- Nope, still no panic:
Foreign TV crews descending on Seoul this week stymied & baffled by inability to find a panicky S. Korean for MOS interviews.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) April 4, 2013
Scroozle declares a state of war exists between his blog and the BBC over the latter’s use of the term “panic,” which to the BBC’s credit, they later edited it to something else, my guess because somebody from the Ministry of Finance bitched up a storm. South Koreans might be nonchalant about North Korean threats of nuclear armegeddon, but they do take the KOSPI tanking because of talk of war very seriously.
All this being said, more South Koreans do seem to give a crap about the North now:
Over last 2 mos., % of S. Korea’s that view North as top issue has more than tripled. Still, the % is just 26 — up from 8 % in Jan.
— Chico Harlan (@chicoharlan) April 4, 2013
- BTW, North Korea is totally owning the media right now. Which, frankly, it the thing I’ve always resented most about North Korea—they’re the only Korea anyone cares about. South Korea pulls off a socio-economic miracle, going from ass-backwards, post-colonial basketcase to prosperous 21st century democracy in just half a century, and nobody cares. North Korea becomes a poverty-stricken, nuclear-armed cesspool run by an idiot manchild, and the eyes and ears of the world are entirely focused on them.
- For those keeping score at home, the WaPo’s Max Fischer posts a map of North Korean missile ranges. He also notes about the KN-08:
What about the range of the KN-08? Well, here’s the thing about that: It sure looks like an intercontinental ballistic missile, and North Korea claims it can reach about 6,000 miles, which puts Los Angeles in range, except that no one knows if it works because it’s never been tested. And that means it probably can’t hit squat at long range, if it can even take off.
New ICBM models aren’t like iPhones; you don’t just take them out of the box and expect them to function properly. They have to be rigorously, painstakingly tested. Markus Schiller, an expert in the North Korean military, told Global Security Newswire that it was “totally impossible” for the KN-08 to be operational without tests. Even countries that have successfully built and launched ICMBs before, which North Korea has not, wouldn’t expect a new model to work perfectly on the first try. The KN-08 was just unveiled last April in a military parade in Pyongyang and has never been test-launched. Analysts aren’t even sure that it’s real.
The most bullish analysis of the KN-08′s potential threat that I’ve seen this week, published in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, speculated that North Korea had only moved them to the coast so that, in the event of a test launch, they would be less likely to fall onto North Korean soil.
- The Pentagon thinks it may have contributed to ratcheting up tensions?
Recent announcements of American military deployments in response to belligerent statements by North Korea may have contributed to escalating tensions between the two countries, Pentagon officials told CNN on Thursday in explaining an effort to reduce U.S. rhetoric about the reclusive state.
“We accused the North Koreans of amping things up, now we are worried we did the same thing,” one Defense Department official said.
The State Department is also signaling that it’s willing to give peace a chance:
“It was the ratcheting up of tensions on the DPRK side that caused us to need to shore up our own defense posture. We have done that,” Nuland said. “But we have also been saying all the way through that this does not need to get hotter, that we can change course here if the DPRK will begin to come back into compliance with its international obligations, will begin to cool things down, take a pause.”
OK, fine, but good luck getting North Korea to come into compliance with its international obligations. For the time being, deterrence works just fine for me. I haven’t seen the English, but the Korean report says Ms. Nuland also suggested that if North Korea kept its international obligations, it could receive economic aid.
- UDP lawmaker and Kim Dae-jung’s former chief of staff Park Jie-won called on President Park Geun-hye to give North Korea a face-saving way out by announcing measures to restart the Kumgangsan Tourism Project and measures to activate the Kaesong Industrial Complex. This, he said, would get dialogue between the two Koreas going. Honestly, I think giving North Korea anything after this streak of bad behavior is precisely the wrong thing to do.
- Seoul mayor Park Won-soon argued for engagement with the North by saying that 10 industrial complexes like Kaesong would give South Korea control of the North:
“If there were 10 industrial complexes like the one in Gaeseong in North Korea, it would give the South critical control over the influx of hard currency to Pyongyang,” the mayor said during a recent interview.
“It is like holding the lifeline of the North,” he said. The Gaeseong complex near the inter-Korean borderline houses 123 South Korean firms employing North Korean workers.
Park may be right about that, but the problem is, I’m pretty sure the North Koreans already know that (and if they didn’t before, they do now), which is why they’d never allow it. At any rate, if the North Koreans know how to do anything well, it’s make South Korean assistance to the North worth more to the South than it does to the North.