Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daily Kor for April 27, 2010

The news story at #1 is something I find disturbing, but hardly surprising. It's hardly surprising because the threat of a massive North Korean artillery attack (not to mention acts or terror from elements already in the metropolitan area itself) on the heavy population concentration so close to the DMZ is an excellent deterrent against any South Korean leader who might decide to take DPRK out.

What I find so disturbing about it is that it provides an opportunity — even if it is a long shot — for an actual winning strategy: If North Korean can move hard enough and fast enough to take the capital, then all bets are off for what comes next. The "North Korea will surely collapse" scenario is by no means a given, particularly if the US is out of the picture, ROK bases are hit hard enough, and there is a threat to even more population centers. Sound far-fetched? They tried it once before and who knows if the Chinese (or Russians) would actually flip in favor of Seoul this time? 

Okay, I'm done scaring ya'll. I actually have no knowledge that anything is worse now than, say, back in the 1990s when Clinton almost bombed Yongbyon (something I wasn't all that concerned about while in Korea but suddenly became freaked out about when I got to California and saw how much it was being talked up in the papers — this was pre-high-speed Internet days).
  1. North Korea has reportedly altered its wartime strategy to concentrate on Seoul metropolitan area (Joongang Daily)
  2. Korean won near nineteen-month high on better-than-expected economic news (Bloomberg)
    • Kospi hits 22-month high on KRW rise (Joongang Daily)
    • Finance Minister sees five percent growth in 2011 (Reuters)
  3. US Assistant Secretary of State says Washington is prepared to take action if North Korea determined to have been responsible for sinking of Chonan (Yonhap)
    • President Lee to discuss Chonan sinking with PRC President Hu Jintao (Korea Herald)
    • US remains cautious on cause of sinking (Yonhap)
    • Militant labor union puts off one-day strike until middle of next month due to national mourning period (Yonhap)
  4. WHO director-general makes rare visit to North Korea (Yonhap)
  5. Court in Pusan has bribery scandal "whistleblower" re-arrested (Korea Times)
  6. Anti-English Spectrum pressures Korea Tourism Organization to fire David from popular ad campaign after accusations of sexually harassing young co-star; says unqualified cartoon will also be investigated for drug use and unorthodox Tokto views (OhMyNews)


  1. After being here for four years, I now get the sense that things are even getting scary for the South Korean natives.

    I remember my boss and apartment manager not even batting an eye when the North detonated its first nuclear weapon even as the air siren drills droned on, but now my apartment manager is bringing me bottled water and my boss is telling me it might be a good idea to stock up on provisions. Now, I'm wondering what the hell is actually going on behind the scenes. I know that the South doesn't want to rock the boat with the won gaining financial traction and the economy doing well, but the North might feel that this is the time to try and get some money out of their moneybags cousins in the South with their saber rattling. But when will they push the envelope too far and things start to spiral out of control?

    I'm just really glad I'm not in Seoul right now (or own property there;).

  2. I think this is a sign of real tension, simply because people know the South must do something, and there is always the possibility that it could be a military response. People get nervous about things like that (and it's one reason why South Koreans were so angered about the "Axis of Evil" talk).

    I certainly don't want my downtown apartment to be razed, though if it did get rebuilt, I'd have a new place. Seriously, though, my two tenants are some nice folks and I'd hate for something bad to happen to them.

    But happen bad, I don't think it will. People are too level-headed and calm. I think the waiting is because of an effort by the ROK govt to do think of something effective that won't require a military attack.

    I wouldn't worry.


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