North Korea’s really, really upset after the chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs told the National Assembly that the South would launch preemptive strikes against the North’s nuclear facilities:
“On the top of hatred and indignation, (we) cannot help but feel like laughing,” the North’s propaganda Web site Uriminzokkiri said in a commentary, referring to remarks made by Gen. Jung Seung-jo, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday.
Referring to the South as a warmonger, the Web site’s commentary continued, “They do not know what a real war is like and they would shudder after experiencing our military’s spirit to attack in a single breath.”
“We can communicate no more with the herd of vicious traitors of the nation,” it said.
As usual, it sounds even better in the original Korean.
North Korea is also threatening to take control of the Kaesong Industrial Zone, a threat that, if followed up on, would be the best news I’ve heard all week. Who needs international sanctions when the North Koreans are perfectly willing to place sanctions on themselves?
Oh, and the US Congress has banned food aid to the North.
Not all may be shitty up North, though. The Economist ran a length piece on the development of a capitalist class in the North. Perhaps North Korea is changing after all. One certainly hopes it’s true, but I’ve been hearing about economic change in North Korea for the last decade now and the situation still seems to suck.
Meanwhile, the government—and Chosun Ilbo—is upset that South Koreans seem more concerned with flaws at South Korea’s nuclear power stations than North Korea’s nuclear program:
South Koreans seem relatively untroubled by North Korea’s impending nuclear test, even as they worry about the safety of ageing nuclear reactors here. “It seems that only the government, media and some politicians are taking the nuclear test seriously, while the ordinary public is not that interested,” said a senior government official here Thursday.
Even when minor problems are detected at existing nuclear power plants, some civic groups vehemently call for their closure.
“We’re seeing a bizarre phenomenon where people are reacting very sensitively to even the slightest malfunction at one of our nuclear power plants, which are relatively safe, while there is not much awareness about the risks of North Korean nuclear facilities, which pose a far greater threat,” said Shin Beom-chul at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.
My guess is this would be due to the fact, mentioned in the piece, that many Koreans view the North Korean nuclear issue as a bilateral one between the United States and North Korea, not a regional one involving them. Also playing a part is the fact that “minor problems” in existing power stations are probably more likely to irradiate Busan than a North Korean nuclear strike.