Friday, November 26, 2004
THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR
Yesterday was about as good a Thanksgiving as one could ask for. We started the morning with a Turkey Trot race (1 mile for Jon; 5k for me) along with about 1500 other crazy local people. The rest of the day was spent cooking, eating, and chatting. Couldn't ask for much better. Some photos:
Mmmmm ... Pie!
A nice backyard
Mmmmm ... Pie!
A nice backyard
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS
Despite best harvest in decade, North Korea still expected to be dependent on foreign aid for food next year, UN says:
North Korea’s food harvests for the 2004-2005 season is expected to be its best in a decade, with some 4.1 million tons of rice, corn and other grain being produced, a joint report by the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) says. A statement was released by the UN agencies following a visit by officials from the WFP and FAO in September and October. The production is up approximately 2.4 percent from a year earlier and is the fourth consecutive year of increase, according to the UN agencies. However, the UN agencies warn that they will still need some 500,000 tons of food aid in 2005 to feed the nations most vulnerable—some 6.1 million children, pregnant women, and elderly. The UN agencies also warn that some modest reforms for the country’s planned economy to a more market based one have caused prices to go up while wages were cut, making it increasingly difficult for people to afford food.Sigh.
Monday, November 22, 2004
from North Korea include a public Japanese acknowledgment of the possibility of regime change and tales of high-level military defections (see NYT article here; free registration required).
After weeks of reports from North Korea of defecting generals, antigovernment posters and the disappearance of portraits of the country's ruler, the leader of Japan's governing party warned Sunday of the prospects of "regime change" in North Korea.Some see a potential China-instigated coup in the works:
In Seoul, an editor at Monthly Chosun, a magazine that closely follows North Korean affairs, said in an interview that when he was in northern China earlier this year, Chinese officials showed him North Korean wanted posters for generals who had managed to reach China with their families. The editor, who asked not to be identified, estimated that in recent years, 130 North Korean generals had defected to China, about 10 percent of the military elite.
Of this group, the most significant, he said, are four who have been integrated into active duty with the Chinese military in the Shenyang district, along the Korean border.
Last May, Lt. Gen. O Se Ok, a rising member of the military elite, left the North Korean port of Chongjin by boat, met a Japanese boat in the Sea of Japan and eventually made his way to the United States, according to NHK television of Japan and Kazuhiro Araki, a professor of Korean politics at Takushoku University in Japan. The general's 73-year-old father, O Kuk Ryol, ranked second on the Central Military Commission at the time, after Kim Jong Il.
Now, the South Korean editor speculated, China may be forming a fallback plan should Kim Jong Il prove incapable of reforming or holding on to power. "The scenario the Chinese are looking into is to make a buffer regime through such North Korean general defectors,"But, the DPRK still officially denies anything out of the ordinary is going on:
Li Sang Su, an official with the Korea News Service, which distributes reports of the North Korean news agency in Japan, said the portrait change was merely a routine updating of images.
"They change the portraits after some years to new ones because the portraits get worn and the person gets older," he said.
On Friday, China's official New China News Agency carried an interview with a North Korean Foreign Ministry official, Ri Gyong Son, who attributed reports about the disappearing portraits to the United States and its allies who "want to overthrow" Mr. Kim.