BRING OUT YOUR NOT-QUITE-DEAD: “UN agency to conduct its first census since famine killed millions.” If things don’t quite add up, try looking here.
NOT LOOKING GOOD FOR KEVIN G. HALL: A reader e-mails a detailed article — co-written by Bradley K. Martin, no less –that drives a few 3-inch sheetrock screws into the coffin of Hall’s piece of work. If you’re not yet saying “enough already” to all of this, the updated post is here.
DAVID ALBRIGHT, CALL YOUR OFFICE: “N. Korea ‘Slowing Disablement of Nuclear Facilities.'” North Korea is in full stall mode, so the United States and China are sending more diplomats to cajole and supplicate in Pyongyang. The self-anointed Nostrafriggingdamus of Korea bloggers predicts no change in Kim Jong Il’s position, but offers none as to whether there will be a change in ours. What I did predict, and still expect, is that this crappy deal will become an issue in the election.
WHAT’S FOUR OR FIVE NUKES AMONG FRIENDS?
Larry A. Niksch, the Congressional Research Service specialist on North Korean nuclear development, said in an interview yesterday that other problems have arisen with the North Korean disclosure.
“The Bush administration had estimated the North Korean production of plutonium to be 50 kilograms,” Mr. Niksch said. “The North Koreans have disclosed 30 kilograms, which is at the lower end of the range” of what the U.S. thinks it might have produced.
“The gap is significant as it is four or five atomic bombs,” he said. [Washington Times]
They could be telling the gospel truth. And we’d still be idiots to believe a word of it.
NKHRA UPDATE: Twenty-three North Korean defectors will come to the United States from a refugee center in Thailand within the next two months or so. That’s twenty-three, on top of thirty-seven by the Hankyoreh’s figures, or about fifty according to other estimates I’ve heard.
DLP BREAKS FROM PYONGYANG: The power struggle between North Korean sympathizers and more democratically minded leftists continues within the Democratic
Peoples’ Republican Labor Party:
“We strongly protest at North Korean authorities for their attempt to destroy the party’s independence and self-reliance” in the so-called Ilsimhoe case. “We demand that North Korea immediately stop interfering with a progressive party of the South.” [Chosun Ilbo]
The party has expelled former Vice Secretary General Choi Ki-young and former Central Committee member Lee Jung-hoon, both of whom are now doing time for spying for North Korea. Recall that among the accusations against Il Shim Hue was a report that North Korea tried to use its DLP puppets to influence the Seoul mayoral election.
THOSE POOR PERSECUTED UNIONS. President-Elect Lee was about to meet with
Central Committee leadership of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, which may still receive government funding, until Lee’s people pointed out that the Chairman of the KCTU was the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant for an “illegal” rally last October. The government, commendably, turned down the KCTU’s offer for its Chairman to answer police questions at some location other than a police station. Here’s the KCTU’s response to that:
Lee Sok-haeng in a New Year’s press conference on Jan. 10 warned the KCTU will lead a general strike across all industries to cut off power and gas supply and halt the operation of railway and flight operations if the incoming government “continues to ignore and suppress labor. Lee Myung-bak has said he will deal with the KCTU in accordance with the law, even though the labor organization “has reorganized itself into a combat headquarters. [Chosun Ilbo]
I wish President Lee the best of luck. I don’t have to agree with leftish views to see how Korean politics and society could benefit from having a democratic left that isn’t beholden to genocidal fascism.
PRINCE CHARLES will skip the Olympics in Beijing.
BURMA HAS CHARGED ten dissidents in connection with last year’s failed uprising. The junta is unmoved by moral authority, and by now, it’s safe to say that moral authority has lost interest in Burma. What the Burmese people need isn’t more of the drum-circle good will that the “international community” loves to dollop out. What they need is guns.