Sat, 27 Nov 2010 19:10:33 +0000
By now, you must have heard/read about what happened last Tuesday in the Korean peninsula.
On November 23, 2010, the looney regime in Pyongyang bombarded an island near the disputed sea border between North and South Korea, killing at least two South Korean marines, injuring 15 soldiers and 3 civilians, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter. The extent of casualties on the northern side is unknown.
The clash, which put South Korea’s military on high alert, was one of the rivals’ most dramatic confrontations since the Korean War ended in 1953 with a truce but without an armistice or peace treaty.
The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused and began firing artillery into disputed waters, albeit away from the North Korean shore, the North retaliated by bombarding the small island of Yeonpyeong, which houses South Korean military installations and a small civilian population. Yeonpyeong is only 7 miles from, and within sight of, the North Korean mainland. In all, North Korea fired dozens of rounds of artillery in three separate barrages that began in the mid-afternoon, while South Korea returned fire with about 80 rounds.
Since then, both sides are vowing retaliation, while the United States has condemned Pyongyang’s bombardment as “a provocative, outrageous attack.” A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group set off for Korean waters Wednesday after Obama pledged America would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with South Korea and stage joint military exercises in response.
The U.S. military is already stretched thin in Afghanistan and Iraq (still), and we can ill afford — in both manpower and dollars — to fight yet another war. So I’ve been watching events since Tuesday, hoping that tensions will die down. Alas, the latest news is ominous: North Korea is recalling its expatriates from Russia, in preparation for war.
And who do we have in the White House? None other than a Commander In Chief who can’t even throw a ball like a man. Meanwhile, the American sheeple are in a post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy (let’s accumulate even more credit-card debt!), oblivious to the mounting tensions in Asia and in denial about America’s stalled economic “recovery.”
By Shaun Walker in Moscow – The Independent – Nov 27, 2010
A mass exodus of North Korean workers from the Far East of Russia is under way, according to reports coming out of the region. As the two Koreas edged towards the brink of war this week, it appears that the workers in Russia have been called back to aid potential military operations. Vladnews agency, based in Vladivostok, reported that North Korean workers had left the town of Nakhodka en masse shortly after the escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula earlier this week. “Traders have left the kiosks and markets, workers have abandoned building sites, and North Korean secret service employees working in the region have joined them and left,” the agency reported.
Russia’s migration service said that there were over 20,000 North Koreans in Russia at the beginning of 2010, of which the vast majority worked in construction. The workers are usually chaperoned by agents from Kim Jong-il’s security services and have little contact with the world around them. Defectors have suggested that the labourers work 13-hour days and that most of their pay is sent back to the government in Pyongyang. Hundreds of workers have fled the harsh conditions and live in hiding in Russia, constantly in fear of being deported back to North Korea. “North Korea’s government sends thousands of its citizens to Russia to earn money, most of which is funnelled through government accounts,” says Simon Ostrovsky, a journalist who discovered secret North Korean logging camps in the northern Siberian taiga. “Workers are often sent to remote locations for years at a time to work long hours and get as little as three days off per year.”
Now it appears that some kind of centralised order has been given for the workers to return home. Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok is thousands of miles and seven time zones from Moscow, but only around 100 miles from the country’s heavily controlled border with North Korea. In 1996, a diplomat from the South Korean consulate in the city was murdered with a poisoned pencil, in what was widely believed to be a hit carried out by the North’s secret agents. There are even two North Korean restaurants in the city. It is not known how many of the workers in other Russian towns have been called back to their homeland this week, or whether the exodus is permanent or temporary.