Korea: Let Them Eat Cake

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October 25, 2006: South Korea has successfully tested its Cheon Ryong cruise missile. This weapon has a range of a thousand kilometers, a half ton warhead and the ability to fly around a target area for a while, before going after a target. During the test, the missile struck within five meters of the aiming point.

October 24, 2006: For the ninth time this year, a North Korean cargo ship in Hong Kong was inspected, and for the sixth time this year, a North Korean ship was told to repair safety defects before it could leave. Inspections also seek illegal goods.

October 23, 2006: After the recent nuclear weapons test, many nations cut off free food shipments to North Korea. Given that millions of North Koreans are already malnourished, and that the 2006 harvest was again damaged by bad weather, the North Korean population will suffer an increased death rate, and more stunted growth among children, over the Winter.

October 20, 2006: China has threatened North Korea with cuts in fuel and food supplies, if the northerners did not rejoin peace negotiations. The north said nice things about China, but did not set a date for talks to resume. There is more talk of China backing a coup in North Korea, where a faction of the government is pro-Chinese (that is, pro-more economic reform.)

October 19, 2006: Another North Korean weapons shipment has apparently left a North Korean port, and is being tracked. But no one is sure the ship is carrying weapons, so the U.S., and other navies cooperating in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), will wait to see where the cargo ship is headed.

October 18, 2006: A new weapon is being used against North Korea, making life uncomfortable for the ruling class, and the results won't be known until the government up there collapses. This approach seeks to cut off shipments of luxury goods to North Korea, and block foreign travel by senior people in the government. The travel ban will probably work, but the embargo on luxury goods may be more of a problem. Smugglers can always get through, simply driving up the cost of the goodies.

 

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