25
   

North Korea: What to do?

 
 
FBM
 
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 06:10 am
I've been in S. Korea since 1996. Three months after I landed, this happened: http://www.fas.org/news/un/dprk/sc6279.htm

Sweet introduction to Korea, eh? Earlier today:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11818005

What's next, I wonder? There's no way that the NK regime can reuinify peacefully, as it would expose the decades of absurd propaganda and other atrocities committed by Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. They've already set off a couple of underground nukes, and now they're advertising their nuclear program. There's suspicion that KJI isn't in complete control of the ultra-conservative military leadership, and it looks like his apparent successor, his third son, is pretty much a chip off the ol' blockhead. The situation is definitely pushing towards some sort of resolution, but none of the most likely outcomes are very happy ones. What do to? Nothing? Business as usual?

(I imagine that I'm the only A2K member in SK, so I won't be surprised if nobody else gives a **** one way or the other.)
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 25 • Views: 24,974 • Replies: 554

 
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 06:14 am
@FBM,
watching. Please report on this for us.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 06:59 am
@FBM,
Definitely give a ****, and worried. (But not sure what the best course of action is.) I'm doubly interested that you're actually there, and like rjb will be reading any continuing observations of yours with interest.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:06 am
@FBM,
Clearly your perspective is closer than mine. My take is that reunification is not possible not because of the propaganda, but because those in power in NK have no intention of giving up power. I don't see it moving towards a resolution, I see it existing position setting into concrete. You can't reunify by force, but you can't reunify peacefully, so no resolution. If you ignore NK, they will do something provocative, but there is no real reason to discuss anything with them since they have no interest in responding to international concerns and nothing of value to contribute to the international community, so in the end there is polite engagement. That's frustrating but probably going to be the status quo for the next couple of decades.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:08 am
The US will probably look to China to get its own bad boy under control.
China has the most influence on North Korea than anyone.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:15 am
Thanks, guys. I'm actually surprised that anybody's interested. I'm immersed in it, so I don't know how it looks on the world stage. I know it's briefly the leading story on BBC and CNN websites, but not sure how much that means to real peeps.

Anyway, the local news has reported the names of the dead and injured and are speculating on what the next move should be. I don't expect immediate, direct military retaliation. More like a report to the UN Security Council and a resolution condemning the act and maybe instituting economic sanctions, read: business as usual.

That said, the sinking of the Cheonan military ship in March followed by something of this magnitude does present a clear escalation. The timing is in line with the apparent imminent succession of KJI's third son, and more immediately, this:
http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2010/11/23/2010112300510.html

This could be a reply to the South's published considerations about re-deploying US nukes. I think the current wargames in the Yellow Sea are just a convenient excuse. They're an annual event and haven't elicited this kind of response in the past.
eurocelticyankee
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:20 am
Quote:
SHAREPRINTEMAILTEXT SIZE NORMALLARGEEXTRA LARGE
Smoke rises from South Korean Yeonpyeong Island after it was hit by dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea. Photo: Reuters

By Peter Foster
Tuesday November 23 2010
North Korea has bombarded a South Korean island with artillery shells, injuring civilians and soldiers and setting more than 60 properties ablaze.

The attack, which comes days after it emerged that North Korea was pressing ahead with its illegal nuclear programme, marks a serious further escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsular.

South Korea officials said dozens of rounds had landed on Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea, 50 miles off the South√Ęs northwest coast in an area close a disputed sea border. Other reports suggested as many as 200 shells were fired.

As South Korean forces returned fire, Civilians were evacuated to emergency bunkers, according witnesses quoted by the Seoul-based cable news television channel YTN. Fighter jets were scrambled and an emergency cabinet meeting was called in Seoul.

Pictures from the TV channel showed at least four plumes of smoke rising from the island which is the largest in a clutch of smaller islands, with a population of less than 2,000 people.

A South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff official, quoted anonymously by the Associated Press, said dozens of rounds of artillery landed on Yeonpyeong island and confirmed that South Korea had returned fire.

The islands were the scene of two skirmishes between the navies of North and South Korea in 1999 and 2002.

The attack comes after nearly two years of deteriorating relations between the two Koreas, which reached a nadir last March after the sinking of a South Korean corvette, the Cheonan, with the loss of 46 lives.

South Korea has since cut off almost all humanitarian aid to the North, a near bankrupt-state that has been under tight international sanctions since conducting a second nuclear bomb test in 2009 in defiance of UN agreements.

The North has also been facing a degree of political turmoil this year as their ailing leader Kim Jong-il prepares the ground for a dynastic succession that will see power being handed to his youngest son, Kim Jong-un.

- Peter Foster


Damn right.
This is one we should take very seriously .
eurocelticyankee
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:21 am
@eurocelticyankee,
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:32 am
More pics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11818450
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 09:46 am
My brother lives in South Korea so I'm most certainly concerned.
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 10:02 am
I listen to a number of BBC radio programs. This morning there has been a lot about NK and SK. A lot of it, though, has been from "talking heads" brought in quickly to provide background material. That is good since it serves to bring those of us who don't follow the region closely up to speed.
The BBC website has a lot of tweets and comments that I am finding useful.
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 11:56 am
Correct me if I am wrong about any of this, FBM. Thanks.
The President of SK for the past 2 years is Lee Myung-bak. He is regarded as being somewhat more conservative that his predecessors; less open to dialogue with NK and more willing to go the economic sanctions route. Is that accurate?
It seems to me that Kim Jong-Il (the father) needs to legitimize his heir, Kim Jong-Un (the son) with the people of NK but especially with the military.
In addition, the economy of NK is in desperate shape and this type of event is designed to distract the civilian population and, perhaps, get them to rally around the flag.
The snippets of reports of the mood in SK I have seen are conflicting. Some seem to suggest that things are very tense while others imply that it is pretty much business as usual.
Many of us on A2K appreciate your sharing of observations from SK.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 01:04 pm
@FBM,
Watching closely and concerned, as well.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 01:05 pm
Quote:
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who convened an emergency security meeting shortly after the initial bombardment, said that an "indiscriminate attack on civilians can never be tolerated."

"Enormous retaliation should be made to the extent that (North Korea) cannot make provocations again," he said.

The United States, which has 28,000 troops in South Korea, condemned the attack, but said it was too soon to discuss ways the U.S. military might deter the reclusive communist state from another strike. Source
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 03:30 pm
@FBM,
I think you've hit the nail on the head with connecting this incident to the internal politics of North Korea's leadership succession, but would only be guessing about just how it is connected.

One can assume though that either the forces of Il's son and heir or their opposition believes their interests to be enhanced by a heightened state of possible war.

Military threats and acts of aggression are the only "diplomatic" coin the North Koreans have to play with though, and in the past, demands have followed such words and actions. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the near term, there is an attempt by NK to secure food and/or fuel from the international community, and the US in particular.

I wouldn't assume that China is fully aware of, and in tacit agreement with, what it going on over there, or that they only need to snap on NK's leash to make it stop.

I have to wonder how much South Korea will take, or what the US will allow before it feels compelled to somehow directly intervene. What, of sufficent significance, can be done militarily that will not result in NK using a nuke on South Korea?

The magnitude of the possible ramifications of this incident should provide us with all the evidence we need to do what it takes to keep nukes from Iran.



0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 10:08 pm
@realjohnboy,
You're pretty much on target, rjb. Prez Lee is a very hawkish conservative. Among his first acts as prez was to put a swift end to the Sunshine Policy and stifle cross-border trade and aid. His popularity plummeted immediately after he took office, but it's on the rise again recently.

It's also true that this incident is related to the succession issue, but as mentioned above, who can say exactly how? It may be a number of factors, and that's assuming that Pyongyang was actually in control of the incident. The escalation in tensions over the past couple of years is definitely a response to Prez Lee's ascension to the Blue House (Korean version of the White House) and his subsequent statements and policies. NK would love to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, but they're doing a pretty poor job of it, eh?

China has significant influence on NK, but not enough to shape or re-shape policies such as this. It's in China's best interest to keep the NK regime afloat in order to keep their buffer zone against the US forces in SK.

Honestly? I've been here since 1996 and I'm just about to the point that I'd just as soon they go ahead and get it over with. I know that's not likely to be a popular opinion with a lot of folks, tho. The people around me are definitely concerned. They're talking about this more than any other incident in recent memory. On the other hand, they say there's nothing they can do about it, so they do just go about their daily lives and try to maintain business as usual. They grew up in this environment. This is old hat for them.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2010 12:06 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

It may be a number of factors, and that's assuming that Pyongyang was actually in control of the incident.


You consider the possibility that Pyongyang might not be in control? I don't even have a clue whether that might be reassuring or scary.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2010 04:59 am
@roger,
roger wrote:

FBM wrote:

It may be a number of factors, and that's assuming that Pyongyang was actually in control of the incident.


You consider the possibility that Pyongyang might not be in control? I don't even have a clue whether that might be reassuring or scary.


Scary. One of the worst-case scenarios. Hwang Jang-yop, who died recently, was an old guy who defected several years ago. He was the highest-ranking defector ever, very near the top, and was the architect of the NK 'juche' (self-reliance) policy decades ago under the elder Kim. Anyway, he said that KJI has opposition in the military leadership and that those military leaders are actually convinced that they could re-take the South by force. And they're eager to do so. According to Hwang, KJI is constantly struggling to appease their bloodlust, and he's deathly afraid of showing any weakness or hesitancy about the military option. Whenever there is a military provocation by the North, the South first tries to ascertain whether or not it was ordered by Pyongyang. At least that's the story around here. Who knows what the truth is? Since I read 1984, I take everything I hear with a grain of salt.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2010 07:24 am
Fine. Turn up the heat. Screw 'em.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2010 07:30 am
If I was in charge of the North Korean Military and I had to invade the South, I wouldnt chose the same route as last time. I would nuke Seoul and cause refugees to flood south on the west side. I would then drive straight down the middle, putting pressure on the refugees in the west and head for the Korean Straight closest to Japan. Just a little more political pressure that way.

I think the North is convinced the South and its allies are too frightened of casualties and nuclear war to respond effectively.

The Korean War did scare the west and dictated the policy of the Vietnam War to avoid another asian war with China....something Kisinger was later told China never considered it to save Vietnam. They were prepared to let it go rather than fight the west's firepower superiority again. Times have changed. Would they now stick up for the North if they were the aggressor ? I think not.

We should also remember not all the military would approve of such a plan, and there might be serious dissension that handicaps the North.

Whatever happens, a one million men army is to be taken very seriously.
 

Related Topics

Obama '08? - Discussion by sozobe
Let's get rid of the Electoral College - Discussion by Robert Gentel
McCain's VP: - Discussion by Cycloptichorn
McCain is blowing his election chances. - Discussion by McGentrix
Food Stamp Turkeys - Discussion by H2O MAN
The 2008 Democrat Convention - Discussion by Lash
Snowdon is a dummy - Discussion by cicerone imposter
GAFFNEY: Whose side is Obama on? - Discussion by gungasnake
 
  1. Forums
  2. » North Korea: What to do?
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 08/25/2019 at 06:14:16