Korean News broadcast at noon Dec. 19. Initial reports say Kim died of a heart attack brought on by fatigue while on board a train. Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008, and his health has been in question since.
Kim’s death comes as North Korea was preparing for a live  leadership transition in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim’s father and North Korea’s founding leader, Kim Il Sung, a transition that had been intended to avoid the three years of internal chaos the younger Kim faced after his father’s death in 1994. Kim Jong Il had delayed choosing a successor from among his sons to avoid allowing any one to build up their own support base independent of their father. His expected successor, son Kim Jong Un, was only designated as the heir apparent in 2010 after widespread rumors in 2009 and thus has had little experience and training to run North Korea and little time to solidify his own support base within the various North Korean leadership elements. Now, it is likely that Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, will rule behind the scenes as Kim Jong Un trains on the job. Like the transition from Kim Il Sung to Kim Jong Il, it is likely that North Korea will focus internally over the next few years as the country’s elite adjust to a new balance of power. In any transition, there are those who will gain and those who are likely to be disenfranchised, and this competition can lead to internal conflicts.
The immediate question is the status of the North Korean military. Kim Jong Un is officially the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers Party of Korea and was recently made a four-star general, but he has no military experience. If the military remains committed to keeping the Kim family at the pinnacle of leadership, then things will likely hold, at least in the near term. There were no reports from South Korea that North Korea’s military had entered a state of heightened alert following Kim Jong Il’s death, suggesting that the military is on board with the transition for now. If that holds, the country likely will remain stable, if internally tense.
Kim’s death does not necessarily put an end to recently revived discussions with the United States and others over North Korea’s nuclear program. Pyongyang has increasingly felt pressured by its growing dependence on China, and these nuclear talks provide the potential to break away from that dependence in the long term.
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« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2011, 11:03:58 PM »

This could go under Glibness but are we not going to send the N. Korean people our condolences at their time of grieving?  Have we no manners or are we run by right wing zealots?  And what about adding a stop on the Presidential apology tour - I wonder what role our crippling sanctions played in his demise.
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« Reply #82 on: December 20, 2011, 05:32:41 AM »


Let the grave dancing begin!  grin
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« Reply #83 on: December 20, 2011, 07:23:10 AM »



Tiny carbon footprint!

Pyongyang is the only lighted area north of the border.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 07:24:45 AM by G M » Logged
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« Reply #84 on: December 20, 2011, 10:12:26 AM »

"North Korea now endorsed by Al Gore!"

Seems like a joke or an opposition gotcha, but yes in fact N.K. peasants are the closest model available to the lifestyle they think we should adopt.  Don't fly, don't drive, don't heat your home, don't cook your food, don't light your house after dark. 

We keep getting more efficient but we never break the correlation between prosperity and energy use.

The other perfect part about the so-called communist model is that the rulers are not subject to the same restrictions as the peasants.
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« Reply #85 on: December 22, 2011, 09:55:18 AM »

This could go under Glibness but are we not going to send the N. Korean people our condolences at their time of grieving?  Have we no manners or are we run by right wing zealots?  And what about adding a stop on the Presidential apology tour - I wonder what role our crippling sanctions played in his demise.

The administration caught reading the forum.  Right as we found out that Jimmy Carter's 'private' mission on behalf of Pres. Bill Clinton was not so private, the not so private citizen Jimmy Carter has extended our condolences not? on behalf of the Obama administration:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2011/dec/21/ex-president-carter-sends-condolences-kim-jong-un/

Former President Jimmy Carter has sent North Korea a message of condolence over the death of Kim Jong-il and wished "every success" to the man expected to take over as dictator, according to the communist country's state-run news agency.

A dispatch from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Mr. Carter sent the message to Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il's son and heir apparent.

"In the message Jimmy Carter extended condolences to Kim Jong Un and the Korean people over the demise of leader Kim Jong Il. He wished Kim Jong Un every success as he assumes his new responsibility of leadership, looking forward to another visit to [North Korea] in the future," the KCNA dispatch read.

When contacted by The Washington Times for comment, the Carter Center provided an email contact to a spokeswoman who is out of the office until the New Year.
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« Reply #86 on: December 26, 2011, 11:18:19 AM »

http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/12/21/was-kim-jong-il-murdered-in-power-struggle-with-north-koreas-military/

Was Kim Jong-il murdered in power struggle with North Korean military?

Peter Goodspeed Dec 21, 2011 – 6:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Dec 21, 2011 1:20 PM ET

 


REUTERS/Kyodo

Mourning period: North Koreans gather to make a call of condolence for deceased leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang Wednesday
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Suspicion of North Korea runs deep in South Korea, so it wasn’t a surprise that within hours of the announcement of Kim Jong-il’s death Monday, some South Korean newspapers were asking if the Dear Leader had been murdered.
 
While North Korea’s Central News Agency reported Monday that Mr. Kim died of a heart attack last Saturday on a train while heading to an unidentified destination, Seoul’s Korea Times newspaper ran a headline, “Suspicions arise over cause of death”.
 
According to the newspaper, North Korean defectors doubt Pyongyang’s state-controlled media reports of Mr. Kim’s death. They cautiously suggested the dictator may have been murdered.
 



Related

Mysterious uncle key to Kim Jong-un’s power in North Korea


Peter Goodspeed: Kim arrived on a rainbow, leaves behind starving country


Inside North Korea: Peter Goodspeed recalls the grey, empty streets of the Hermit Kingdom

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REUTERS/Yonhap

South Korean soldiers patrol along the military fence near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Yeoncheon, northeast of Seoul Wednesday
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A political scientist, An Chan-il, was quoted as saying Mr. Kim may have been killed by elements within the North Korean government who disagreed with his policies.
 
“After his third son Jung-un was named for a dynastic leadership succession, many military officers, especially those in their 50s, were dismissed,” Mr. An told the Korea Times. “I think these people could have held deep resentment about Kim and North Korea’s next leader.
 
“A rumor is circulating that earlier a high-ranking North Korean official was shot dead,” he said. “This has yet to be confirmed, but such talk is evidence that discontent was brewing among some people in the North.”
 
Mr. An speculated hardline elements in the military may have also resented recent policy changes introduced by Mr. Kim.
 
“As their vested interests were hurt due to Kim Jong-il, I would not rule out the possibility that some military officers, who believed their clout and influence had been damaged, could have played a role in his death,” he said.
 
The newspaper said Chun Yo-ok, a member of South Korea’s National Assembly from the ruling Grand National Party also raised the possibility Mr. Kim might have been killed as a result of a power struggle.
 
Several years ago, a Japanese professor wrote a book arguing that Kim Jong-il died in 2003 and had been represented by body doubles ever since.
 
The latest conspiracy theories gained life from the fact that just hours before officials announced Mr. Kim’s death, U.S. officials were leaking news that they had negotiated a breakthrough deal to have North Korea suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for a resumption of food aid from Washington.
 
Late Sunday, officials in Washington warned several news organizations that the White House was about to announce it would provide North Korea with 240,000 tons of high protein biscuits and vitamins over the next year.
 




KCNA/Reuters

Kim Jong-il (wearing sunglasses) and his son Kim Jong-un (in black suit second from left) pose in October 2010 with soldiers at an undisclosed location in North Korea.
..
The United States suspended food aid to North Korea in 2009 when Pyongyang resumed its nuclear weapons program and exploded a nuclear device. Talks to resume the aid, in exchange for North Korea’s return to Six Party Talks had dragged on for years as Pyongyang repeatedly placed demands on how any aid might be delivered.
 




KNS/AFP/Getty Images

Kim Jong-Il lies in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang Tuesday
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Washington insisted it should be allowed to monitor food distribution to ensure donations did not go to North Korea’s military.
 
Just before Kim Jong-il died, North Korea was said to have caved in and handed Washington a diplomatic coup by agreeing to accept U.S. aid and U.S. conditions.
 
U.S. officials said that within days of announcing the resumption of food deliveries, North Korea was going to announce a suspension of its uranium enrichment program and a return to the Six Party talks in Beijing.
 
Kim’s death has now delayed both countries’ announcements indefinitely.
 

More from the Post’s Peter Goodspeed
 
Kim Jong-un stepped forward to bow before his father’s flower-banked bier, there was a dark-suited man standing behind him, in a long line of uniformed generals, who stood out.
 
Jang Song-thaek, Mr. Kim’s 65-year-old uncle, may be the North Korean equivalent of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping — a career technocrat, who was mysteriously purged from power in 2004 only to return 18 months later to become the second-most powerful man in North Korea.
 
For months, Mr. Jang has been described by many analysts as the power behind the throne in North Korea and designated as a potential regent and political mentor for the young Mr. Kim.
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China knew early of Kim Jong-il’s death: reports
 
North Korea’s primary ally, learned on Saturday Mr. Kim had died that day, two days before Pyongyang’s official announcement, a leading South Korean newspaper reported Wednesday.
 
JoongAng Ilbo quoted an unidentified source in Beijing as saying the Chinese ambassador to North Korea had obtained intelligence of Kim’s death and reported it to the capital on Dec. 17, the day Kim died of an apparent heart attack while on a train.
 
“North Korean informed China of Kim’s death through diplomatic channels on the following day,” the source was quoted as saying.
 
South Korea’s foreign ministry told a press briefing on Tuesday that China did not know of the death in advance of North Korea’s official announcement.
 
“We heard several times that (China) did not find out (Kim’s death) beforehand,” said the ministry’s spokesman Cho Byung-jae.
 
Top South Korean intelligence and military officials have come under criticism for failing to learn of Kim’s death before the official announcement by Pyongyang.
 
When South Korean President Lee Myung-bak left on a state visit for Japan last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had been dead for about four hours, indicating that neither Seoul nor Tokyo — or Washington — had any inkling of his death.
 
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service chief Won Sei-hoon told lawmakers that China might have detected some signals earlier but he could not verify it, according to media reports.
 
China has given no official comment or even hints suggesting it was told of Kim’s death before the public announcement. But Beijing has in the past been give advance notice from North Korea of major events, diplomats have said. In 2006, North Korea told China 20 minutes or more beforehand that it would hold its first nuclear test blast, they said.
 
REUTERS
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« Reply #87 on: April 01, 2012, 07:41:52 AM »




By George Friedman

After U.S. President Barack Obama visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone on March 25 during his trip to South Korea for a nuclear security summit, he made the obligatory presidential remarks warning North Korea against continued provocations. He also praised the strength of U.S.-South Korean relations and commended the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed there. Obama's visit itself is of little importance, but it is an opportunity to ask just what Washington's strategy is in Korea and how the countries around North Korea (China, Russia, South Korea and Japan) view the region. As always, any understanding of current strategy requires a consideration of the history of that strategy.

The Korean War and the U.S. Proto-Strategy
Korea became a key part of U.S. Cold War-era containment strategy almost by accident. Washington, having deployed forces in China during World War II and thus aware of the demographic and geographic problems of operating on the Asian mainland, envisioned a maritime strategy based on the island chains running from the Aleutians to Java. The Americans would use the islands and the 7th Fleet to contain both the Soviets and the Chinese on the mainland.

Korea conceptually lay outside this framework. The peninsula was not regarded by the United States as central to its strategy even after the victory of the communists in the Chinese civil war. After World War II, the Korean Peninsula, which had been occupied by the Japanese since the early 1900s, was divided into two zones. The North came under the control of communists, the South under the control of a pro-American regime. Soviet troops withdrew from the North in 1948 and U.S. troops pulled out of the South the following year, despite some calls to keep them in place to dissuade communist aggression. The actual U.S. policy toward an invasion of the South by the North is still being debated, but a U.S. intervention on the Korean Peninsula clearly violated Washington's core strategic principle of avoiding mainland operations and maintaining a strategic naval blockade.

U.S. strategy changed in 1950, when the North Koreans invaded the South, sparking the Korean War. Pyongyang's motives remain unclear, as do the roles of Moscow and Beijing in the decision. Obviously, Pyongyang wanted to unite the peninsula under communist control, and obviously, it did not carry out its invasion against Chinese and Russian wishes, but it appears all involved estimated the operation was within the capabilities of the North Korean army. Had the North Korean military faced only South Korean forces, they would have been right. They clearly miscalculated the American intent to intervene, though it is not clear that even the Americans understood their intent prior to the intervention. However, once the North Koreans moved south, President Harry Truman decided to intervene. His reasoning had less to do with Korea than with the impact of a communist military success on coalition partners elsewhere. The U.S. global strategy depended on Washington's ability to convince its partners that it would come to their aid if they were invaded. Strategic considerations aside, not intervening would have created a crisis of confidence, or so was the concern. Therefore, the United States intervened.

After serious difficulties, the United States managed to push the North Korean forces back into the North and pursue them almost to the Yalu River, which divides Korea and China. This forced a strategic decision on China. The Chinese were unclear on the American intent but did not underestimate American power. North Korea had represented a buffer between U.S. allies and northeastern China (and a similar buffer for the Soviets to protect their maritime territories). The Chinese intervened in the war, pushing the Americans back from the Yalu and suffering huge casualties in the process. The Americans regrouped, pushed back and a stalemate was achieved roughly along the former border and the current Demilitarized Zone. The truce was negotiated and the United States left forces in Korea, the successors of which President Obama addressed during his visit.

North Korea: The Weak, Fearsome Lunatic
The great mystery of the post-Cold War world is the survival of the North Korean regime. With a dynamic South, a non-Communist Russia and a China committed to good economic relations with the West, it would appear that the North Korean regime would have found it difficult to survive. This was compounded by severe economic problems (precipitated by the withdrawal of economic support from the Chinese and the Russians) and reported famines in the 1990s. But survive it did, and that survival is rooted in the geopolitics of the Cold War.

From the Chinese point of view, North Korea served the same function in the 1990s as it did in 1950: It was a buffer zone between the now economically powerful South Koreans (and the U.S. military) and Manchuria. The Russians were, as during the Korean War, interested in but not obsessed by the Korean situation, the more so as Russia shifted most of its attention west. The United States was concerned that a collapse in North Korea would trigger tensions with the Chinese and undermine the stability of its ally, South Korea. And the South Koreans were hesitant to undertake any actions that might trigger a response from North Korean artillery within range of Seoul, where a large portion of South Korea's population, government, industry and financial interests reside. In addition, they were concerned that a collapsing North would create a massive economic crisis in the South, having watched the difficulties of German integration and recognizing the even wider economic and social gap between the two Koreas.

In a real sense, no one outside of North Korea was interested in changing the borders of the peninsula. The same calculations that had created the division in the first place and maintained it during and after the Korean War remained intact. Everyone either had a reason to want to maintain an independent North Korea (even with a communist regime) or was not eager to risk a change in the status quo.

The most difficult question to answer is not how the United States viewed the potential destabilization of North Korea but rather its willingness to maintain a significant troop level in South Korea. The reason for intervening in the first place was murky. The U.S. military presence between 1953 and 1991 was intended to maintain the status quo during the Cold War. The willingness to remain beyond that is more complex.

Part of it simply had to do with inertia. Just as U.S. troops remain in Germany a generation after the end of the Cold War, it was easier not to reconsider U.S. strategy in Korea than to endure the internal stress of reconsidering it. Obviously, the United States did not want tensions between South Korea and North Korea, or to have the North Koreans misunderstand a withdrawal as an invitation to try another military move on the South, however unlikely. The Japanese saw Korean unification as problematic to their interests, since it could create a nearby industrial economic power of more than 70 million people and rekindle old rivalries. And North Korea, it would seem, actually welcomes the American presence, believing it limits South Korean adventurism. Between inertia and what we will call a proto-strategy, the United States remains.

With the loss of its Cold War patrons and the changing dynamic of the post-Cold War world, the North Koreans developed a survival strategy that Stratfor identified in the 1990s. The Koreans' intention was to appear -- simultaneously -- weak, fearsome and crazy. This was not an easy strategy to carry out, but they have carried it out well. First, they made certain that they were perceived to be always on the verge of internal collapse and thus not a direct threat to anyone but themselves. They went out of their way to emphasize their economic problems, particularly the famines in the 1990s. They wanted no one to think they were intent on being an aggressor unless provoked severely.

Second, they wanted to appear to be fearsome. This would at first blush seem to contradict the impression of weakness, but they managed it brilliantly by perpetually reminding the world that they were close to developing nuclear weapons and longer-range missiles. Recognizing that the Americans and Japanese had a reflexive obsession with nuclear weapons, Pyongyang constantly made it appear that they were capable of developing nuclear weapons but were not yet there. Not being there yet meant that no one had to do something about the weapons. Being close to developing them meant that it was dangerous to provoke them. Even North Korea's two nuclear tests have, intentionally or incidentally, appeared sub-par, leaving its neighbors able to doubt the technological prowess of the "Hermit Kingdom."

The final piece was to appear crazy, or crazy enough that when pressed, they would choose the suicide option of striking with a nuclear weapon, if they had one. This was critical because a rational actor possessing one or a few weapons would not think of striking its neighbors, since the U.S. counterstrike would annihilate the North Korean regime. The threat wouldn't work if North Korea was considered rational, but, if it was irrational, the North Korean deterrence strategy could work. It would force everyone to be ultra-cautious in dealing with North Korea, lest North Korea do something quite mad. South Korean and U.S. propaganda did more for North Korea's image of unpredictability than the North could have hoped.

North Korea, then, has spent more than two decades cultivating the image to the outside world of a nation on the verge of internal economic collapse (even while internally emphasizing its strength in the face of external threats). At the same time, the country has appeared to be on the verge of being a nuclear power -- one ruled by potential lunatics. The net result was that the major powers, particularly South Korea, the United States and Japan, went out of their way to avoid provoking the North. In addition, these three powers were prepared to bribe North Korea to stop undertaking nuclear and missile development. Several times, they bribed the North with money or food to stop building weapons, and each time the North took the money and then resumed their program, quite ostentatiously, so as to cause maximum notice and restore the vision of the weak, fearsome lunatic.

The North was so good at playing this game that it maneuvered itself into a position in which it sat as an equal with the United States, Japan, Russia, China and South Korea -- and it would frequently refuse to attend the six-party talks. The ability to maneuver itself into a position equal to these powers was North Korea's greatest achievement, and it had a tremendous effect on stabilizing the regime by reinforcing its legitimacy internally and its power externally. Underneath this was the fact that no one was all that eager to see North Korea collapse, particularly since it was crazy and might have nuclear weapons. North Korea created a superb strategy for regime preservation in a very hostile region -- or one that appeared hostile to the North Koreans.

Crucially for Pyongyang, North Korea was of tremendous use to one power: China. Even more than North Korea's role as a buffer state, its antics allowed China to emerge as mediator between the inscrutable Pyongyang and the frustrated United States. As China's economy grew, its political and military interests and reach expanded, leading to numerous tensions with the United States. But Beijing recognized that North Korea was a particular obsession of the United States because of its potential nuclear weapons and American sensitivity to weapons of mass destruction. Whenever North Korea did something outrageous, the United States would turn to China to address the problem. Having solved it, it was then inappropriate for Washington to press China on any other issue, at least for a while. Therefore, North Korea was a superb mechanism for the Chinese to deflect U.S. pressure on other issues.

For all of their occasional provocations, the North Koreans have been careful never to cross a line with conventional or nuclear power to compel a response from the South or the United States. Their ability to calibrate their provocations has been striking, even as their actions have escalated through nuclear tests to military action against South Korean ships and islands in the West Sea. Also striking is the manner in which those provocations have increased China's leverage with the United States.

The Difficulty of Extrication
At this point, it would be difficult for the United States to withdraw from South Korea. The North Korean nuclear threat fixes the situation in place, even for troops that aren't relevant to that threat. The troops could be withdrawn, but they won't be because the inertia of the situation makes it easier to leave them there than withdraw. As for the South Koreans, they simultaneously dislike the American presence and want it there, since it ensures U.S. military involvement in any crisis.

While the U.S. troop presence in Korea may not make the most sense in a global U.S. military strategy, it ironically seems to fit, at least for now, the interests of the Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese, and even in some sense the North Koreans. The United States, as the global power, therefore is locked into a deployment that does not match the regional requirements, requires endless explanation and is the source of frequent political complications. What we are left with is a U.S. strategy not based necessarily on the current situation but one tied to a historical legacy, left in place by inertia and held in place by the North Korean nuclear "threat."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Read more: The United States in Korea: A Strategy of Inertia | Stratfor
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #88 on: April 09, 2012, 05:15:49 PM »

Looks like we are going to do nothing to stop the Norks from testing what appears to be an ICBM , , ,
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« Reply #89 on: April 09, 2012, 05:36:52 PM »

Looks like we are going to do nothing to stop the Norks from testing what appears to be an ICBM , , ,

It's ok, Obama has a gift.....
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« Reply #90 on: April 10, 2012, 09:18:01 AM »

Looks like we are going to do nothing to stop the Norks from testing what appears to be an ICBM , , ,

And what do you suggest we do?   huh

I'm sure Romney would solve the problem.   rolleyes
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« Reply #91 on: April 10, 2012, 09:50:05 AM »

Looks like we are going to do nothing to stop the Norks from testing what appears to be an ICBM , , ,

And what do you suggest we do?   huh

I'm sure Romney would solve the problem.   rolleyes

Perhaps having a president that doesn't bow and grovel would help?

No worries, Japan has been nuked before. They'll get over it.
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« Reply #92 on: April 10, 2012, 11:28:36 AM »

Japan has made noise about shooting it down should it go over Japan.  At the very least we should issue a statement in support, but we don't do even that.  That said the correct answer is that WE should shoot it down.

THANK GOD, and President Reagan, we have something of a Star Wars capability!

To let the NORK whackos develop the capabiity to reach the US with a nuclear missile is stupid, naive, and profoundly weak.   Of such weakness, terrible things arisse.
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« Reply #93 on: May 02, 2012, 10:53:34 AM »

I enjoyed this opinion piece by former NY Times Editor Bill Keller.  I like things that indicate the end of something unimaginably evil is either possible or inevitable, like the PRC and the DPRK.  He is saying we should be preparing now for the aftermath of the regime.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/opinion/keller-the-day-after.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2    Excerpt:

"The big question we should be asking is: What about the Day After? If the regime’s days are numbered, the end is likely to be messier than anything we’ve seen in the Arab Spring. Why aren’t we sitting down with the Chinese, South Koreans, Japanese and Russians and making a plan to prevent nuclear material from being sold to the Russian mafia or the Chinese triads; to keep some panicky general from incinerating Seoul (minutes away as the artillery shell flies); to dissuade China or Russia from sending in troops to take advantage; to prevent Nuremberg-minded prison commandants from bulldozing the evidence into mass graves; to fend off an even more monumental human calamity than the famine of the mid-90s? Then, how do we reunify Korea without bankrupting the South? "
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bigdog
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« Reply #94 on: May 02, 2012, 12:45:58 PM »

An extremely thoughtful piece, Doug.  Thank you for bringing it to my attention.  I also think the "day after" discussion is key.  A mini-Marshall plan (for lack of a better term) is probably needed, not to mention the discussion about nukes brought by the author (and the need to educate an entire people about liberty, free thought, agriculture, technology and gods only know what else).
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #95 on: May 02, 2012, 01:07:46 PM »

Ditto.
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« Reply #96 on: July 10, 2012, 12:29:25 PM »

Kim Jong Un and a mystery woman clap as they watch a performance by North Korea's new Moranbong band, July 6, 2012. …
Who is she?
That's what people around the world want to know about a mysterious young woman who appeared with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a pair of events over the weekend.
The woman first appeared with Kim on North Korean state television on Sunday at a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of his grandfather and North Korea founder Kim Il Sung's death. She is believed to be the same woman shown in a photograph released by the Korea News Service on Monday showing Kim and others clapping during a July 6 performance by new Moranbong band in Pyongyang. (The unusual performance included appearances by Disney characters—including Mickie Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Winnie the Pooh—not often seen in North Korea, which traditionally shuns entertainment of the West.)
The mystery woman sparked a crush of media coverage in South Korea, where some speculate that she could be Kim's younger sister or wife. No official details about her identity have been released.
According to London's Telegraph, "South Korean intelligence sources" say the woman is Hyon Song Wol, a singer "who used to front the Bochonbo Electronic Music Band" and "responsible for a string of hits that included 'Footsteps of Soldiers,' 'I Love Pyongyang,' 'She is a Discharged Soldier' and 'We are Troops of the Party.'"
Her popularity "peaked in 2005 with the song 'Excellent Horse-Like Lady,'" the Telegraph said, adding:
Hyon subsequently disappeared from public view at the time that Kim emerged as the heir-apparent to his father, Kim Jong Il.
There are reports that 28-year-old Kim Jong Un was ordered to break off his relationship with Hyon by his father and that she later married an officer in the North Korean army with whom she has a baby.
The North Korean government is notoriously secretive when it comes to its leaders. It took more than a day to announce the death of Kim Jong Il in December. And as the Associated Press points out, little personal information is known about Kim himself, though he is thought to be in his late 20s. Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was born in 1987, the AP said.
 
 
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bigdog
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« Reply #97 on: July 30, 2012, 06:15:55 AM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/07/26/north_korea_s_extreme_makeover
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #98 on: October 12, 2012, 07:51:21 PM »

http://blog.skepticaldoctor.com/2010...erpt-1991.aspx

I went several times during the festival to Pyongyang Department Store Number 1. This is in the very centre of the city. Its shelves and counters were groaning with locally produced goods, piled into impressive pyramids or in fan-like displays, perfectly arranged, throughout the several floors of the building. On the ground floor was a wide variety of tinned foods, hardware and alcoholic drinks, including a strong Korean liqueur with a whole snake pickled or marinated in the bottle, presumably as an aphrodisiac. Everything glittered with perfection, the tidiness was remarkable.

It didn't take long to discover that this was no ordinary department store. It was filled with thousands of people, going up and down the escalators, standing at the corners, going in and out of the front entrance in a constant stream both ways - yet nothing was being bought or sold. I checked this by standing at the entrance for half an hour. The people coming out were carrying no more than the people entering. Their shopping bags contained as much, or as little, when they left as when they entered. In some cases, I recognised people coming out as those who had gone in a few minutes before, only to see them re-entering the store almost immediately. And I watched a hardware counter for fifteen minutes. There were perhaps twenty people standing at it; there were two assistants behind the counter, but they paid no attention to the 'customers'. The latter and the assistants stared past each other in a straight line, neither moving nor speaking.

Eventually, they grew uncomfortably aware that they were under my observation. They began to shuffle their feet and wriggle, as if my regard pinned them like live insects to a board. The assistants too became restless and began to wonder what to do in these unforeseen circumstances. They decided that there was nothing for it but to distribute something under the eyes of this inquisitive foreigner. And so, all of a sudden, they started to hand out plastic wash bowls to the twenty 'customers', who took them (without any pretence of payment). Was it their good luck, then? Had they received something for nothing? No, their problems had just begun. What were they to do with their plastic wash bowls? (All of them were brown incidentally, for the assistants did not have sufficient initiative to distribute a variety of goods to give verisimilitude to the performance, not even to the extent of giving out differently coloured bowls.)

............(more in between)

I also followed a few people around at random, as discreetly as I could. Some were occupied in ceaselessly going up and down the escalators; others wandered from counter to counter, spending a few minutes at each before moving on. They did not inspect the merchandise; they moved as listlessly as illiterates might, condemned to spend the day among the shelves of a library. I did not know whether to laugh or explode with anger or weep. But I knew I was seeing one of the most extraordinary sights of the twentieth century.

I decided to buy something - a fountain pen. I went to the counter where pens were displayed like the fan of a peacock's tail. They were no more for sale than the Eiffel Tower. As I handed over my money, a crowd gathered round, for once showing signs of animation. I knew, of course, that I could not be refused: if I were, the game would be given away completely. And so the crowd watched goggle-eyed and disbelieving as this astonishing transaction took place: I gave the assistant a piece of paper and she gave me a pen.

....rest at the link:

http://blog.skepticaldoctor.com/2010...erpt-1991.aspx
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« Reply #99 on: October 29, 2012, 08:07:47 AM »

North Korea's Destiny
 

October 23, 2012 | 0902 GMT


Stratfor
 
By Robert D. Kaplan and Rodger Baker
 
As we have pointed out previously, in the principal divided-country scenarios of the second half of the 20th century -- North and South Vietnam, East and West Germany, North and South Yemen -- reunification was thought of for decades as only a remote possibility, before it suddenly occurred in a tumultuous, fast-moving fashion, in a way few of the experts had predicted, making a mockery of so many policy papers written on the subject. The current division of the Korean Peninsula should be seen in this light. Not only is the collapse of the regime in the northern half of the peninsula possible, but if and when it does occur, the process might be quicker than many suspect.
 
In a century of seamless digital communications that are remaking world politics, the survival of such a hermetic regime as North Korea, built on information control, certainly appears problematic. Behind the weird artificiality of the regime itself lies something quite ancient: The very concept of a leader in his mid- or late-20s, with no experience, made a four-star general and hailed as the "brilliant comrade" harks back to bizarre descriptions of ceremonial politics associated with the deep past. How much longer can such a situation go on?
 
To gauge the expiration date of the regime, it helps to describe its various stages of life, which one can divide into three generations of leadership. The first generation was the authentic revolutionaries and fighters: those of the anti-Japanese guerrilla struggle during World War II and of the struggle against American-supported South Korea during the Korean War. North Korea's ruler for the first half-century of its existence, Kim Il Sung, was the towering rock of this generation. This generation had immense stores of credibility encapsulated in Kim Il Sung's very charisma, comparable to that enjoyed by the Yugoslav and Albanian World War II communist guerrilla leaders and Cold War-era strongmen, Josip Broz Tito and Enver Hoxha, who did not rely on the Soviet Red Army for their countries' liberation from Nazi rule.
 
The second generation was the sons and daughters of those hardened fighters. This was a generation of privilege, of those who had accomplished nothing on their own, and thus had no inherent credibility. What's more, they had little intellectually to offer their countrymen, educated as they were in the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong's China and Communist Eastern Europe. And so the members of this generation harbored little or no real-world knowledge. This generation was represented by Kim Il Sung's son, Kim Jong Il, who simply had no ability to foster change. The relative prosperity of the elder Kim's North Korea -- in the late 1950s it actually was richer than South Korea -- further undermined this younger generation, which governed at a time of extreme poverty and occasional famine and thus had little to rely on but repression in order to stay in power.
 
The third generation, typified by the current ruler, Kim Jong Un, has possibilities, however. This generation, brought up after the collapse of communism as a world movement and geopolitical force, was sent to study in places like the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland and thus has gained more exposure to the West, however limited and pampered their individual experiences abroad might have been. Moreover, this third generation is not necessarily tied to the second generation's grim militarism -- to wit, the North Korean submarine infiltrations of South Korea and Japan during the 1980s. As for the North's sinking of the South Korean corvette in 2010, that was not something that a 20-something-year-old like Kim Jong Un decided upon on his own; such a decision was made by members of the second generation in order to ensure their own survival and that of the new third generation in power. Members of this third generation, which is only now starting to fill leadership positions in the bureaucracy, might -- because of their Western exposure and their own relative lack of political baggage -- actually be the ones to sell the country out by becoming power brokers in their own right for the economic exploitation of the country.
 
Much of North Korea's natural resources, such as coal, oil, lead and tungsten, lie in the northern two-fifths of the country, where much of the factories and population are also located -- in other words, close to China. China has detailed knowledge of North Korean companies -- something that the West totally lacks. Thus, a third generation sellout of its own country could take the form of an enhanced economic opening to China -- a quasi-liberalization of sorts, which would move North Korea away from Stalinism toward being a reform-Communist buffer state between China and South Korea, modeled in Beijing's own image. Of course, this implies a gradual change played out over years in order to stave off regime collapse, with the third generation all the while getting rich by off-loading the assets of the state to China and maybe some other countries.
 
But what if this process fails? What if a sell-off of state assets leads to economic changes that trigger political ones? Remember, the more oppressive and artificial a regime is, the more sudden can be its implosion. It may be that North Korea's eventual transition to a more normal state simply cannot be managed from the top.
 
If that is the case, then the next question is: How does one define collapse? The loss of central authority in the capital of Pyongyang, while fast-moving in a historical sense, might nevertheless play out over weeks rather than days. So at what point does China move forces across the Yalu and Tumen rivers to prevent a massive flight of refugees northward? At what point does the South Korean military act? Because North Korea is a heavily militarized state, the direction in which its commanders decide to defect -- to Beijing or to Seoul -- will be critical.
 
As we have previously written, there is, concomitantly, the strong likelihood of the mother of all humanitarian interventions in the event of a regime collapse. This is a country of 24.3 million people, many of whom subsist in utter poverty on the brink of starvation, and the responsibility for their welfare presently rests with the regime in Pyongyang. But if central authority disintegrates, the population will instantly become the responsibility of the so-called international community, which in this case means the militaries of the United States, South Korea and China.
 
In a fast-moving crisis, regional power balances for years and decades to come can be decided upon by crucial decisions made over hours or days. Such decisions may determine whether regime collapse leads to a veritable Beijing-run protectorate in the northern half of the peninsula or the eventual unification of the two Koreas. A reunified Greater Korea would perforce be run from Seoul, as South Korea's population of 48.5 million is twice the size of North Korea's, and its economy by some estimates is 37 times as large. And remember, Beijing is Seoul's largest trading partner. That means that even in the case of a Communist collapse in the North, China's very economic heft and geographical proximity will allow it to find a way to take advantage of any new political reality. Conversely, Japan, particularly because of the bad memories associated with the 1910-1945 occupation, may find it hard to have as close relations with a new Korean super-state as China.
 
Nevertheless, a unified Korea would be very nervous about ending up overly dependent upon China, given its size, proximity and history of periodic domination over the peninsula. It is likely that a Greater Korean state would, with the help of the United States and maybe Russia, seek to balance China and Japan against each other.
 
The key realization is that Asian geopolitics may in future years shift enormously, depending on the internal dynamics of one backbreakingly poor and diplomatically isolated state.
.

Read more: North Korea's Destiny | Stratfor
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