View Poll Results: What is the near-term future of the DPRK

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  • It will fall into chaos as a result of renewed famine and poverty, resulting in military crackdowns.

    3 15.79%
  • There will be a military coup that displaces the current leadership, hopefully soon.

    4 21.05%
  • It will continue to remain a closed society, technologically dormant and otherwise insignificant.

    12 63.16%
  • The leadership will eventually make a misstep, forcing military action from the United States.

    0 0%
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Thread: North Korea: 2012-2016

  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
    is not so much about red lines and escalation so much as about retribution or lack there of.

    Have any ideas on exactly where the Chinese whom you give such great importance in the what if's see the "too far" bar in relation to their reckless child to the souths hissy fits?

    Seems like important information when determining how best to avoid "accidental" escalations which seems like everyone agrees wouldn't be good for all involved.
    First off the risk from NK is much higher because of their nuclear capability. So there is the first mistake from the weakness of the past.

    Given the survival of the NK regime under the current sanctions China remains their source of all sanctions busting imports and probably finance as well. The power is total, "do as we say or we close the border."

    China holds the key.

    ... oh yes, and tell the kids in SK to stop doing silly things unless they are will to step up to the plate and not just threaten to take action next time.

  2. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Not even. Several have been far more significant. This one gets extra traction because a lot of people have digital cameras or phone that will do video today and the news media is on 24/7 and hungry for any 'bad' news' and goes looking for said pics and videos. We just communicate better (well, with more facility... )and more rapidly than we used to.

    The Tunnels of the 80s were far more significant, the Song-O sub in 1986 was far more significant, the Axe murder in 1976 was more significant. Here's a partlal list of the larger incidents [(LINK) all of which exceeded this one in scope (thus far). Can't believe The Scotsman neglected the tunnels. You are of course correct that the sinking of the Cheonan last May was a greater provocation -- and thus more important...

    There were others that occurred in the 50s and earlier in the 60s. Here's the Wiki with an even longer less including lesser incidents (LINK). This is just business as usual over the last 56 years

    This one is most likely all about nothing more than Kim Jong Un nominally giving the order to establish his credibility as the Supreme Leader designee.
    I need some help here. 200 artillery shells kill 5 (2 soldiers and 3 civvies) and wound 18 when fired into a civilian residential area.

    Exaggerated number of shells fired, crap ammo, wild shooting, no one at home or what?

  3. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    I need some help here. 200 artillery shells kill 5 (2 soldiers and 3 civvies) and wound 18 when fired into a civilian residential area.

    Exaggerated number of shells fired, crap ammo, wild shooting, no one at home or what?
    Supposedly there were two waves. The first had shells landing all over the place, apparently including water. The second more or less landed on the base itself. The island also has bunkers which the military and civilians took cover in. That probably explains the widespread damage (also partly thanks to the fires started by the shelling) and low casualties.

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maeda Toshiie View Post
    Supposedly there were two waves. The first had shells landing all over the place, apparently including water. The second more or less landed on the base itself. The island also has bunkers which the military and civilians took cover in. That probably explains the widespread damage (also partly thanks to the fires started by the shelling) and low casualties.
    You know this or are you speculating?

  5. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
    Have any ideas on exactly where the Chinese whom you give such great importance in the what if's see the "too far" bar in relation to their reckless child to the souths hissy fits?
    I would also add that we should be careful not to assume that the Chinese always see these incidents in exactly the same way we do.

    It isn't clear to me, for example, that Beijing is convinced that the ROKS Cheonan was necessarily sunk by a North Korean torpedo. Beijing may also agree with Pyongyang that ROK live-fire naval exercises just outside a disputed maritime boundary were provocative, and may even lend some credence to North Korean claims that the incident started when South Korean shells landed in Northern territory.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  6. #246
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question OK, even if we were to accept that possibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    I would also add that we should be careful not to assume that the Chinese always see these incidents in exactly the same way we do.

    It isn't clear to me, for example, that Beijing is convinced that the ROKS Cheonan was necessarily sunk by a North Korean torpedo. Beijing may also agree with Pyongyang that ROK live-fire naval exercises just outside a disputed maritime boundary were provocative, and may even lend some credence to North Korean claims that the incident started when South Korean shells landed in Northern territory.
    Exactly how does firing on civilian targets actually in South Korean territory fit within Chinese parameters of acceptability.

    May just be me, but if they believed as you say wouldn't it seem like this particular action puts them in a rather tough position to say that the North was being unduly accused on the Cheonan.

    And lets not forget that its the North who decided to walk someone through to get a look at their new toys just a little bit ago. Somehow the narrative here doesn't seem to help much with the Chinese pushing back against accusations of undue provocations by Kim and company.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

  7. #247
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default F y i

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
    Exactly how does firing on civilian targets actually in South Korean territory fit within Chinese parameters of acceptability.
    The demarcation line known informally as the '38th Parallel" or the De Militarized Zone doe not extend into the coastal waters on wither side of the Peninsula, both Notrt and South Korea -- for different reasons -- did not want that to occur at the time of the Truce.

    The South did not want it because they effectively occupied many of the islands off both North Korean coasts; the North wanted them to fight over in the future...

    The South has moved off many of those islands but still occupy those where the sinking of the Corvette and this artillery duel took place. The North contends they are NK territory, the South disagrees and the South does deliberately provoke things in that area -- and have done so since 1954.

    The Chinese -- and the Koreans (both) do indeed look at this far differently than do we. The Chinese also look at differently than does North Korea.

  8. #248
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Post Thanks for that

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    The Chinese -- and the Koreans (both) do indeed look at this far differently than do we. The Chinese also look at differently than does North Korea.
    Seems awful undefined for such a heavily fortified and possibly explosive area.
    Actually quite surprising in that it seems rather less predictable then the Chinese would usually prefer considering both their proximity and in larger terms the effects circumstances there can have on those countries close by.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

  9. #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
    Exactly how does firing on civilian targets actually in South Korean territory fit within Chinese parameters of acceptability.
    I doubt the Chinese thought it was helpful. Equally, however, North Korea does not accept the current post-war border demarcation (the Northern Limit Line), a complicated issue on which I'm not sure that China has a definitive position. The Chinese may well feel that South Korean live fire exercises in a disputed area (and the alleged shelling of North Korean waters, according to Pyongyang) were provocative, even if the subsequent North Korean response was disproportionate.

    My point is that we should not assume that China's perception of the conflict is always the same as ours.

    * * *

    Since I started writing this, five students have knocked on my door, and Ken has written pretty much the same thing.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  10. #250
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    First off the risk from NK is much higher because of their nuclear capability. So there is the first mistake from the weakness of the past.
    How, short of war, could the north have been prevented from acquiring a nuclear capability?

  11. #251
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    How, short of war, could the north have been prevented from acquiring a nuclear capability?
    Try to give it a little thought and see what you come up with.

  12. #252
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    Default South Korea defence minister resigns after attack

    From the Mail & Guardian:

    South Korean President Lee Myung-bak accepted the resignation of his defence minister on Thursday, two days after an attack by North Korea and amid criticism that the South's response was too slow.

  13. #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    You know this or are you speculating?
    http://joongangdaily.joins.com/artic...sp?aid=2928852

    There are other articles out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Try to give it a little thought and see what you come up with.
    China? No one else has the leverage to do so.
    Last edited by Maeda Toshiie; 11-26-2010 at 07:52 AM.

  14. #254
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    One of the interesting side effects of the recent incident is that China seems to have backed down on its opposition to a US carrier operating in the Yellow Sea. Previous announcements opposed any operation in the sea, now the reference is to areas within the 200 mile exclusive economic zone, which does not cover all of the Yellow Sea. I wonder if JMA will call this a "humiliating climb down".

    Realistically, of course, it's less about China and the US than about China sending a message to North Korea. It would be a huge mistake to believe that China has full control over North Korea and that the North asks permission before taking any action: the North is and has long been quite willing to take their patrons by surprise. They are dependent, but they are well aware of the reasons China keeps them afloat and they are aware that the strategic imperative will still be there even if they throw Beijing a curveball now and then. I don't suppose the Chinese are very happy with the latest performance - hence the back-down on the US exercises that the North finds so offensive - but they still aren't going to allow the North to fold up. If that happened and the North was absorbed by the south, China would have an economically potent, militarily significant US ally on their border. They don't want that and the North Koreans know it, which gives the North leverage despite their dependence.

  15. #255
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Agreed

    and the answer to your question is "of course not..."

  16. #256
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    ...the US exercises that the North finds so offensive...
    Bold assumption that DPRK finds the exercises offensive. The case could be made that the DPRK welcomes these excuses for military action.

    The theme lately seems to be "avoid reunification at all costs". Note the failure of the Kaesung Industrial Complex, and how the most recent events derailed a scheduled reunification talk. The appearance is that the North is pursuing status quo, albeit an earlier status quo with more generous food shipments from the South. But it makes a twisted kind of sense.

    What advantage is there for regime members in reunification? Who will guarantee their status, quality of life, personal security, and financial incentives? More important, who will guarantee KJI's steady stream of comfort girls?

    But who in this game would benefit from reunification?
    The U.S. would most likely lose basing (greatly diminished basing as the very least) in the region, and our foothold in the region.

    China would lose the buffer between democracy and the middle kingdom, and would run what is likely to be an unacceptable risk of disturbing the harmony of the ethnic Koreans in China.

    Japan would see both military and economic threats in the long term from a unified Korea.

    South Korea would bear the brunt of rehabilitating an environmentally, socially, and economically devastated region.

    Russia is the only player who might be open to reunification, simply to reduce the U.S. presense in the Pacific Rim, but runs risk to their interests in the region from branches and sequels of reunification (various possibilities for war, shifting economic blocks, etc).

    So the big question is "What does DPRK really get out of this?"
    -Shifting fishing in the region, now that the fishing villages on those islands have been relocated, although this might benefit China more.
    -Attention. ("I'm such a big player now! Look how upset I got the U.S.")
    -Leverage in the next round of food begging/barginning ("Feed us or we'll do this again!")

    -Maybe, and this is the long-shot, Tom Clancy scenario; U.S. attention drawn away from a DPRK ally like Iran or Syria...

  17. #257
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    Bold assumption that DPRK finds the exercises offensive. The case could be made that the DPRK welcomes these excuses for military action.
    Ok granted, should have said "publicly". I've no doubt that the north needs and relies upon responses to provocation. Like so many other governments, they need somebody to hate.

    In some ways the most provocative and disconcerting response we could give to provocation would be to completely ignore it, but that's difficult to do... and would leave the temptation to escalate the provocation until response was gained.

    I suspect that many regional players would be happy enough to see the status quo of a divided and eternally conflicted Korea continue, but of course the rather eccentric nature of the north makes that status quo a bit shaky.

  18. #258
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Ok granted, should have said "publicly". I've no doubt that the north needs and relies upon responses to provocation. Like so many other governments, they need somebody to hate.

    In some ways the most provocative and disconcerting response we could give to provocation would be to completely ignore it, but that's difficult to do... and would leave the temptation to escalate the provocation until response was gained.

    I suspect that many regional players would be happy enough to see the status quo of a divided and eternally conflicted Korea continue, but of course the rather eccentric nature of the north makes that status quo a bit shaky.
    Exactly the reason why this lunatic should never have been allowed to develop nuclear weapons. This applies to Iran as well.

  19. #259
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Exactly the reason why this lunatic should never have been allowed to develop nuclear weapons. This applies to Iran as well.
    Here we go again with the "allowed to". Who is supposed to declare what other countries are or are not "allowed" to do? Who exactly was supposed to stop them, and how?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Here we go again with the "allowed to". Who is supposed to declare what other countries are or are not "allowed" to do? Who exactly was supposed to stop them, and how?
    It happens all the time. Iraq and Afghanistan are just two recent examples.

    PS: Spend a little time reading the WikiLeaks nuclear related cables and see what the world was facing in this regard.

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