Korea: Soldiers Get Religion and Scare Superiors

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September 16, 2007: North Korea opened its nuclear weapons programs to foreign inspectors. In return, China and the U.S. are each sending 50,000 tons of fuel oil. South Korea is sending food. North Korea expects a lot more aid, as well as investments in the North Korean economy. The North Korean government is losing control of its population, and needs more fuel, food and economic opportunities to buy loyalty. For decades, North Korean rulers used a carrot and stick approach, with emphasis on the stick, to rule the country. But with growing disobedience in the population, more carrots are being offered. because this approach is proving more effective in halting any growth of revolutionary activity.

September 13, 2007: Recent Israeli reconnaissance flights in northern Syria were apparently in search for nuclear weapons development work, using material purchased from North Korea. Syria has been buying missiles and chemical weapons from North Korea for over two decades.

September 11, 2007: South Korea brushed off criticism of paying Taliban terrorists $20 million in ransom to secure the release of South Koreans kidnapped by the Taliban. Germany, which also has one of its nationals held by the Taliban, and refuses to pay ransom, criticized the South Koreans for supporting terrorist activity in a very concrete way. That's because Germany recently broke up a terrorist plot. Some of the terrorists arrested had been trained in camps in Pakistan, run by the Taliban. The South Korean ransom money will help keep camps like this going, and this bothers the Germans, and other European countries, a lot. South Korea, which has not had any problems with al Qaeda at home (mainly because there are so few Moslems in South Korea) is unconcerned.

September 8, 2007: The growing corruption in the north hit a nerve recently when it became widely known that North Korean museum staff were selling off valuable artifacts to foreigners. Some of these items are worth half a million dollars, or more, to foreigners. That provides sufficient cash to bribe security officials, avoid a firing squad, and still have plenty of cash for yourself. Minor historical treasures have been available on the black market up north for over a decade, but in the last year or so, museum staff members have been quietly offering more valuable items to foreign collectors.

September 5, 2007: The North Korean Army has started a special propaganda effort to discourage soldiers from practicing religion. There's apparently an outbreak of Christianity in the ranks, and it's so widespread that the generals are getting nervous.

 

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