What is it with the North Korean spy agencies’ recent proclivity for using “women of a certain age” to target horny South Korean men? First, there was Won Jong-Hwa, who seduced, inter alia, a young South Korean army captain for classified information, and possibly a lieutenant as well, assuming that both officers weren’t actually the same person.
Now, there is the story of Kim Soon-Nyeo, whose targets included a 29 year-old college student, two travel agency workers, and her grand sugardaddy, a former executive of the Seoul Subway system.
You may thank the OFK Editorial Board in the comments for the many available metaphors it deemed unfit to print, as this discussion is about to become very serious.
The spy collected “confidential” information about the subway system from Oh, information about local universities from the student, and a list of names of high-ranking police and public officials from the travel agents.
Oh maintained extramarital relations with the spy since his first encounter with her in China in May 2006, and transferred nearly 300 million won ($252,000) to “help” her cosmetics business. In June 2007, he became aware that she was a North Korean spy, but continued the relationship.
“What Oh handed over to the spy included contact information of emergency situation responses and other not-so-important internal data,” Kim Jung-hwan, a Seoul Metro spokesman, told The Korea Times, dismissing concerns that it could be used in possible acts of terrorism here by the North. Kim retired from his post in 2008. [Korea Times]
I shudder at the thought of why the North Koreans want to know these things. That is why, as much as I like Richard Halloran’s writing and analysis, I don’t think he has quite grasped the worst case scenario when he calls for the bombing of North Korea’s artillery sites. Yes, I can imagine a circumstance in which we or South Korea might face a provocation or a threat so serious that we have to do something more dramatic, in which case what Halloran calls for might have to be our first step. But I’m not there yet, because I fear that North Korea’s most dangerous weapons are already inside South Korea. Nor do I share Halloran’s confidence that North Korea’s front line troops are poorly trained, or that they would “stand down” if attacked.
On the contrary, I advocate the (admittedly also risky) gradualist approach of constricting the regime economically and subverting it politically because the last thing I want to do is force a stroke-addled tyrant to make sudden “use it or lose it” decisions. I want to create the conditions for a favorable power shift about when that tyrant goes off to his
meat locker mausoleum.
By comparison, John Bolton’s recommendations seem sedate and reasonable, although the part about China supporting a One Free Korea policy is implausible until we make North Korea China’s problem. Think: nukes for Taiwan and a shiny embassy for the Dalai Lama on Connecticut Avenue (or, just to make it even more fun, exactly the opposite!). Here in Washington, we spend a great deal of thought and worry about our relationship with China, but hardly anyone ever has to worry about China’s relationship with us. Hail ants!
I recently noted North Korea’s tendency to give its spies on the job training in China, whose government allows North Korean spies to operate as they hunt down defectors and send them back to the gulag (or a firing squad).
Someone remind me again why human rights is a distraction from the bigger issues.