Monday, June 12, 2006

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The tragicomedy of North Korea

In the Financial Times, Demetri Sevastopulo, Stephen Fidler and Anna Fifield report that Kim Jong Il would like the United States to pay more attention to North Korea now, please:

North Korea is preparing for a possible test of an intercontinental ballistic missile with the potential to hit the US, according to Washington officials.

A senior official said there were “enough indications” to suggest that Pyongyang was getting ready to fire a Taepodong-2 missile from a launch pad in eastern North Korea. It would be the Stalinist state’s first test of a longer-range missile since 1998 when Pyongyang generated an international crisis by unexpectedly firing an intermediate-range Taepodong-1 over Japan....

Pyongyang – which is keenly aware that the US can monitor its preparations by satellite – could be bluffing. Kim Jong-Il, the North Korean leader, has a history of performing eye-catching stunts when he feels he is being ignored, which has happened recently as Washington focuses on resolving nuclear tensions with Iran. Another US official said he might be “playing games” to get attention.

The title of this post aside, there's actually nothing funny about this... unless your mind wanders involuntarily to certain movie musicals.

Team America references aside, the most obvious indication that this is serious is that the South Koreans are not downplaying it:

Ban Ki-moon, South Korea’s foreign minister, last week said the preparations were of “great concern” – comments that underscored South Korean anxiety given that Seoul has traditionally played down the chances of any inflammatory actions by the North. The official said the US wanted to avoid creating a crisis because “ that is what North Korea wants”.

posted by Dan on 06.12.06 at 08:12 AM


Are you kidding? Kim Jung Il can't live without his imported Japanese fish, his porn, and his ho's. This guy is not going to do anything.

This is a Cold War situation. Kim Jung Il is not Osama Bin Laden. We need to just wait it out and eventually the regime will collapse. And we need to not be stupid enough to go in there and try to clean it up, because that country is a mess. Let the South Koreans try to rehabilitate that failed-state wants it collapses.

posted by: Patrick on 06.12.06 at 08:12 AM [permalink]

It's bitterly ironic that in addition to suffering the threats of the North, we get to suffer the appeasement of the South. From the Guardian:

South give broadcasting assistance to North Korea

It would be nice if our allies would let the North suffer without soccer for a few weeks, at least until after the missile tests were over.

posted by: mckreck on 06.12.06 at 08:12 AM [permalink]

I would suggest the US test its' missile interceptors on it, but it would be too embarrassing to miss.

posted by: Lord on 06.12.06 at 08:12 AM [permalink]

now would be an excellent time to announce that due to south korean protests, we are removing the us military from south korea.

posted by: secret asian man on 06.12.06 at 08:12 AM [permalink]

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