Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Korea, courtesy of Robert Koehler in Kwangju. TOP TOPIC * China And South Korea Enable North Korean Nuclear Program. Parapundit believes attempts to stop nuclear proliferation to Iran and North Korea have essentially failed, and the outcome is just a matter of time. * A pair of eye-opening reports in the Washington Post concerning North Korea's weapons program and exports over time. Other Topics Today Include: Negotiating with NK; 6-party talks, Military options; Hyundai Chief's suicide, Smuggling radios; SK's Anti-American shenanigans, Zen and the Art of Scatological Humor, and much, much more.
* Steven Den Beste has some very interesting things to say about negotiations with the North Koreans, as does Kevin at Incestuous Amplification and John Moore of Useful Fools. * Austin Bay discusses serious deterrence vs. "unshakeable faith in... nice words". (Hat Tip: Donald Sensing) * For fans of the diplomatic option, Michael O'Hanlon and Mike Mochizuki contributed a rather interesting piece to the NYT calling for the US to rescue the North's failed economy. The Marmot, living much further south on the peninsula than Kevin at Big Hominid, is much less optimistic concerning the effectiveness of aid to North Korea. * Six party talks to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis are scheduled to take place in Beijing from August 27 to 29. North Korea is talking tough, however, claiming that it cannot dismantle its nuclear deterrent force (that "deterrent force" being undefined) if the United States does not abandon its "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang. Of course, it's not like the United States hasn't done its fair share of trash talking so far - on July 31, US arms negotiator John Bolton labled North Korean leader Kim Jong-il a "tyrannical dictator" and described life in North Korea as a "hellish nightmare," prompting Pyongyang to call Bolton "human scum" and ban him from the upcoming talks. * For a discussion of Mr. Bolton's "diplomacy," check out the following posts from Kevin at IA (as thorough a fisking of the Boston Globe as you'll find anywhere), Brian at Cathartidae, and Kathreb (no permalinks, so look for "Corruption, corruption and more corruption" and "No invite for JB"). I would also read through IA's take on apparent splits within the Bush White House on North Korea. * For fans of the military option, ex-CIA head James Woosley and retired Air Force lieutenant general Thomas McInerney discuss in the WSJ the positives of using the big stick on the North Koreans. Kevin of Big Hominid, a resident of Seoul and thus well within North Korean artillery range, is slightly less enthusiastic. * If you're wondering whether North Korea could win if it attacked first like the First Korean War (1950-53), Jim Dunnigan has an answer for you. * Fans of other options, by all means take a look at Parapundit's Radio Smuggling Campaign: Give the Ear to a North Korean. * Chung Mong-hon, chief of Hyundai Asan, jumped from the 12th floor of Hyundai's corporate office in Seoul on August 3. Needless to say, he didn't survive the trip. Chung helped spearhead inter-Korean economic cooperation - his company was involved in a number of high-profile (and high loss) projects in North Korea - but was under heavy investigation for his role in the now infamous "cash-for-summit" scandal involving former President Kim Dae-jung. For my own personal feelings on the suicide, take a look here. For a very different take, check out Lee Keun-yeup's eulogy to the man in the Korea Times. Brian at Cathartidae has also been following the suicide (1, 2, 3), including its internal political ramifications and how it will affect the future of inter-Korean relations. * The radical pro-North Korean student group Hanchongnyon recently made waves by breaking into an American training ground during live-fire exercises, burning an American flag and climbing atop an American armored vehicle to chant anti-American slogans before being unceremoniously escorted off-base by American military personnel and arrested by the Korean police - I encourage you to watch the video of the incident. US military authorities were furious, demanding that the students involved be punished "to the full extent of the law." For the Korean government, it was an especially embarrassing event, coming as it does amidst severe disagreements with the Americans over US plans to turn responsibility for the DMZ entirely over to the South Korean side. Check out either my blog or Kevin of IA (or, heck, both) for Korean press analysis of the event. * August 15 was "Liberation Day" in Korea, and South Koreans celebrated it with a case of group-amnesia concerning who did the liberating. Neither the President, nor one single major Korean newpaper bothered to mention the fact that Korea was liberated from Japan by the victorious Allied powers - and in particular, the United States. Likewise, a South Korean delegation went to Pyongyang for joint Liberation Day ceremonies with the North, while anti-American and anti-North Korean held demonstrations in Seoul. * Domestic South Korean politics are a complete mess. We have Blue House officials boozing and whoring, the President fighting with the media, ex-kingmakers getting arrested, the President fighting with the media again, the judiciary in revolt, the military being shamed by a number of sexual abuse scandals... and there are some who want to change the spelling of the country from "K-O-R-E-A" to "C-O-R-E-A." * On a cultural/spiritual note, Kevin Kim, a student of religion currently living in Seoul, devotes a lot of space to Korean Zen at at BigHominid's Hairy Chasms - all you have to do is get past his fondness for scatological humor. The next installment of Hushoor's Korea Briefing is planned for September 16th. Meanwhile, regular updates concerning Korean events can be found at The Marmot's Hole (a.k.a. The Hushoor).