Korea: The Poison


p> September 3, 2007: More rumblings from the senior leadership in North Korea. There is apparently some disagreement over how to handle the current economic crises. The major problem is the growing unrest in the country, with bribery and illegal activity becoming more common. Government attempts to impose discipline, just result in larger bribes, and a few dead prisoners (people who could not afford the larger bribes). More food and financial aid from abroad could be used to restore order, by, in effect, having the government bribe its wavering police, officials and border guards to shape up. But long term, the "dissent and disobey disease" is loose upon the land. The people now know that there's a different world out there, and it's a much better world than what is in North Korea. The truth may make you free in some parts of the world, but in North Korea it's a poison that is destroying the iron grip the government has long had on the population.


September 1, 2007:  North Korea has agreed to shut down its nuclear weapons program by the end of the year, in return for massive aid programs. The North Korean government needs that aid to get through the coming Winter without a major famine and economic catastrophe.


August 24, 2007:  In North Korea, a crackdown on corruption among border guards has raised the cost of getting across the border, and using cell phones to call outside the country. The police are using detection equipment to locate illegal cell phone users. But those arrested can be freed if they can pay a large enough bribe. As a result, it now costs about $200 to call South Korea, and twice that the call the United States. Most of the calls are by North Koreans talking to relatives overseas. The kin in South Korea and elsewhere, supply the money for these calls, and for smuggling some of the kin across the border into China. Such easy access can also be used by spies to get information in and out of the country.


August 22, 2007:  Recent heavy rains and floods in North Korea have made about five percent of the countrys population homeless, killed hundreds and wounded thousands. The refugees face a bleak, and probably fatal, Winter if the country doesn't get emergency aid from abroad. But donor nations are reluctant to contribute, because of past patterns of aid being diverted by the government to other uses (resale or the military.)


August 20, 2007: The UN is investigating charges that its officials cooperated with North Korean officials in diverting aid to government and military recipients. North Korea has always pressured foreign aid groups to look the other way while foreign aid was misused in this way.