Korea: November 18, 1999

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South Korea has arrested four airmen for negligence after it was determined that the 14 Sept crash of an F-5F was caused by contaminated fuel. Rainwater had seeped into a leaky fuel tank and the jet took off with 95% of its fuel tanks filled with water.--Stephen V Cole

November 17; North Korea has formed a new military unit to protect defense facilities in the central part of the country. The VIII Army Corps (also known as Large Combined Unit 593) is headquartered north of Pyongyang and is commanded by Colonel-General Kim Yong-un. --Stephen V Cole 

November 16; South Korea and North Korea have united in condemning the US for using Agent Orange during the 1960s. Some 59,000 gallons of herbicides (about 40 percent of it Agent Orange) were applied in and near the DMZ during 1968 and 1969. South Korean veterans are asking for compensation from the US for Agent Orange related disabilities. What is curious about all this is that there was a little known "Second Korean War" during the 1960s. Several hundred were killed on each side (including over a hundred American  troops.) The cause was a sustained campaign by North Korea, which regularly sent commandoes across the DMZ to attack US and South Korean troops. The herbicides were used to clear underbrush from the DMZ, thus making it more difficult for the North Koreans to get across, or to set up ambushes while they were in the area. This finally stopped the North Korean operations, although they continued to send in secret agents (spies) by sea.


November 12; A new Congressional report warns that North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons, despite its pledges not to do so under a deal that has won it $545 million in US aid over the last five years. Congress noted recent tests of high explosives clearly related to nuclear detonation technology, and that efforts to obtain uranium enrichment technology continue. Most alarming, the Congressional report notes that the two light water reactors promised North Korea as part of the 1994 deal to avoid a war, can actually produce enough fissile material for 100 bombs per year, assuming North Korean access to advanced enrichment technology. The report also noted that North Korea was extremely active in developing and exporting missile technology.--Stephen V Cole

November 12; North Korea deployed ten new Sang-O diesel submarines during the last year, bringing its total operational submarine fleet to 50 boats.--Stephen V Cole 

 

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