Thursday, May 15, 2003

"THE INTERNET IS A BATHROOM WALL" Men's room? Women's room? Does it make a difference?

BUSH AND ROH: WE AGREE BUT NOT REALLY. North Korean nukes are intolerable but Roh still wants a military attack on the North taken off the table and is leery about sanctions and/or embargo. Since Bush refuses to rule out either option, where does that leave the U.S.-and ROK?
Mr. Roh said on Monday that he was coming to Washington "concerned" about the hard-liners in the administration, adding that "many people are concerned that President Bush's `peaceful resolution' principle may change in the future, despite his assurance otherwise."

But tonight, after meeting Mr. Rumsfeld and then Mr. Bush, he told reporters: "When I left Korea, I had both concerns and hopes in my mind. Now, after having talked to President Bush, I have gotten rid of all my concerns."
So, either Bush told Roh in private what he has been unwilling to admit in public (e.g. miliatry action against the North is, indeed, off the table) or Roh is lying about either his concerns or about how Bush assuaged them. Gotta love diplomacy!

FULL TEXT of the official statement of Bush and Roh can be found here (NYT online; free registration required)

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Pyongyang, May 9 (KCNA) -- The Institute of Plant Resources under the Academy of Agricultural Science of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has developed a health drink for computer operators. The drink, with Saponin extracted from fruits of a tree as its main ingredient, has a good effect on the prevention of and recovery from fatigue.

150 milliliters of the drink has been applied to each of several dozen computer operators twice a day for scores of days. The results show that the eye and mental strain has considerably been reduced. They say they do not feel tired though they operate computers for many hours.

The drink is a good tonic for the aged as it promotes metabolism and regeneration of cells in human body and reduces cholesterol in blood.

It, with a good odour and sweet and sour taste, has no side-effect on human body.

LETTERMEN ON THE NEW YORK TIMES: Top Ten Signs Something Is Wrong at "The New York Times"

I like the top three:

3. Its journalistic integrity is questioned by Geraldo Rivera

2. They believe President Bush's tax cut is a good idea

1. Sports page reports Mets in first place

The protracted strike by truck drivers is a nightmare for Korean exporters, with the paralysis of the nation's two key ports of Busan and Gwangyang forcing them to lose up to $182 million in revenue each day.
Drivers in Busan, the nation's largest gateway handling nearly 80 percent of total shipping, voted Monday to continue their walkout that began Friday, raising fears that soon all operations there would come to a standstill.

The Korea International Trade Association warned that a few more days of transportation blockage would completely cripple major local manufacturing lines, thus hurting the nation's international image.

Reuters ("US PONDERS CRACKDOWN ON N.KOREAN DRUGS, MISSILES," Washington, 05/12/03) reported that the US is exploring ways to crack down on drug and missile exports that earn hard currency for the DPRK and does not plan a detailed counter to a proposal by the DPRK at recent negotiations in Beijing, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Monday. Rice also said that President Bush was open to another round of talks with the DPRK and remained committed to a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear crisis, although he continued to keep "all options open." "Unfortunately, the DPRK seem to trade in drugs and missiles and that seems to be their export and we are looking at ways to deal with that," she said. The international community "needs better tools to deal with a state like North Korea that appears to be determined to violate its international agreements and I think we're going to work more aggressively with other states to see what other tools we can build," she said. Some US officials and independent experts have urged the administration to formally counter the proposal by the DPRK to trade the DPRK's nuclear and missile programs for economic and political benefits as a way of testing whether the DPRK really wants to strike a nuclear deal with Washington. But Rice said: "We see no reason to respond point by point to what the DPRK have said."
North Korea sells missiles and drugs? I had no idea! To bring up those issues at this time is further indication that the Bush team doesn't really want to negotiate its way out of this problem; it wants Kim Jong Il and company to go away. So do I; but I'm more than a bit leery about the risks of pushing for regime change.

After his arrival in New York, Roh hardened his tone on the DPRK by urging Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear weapons drive. "For world peace and security on the Korean peninsula, North Korea must abandon its nuclear development and destroy whatever nuclear materials it possesses," Roh said in a meeting with Korean residents.(Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA'S ROH RINGS BELL TO OFFICIALLY START US
TRIP," 05/13/03))
Such talk prompts the cliche: "talk is cheap." Will Roh actually back any measures that have a serious chance of convincing Kim Jong Il to abandon nukes? Probably not.

Speaking at a House of Representatives committee debate on war contingency bills, Koizumi dismissed the suggestion that it could be advantageous for Japan to give up talks with Kim's regime and begin to build new ties from scratch when North Korea has a new leader.
Of course more interesting is the fact that some in Japan are even considering such a move.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?