Korea: Teenage Fanatics Turned Loose In The North

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August 2, 2007: The July 17th kidnapping of 23 South Korean Christian missionaries in Afghanistan has enraged South Koreans. The Taliban kidnappers are demanding the release of Taliban from jail, and the Afghan government refuses to play that game. So far, the Taliban have murdered two of the hostages, while the Afghan government pressures the Taliban to give up their prisoners, and halt a situation which is making the Taliban look bad. The Afghans are also threatening to take the hostages by force, while the Taliban insist they will kill the South Koreans if there is a rescue attempt. South Korea says it will not send commandos to help with a rescue attempt. But if commandos were sent, it would not be announced. The South Korean government has said that its patience was not endless.

August 1, 2007: In Afghanistan, government aircraft dropped leaflets, in the area where 21 South Koreans are believed to be held, warning civilians to leave the area, to avoid "military operations."

July 31, 2007: In North Korea, theft by off-duty soldiers and gangsters is so rampant that hiring recently discharged soldiers for security is becoming a big business. North Korean soldiers, who are drafted to serve six years or more, are trained in the martial arts. The security guards are officially unarmed, and their mere presence is intended to discourage thieves. Unarmed soldiers are increasingly turning to theft to supplement their meager rations, and non-existent pay.

July 30, 2007: In North Korea, units of teenage communists are being used to search for illegal cell phones, and other forbidden items, along the Chinese border. The young fanatics are also being used to prevent corrupt border guards from taking bribes to allow people to get out of the country. As a result, the average such bribe has gone from a hundred dollars or so to over a thousand dollars.

July 26, 2007: North Korea is demanding removal of all trade sanctions, in return for dismantling their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program. The major area of dispute is verification. The North Koreans want none, everyone else wants a lot.

July 24, 2007: Anger at the government by communist party members increased as news got out of the collapse of a fifteen year old apartment building. At least twenty residents of the building died. The structure, built for communist party members working for the government, was apparently of shoddy construction, but was considered a prime residential property.

 

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