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Subject: Naval Showdown
Phoenix Rising    6/29/2002 11:49:35 PM SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Hours after North Korea sank a South Korean patrol boat Saturday, the president of the South and commander of U.S. forces in the country accused North Korea of violating the armistice that ended the Korean war. A defiant North said the South fired first. The 21-minute confrontation in the Yellow Sea is the worst border clash in recent years on the world's last Cold War frontier and killed four sailors and wounded 19. It dealt a new blow to Korean reconciliation efforts and embarrassed the South during its moment in the sun as host to the World Cup soccer tournament. South Korean President Kim Dae-jung called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council and sent a 1,200-ton battleship to the poorly marked border, accompanied by a squadron of fighter jets. [...] ---------- Hopefully nothing comes of this, but I don't like the looks of it. I don't remember anything like this happening before, certainly not in the last couple years; that's not usually good news on a heavily militarized border, and you don't come much more heavily armed than this one. On the other hand, if the political backlash forces China to choose sides and hastens the collapse of the North, I'll consider the blood of the South Korean sailors who died well spent, cold as that may be. --Phoenix Rising
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Four Federal Pensions    RE:Naval Showdown   6/30/2002 8:25:41 AM
Phoenix, I would have to say that some of your fears are justifiable. It is interesting to note that in the past, North Korean antics were used to gain concessions and aid from South Korea and the United States. For instance, when it was rumored that NK was developing a nuclear bomb, we rewarded them with generous amounts of fuel oil and promises to build two "light-water" reactors in their country. When NK launched a missile over Japan in 1998, we once again piled on the aid to the Communist country in exchange for a ban on future missile tests for a set number of years. When you get down to it, for the past ten or so years, we have been rewarding North Korea for "bad behavior." My greatest fear is that North Korea -operating from its previous set of assumptions- will conduct something really rash, (perhaps another missile test?) expecting another round of world attention and aid to placate them. However, with 9/11 and a new administration in the White House, I think that such a move by North Korea would be viewed VERY unfavorably by Washington. Instead of giving more aid to NK, the United States might view such an act as a direct threat to itself, its forces in the region, and its allies. Tensions on peninsula could rise dramatically. I truly hope such a scenario does not come to pass, but I have read a couple of other sources that have mentioned concerns to the same effect. Only time will tell.....
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