September 29, 2003


NORTH KOREA: ON THE BORDERLINE: Part 1: Soldiers head for the frontier (Alan Fung. 9/30/03, Asia Times)

Recently, reports have been surfacing about extraordinary movements along the border between China and North Korea. On September 14, Hong Kong's Sing Tao Daily carried a report that up to 150,000 People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops had been deployed on the border, replacing local armed police. On September 15 Kong Quan, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, released a statement that the PLA troops were taking on responsibility for defense of the border as a normal adjustment that was part of China's efforts to unify border control. At the same time, Ta Kung Pao newspaper, the mainland's mouthpiece in Hong Kong, carried a series of reports that there was no large-scale deployment along the border. Its journalists had paid visits to various towns along border and found no illicit crossings of the border. Everything, it reported, seemed to be normal along the border. What is really happening along the Sino-North Korean border? Asia Times Online has dispatched correspondents to the scene to dig out the truth, and this is the first of a series of their reports.

Remember that old saying: when totalitarian dictatorships have a fall out we all win.

Funny, isn't it, how W's stupid approch to N. Korea has now been adopted by all the other players, No more pandering to Pyongyang (Stephen Blank, 9/30/03, Asia Times)

Japan's decision to bring North Korea's nuclear proliferation to the United Nations for debate and resolution marks another significant development in the saga of Pyongyang's nuclearization. Not only does it signify Japan's final loss of patience with North Korea's brinkmanship and nuclear threats, it also represents in more prosaic terms a Japanese effort, no doubt supported by at least some of the other states involved, to call North Korea's bluff.

This, frankly, is unprecedented in the record of crises stemming from North Korean nuclearization. Normally it is North Korea that has pushed its interlocutors to the brink, not the other way around.

One can only wish that the Clnton admiitration had stood up to N. Korea ten years ago.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2003 8:58 AM

Invertebrates don't stand.

Posted by: RDB at September 29, 2003 9:50 AM

They may after the Penninsula is irradiated...

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2003 11:30 AM

Clinton was waaay to much in bed with the Chinese to do anything but talk about NK. Any war with the N. Koreans would have been full-blown battle for several months (minimum) and it would have rent the nation (with a foolish President who ignored the military and his own intelligence advisors). Once Jimmy Carter started in on NK, the possibility of anything more solid was over.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 29, 2003 1:05 PM

I don't know the Ta Kung Pao newspaper, but I love their chicken dish!

Seriously, though, I've read that the Chinese are beefing up their border to stop NK refugees and criminals from coming over, and perhaps as a message to the US to not get any ideas about doing an Iraq on NK.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 29, 2003 6:41 PM

What, if we attack NK they will too?

Posted by: OJ at September 29, 2003 6:46 PM

Beachfront property! It's all about beachfront property! Think of it as the new hot spot for Beijing dachas.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 29, 2003 8:00 PM

OJ: I'm thinking it's more of a "We're right here next door, don't get ideas" sort of thing.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 29, 2003 9:09 PM

Probably wishful thinking on my part, but I hope they're planning an invasion.

Posted by: ralph phelan at September 29, 2003 11:30 PM

It's rather disturbing that my message to an average North Korean, were I to meet him, would probably be, "Cheer up! With any luck, you'll soon be invaded by the Chinese."

Posted by: Mike Earl at September 30, 2003 11:27 AM