Thursday, October 12, 2006

Punitive Actions, but Not Punishment

AP is reporting that China is backing away from supporting US proposals for sanctions on North Korea for that country's apparent nuclear test.

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing says that "punishment should not be the purpose" of UN sanctions, which appears to contradict the view earlier in the week of the Chinese UN Ambassador that the Security Council needed to resort to "punitive actions" as to North Korea. The Foreign Ministry would appear to be trumping its own Ambassador: possibly the good Ambassador has gone a little too native in New York and needs a trip to Beijing for some Duck and a bottle of Tsingtao. But I'm sure that, whatever the facts, this will be no contradiction in diplo-speak.
Meanwhile, the Japanese are banning North Korean imports and ships. I don't blame the Chinese for letting the Americans and Japanese do the heavy lifting: since they seem to want to. The US has an ocean separating it from Mad Cousin Kim, China has only the Yalu. As for Tokyo, Beijing is probably happy to see the Kim regime mad at Japan.
I stick with my assessment that the Chinese are the losers here, and not happy, but their disgruntlement is far more likely to be manifested quietly, like good Communists, in true knife-in-the-ribs coup d'etat, find-some-right-deviationists-or-Trotskyists-to-hop-in-bed-with-fashion, and not with noisy and public sanctions. That's for capitalist-roaders.
Check out DPRK Studies, and in particular Richardson's analysis on the reasons for the NK nuclear test, here; and the strategic thinking and purposes of the Kim regime -- a "Strategic Disengagement" strategy, here. I might discuss these excellent pieces later if time allows, but Richardson has constructed as good a working hypothesis as you can find anyplace explaining what the House of Kim is after. I'm still not sure the Dear Leader's sums add up, but that's a story for later.
Also, have a look at One Free Korea, on the demise of the ROK's "sunshine policy." Check out North Korea Zone too. Finally, see the NK News North Korean Propaganda Database. Unfortunately, this has not been updated in over a year, but still very interesting if you want to master the art of vituperation in the true Great Leader/Dear Leader style. In particular, try the Random Insult Generator.

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