Friday, May 28, 2010

North Korea norks things up even more

I'm going to coin a term here: norking, as in ratcheting up tensions in an already fraught situation (there's a secondary meaning of norking something up, where nork up replaces f/muck up, as in "norking up the economy").

For example, Pyongyang is norking things up yet again by suspending the military hotline between North and South Korea.

From the New York Times:
North Korea said Thursday that it was cutting off a naval hot line that was intended to prevent clashes near its disputed sea border with South Korea. Meanwhile, while the South conducted a large naval drill in a show of force.

Cutting the link, established in 2004 after deadly skirmishes in 1999 and 2002, raises the chances of an armed clash in the tense waters off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula — something the North has said could happen any time, particularly now that the South has officially accused it of sinking one of its warships in March.

We will immediately deliver a physical strike at anyone intruding across our maritime demarcation line,” the North’s state-run news agency KCNA quoted a senior military official as saying, referring to the North’s self-proclaimed sea border, which juts deeply into South Korean waters.
Word is that a disappointed Kim Jong-il himself had the hotline cut when he picked it up one day and found out it wasn't that other kind of hotline.

Ah, but I shouldn't be cracking bad jokes here, as this is potentially very serious. That hotline (which was upgraded recently: see the second-to-last story here) was there for a reason, and the Yellow Sea just got a lot more dangerous at a time when things were already very tense. More than that, Pyongyang is saying that they are going to enforce their line in the sea, not South Korea's, which means (a) they will deliberately cross the NLL, inviting attack by South Korean ships, and (b) they may try to attack South Korean vessels that are in waters South Korea routinely patrols.

The NLL dispute, of course, is a bit of a red herring on their part, as the sinking of the Chonan off Paengnyŏngdo Island was in waters both sides recognize as controlled by the ROK, not the DPRK.

Decades from now, an apocryphal legend will emerge of how the Yellow Sea got its name: sailors on all sides pissing their pants. Okay, enough with the bad jokes already. I must have some bad pun Tourette's, or maybe lame humor is my way of coping.

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