Wednesday, May 26, 2010

North Korea: South Korea Ratcheting Up, Threatens "Blockade" of North Korea

The Chosun Ilbo: Torpedo Sinks Inter-Korean Relations to Cold-War Depths:
The sanctions the government announced on Monday include steps to blockade North Korea, which became unavoidable after clear evidence showed that the sinking was an act of military aggression against the South. That ends 10 years of rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula and returns inter-Korean relations to the dark days before 1989, when the two sides agreed to step up exchanges.
The two Koreas are still technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with merely a ceasefire. The South Korean public has once again been reminded of this reality. Lee in a public address Monday said the peninsula faces a "major turning point."

South Korean troops are preparing for action. They resumed so-called psychological warfare against North Korea on Monday, and plan to shift their rules of engagement from defensive to offensive mode. Around next month, U.S. and South Korean forces will hold joint anti-submarine exercises, and when maritime blockade drills begin during the second half of this year in line with the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative, North Korea will be forced to heighten its awareness for a prolonged period.
A naval blockade? Oh, my. That's pretty bold after losing a ship to a torpedo.

On the other hand maybe, "...[W]e've got ourselves another war. A gut bustin', mother-lovin' Navy war."

ReliefWeb has a report on the DPRK (that's North Korea) food status here. Oh, yes, while Kim Jong-il is investing in nukes and missiles, his people were having such food as they get catered to them from more useful countries:
Using the apparent per capita cereal consumption of about 140 kg per year in recent years and a population of about 24 million, the country would require about 3.36 million tonnes for human consumption. Considering other uses such as seed, feed, post-harvest losses and some stock changes, FAO estimates that the country would have import requirements of 1.10 million tonnes for the marketing year 2009/10 (November/October). However, given the ongoing economic constraints it is unlikely that this deficit could be covered by commercial imports. As of April 2010 only 177 000 tonnes of cereals have been recorded/declared as imports. Thus a significant international food aid is needed to meet the shortage.
The country continues to suffer from chronic food insecurity, high malnutrition rates and economic problems, and has great difficulties meeting the needs of its about 24 million people. The FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) conducted in the late 2008 confirmed a significant deterioration in food security in most parts of the country in recent years. The poor, especially those living in urban areas, continue to be affected by soaring food prices. It is very likely that the financial and economic situation of most households has worsened after recent monetary measures taken by the government to replace the devalued currency by a new legal tender for all transactions.
World Food Program has a similar report:
Since 1995, WFP has played a central role in mobilizing and delivering food assistance to millions of the DPRK’s hungriest people, saving countless lives and helping to achieve significant reductions in malnutrition rates. Emergency operations between 1995 and 2005 secured more than four million tonnes of commodities valued at US$1.7 billion and directly supported up to one-third of the population.

In response to a government request for relief assistance and confirmed new food needs, WFP launched an emergency operation in September 2008. The US$504 million operation set out to target 6.2 million of the most vulnerable groups, mainly young children, pregnant and lactating women and the elderly, addressing immediate humanitarian needs of the population while simultaneously improving the nutritional quality over the medium-term.

Vitamin-and-mineral enriched foods produced at WFP-supported factories are given to young children and pregnant and nursing women, and cereal rations to underemployed workers through food-for-community-development schemes aimed at improving food security and mitigating natural disasters. All of these activities are vital investments in the future of the beneficiaries.
 And aiding in propping up a nasty, corrupt regime by feeding its huddled masses while the DPRK government spends money on weapons instead of plowshare.

Another "worker's paradise."

1 comment:

  1. Gee, it would be nice to know just how ready Kim is in trying out his new nuclear stockpile. If you think about it, this is the only real weapon he has, but it is one that will level the playing field.

    This is a good lesson for this administration to re-think it's handling of Iran.