Monday, December 26, 2011

More north Korean stuff

From Dear Leader to Marilyn Monroe, defector mocks Kim | Reuters

Analysis: What's the plan if North Korea collapses? | Reuters

As for the second link, I'm not sure there is a plan.  There may be a set of contingencies, maybe a recognized set of "what if's?", but... plan? Or maybe it would be better to say, we probably have plans, the ROKs probably have plans, the Japs may or may not have a plan, the ChiComs...?  (I'm sure the Russian plan is to grab whatever opportunities may come along.)

For years, the Republic of Korea had an official policy encouraging of working towards Reunification.  Then they saw what happened to West Germany post-reunification, and had second thoughts.   Then the famines of the 90s happened, and they had to re-re-consider.

Not that they ever actually said "We've decided that reunification may not be in the best interests of the Korean people."  No, they feel the rift too deeply, especially since, pre-1950, the majority population was north of the 38th parallel.  So, officially, Reunification was always going to be a Good Thing, even if the ROK government wasn't quite working as assiduously towards that goal as they once had.

But when it's not just a matter of "I wonder how cousin Yong Nam is doing?" but "I wonder if Yong Nam has eaten lately, or been eaten?", it get a little more difficult to be pragmatic...

In the early 80s one of the Korean TV networks had a show.  IIRC it was supposed to be a one-off, but it turned into a series, lasted a year or more.  It had a simple premise: Folks who had fled from the north would get on holding a sign with their name, their home town, and which relative they were looking for.  Thousands of families were reunited.

I saw a couple of episodes, the guy who ran the junior NCO lounge had it on:  These two guys are standing there next to each other, announcer starts reading sign for guy #1, halfway through guy #2 gets this look like he had been tased, looks at the other guy's sign... They were brothers.

They had to suspend that show, no one in the studio could go on.  We also had to send Mr. Chae home for the day, after buying him a couple of drinks.

Lee Sung Man, ("Syngman Rhee" to most westerners) liked to claim that Koreans are the Irish of Asia: They are very passionate, love to drink and sing, and have had centuries of oppression by outsiders. "Centuries", ha!: One of our lessons when I was in the Intermediate Korean course at DLI was about Korean history, and started out with the phrase "Korean history is a five thousand year tragedy."

I suppose you could say this is just more of the same, but you probably shouldn't say it in front of a Korean...

UPDATE:  I guess this could be considered "more of the same", too:  The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - N.Korea in Frantic Preparation for 2012 Celebrations
Several North Korean spies have been arrested for plotting to assassinate South Koreans involved in anti-North Korean campaigns, National Intelligence Service Director Won Sei-hoon told a National Assembly audit Tuesday.
And New sign of rising power for new North Korean leader’s uncle - Arab News

Both h/t Rantberg, where you'll find a lot of relevant stuff.

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