Sunday, April 11, 2010

NoKo says "No blow!"

North Korea is denying involvement in the sinking of the Chonan, with the South Korean Defense Minister has said may have been caused by a North Korean torpedo or mine.

From Reuters:
The head of a North Korean military delegation visiting China told Chinese officials in Beijing on March 30 that Pyongyang had nothing to do with the sinking, South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo newspaper quoted a diplomatic source as saying. ...

North Korea has made no mention of the sinking in its official media but issued a new threat against the South on Saturday of military action unless Seoul stops insulting the North's leadership.
Well, that settles it. To my knowledge, though, we still don't have any mention of the sinking at the KCNA, North Korea's official mouthpiece. Indeed, what was said to Chinese officials could just be a way of brushing aside any talk of North Korean involvement that would be a huge headache for China, North Korea's chief benefactor, at a time when they are trying to make nice with South Korea, Japan, and the United States, all countries that look to Beijing to rein in Pyongyang.

[UPDATE: The story is being carried by AP.]

But the fact that it hasn't appeared in the KCNA could mean something. Why don't they wish to address it, even if to just deny it? Why do they wish to keep the North Korean people completely in the dark about this, not even taking the opportunity to call it an engineered ROK or US provocation being used as a pretext for war against the North?

If there are two or more competing factions within the DPRK government and military (I think there may at least be a camp of pragmatists who want engagement with the West, positioned against hardliner ideologues who want nothing to do with anyone), there may be a battle brewing over this, with palace intrigue aimed at figuring out who did this, why they did this, what will happen as a result, and perhaps how the opposing faction(s) should respond.

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