South Korea gets tough with Norks

NY Times:

The new, conservative South Korean government took a tougher line on North Korea on Wednesday, warning that it would speak out against human rights abuses in the Communist North and that it would not expand economic ties unless the North abandoned its nuclear weapons programs.

North Korea angrily reacted on Thursday by expelling 11 South Korean officials based in a joint industrial complex in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.

The new South Korean policy, outlined by the new president, Lee Myung-bak, means at least a temporary reduction in generous South Korean economic aid at a dire time for the North, with cuts in humanitarian aid expected to follow. In recent weeks, relief experts have warned that food shortages in the North will worsen because of high global commodity prices, flood damage and aid donors’ reluctance in light of the country’s nuclear wrangling with the United States.

“The speed and scope of, as well as ways to push for any development in, inter-Korean relations will be decided according to progress in the North Korean nuclear issue,” Unification Minister Kim Ha-joong, the South’s major policy maker on the North, said during a briefing.

Mr. Kim said Seoul would not push for any joint economic programs with the North, absent progress in the nuclear disarmament talks. He also vowed to emphasize the issue of the return of South Korean citizens kidnapped by the North during and after the Korean War, which previous governments have largely skirted.


Mr. Lee, who took office last month, has accused his predecessors of making too many concessions to the North in the name of reconciliation and has vowed not to shy away from criticizing the North on human rights.

“I love North Korean people more than anybody else, and I believe the North Korean people should get to a point where they can enjoy the minimum basic happiness of human beings,” Mr. Lee said Wednesday.

Some analysts said Mr. Lee risked alienating North Korea. Although the North is dependent on aid, which has increased under the liberal South Korean governments of the past 10 years, it has in the past refused aid that was not given on its own terms.


Communism has made North Korea a charity case more than a country and they are the most arrogant of beggars, even more so than the Palestinians. It is unlikely that this will make them more humble in demeanor, but it will definitely make their circumstances more humble.


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