Friday, November 28, 2003

The North Korean regime is not long for this world; the only question is whether it falls before it’s in a position to do any serious damage. If that doesn’t look likely, the options are not good.
"Not long for this world," is, of course, sufficiently vague as to absolve Mr. Steyn of any credibility problems should North Korea still be around in, say, a year. But what about two? Five? Ten? How much longer does the DRPK need to last before the End of North Korea crowd starts chewing on crow?

Thursday, November 27, 2003

AS THE TURKEY SLOWLY COOKS, THE ROLLS RISE and a dozen other delectable foods are in various stages of preparation, one can't help but feel content. But if the traditional Thanksgiving fare doesn't work for you, Korea Life Blog has pictures of some alternatives (note: eels and kimchi are included)

FLYING YANGBAN CALLS FOR LABOR EXCHANGE BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA But he concludes that such a program, whatever its benefits, is not likely to be pursued.
Of course, a labor-exchange program will never happen. That level of interaction between normal Koreans would increase pressure on both Korean governments to honestly pursue unification, which neither wants to do. So we are stuck with the AUGIC, which is really just another back-door channel for pumping South Korean money into the Kim Jeong-il regime. That makes Kim Jeong-il and Roh Moo-hyun happy. It makes South Korean sweatshop owners happy.

KOREAN VS. CHINESE IRREDENTISM: The Marmot has a post on Chinese claims to the ancient Korean kingdom of Koguryo. This seems to me to be the latest salvo in an ongoing battle over the history and identity of Manchuria. The Choson Kingdom had several disputes with the Qing Empire over the Kando/Jiandao border region. Some earlier Choson monarchs were proponents of marching north to attack the Qing and reclaim lands in Liaodong. And of course there wouldn't be a Chonju Yi clan-ruled Choson Dynasty in the first place if Yi Song-gye had not been sent north to attack Ming China in 1388. As many of the comments of the Marmot's post indicate, placing the label "Korean" on peoples before Koryo is a tricky and often misleading business. But there is plenty to dispute even in more well documented and understood historical periods. An interesting (to me) aside: Andre Schmid's book Korea Between Empires discusses at least one Korean historian of the late 19th century (the name escapes me) who argued that Korean history has ever been a history of North-South division: Koguryo-Paekche/Silla, Unified Silla-Parhae, Liao/Jin/Yuan-Koryo, and Qing-Choson. Not only does this conception eerily prognosticate the current situation on the peninsula, it also turns the tables on Chinese expansionistic claims: if the Qing (and Yuan, Jin, and Liao) were all "northern Korean" kingdoms, then even places like Tibet and Xinjiang (both Qing conquests) are really Korean!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I'm blogging from the headquarters of learning to fly The sky is clear, the air is cold, and the turkey is set to go in the oven. I can't help but sound trite, precious, cheesy, and any number of other adjectives deemed perjorative by the sophisticated intelligentsia but there is a lot to be thankful for (not least wifi broadband).

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