Thursday, October 12, 2006

North Korea

There's been a lot of news lately regarding North Korea's nuclear weapon test. Some of you have expressed concern. Of course, we are mildly concerned, but I thought I would share the news from the Korean perspective (we get an English-language Korean daily newspaper, so these are quotes from today's Korea Herald).

Front Page Headlines: "U.S. issues tough new N.K. draft," "Scholar warns U.S. response could trigger additional tests," "Policy rift deepens over North Korea," "No trace of radioactivity detected." Almost all of today's paper (and yesterdays) was devoted to the issue.

Inside, several articles regarding the U.S. and South Korean alliance in dealing with North Korea and the South Korean who was recently elected to lead the U.N., as well as one titled "A-bomb 'just one more way to die' to South Koreans." I'd like to share some quotes from this article, which addresses why most South Koreans aren't very worried.

"Nobody wants a war and nobody expects a war."
"The stakes are much higher, but people do not sense there is a much greater threat of open conflict than there was prior to the test."
"The test was symbolic because we've assumed they have nuclear weapons for years now."
"There are already thousands of artillery tips pointed at Seoul, they already had unconventional weapons, chemical and biological weapons."

I'm not sure how reassuring that last one is, but it's a fact... South Korea and North Korea are at war and have been for many decades; North Korea has some pretty scary weapons. We're just not sure a) what would trigger them to use them, and b) how effective they would be. We don't really know what goes on in North Korea. We hear about famines and landslides and droughts (due to clear cutting all the trees). I pray for them. And we stay calm, because there's no other way to keep living.

As we see in the news every day, the world is a dangerous place to live. Nowhere is safe, because we live in a fallen world. We can only trust in our Lord.


Gord said...

Since I first came to Korea over ten years ago, I have learned that there is always something that looks like it is potentially explosive, but nothing has ever happened. There has been gufire exchanged across the borders, spies have been caught on both sides of the border. There was a submarine from the North run aground and the sailors escaped into South Korea only to be caught and killed. There have been sea skirmishes, secret tunnels... the list goes on. This latest development certainly has that same potential that all those events did. The leader of North Korea is excentric, ill-advised, near sighted, stubborn and protectionist, but he is not likely crazy - I believe he is well studied and an excellent observer of world politics. He is anything but stupid - and that includes setting off an atomic bomb. It is merely the ultimate insurance policy.

Pil said...

Hey there,

I'll say something from the perspective of someone born in South Korea although I can't say this is a common thinking among Koreans. (Hi Susan and Gordon!)
People should be more worried about US invading North Korea (and starting some Armageddon) than North Korea invading anyone. As Gordon said, they may be protectionist but they are not stupid. And if you were North Korea would you be worried that Americans will invade? Well, at the moment there is nothing much for Americans to glean other than strategic land. But yes, they invade a country every two to three years, so, yes, they should be worried. On the other hand should other countries especially America be worried that North Korea will attack them? Well, yeah one day they might go really crazy. But if you were North Korean leader would you commit suicide by sending a (probably defective) missile somewhere? Why, life is pretty good as a dictator for now. So for now I don't see why anybody should get hysteric and be afraid of North Korea. Well maybe they've done some small scale terrorism in the past. (Although it pales in comparisons to what CIA is doing worldwide.) But when was last time they actually did anything that bad to anyone? Well, when was last time America invaded anyone? If you have answered these two questions, then put yourself in the North Korean dictator's shoes. You think testing nukes is just a crazy "rogue-country" thing to do? I think at his position, it was somewhat reasonable option to take seeing what America and other powers (China and Japan and maybe Russia) are like now. And finally, what's so bad that NK has a few nukes? How come Americans have thousands of nuclear war heads and no one else can? Kind of don't make much sense to me...