A light water nuclear reactor for North Korea

‘IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly’ has released its assessment of North Korea’s light water nuclear reactor.

Of course, Jane’s appraisal goes very much in the way of drumming up the scare of increasing North Korea’s nuclear stockpile. Translation: more fissible material to build more bombs.

Yet, the Soviets and the Clinton administration did promise to build light water reactors for the DPRK a generation and more ago. They never lived up to their promises. One, the Soviet Union collapse; two, the US bet that after the death of Kim Il Sung and the ill fated beginning of Kim Jong il with economic collapse and famine, North Korea would fall on its own sword. It didn’t.

Like laser technology which has military and civilian applications, light water reactions do too. It is more likely that North Korea’s light water reactor will be a strong tool to renovate its rusting and outmoded infrastructure for providing electricity.

Better power will aliment Kim Jung eun’s plans to accelerate economic development as North Koreans define it, whilst keeping up its military arm  since the country without a peace treaty is still at war with the US and South Korea.

Already the US attempt to marginalise and encircle North Korea is cracking. Japan is willing to talk with North Korea about substantive political differences. Even in South Korea, which never signed the 1953 Armistice Agreement, restive investors are looking to infuse capital into the North, to steal the thunder of the Chinese who are pouring money into port infrastructure, mineral development, and the like.

Already the young marshal Kim has added a good pinch of perplexity among ‘seasoned’ North Korean specialists by taking small, but significant steps which show that the DPRK can, does, and will think outside the box.

The shame is on the US North Korean clerisy for being bellicose and unable to think beyond the current orthodoxy in policy towards North Korea.

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No surprise: Park Chung Hee’s daughter will run for presidency

No surprise, indeed! The news that the leading party Saenuri will field Park Guen hye, daughter of dictator Park Chung Hee, as its candidate for the presidency should bring a chorus of yawns.

Saenuri replaced the Grand National Party in name for recent parliamentary elections, and squeeked by a narrow margin to remain the dominant party. The current president Lee Myung bak squandered the GNP’s political capital during his term in office which will end in March 2013.

US money and media support have long gone into a campaign to bring Park election success against the opposition which is more amenable to returning to a sort of ‘Sunshine Policy’ towards North Korea.

What the US and western media neglect to document is the revisionist history of the reign of dictator Park Chung from when he overthrow John Chung Myon in early 1960s to his death at the hands of his generals in the late 1970s.

A doorstop of a book by journalist Shim Jae Hoon ‘Park Chung Hee: an enigma’ [now available in English] is the latest venture in cleaning up Park’s image.

During his dictatorship, South Korea modernised rapidly by healthy infusions of Japanese and US capital. Yet, his rule was brutal and unforgiving. He did try to subvert the US constitution by suborning Congress; he even kidnapped his rival Kim Dae Jung from Japan with the intention of killing him; only the CIA and the US government at the last minute saved Kim’s life. His unfeeling suppression of his people’s right under the infamous Yushin constitution puts him squarely into the dictator’s mould.

He was a loyal ally of America until president Nixon withdrew US troops in Korea, to fight America’s dirty, ‘undeclared’ war in Vietnam. This, along what became known as ‘Koreagate’ –the bribery scandal in the corridors of the US Capitol–certainly spurred the generals assassination of the man.

Yet, time is a healer of sorts. And Park Chung Hee’s reputation has improved by hindsight. He is thought of as a great Korean patriot who did much to transform South Korea into a modern, industrial nation, with the same sort of weights–negative of course?–that tip the evaluation of Kim Il Sung of North Korea.

And, his daughter, skilful as she might be in the corridors of power, has undoubtedly benefited from this historical and sentimental revision of her father legacy.

Even if Park Guen hye becomes South Korea’s first woman president, her grasp on power is slim, and with a sliver of a majority in parliament, she will have to compromise with the opposition. Which translates into cracks in the US encirclement and marginalisation of North Korea.

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DPRK at the London Games

North Korea has garnered five medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in Washington: four Gold and one Bronze. In all, it is enjoying its best showing at the Games in almost 20 years.

Not only that in the first female boxing match at any Olympics, a flyweight Kim Hye song faced Russia’s Elena Savelyeva. Although Kim did not win the bout she showed determination and good fighting spirit.

Some see in the North Korean athletes performances a good omen for the DPRK’s new leader Kim Jung eun’s rule. A young leader at the head of a ‘young nation’, signifying hope and change, and the winds of reform and renewal.

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Kim Jung eun gives US North Korean clerisy more wool to thread

Dismissed at first by the US North Korean clerisy as a mere kid, wet behind the ears and easy pray to the party nomenclature, Kim Jung eun never ceases to surprise North Korean watchers.

The surprise is so stunning  after merely soon eighth months at the helm of the the DPRK, some ‘scholars’ are depicting him as a rightful heir to Kim Jung il, in his blood thirstiness. How much can we rely on the judgment of these Pyongyongologists who cannot tell a black thread from a white one at the dawn of Kim Jung eun’s leadership?

The US North Korean clerisy has much to do to catch up with the winds of change that are sweeping North Korea, the least being a young wife with a ph.d.

Although much is not known of Kim’s early life, there is enough there to tell us something: he is well schooled in North Korea as well as in Switzerland. He is no stranger to the outside world, speaks or understands many languages, and is wise to things of the western world. That at least should inform the US North Korean clerisy that he is not exactly formed in the hoary mould they are use to examining with laser like intensity.

They make guffaw at the generalissimo’s call on Mickey Mouse but the message is clear: North Korea is signaling a change to dredge its faltering economy from the morass it is in, without letting its guard down against the US and South Korea who are desperately trying to push the DPRK over the cliff to ruin and destruction.

It is interesting to also note that former Soviet trained Korea pooh bahs are equally leading the pack of critics of North Korea. They dwell in a time more suitable to Proust’s ‘Remembrance of things past’ than of what’s happening on the ground in North Korea today.

These ‘Russkis’ writhe in their contempt for the plain and simple truth North Korea is not going the way the old Soviet Union and people’s democracies went to their grave.

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Is the US in the joyful throes of Kim Jung eun fever?

Hardly. Still, the stale news that Kim Jung eun has taken a wife has brought a bubbly smile to White House spokeswoman Victoria Nuland’s lips when she wished the newlyweds America’s congratulations on this happy events.

She soon returned to message by iterating for the nth time US concerns for the welfare and health of the undernourished North Koreans–a state of being partly owing to Mother Nature’s foul temperament and partly to the Obama administration’s use of food aid as a political weapon.

In fact, Ri has in her own way in the western media is having her Kate Middleton moment! Well, fickle is the global press, one moment attacking North Korea as a bat out of hell and at another moment as a land of Cinderella surprises! Won’t wonders never cease?

And then there a long spread in today’s ‘New York Times Online’ on ‘That Mystery Woman in North Korea? Turns Out She’s First Lady’.

The ‘Times’ editorials are hardly the stuff to win hearts and minds of North Korea’s leadership. Still, weddings do ever so thaw Cold War hearts for a nano second.

Despite the nose to page with a high powered magnifying glass, the US North Korea clerisy, among which the ‘Times’ rubs elbows, have gone to dismissal of the young DPRK marshal Kim to begrudging acknowledgment that he is not pushover and is a young man of the 21 century and full of surprises.

Still the National Bureau of Asian Research labels the DPRK as “an extremely marginalized country”. Have they not been reading the global media yea these many years, especially since North Korea has forced the doors open to the world’s nuclear club, thanks to the idiocy of George W. Bush’s policies.

DPRK’s first lady is Ri Sol ju, mother of the young marshal’s baby girl. Ri is no light weight and holds a doctorate from Kim Il Sung University.

GuamDiary joins in the swelling chorus of well wishers on the West’s announcement of her marriage.

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Judith Miller

What more can one about former ‘New York Times’ journalist Judith Miller?

She shot herself in the foot on the Iraq War, snookered by the Bush illegal war against Hussein. Her willingness to peddle the Bush White House blackened forever her reputation.

Nonetheless, when ‘Times’ bureau chief in Cairo, she wrote an interesting book–‘God has 99 names’. [For the less familiar with the significance of 99, Allah has 99 attributes.] Its the chapter on Israel that should have drawn our attention.

Miller spoke of the rise of Muslim fanaticism, but she also put her finger on what has become more and more evident in ‘democratic’ Israel the growing influence of Jewish extremism and the call for the complete imposition of Jewish equivalent of Islamic Shari’a–the Torah and the Talmud.

We can see the groundswell of the growing demographic strength of the ultra orthodox in the push for no longer exempting the growing army of ‘rabbis’ who refuse to service in the military.

Even if national service is not the issue, the viper of racism against Israeli Arabs, Palestinian Arabs and Christians, and secular Israelis.

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Exit Ri Song Ho

North Korea’s army chief Ri Song Ho lost his job, owing to illness. His departure has sent the Pyongyongologists to reading shaman bones for the ‘real’ reasons for Ri’s departure.

GuamDiary leaves them to their task. We, however, do raise the following question since we know senior DPRK officials wear many hats: is Ri Song Ho the same Ri Song Ho who negotiated the 29 February 2012 agreement with the US? Is he the same Ri Song Ho who then spoke at Syracuse’s Maxwell School?

His ‘diplomatic’ resignation may have nothing to do with Pyongyang’s reassessment of how to deal with US, but we cannot help raising the matter.

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