Sunday, October 08, 2006

You Be (Kim Jong) Illin'

Well, the idiots went ahead and did it.
North Korea said Monday it has performed its first-ever nuclear weapons test and the blast had been successfully set off underground with no radioactive leakage from the site.

An official at South Korea's seismic monitoring center confirmed a magnitude-3.6 tremor felt at the time North Korea said it conducted the test was not a natural occurrence. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition his name not be used, because he was not authorized to talk about the sensitive information to the media.

They seem to think this will intimidate the US into concessions (since they seem to be ignoring the UN). This is actually more of a threat to China and Japan. Chinese policy makers have been quickly loosing patience with North Korea, and this may be the last straw. There have already been troop build-ups on the Chinese/North Korean border. At one point China cut back on deliveries of aid via rail --North Korea was keeping the trains.

But really has China concerned is the current balance of military power in the region. Currently, China is the military power in the Asian sphere. This may change, depending on Japan's reaction in the next few days. It is likely Japan, which has voiced concerns about North Korea's nuclear ambitions before, to use this as an excuse to rebuild it's military and arsenal. Including nuclear weapons. China most definitely does not want a militarized Japan; something not seen since the end of World War II.

Secondly, and perhaps not as obvious (and perhaps less likely than the Japan scenario).. well, I'll just say one word sure to strike terror in China's heart: Taiwan.

A US military buildup in the region is the last thing China want to see happen. Now, China considers Taiwan to still be part of the mainland. In their eyes, the current government is illegitimate. China would love nothing more than to take Taiwan back into the fold. But they don't want to get into a shooting war with the US over it. We consider ourselves allies of Taiwan and would most likely intervene at an invasion by China.

Plus, perhaps even more importantly, the Chinese regulars are becoming disgusted with North Korea.
The North Korean refugee had one request for her captors before the young Chinese soldiers led her back across the steel-girdered bridge on the Yalu River that divides two “socialist allies”.

“She asked for a comb and some water because she said that if she was going to die she could not face going to heaven looking as dirty and dishevelled as this,” recounted a relative of one soldier who was there.

What happened next is testimony to the rising disgust in Chinese military ranks as Beijing posts more troops to the border amid a crisis with North Korea over its regime’s plan to stage a nuclear test.

The soldiers, who later told family members of the incident, marched the woman, who was about 30, to the mid-point of the bridge. North Korean guards were waiting. They signed papers for receipt of the woman, who kept her dignity until that moment. Then, in front of the Chinese troops, one seized her and another speared her hand — the soft part between thumb and forefinger — with the point of a sharpened steel cable, which he twisted into a leash.

“She screamed just like a pig when we kill it at home in the village,” the soldier later told his relative. “Then they dragged her away.”

The one country they cannot afford to alienate is poised to turn against them.

North Korea is going to find it is all alone in world if it keeps on the course it currently takes.