- According to Yonhap, enforcement in Itaewon of the USFK curfew has been really lax. Two GIs the reporter met in (I’m assuming) Hooker Hill said even if they’re caught breaking curfew, it’s not like it’s a death sentence, so many soldiers are breaking curfew. Another said it wasn’t right to be treated like a criminal every night because of a few criminals, there were naturally soldiers out past curfew, and if there wasn’t a danger of getting caught, he wanted to go out, too. My favorite quote, though, was from an employee of a transgender club who said that since all the clubs and bars have CCTVs now, the GIs clear out if the MPs appear.
- Well, I will say this—at least Kim Jong-un is polite to his elders:
That’s a rather touching photo. I’m not being sarcastic—it is. Sure, the guy is now officially the top dog of one of the last century’s most odious regimes, but on a human level, he’s still a kid who just lost his dad.
- According to the Maeil Gyeongje, stocks are falling fast with talk of a possible coup in North Korea and Chinese cyberspace lighting up with talk—originally posted on a Chinese military affairs website—that China should deploy ground forces to North Korea to prevent a sudden collapse of the North Korean regime. The Maeil Gyeongje also noted Gordon Chang’s piece in NRO, which concluded with this:
What will be China’s first order of business for the new North Korean junta? Beijing has already tried to get Pyongyang to accept the basing of its troops in the portions of North Korea near China, and it’s a safe bet they will renew their attempts to put their forces on Korean soil. So it is not inconceivable that, in the next two or three years, Chinese soldiers and the American military will again be face-to-face across the 155-mile Demilitarized Zone.
China’s troops left Panmunjom in 1994. Soon, it appears, they will be back.
Sounds a bit over-the-top to me, and it is coming from Gordon Chang, but I suppose it’s not out of the range of possibility.
- Speaking of NRO, I thankfully missed this editorial on North Korea:
We have been afraid of provoking Kim, and afraid of China’s reaction. Now it’s time to make them fear us. Rather than wait and watch events unfold, we should exert maximum pressure on the Kim family now. We should conduct military exercises around the peninsula, we should fly over their nuclear sites with stealth aircraft, and we should demonstrate that we can reach out and touch the regime anytime and anywhere. We should freeze the assets of the Kim family wherever they may be. We should shut down Kim’s criminal enterprises by stepping up our patrols of ships that leave the peninsula. We should give our allies in South Korea all the military capability necessary to defend themselves and strike back at the North should they once again be hit.
Woh there, tough guys. I’m all in favor of ignoring North Korea until they do something—either good or bad—that warrants our attention. I’m also pessimistic that North Korea under Kim Jong-un will be any better than it was under his dearly departed dad. But seriously, guys, don’t you think you should give the kid at least the opportunity to f*ck up first before conducting overflights of nuclear sites and positioning carriers off the North Korean coast?
- The South Koreans at Kaesong find themselves in a tough spot, with Seoul telling them not to offer condolences, and North Korean workers asking why they aren’t offering condolences. Companies in Kaesong wish the government would leave the question of condolences up to them.
- Oh, and at the Nautilus Institute, Peter Hayes, Scott Bruce and David von Hippel suggest that Kim Jong-il’s death might offer an opportunity to engage with North Korea. As I’ve expressed before, I’m not particularly interested in “engaging” North Korea until they’ve shown it’s worth our while (which they so far haven’t), but it’s a good read anyway (HT to Rob York)