Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mystery solved?

The Korea Times has carried an extensive article on North Korea's threat to South Korean airliners — either as retaliation for ROK-US military maneuvers or to clear the area for a missile test. (And another KT article indicates explains that North Korea will probably not retract its threat: Koreans are individually kind, but collectively rude, and that probably goes for the North Korean military junta.)

Anyway, the KT piece clears up a question I had about where and how South Korean airlines have been flying over North Korean airspace.

It turns out that North Korean airspace is roughly synonymous with the EEZ they would generate, meaning that Korea-flagged airliners heading to Vladivostok and other places save an awful lot of time and fuel by taking the "Kamchatka Route." 

This means that it makes economic sense to pay North Korea a fee for using its airspace, although I think the Unification gets their calculations wrong. They said 5260 flights passed through DPRK territorial airspace last year, with Pyongyang paid "$6 billion in fees last year." Billion with a b

If that's true, it's not Beijing or Seoul propping up North Korea, it's Korean Air and Asiana. 

[above: Asiana flight attendants turning a blind eye to their support for the world's most abusive regime.]

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