The North Korean government is under unprecedented pressure from it’s population, something that was formerly unthinkable in a hard-line totalitarian nation. It irks the leadership of NK no end to hear that the US and South Korea are making contingency plans for what to do if the North Korean government collapses. The announcement from North Korea is essentially saying that they will NOT go gentle into that good night, and that the rest of the world had better start basing their plans on North Korea being around forever, not collapsing. Just how North Korea would make good on this threat I don’t know; perhaps by demanding foreign aid on a quasi-blackmail basis?
“Kim? Barry here. Listen, I’m taking a lot of heat over this health care thing. Could you help a fellow socialist out and toss a few missiles over the DMZ? That’d let me act all presidential…you can?..thanks, buddy, I owe you one.”
My guess is a mine is at fault.
The explosion took place in disputed waters and likely N.Korea to assert their control have dropped the occasional mine.
N Korea tends to saber rattle quite a bit including doing missile tests every so often to upset the Japanese, but the threats and posturing are nothing more than their usual petulant reaction to get the West, specifically the US, to take notice of them for another demand.
I’d be really surprised if was overt action against the ship and as far as a plot… :dubious: less said the better
I don’t have a cite to back this up (forget where I read it) but I used to read a lot about the North Korean regime a few years ago (various books and articles). The impression I got was in between the famine of the 90s (which made people realize how little competence or empathy the government had for the people) combined with the nation being flooded with cheap cell phones and VHS tapes, more and more people in NK realize they are being lied to.
The reason VHS tapes are important is people in N Korea are told S Korea is a miserable hellhole. Then they watch VHS movies from the south and realize it was all a lie since so many people in South Korea are obese, drive nice cars and live in nice buildings based on the videos they get. Combine that with people using cell phones to contact the outside world, and the totalistic ideology about a caring paternalistic North Korea protecting the people from the dirt poor, aggressive outside world starts to crumble. I once read a quote a few years ago from a defector that said something like ‘everyone now knows the North Korean regime is a lie, but nobody knows what to do or what will happen’.
Also, during the famine a few generals were conspiring to overthrow the government and march on Pyongyang. So there is some resistance.
So it might be due to that. Also Kim Jong Il is supposedly extremely sick and on dialysis, and they haven’t picked his replacement yet. So there is probably internal strife.
The North Korean government backtracked from the botched currency exchange that led to economic instability. It executed the [del]scapegoat[/del] senior official responsible, and actually issued a public apology. When a Stalinist government actually says it did something wrong and apologizes, you know things are getting bad.
ETA: a search for North Korea news should mention these.
That is what I’ve heard too, but when Jong-il was picked he had been groomed for years and years to take over for Kim Il Sung. My impression is Jong-Ils son hasn’t been groomed the same way and isn’t as experienced or ready to take over. Kim Jong Il had been working in the NK government for 30 years (1964-94) and was in his 50s before he replaced his father. Jong Ils son by contrast is only 25-26 years old and may not have any experience or credibility whatsoever. If Jong Il dies soon I don’t know if all the generals will blindly obey a 30 year old with no government experience. There might be an internal coup.
“Hasn’t picked his replacement” was a bad choice of words. “Hasn’t groomed his replacement so he has experience or credibility” would probably be better.
Seriously? Your clever answer to an ambiguous situation is to lob cruise missiles into a Chinese border state that has enough conventional artillery pointed at a city with a population of 20 odd million people to wipe it out in no time at all? Outstanding!
:dubious: Seems unlikely, since the report I heard said the explosion reported was in the rear of the ship. So, unless it was cruising at full speed backwards I have my doubts that it hit a rock…and this leaves aside the fact that this thing was a 1500 ton corvette (with all the compartmentalization that implies). Sure…it COULD hit a rock and sink I suppose, but I’d be more inclined to think there was some kind of accident on board with ordnance than that it hit a rock and none of the water tight compartments held.
Personally, considering where it was, I’d go with the mine theory, until we have more information. There were reports of gun fire, but I haven’t seen any of them confirmed. A mine though…yeah, I could see that. I could see an NK ship tossing out a couple of mines just to sow a bit of hate and discontent.
Will it mean war? Almost certainly not. The NK’s periodically will fire across the DMZ, or send a covert spec ops team over to do a bit of moonlight murder, and have been doing so at seeming random for decades now. They just like to remind the SK’s from time to time that they are still about, and maybe tweak the nose of the American’s and let us also know that Lil Kimmy and his merry men are still bumping about in the weeds…