I don't full understand this whole North/South Korea thing - can someone explain it to me?

(210 Posts)
KenAdams Wed 03-Apr-13 19:30:09

And why have America got involved. And what is the big deal about Chinas position?

I feel very thick blush

OhLori Wed 03-Apr-13 19:46:43

Well, as you know North Korea is a crazy "communist" country in the old-fashioned style of Albania - i.e. totally unhinged. North Korea has a tremendous hatred for the West and of course South Korea, which is a rich and highly successful developing/capitalist nation. Its very sad, lots of Koreans families were split when the country split and the North Koreans have suffered a lot of hardship under their dictatorship.

Perhaps someone else can enlighten us on the rest ie. China and the US's position, but its a dangerous situation all round.

quoteunquote Wed 03-Apr-13 19:49:02


Get this book for a few quid, off the net, it a real page turner, it will take you a couple of hours to read very slim, and you will probably re read it again straight away, then recommend it to anyone who even mentions North Korea.

it really gives you a feel for how the whole sorry mess was created and the consequences.

I spoke to Barbara after I first read it , very interesting woman, would be worth having her on a MN chat, book club type thing sometime.

quoteunquote Wed 03-Apr-13 19:50:18

please report back when you have read the book, I would love chat about it.

Wishiwasanheiress Wed 03-Apr-13 19:59:42

China has strong allegiance to NK. So would very likely back it up in a fight. USA and china are colleagues but not friends. Often disagree. This war will begin by marketing and hyperbole. NK has a very young and rich new president. He has to prove himself. NK people are allowed little outside contact. If new president decides USA has slighted them he can make a big thing of it and the people would mostly follow ( except obvs for those who try to use Internet/twitter etc), china might not ask for much proof thus kicking off a big fight without really much to go on. Much of that could happen without the rest of the world realising til the first nuclear bomb drops.

It would make an excellent bond plot really. I'm trivialising much but the broadly that's the very basic. There's a shed load of detail. Chinas position will be interesting as they own so much US real estate. Will they want to damage it?

SparePants Wed 03-Apr-13 19:59:55

Another recommendation from me for Nothing to Envy. I read it because I traveled in S Korea a few years ago. I did the whole tourist trip to the DMZ and the threat of being shot was very real. The history is so complicated I can't pretend to have a real handle on it. The US still have very large numbers stationed in Seoul and at the border so are all geared up for another barney.

KenAdams Wed 03-Apr-13 20:09:51

Thanks quoteunquote will get that on Kindle now.

I see! Don't the West import a lot from China, especially in terms of manufacturing etc? Is that too much for China to lose? And will it hurt the West significantly to stop trading with them?

caroldecker Wed 03-Apr-13 20:12:55

Korea was occupied by Japan from 1910. After the 2nd world war, the allies split it into US dominion in the South and Russia in the North. This split into a democratic south and communist North. The original Korean war (early 50's) was between these 2, with the US and UK supporting the South and Russia and China supporting the North.
The peace left the two states with an unoccupied zone between them full of landmines etc.
The North is the most controlled society in the world, and was supported by communist China and Russia throughout the cold war. The Chinese see it as a useful buffer zone between them and 'western' influences.
The people have no contact with the outside world, including no radio, only state tv, no phones, no internet or computers.
All visitors are permanently accompanied by state minders who control what you see and who you speak to.
The current crisis is caused as the Chinese do not want to close it down, but also are building much better international relations and rely on international trade, so do not want any aggression.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 03-Apr-13 20:13:41

A third recommendation for Nothing to Envy.

I've read several books on North Korea, and it's mind boggling to try and comprehend the amount of brain washing and enslavement of the North Korean people. Peter Hitchins described them as a land of "racist dwarfs" because they've been brainwashed into fearing the rest of the world and literally starved to the point of being stunted in height.

North Korea has always issued shrill, hysterical threats to the US and South Korea, but their recent rhetoric has gone even further and they're belligerently doing missile tests and working on nuclear weapons.

China has always sided with them. For decades, North Korea was propped up by the USSR and China. Then the Soviet Union collapsed, and they began to fall apart. China still sided with them but now it seems that China is more interested in trade with the West and has been less supportive of late.

South Korea is probably less afraid of war than with the prospect of 25 million impoverished North Koreans (who are still legally citizens of the South and entitled to aid and benefits) streaming in, ignorant, helpless, and ill prepared for life in a capitalist society.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 03-Apr-13 20:14:56

Or maybe that was Christopher Hitchins. The one who recently died, not the one who writes for the Daily Mail.

KenAdams Wed 03-Apr-13 20:16:00

These are all brilliant summaries, thank you. I couldn't find a news article that told me all of that anywhere!

KenAdams Wed 03-Apr-13 20:18:09

So the general consensus is that NK will get nowhere without China then?

Latara Wed 03-Apr-13 20:20:17

Young North Korean leader throwing toys out of his pram basically... trying to prove he's a hard man.

CockyFox Wed 03-Apr-13 20:23:15

Without China anything NK do would be suicide, with the chinese backing them it would be a world changing conflict.
It all depends on the sense of the chinese.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 03-Apr-13 20:25:06

Ken, I think so. I really doubt China would go to war over this. In fact, I think China has been quietly backing away from North Korea as the threats become more bellicose.

Iamsparklyknickers Wed 03-Apr-13 20:26:49

Weighing in with my internet gleaned knowledge smile

My understanfing is that although China are allies, they're pretty much in agreement with the rest of the world that rocking the boat in North Korea is to be avoided, nobody is quite sure what they'd do with a nation of brainwashed, starved, undereducated and tortured people. The sins of the father is basically a cornerstone of law in NK, you could find yourself chucked in one of their prison camps and having to tell your children that they and their children will be serving out your sentance.

NK are considered a joke internationally, but it's concerning as although they are limited in technology they're just mad enough to use it. To invade by land would be a non starter for the simple reason their army is huge (one of the few ways to ensure you get fed) and trained without the technology we've become so reliant on. I'm pretty certain that's one of the reasons the US didn't come out well the last time they were at war with them (same in Vietnam).

For anyone interested, This NK propaganda video is translated and gives an idea at what their population is taught about the west.

Iamsparklyknickers Wed 03-Apr-13 20:32:02

Just had a google and found this article published today - you must have discovered a super power! Use it wisely.

Merrylegs Wed 03-Apr-13 20:32:30

Nothing to Envy will give you a real insight. You will read it like this shock

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 20:37:31

What is concerning is that surely, the more Kim Jong Un rants and threatens, the more he is going to have to do something? He is talking himself in to a corner.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 03-Apr-13 20:39:57

Iamsparklyknickers, I laughed like a loon at that video.

I've just watched that video, and am speechless shock. Is it actual footage filmed by NK, or (as I suspect) cobbled together bits from disaster areas and homelessness reports?

Off to look at the website linked too am feeling shamefully ignorant

HandMini Wed 03-Apr-13 20:43:11

I've read Nothing to Envy and agree it's a brilliant, terrifying and totally unputdownable book.

I visited S Korea a few times and its incredibly sad to hear how families have been completely cut off by the divide.

CockyFox Wed 03-Apr-13 20:43:29

Marmalade - It worries me, I really think he will do something but like I said the consequences of that depend on the Chinese

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 20:43:44

They are masters of bullshit. Remember Kim Jong ll claiming that he could walk from age 3 weeks and invented the hamburger? grin

FullOfChoc Wed 03-Apr-13 20:47:10

Very interesting summaries thank you.

Do North Korea have any Nuclear weapons though? Does anyone actually know for sure?

FairPhyllis Wed 03-Apr-13 20:47:14

China basically props up NK - it uses NK as a buffer zone and there's some sort of communist solidarity thing going on too. The Chinese do not want to see NK getting involved in anything that could destabilise it as they would end up with millions of refugees from the resulting crisis.

A really interesting article by the former British Ambassador

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 20:47:19

Cocky, it is South Korea that I worry for. They are truly the ones in the firing line. sad

Iamsparklyknickers Wed 03-Apr-13 20:49:57

Spot on Ishallwearatmidnight, it's worth having a surf through Youtube, some of the translations (mostly in the descriptions) are mind boggling. It makes you hyper aware of the (more transparent if you're looking at it objectively) stuff we're shown in the media.

There are some great travel blogs online by people who've visited NK, think the Chinese Olympic ceremonies for some of the displays put on. There's a common theme of regretting never seeing past the orchastrated side of the tour though.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 03-Apr-13 20:52:12

I was just talking to someone about this today and saying I wanted to know more about it, so thanks for the book recommendation - I've just ordered it from Amazon.

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 20:52:35

They have nuclear weapons but only ones that can reach relatively 'local' targets i.e S.Korea, US bases in the West Pacific etc. They don't have any that can reach mainland America yet but I believe they are trying to work on that.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 03-Apr-13 20:52:43

have ordered that book, thanks for the recommendation.

nocake Wed 03-Apr-13 20:59:33

They don't yet have the technology to put their nuclear weapons on a missile so they couldn't even get one to South Korea, unless they drove it in on a truck.

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 21:00:36

That makes for interesting imagery, nocake grin

Didn't realise that. I thought that they could reach nearby targets...

KenAdams Wed 03-Apr-13 21:03:34

marmalade seriously?! grin That's hilarious!

HazeltheMcWitch Wed 03-Apr-13 21:04:51

They've just announced they're re-starting up a previously decommissioned nuclear reactor. John kerry was quoted yesterday as saying that the US will 'not accept' NK as a nuclear state. China also expressed regret over the start-up of the reactor.

NK have done 3 nuclear weapons tests (that the world knows of). As a comparison, UK have done 45 and the US 1054. The belief (as I understand it) s that NK does have some nuclear weapon capability, but that they're exaggerating what they have.

ithaka Wed 03-Apr-13 21:05:54

Remember Kim Jong ll claiming that he could walk from age 3 weeks and invented the hamburger?

That made me think of Despicable Me's father who would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark.

ithaka Wed 03-Apr-13 21:07:00

Or maybe that was Dr Evil...A Kim Il Jong alike character anyway..

nocake Wed 03-Apr-13 21:08:30

They're working on making them small enough to put on a missle but they haven't achieved it yet. Also their missile technology isn't very accurate so they have almost no chance of hitting a specific target. However, they have a whopping great big conventional army that could cause major problems to South Korea.

HazeltheMcWitch Wed 03-Apr-13 21:10:27

nocake - I thought the december tests were a big step forward - as in - a long range missile that with a tweak or 2 could carry WMD?

ScrambledSmegs Wed 03-Apr-13 21:13:34

That book is fantastic. I read it in about three days, despite some of the subject matter being harrowing.

I think Kim Jong-un knows that his grip on N Korea is shaky due to the constant famines and quite a lot of modern things/knowledge slipping past the borders before the most recent lockdown, so he's upping the bombast. Sadly as Twatters says, at some point he's probably going to need to match the words with actions.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 03-Apr-13 21:15:27

They do have a huge army, but they're as malnourished and ill equipped as the rest of the country.

nocake Wed 03-Apr-13 21:21:11

It's thought that they're still a way off making their nuclear bombs small enough but you never know how quickly they're going to get there. Their technology used to come from Russia and China but I doubt either country is providing that sort of technology at the moment. Neither country wants the Korean penninsula to go up in flames.

ZZZenagain Wed 03-Apr-13 21:24:08

from that video: "There are no birds in the trees except these, and these will be eaten on Tuesday".

nice detail

DisorganisednotDysfunctional Wed 03-Apr-13 21:30:45

What alarms me is that, regardless of China, regardless of global checks & balances, from what I read the NK government is quite bonkers and megalomaniac enough to kick off a nuclear war all on its own. Look at what it does to its own population: the suffering of those poor, poor people is almost beyond belief. Their life is the stuff of nightmares. This is a tyranny that sees no limits, and has no limits. A rogue state which might start a nuclear war regardless of the effects on itself.

I am deliberately trying not to follow the story hour by hour because it frightens me so much and there is absolutely nothing I - or any of us - can do about it. sad

QueenOfCats Wed 03-Apr-13 21:39:43

I'm getting increasingly worried, and have just seen the following on twitter from BBC news:

North Korea Army statement to state news agency says it has approval for military strikes on US, including using nuclear weapons

sad Bloody hell

CheerfulYank Wed 03-Apr-13 21:39:46

I used to work in a daycare and we had a family that had recently come over from NK. They didn't speak English (though the kids picked it up astonishingly quickly) but I got the feeling something had been very, very bad for them.

That was a decade ago...wonder how they're doing now.

I'll have to check out that book. I don't know much about the situation either but I'm sure whatever it us we (the US) will involve ourselves heavily.

CheerfulYank Wed 03-Apr-13 21:41:12

Jesus. Feel sick at the thought of nuclear weapons. I'm pretty out of the way of anything major in the US, but how terrifying. sad

NicholasTeakozy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:43:56

Everything that has happened so far, the taking down of the peace talk phone line, the declaration of war and the closing of the cheap labour industrial zone has been done to a schedule proscripted by Kim Jong-Un. This is all in retaliation to the UN (read US) applying sanctions to NK because of their nuclear ambitions.

Why is it only US sanctioned nations are allowed nuclear weapons, seeing as the currently nuclear enabled are the war mongers?

If a war was to start in Korea I fear it would end badly for the US, unless they use nukes. I hope we don't get involved.

grimbletart Wed 03-Apr-13 21:51:24

Interesting that China has twice this year backed the UN vote to increase sanctions on N. Korea. They are clearly getting concerned that Kim junior is even more of a basket case than his father.

CerealMom Wed 03-Apr-13 21:56:34

Reports suggest that KJU was partly schooled in Switzerland. I just don't understand - if you (KJI etc...) think we in 'the west' are evil capitalists then why send your kids to us to be educated? And why didn't some good sense rub off on the boy?

What is in their interest to hang on in the middle ages? Apart from keeping the KJ...s in power?

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Wed 03-Apr-13 22:00:13

"Why is it only US sanctioned nations are allowed nuclear weapons, seeing as the currently nuclear enabled are the war mongers? "


Fairly sure NK are the war mongers here?

currentbuns Wed 03-Apr-13 22:01:04

North Korea also has a State-sanctioned list of permissible hairstyles

thebestpossibletaste Wed 03-Apr-13 22:02:59

very interesting thread, thanks for posting all the summaries, reading them with interest and will order the book for my Kindle.

EmmaBemma Wed 03-Apr-13 22:11:40

"this whole North/South Korea thing"?! what are you - ten? Educate yourself. You shouldn't need someone off mumsnet to explain it in simple words for you.

To that end, I agree with Nothing to Envy recommendations. Also - Aquariums of Pyongyang, which was written by a concentration camp survivor. All the sniggering about North Korea you get in the west shamefully minimises the horrors suffered by the people who live under that evil regime.

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 22:14:17

Oh do piss off Emma. Every time I see you post, you're trying (and failing) to be ascerbic and to the point. You just come across as nasty and a bit of a bully. hmm

EmmaBemma Wed 03-Apr-13 22:17:33

eh? I think you might have got me mixed up with someone else, MarmaladeTwatkins. But, if not - pleased to meet you too!

Uppatreecuppatea Wed 03-Apr-13 22:21:22

I think we all feel sorry for North Koreans. Those poor souls are probably the most suppressed people in the world.

This all looks like beaucoup bad shit though..

I clocked this a few weeks ago and said to DH, the world is only days away from Armageddon.

Doom, I know. But this is bad.

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 22:23:09

No, definitely not. I've been on the receiving end of your gob and I've seen you do it to others.

If you don't want to help or talk about the subject then just sod off. If we all just fucked off to Google instead of asking questions on MN, then it would be very quiet on here.

EmmaBemma Wed 03-Apr-13 22:28:20

Really? Care to link me up, because I really don't recognise your name at all, and I can't even remember the last time I got into a ruck on here.

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 22:34:00

Why would I trawl through your millions of posts to link to one? I used to post under a different name and you were a bit of an arse to me then, for no reason at all. I'm not making it up, why would I?

Anyway, I just don't see the point in coming on to a thread to belittle the OP. There are plenty of us that don't mind explaining things so it's your problem!

wintertimeisfun Wed 03-Apr-13 22:43:02

emma fwiw i thought your post for aggessive for no reason smile

EmmaBemma Wed 03-Apr-13 22:43:26

I can guarantee that if I really was "a bit of an arse" to you, there would have been a bloody good reason. Even the briefest trawl through my posting record (as I don't change my name) would show I very rarely snark, and never just for the hell of it.

I wasn't "just" belittling KenAdams. I suggested helpful books! It does annoy me when people in the west show such perfunctory interest in the rest of the world - so yes, I guess I was exasperated. I'm sure KenAdams will get over it.

CheerfulYank Wed 03-Apr-13 22:43:46

I agree, there's nothing wrong with not knowing something; at least the OP is trying to learn.

I started a thread asking someone to explain the whole Israel/Palestine thing to me not long ago.

God, it's all so scary. Most of us (Americans) just want all our soldiers to come home and the fighting to stop and for us to keep our beaks out of everything, seeing as we have enough going on in our country to keep us busy for quite some time.

alcibiades Wed 03-Apr-13 22:48:18

Your comment, EmmaBemma, makes you sound a bit silly. The OP is already doing exactly what you're suggesting. She's educating herself by asking here.

EmmaBemma Wed 03-Apr-13 22:51:30

"the whole Israel/Palestine thing"

Have you any idea how insultingly glib that sounds? This is my problem with this sort of thread really, in a nutshell, so thank you for illustrating it for me.

Basically, the OP is saying "I can't be bothered to find out any more about this hugely complex situation than ten minutes on a chat board can tell me". Though I suppose you could argue: why should she? I assume it doesn't affect her directly. I'm sure people in Seoul aren't finding time to get cross about the bedroom tax.

HazeltheMcWitch Wed 03-Apr-13 22:55:34

In response to the latest statement from NK, that they have 'ratified a possible nuclear strike', the US have now announced that they are expediting the movement of a missile system to Guam*.

*In case anyone doesn't know what/where Guam is, it's a tiny island in the Pacific close to Japan. It's an 'unincorporated territory' of the USA, and its 2nd biggest revenue stream comes from the US military - it houses/hosts lots of US troops and firepower.

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 23:00:48

No, I distinctly remember. You were a twat for no real reason.

Anyway, it isn't up to you, or any of us, to dictate who can ask what on the internet. Mumsnet posters are very good at giving a potted history on things like this. Nothing wrong with asking at all. No need for the aggression and snarkiness just because the thread title wasn't worded to madame's liking, either.

CheerfulYank Wed 03-Apr-13 23:02:15


Would you prefer I called it a conflict, or "horrendous shit happening overseas"?

Or should I continue on in ignorance and never ask?

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 23:04:43

Oh take no notice, Cheerful. There's always one, on every thread.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 03-Apr-13 23:05:07

I have that book I think. Or one similar. Was very informative, though I wasn't as aware of NK's historic close links with former USSR and China so have learned something.

CheerfulYank Wed 03-Apr-13 23:06:12

I do realize how it could sound glib, and I apologize if it was taken that way. It wasn't my intention; I truly didn't know much about it and read conflicting viewpoints/information online. So I asked.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 03-Apr-13 23:09:16

I always find potted histories like this really useful as a starting point to y own research too.

ckwkatie Wed 03-Apr-13 23:13:09

FWIW, by the OP asking this "glib" question, it has started an intellectual conversation with several people going on to order a book to educate themselves even further.

So, I don't really get why you've climbed onto your high horse on this one, either, Emma, other than the obvious "ooh this is AIBU, so I must top everyone in my narkiness and make people feel belittled and silly!"

KenAdams Wed 03-Apr-13 23:14:20

Emma just deleted the long post I wrote to you to summarise with this biscuit

ivykaty44 Wed 03-Apr-13 23:16:33

what are you - ten? Educate yourself. You shouldn't need someone off mumsnet to explain it in simple words for you.

I have learnt a lot from this thread and I was already searching around for information about NK

it is surprising when someone comes along and asks a question how many people can come to a thread and add lot so informative links and excellent info about a subject that we wouldn't find on our own in an hour of googling but do when we all club together.

There is no need to be mean with comments to op about being ten years old and it does make you look like a school ground bully trying to put people down for not knowing something. Possibly you don't know how you come across but this is how it appears

alcibiades Wed 03-Apr-13 23:20:23

Yes, the situation in Korea is very complex, as is the case in other parts of the world. One of the problems with understanding that, though, is that most history that's taught in the UK is focussed on the British Isles and incorporating the study of Western civilisation. Most history that's taught in the USA is focussed on the USA and incorporating the study of Western civilisation. There's very little or no focus on world history or, for that matter, on world geography.

Anyone who wants to learn more about what is going on in other parts of the world, and the historical/political reasons for that, has to start somewhere. Mumsnet isn't simply a chat board, it's also a very good resource for just about anything. There are many experts/academics/autodidacts who are more than willing to share their knowledge with anyone who wants to understand more.

MarmaladeTwatkins Wed 03-Apr-13 23:22:13

Very well said, alcibades.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Wed 03-Apr-13 23:22:16

Everything ivykaty just said. I've found this thread really interesting and have just bought one of the recommended books.

Itsaboatjack Wed 03-Apr-13 23:27:09

I have learnt a lot from this thread and I was already searching around for information about NK

^^ me too. I couldn't have picked North or South Korea out on a map if you'd asked me earlier tonight. Now I can, Ive read all the links so i understand more already and I've just downloaded the book on my Kindle and about to go off and read it. So thank you for posting this Ken.

And also Cheerful I learnt a lot on your Israel/ Palestine thread as well.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Wed 03-Apr-13 23:29:52

I reckon sales of that book will go through the roof tonight grin

QueenOfCats Wed 03-Apr-13 23:32:25

I've found this thread really interesting and will be getting the book on my kindle too.

Pigsmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 23:33:39

YABU to put this in aibu and not chat

I have two hundred questions

1 if Japan were occupying NK at the end of WWII, how did Russia/China gain control?

2 This is probably silly but how can Kim Jong Whatevs afford all this nuclear stuff? Presumably he's living off the backs of his subjects (?) but how does the country make money?

ivykaty44 Wed 03-Apr-13 23:42:20

The same way russia gained control of half of germany - USA took there eye of the ball and let them walk in to Korea, plus they didn't have enough man power to be in germany pushing one way and in the eat pushing in the other way.

at the end of ww2 USA wasn't aware the push for land that Russia was goign to make and that was why they got half of germany - the wall went up - it was pretty much the same the other side of russia

Japan fell after the bombs came down and russia and china walked in as Japan wasn't there to stop them

ScrambledSmegs Wed 03-Apr-13 23:42:24

A couple of things from the book that I found really interesting about N/S Korea - the border was pretty much just drawn on a map by someone. No natural borders ie river, mountains. Just a line, drawn across the middle of the country confused. How dumb is that?

And N Korea is not an undeveloped, 3rd world country. It is a developed country that became 3rd world. The remnants of that former relatively advanced life are everywhere in N Korea, according to the testimonies of those former North Koreans living in exile.

Emma - come on, people are interested. Why is that a problem?

ivykaty44 Wed 03-Apr-13 23:43:43

Kim Jong Um

he gets his diplomats to sell drugs - or maybe that is propaganda from europe, but it was in the press last week....

DollyTwat Wed 03-Apr-13 23:44:28

I've learnt lots from this thread. I didn't take much interest in history at school, but now I'm a bit of a news hound so tend to learn my history backwards. If that makes sense.

I only learn from real situations, so I find out what's happening now and then how we got here

Please don't stop explaining. I will download that book too

ivykaty44 Wed 03-Apr-13 23:48:05
DollyTwat Wed 03-Apr-13 23:50:31

I have many Iranian friends, the way they explain the us involvement in the conflict there is very interesting. If you don't ask you don't get all the info

KenAdams Wed 03-Apr-13 23:53:28

HoHoHo I'm going to keep an eye on the Kindle chart and see how great the power of MN really is!

tethersend Wed 03-Apr-13 23:55:31

My friend runs tours to NK if anyone's interested?

Although they might be off for a bit...

KenAdams Wed 03-Apr-13 23:56:07

After watching that propaganda video, I do wonder if what our media is reporting is 100% accurate now.

cocolepew Wed 03-Apr-13 23:57:19

Very interesting thread. I'll download the book on payday smile

DollyTwat Thu 04-Apr-13 00:00:24

Interesting isn't it! Because the video, whilst most of the narrative is laughable, does show how 'some' people live

If you show how the poor, homeless are treated then its true. Even in the UK you could put together a completely factual video that showed a similar story

So is what we believe about NK correct?

vivizone Thu 04-Apr-13 00:01:18

The book 'Nothing to Envy' is fantastic. I have also read 'Escape from Camp 14', which is also another good book.

Great thread op. When I want to learn about something I deem complex, I use the children section on the BBC to explain it to me in simple terms. I then move on to adult literature.

Learn in any way you're comfortable in. Do not let people try to shame you when you're trying to learn. It is just ignorance on their part.

tethersend Thu 04-Apr-13 00:02:56

I'm reading Escape from Camp 14 at the moment, vivizone... It's unrelentingly awful, isn't it?

vivizone Thu 04-Apr-13 00:07:44

It is. I became quite obsessed with NK after reading it. I then felt so powerless/depressed about the misery that is NK, I had to stop reading about it.

Thank you Ivy and Scrambled. It's fascinating and horrifying to learn about this kind of oppression, I guess it is like China twenty years ago - not that I'd want to be in China right now.

PeneloPeePitstop Thu 04-Apr-13 00:15:17

Hmm... How many people drink snow?

ivykaty44 Thu 04-Apr-13 00:17:10

dolly - what do your Irainian friends have to say about NK and USA?

DollyTwat Thu 04-Apr-13 00:20:10

Lol I didn't mean that Penelope!
If you didn't have the narrative at all, well, yes some people in the us do live rough
It's meant to show that's how all Americans live PBS with a laughable story to go with it, yes. But. There are homeless and poor. We can't deny that. I don't know enough about NK to know how their homeless live.

Or are most people pretty destitute? In guessing the video is meant to show life is WORSE

DollyTwat Thu 04-Apr-13 00:21:33

I will ask Ivy
Will report back

ivykaty44 Thu 04-Apr-13 00:28:48

I didn't think the video was shot in the USA but possible in a European country looking at some of the buildings and cars?

sashh Thu 04-Apr-13 05:42:18

Most of us (Americans) just want all our soldiers to come home and the fighting to stop and for us to keep our beaks out of everything

But we (US, UK, USSR, China) have created this situation. We should not try to just walk away.

That's what is happening in Afghanistan, the people are not ready, the police are corrupt, all police stations (well most) have young boys for the police to use for pleasure.

Schools built by the west will be empty because there is no money to pay for teachers. Water supplies/tanks built by the west are already failing because of lack of repair.

How long will democracy continue once the military have left?

CheerfulYank Thu 04-Apr-13 07:03:34

Yes, I know that was overly simplistic. It does seem to be a never ending "what now" situation.

CheerfulYank Thu 04-Apr-13 07:11:19

And those poor boys. It's hideous.

Barbie1 Thu 04-Apr-13 07:19:55

Thank you op for starting this, it is a thread that I have wanted to start up for some time now.

I'm currently in the middle of packing as we are due to relocated to an island off South Korea within the next few weeks.

Like some others on this thread I was totally ignorant about Korea before we were told it will be our next posting.

Before here we lived in the Middle East, it was only once we had moved there did i become interested in the history so found out as much as possible.

However this next move is worrying me, dh has just returned and said most S Koreans are just exasperated with the relentless threats from the north. They are just going about their daily activities without giving Kim Jong um much thought.

Dh returned last Friday so this was before the further developments.

I'm half tempted to put my foot down and refuse to go blush

nocake Thu 04-Apr-13 08:25:57

The North Koreans are still Korean citizens as far as South Korea are concerned. In the unlikely event that the US invades and takes control of NK they would probably hand it over to South Korea. That means there wouldn't be the power and control vacuum that we've seen in Afghanistan.

flatpackhamster Thu 04-Apr-13 08:39:54


I have two hundred questions

1 if Japan were occupying NK at the end of WWII, how did Russia/China gain control?

After the defeat of Germany in May '45, the Soviet Union moved 120 divisions across half the face of the planet to launch an attack against the Japanese army in what used to be called Manchuria. In about eight weeks they wiped out or surrounded most of the Japanese divisions in north China.

2 This is probably silly but how can Kim Jong Whatevs afford all this nuclear stuff? Presumably he's living off the backs of his subjects (?) but how does the country make money?

It doesn't. There's no hard currency, because there's hardly any trade. Don't think of it as a modern country. Think of it as a somewhere like 16th century France, where the nobles (army heads) live in unparalleled luxury and the people live in abject poverty. There's enough money for a few people to live very well so long as they starve everyone else. It's essentially a feudal system.


The same way russia gained control of half of germany - USA took there eye of the ball and let them walk in to Korea, plus they didn't have enough man power to be in germany pushing one way and in the eat pushing in the other way.

at the end of ww2 USA wasn't aware the push for land that Russia was goign to make and that was why they got half of germany - the wall went up - it was pretty much the same the other side of russia

No, there was a formal agreement between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin at the Yalta Conference to divide up Eastern Europe after WW2. Churchill objected, warning Roosevelt that Stalin would never surrender the satellite states being created, but Roosevelt was very ill by this stage, and by 1944 the Americans didn't think that the British had any right to lecture them on anything, since they (the Americans) were doing all the heavy lifting.

Thank you hamster, it's becoming clearer. I've downloaded Nothing to Envy.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 10:27:05


Watching the news and reading papers, it could all kick off pretty soon. its really scary stuff, thats all I know.

cfc Thu 04-Apr-13 10:44:34

So interesting, thank you all for your replies, I'm learning as I read.

Have also bought the book.

quoteunquote Thu 04-Apr-13 10:50:40
VivaLeBeaver Thu 04-Apr-13 10:52:13

Interesting thread, I'm going to download that book.

KenAdams Thu 04-Apr-13 11:01:41

Thanks to everyone who has answered my questions I'm sure there'll be more. You are a very knowledgeable bunch.

Barbie1 Thu 04-Apr-13 11:15:57

I have just asked what would happen in the event of war breaking out and we are on the island. Dh didn't know the answer.

I have asked him to email his boss who is already over there. I really don't want to walk into a war zone confused

101handbags Thu 04-Apr-13 11:28:27

Yet another vote here for Nothing to Envy, a fascinating and shocking read, I have passed it on to many people. Also for a quicker, 'easier' read 'This is Paradise! My North Korean childhood'. I have 2 more books on North Korea on the shelf at home, I think now would be a good time to pick them up. This may sound silly but I first got interested in the whole North Korea situation when they qualified for the world cup finals in South Africa in 2010. I remember thinking 'why don't the entire team just claim political asylum?'. How stupid this seems now, as having read the books I can only imagine what would have become of their families had they done so.

ckwkatie Thu 04-Apr-13 11:37:27

Barbie, if I were you I'd be putting my foot down.

Barbie1 Thu 04-Apr-13 11:43:53

If it was that simple I would, however this is dh job and career. We live in the Middle East and was oblivious to any surrounding conflicts. I loved it there so was very upset to leave.

We have just spent a very hard year in France, it's not a place we want to be for much longer so we were looking forward to the next move, until as this happened sad

There are over 500 families heading out to start this project in June, nobody seems to share my concern hmm the island is a far south as you can get so they seem to think they are out of harms way.

Dh boss down played any worried, said they have had to listen to the same bullshit for years.

There is a small airport an hour from the island which we would all be evacuated from, probably to Australia until things get sorted out.

My head hurts from thinking about all this constantly.

Barbie1 Thu 04-Apr-13 11:45:07

Sorry for typos blush on I phone at a soft play centre. Not the best combination!

orangeandlemons Thu 04-Apr-13 11:46:55

Am surprised the US aren't sending in an underground crack squad to 'take him out'

I used to travel to S Korea a lot. They always used to have air raid warnings where people had to retreat to underground shopping malls. I feel really sorry for N Korean people. I saw a documentary on it a few weeks ago. One guy had escaped, but the rest of his extended family had been killed in retaliation. It sounds a terrible place to live

orangeandlemons Thu 04-Apr-13 11:50:35

Barbie, I think it has been going n for years. The S Koreans just ignored it. However, this guy is off his head, and I think the whole world accepts that. He is posturing a lot to prove himself.....he does need 'taking out' but by whom and how I don't know. ( I hate that phrase!) . But look at him, he is threatening America. Wtf? America could wipe him out.

tethersend Thu 04-Apr-13 11:59:41

Do you think this is Kim Jong un's way of ending the regime without losing face?

Could he be on the payroll of the CIA?

<dons tin foil helmet>

cfc Thu 04-Apr-13 12:02:18

Do we all agree we could do with Jack Bauer here?k Bauer

Barbie1 Thu 04-Apr-13 12:08:16

orangesandlemons that's what frightens me, it has been an on going threat but this Kim Jong um seems to want to take it to a whole other level!

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 12:17:03

From what I understand of it, N.Korea are trying to force the U.S to the negotiating table. That is one of the reasons for all of this posturing. What would actually happen if they did manage to get the states into talks is a mystery seeing as you can't reason with an insane, irrational, power-pissed despot.

Barbie1 Thu 04-Apr-13 12:21:39

insane, irrational, power-pissed despot grin that's one way to describe him!

What I don't really understand is what does he want out of all this? blush.

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 12:25:51

I think he wants to be seen as a powerful leader who can hold his own, to his people. I think he wants to force negotiations. I'm not sure whather he wants the West to stop prying in the business of N.Korea, i.e let them get on with making nuclear weapons unchallenged.

One thing I've never understood is who decides who is eligible to possess nuclear weapons. Why are we OK but N.Korea aren't? I mean, some might say that the last week's developments illustrates why but I still don't understand how we come to the conclusion that nuclear defence is good for some, not for others....

orangeandlemons Thu 04-Apr-13 12:38:56

But can he attack the US? He hasn't got cruise missiles, only ones that can be launched from the floor ( I think- not a military expert you understand!).

He may be able to attack on theS. Korean border where US troops are based, but even them am not sure he will. Is he going to risk the entire population of N Korea being nuked? What will he do then, with no population to terrorise?

Tethering Thu 04-Apr-13 12:47:12

I think North Korea has missiles that can reach US territory (ie islands close to Korea not mainland US).
The BBC has had some interesting articles on the entire situation. Apparently Clinton downscaled the military manoeuvres in South Korea as he didn't want to antagnoise the North. There's a theory that Obama hasn't done that because he's trying to distract attention from the economic crisis at home which, if true, is pretty depressing and disappointing. Rather than scaling back, he's sent a larger presence to the South sad

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 12:48:23

I think they have missiles that can reach Alaska. I think, unless I dreamt reading that last week. I could have done, tbh...

This is the thing about dealing with a nutter. You can't know why he is doing anything, nor what he will get out of it. It's not like dealing with a rational person, where their objectives are easy to work out.

KenAdams Thu 04-Apr-13 12:58:29
ivykaty44 Thu 04-Apr-13 13:01:21

flatpack - sorry my information came from latvians that ran for their lives away from the Russians at the end of the 2 ww - for some they got away when they ran from Riga but their families that were running with them couldn't get away and they got caught by the Russians and taken back. They ran west to try to get away as they knew the Russians would not retreat once they had moved forward to take over their country. This in some ways was I suppose what was really happening on the ground and not what the leaders would portray over an oval oak table at the end of ww2 Russia had pushed hard to get as much ground as it possibly could.

flatpackhamster Thu 04-Apr-13 13:01:38


But can he attack the US? He hasn't got cruise missiles, only ones that can be launched from the floor ( I think- not a military expert you understand!).

That's right. The delivery mechanism for the small number of nukes that they do own is shonky. And its range will allow it to reach places like Hawaii and some of the Alaskan island chain but not any parts of mainland US. He has no submarine-delivered nuke system as we and the US and Russia have.

ivykaty44 Thu 04-Apr-13 13:05:26

I mean that that is how my Latvian friends saw the situation at the end of ww2, as they had lived through it and saw this as displaced people in American camps in germany.

I am not saying you are wrong smile

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 13:15:28

I have just been doing some Google research and there are conflicting opinions on just how far Lardboy's rockets can go.

Some reckon that they wouldn't even be able to reach India, which is only about 3000 miles away. Some think that there is a slim chance theycould reach Alaska. Others say that Alaska easily is reachable by the Taepodong rocket.

According to the plans that Kim Jong was photographed in front of his his war room last week, he has marked LA and New York as targets, but that must be a very lofty dream for him.

I would rather believe that they don't have the capability of reaching anywhere and that these are the worst case scenarios.

ivykaty44 Thu 04-Apr-13 13:25:09

Kim Jong was photographed in front of his his war room last week,

hopefully this was a full on propaganda photo shoot...

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 13:28:47

Definitely is propaganda. Posturing buffoons that they are...

tethersend Thu 04-Apr-13 13:31:43

Is he a nutter, though? His father and grandfather certainly were, but he has had far more exposure to the West than them... He must have an understanding that the regime cannot last.

Maybe this is just his way of ending it?

Either way, I'm pretty sure the tours to NK my friend runs will be slashed in price very soon...

Pandemoniaa Thu 04-Apr-13 13:34:26

The news coverage from South Korea is interesting because rather than panic and stockpile (as happened about 20 years ago when similar threats were made) the current North Korean stance is seen more as a "Here we go again, then" sort of posturing rather than a genuinely worrying situation.

China are reported as not at all happy with Lardboy's current games either.

lottieandmia Thu 04-Apr-13 13:38:03

There are no words for the way NK treats it's citizens - I feel very sorry for them. There are reports from defectors of the regime that they use men women and children in horrible experiments simliar to those conducted by Mengele. There is also paperwork to suggest that this is all true.

I think it is difficult to know exactly what is going on because of all the propaganda on both sides but NK is well known for it's posing and blustering.

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 13:39:35

It would be bloody lovely if he was tryong to end the regime without losing face but I really doubt it. He has been exposed to Western influences, yes, but how do we explain British-born Muslims carrying out attacks on their own country if exposure to Western life acts to prevent this type of thing? He has been exposed to teh regime more than he has been exposed to the West. I'm pretty sure he doesn't give a stuff about it, tbh.

Tethers, out of interest, is your friend's company the one that was talked about in the news last week? Based in Wigan?

Yes, I think that the S.Koreans are effectively rolling their eyes en masse at the north. They've had years of this shite.

lottieandmia Thu 04-Apr-13 13:41:37

Oh, I also heard recently that Kim Jong Un is becoming increasingly paranoid that someone close by is making plans to take him out.

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 13:45:01

Well hopefully he is right! wink

tedmundo Thu 04-Apr-13 13:50:18

I would also recommend Nothing to Envy as a great book to understand a bit more about life under a crazed tyrant. I took it on holiday last year and read it twice.

Very interesting to read the struggles of those who defected learning how to live in a normal way.

lottieandmia Thu 04-Apr-13 13:55:39

I must read this book. Is it very depressing? (I suppose it's bound to be)

tethersend Thu 04-Apr-13 14:06:33

Yes, that's him, marmalade.

He received an email from Kim Jong un himself (honest) declaring war on America...

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 14:08:05

I read that! I was shaking with laughter. Kim Jong Un, in between wreaking war upon the U.S and generally being a mentaller remembers that he must email a tour operator from Wigan, to keep him in the loop wrt to Impending War grin

MissRee Thu 04-Apr-13 14:18:39

Watching this with interest and wondering just how much we can believe of what is in the media.

lottieandmia Thu 04-Apr-13 14:26:16

I wondered that MissRee.

tethersend Thu 04-Apr-13 14:44:08

It was hilarious, marmalade- even the DM got involved- but judging from the stories he's told me, not completely unexpected... Since he pretty much IS their tourist industry, they probably felt he should be the first to know grin

The YouTube narration linked to at the beginning of the thread turns out to be fake

Am reading nothing to envy on the iPad now. Thanks for the recommendation.

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 14:50:43

I am also going to download Nothing to Envy tonight. Should make for an uncomfortable read. sad

HazeltheMcWitch Thu 04-Apr-13 14:55:02

Ooh, tethers / marm - I laughed about that email too. It was almost in the vein of those stories where someone was on the underground, and picked up a dropped wallet. When they gave it back to the bearded man in islamic dress, he said thank you. please ensure that you are not in X place at Y time...

HazeltheMcWitch Thu 04-Apr-13 14:58:05

I think no one's quite sure exactly how much time KJU spent in the west. He's the youngest of 3 brothers, and was only proclaimed as the true successor not that long ago. There are reports that he spent lots of time in Switz, but they can't really be verified.

I loved the stories about the eldest brother being caught travelling on a fake passport (under the nickname of Fat Bear), wearing a gold chain, whilst on his way to Disneyland. Soon after that he fell out of favour.

MissRee Thu 04-Apr-13 15:13:23

Another one to have downloaded Nothing to Envy...

ScrambledSmegs Thu 04-Apr-13 15:28:28

This article articulates what I've been wondering about Kim Jong Un recently. The likelihood that he is merely a puppet of the regime is pretty high.

From the accounts of his childhood at school in Switzerland, he was never a particularly bright student or interested in politics. The eldest (Fat Bear of Disneyland fame) was, therefore probably far less amenable than little Jong Un.

Earlybird Thu 04-Apr-13 15:31:16

I am in America. News reports here say no one believes Kim Jong Un actually has the capabilities he is claiming (wrt to range of missiles and where they're aimed), but the State Department must make arrangements to respond to any provocative acts. Evidently one of the missiles is aimed at Austin Texas (of all places!).

About a month ago, a retired and very flamboyant American professional basketball player (Dennis Rodman) visited North Korea as the guest of Kim Jong Un - who apparently is a HUGE fan of the game. It was surreal to see the short, stout dictator (with a bizarre hairstyle) standing next to a very tall, heavily tattoo'ed and pierced African American. Each pronounced the other 'cool', and then the dictator resumed with his paranoid military plans. confused

CutePuppy Thu 04-Apr-13 15:40:07

Can I ask...what is different this time? That people are thinking eh might do something? As opposed to all the other times we hav e pretty much ignored the threats? Why is this time people so scared? If that makes sense?

Learning lots as I read this that, but clearly have a long way to go! Sorry for being so dim!

CutePuppy Thu 04-Apr-13 15:41:40

Xpost. So they'd outthink he will do anything? Then why move the missile? :s

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 15:51:32

Maybe he is moving the missile so that it appears to the outside world that he is doing something instead of just throwing his toys out of the pram again?

Patchouli Thu 04-Apr-13 15:54:34

Just looked up that 'Nothing To Envy' and it's being made into an animated film.

CutePuppy Thu 04-Apr-13 16:09:59

Sorry, meant the us moving the missile. But yes, Kim thingy could be moving it as part of the posturing. Lets hope so!

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 16:19:56

Oh do you mean the U.S positioning a nuclear defence thingie (correct technical terminology) in the west Pacific?

Yes, the Americans HAVE to do this. They HAVE to seen to be ready to defend against any potential attack. This comes as NK moved a missile to their east coast. This is why America has positioned theirs IYSWIM?

Think that's right.

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Thu 04-Apr-13 16:21:24

Thank you for starting this thread. I've also just downloaded NtE.

orangeandlemons Thu 04-Apr-13 16:55:05

Bit like the Bay of Pigs again. Although from what I understand that was much much more scary

flatpackhamster Thu 04-Apr-13 17:39:22


Bit like the Bay of Pigs again.

No, not at all.

Although from what I understand that was much much more scary

No, nuclear-weapon-armed lunatics are much scarier.

lottieandmia Thu 04-Apr-13 17:51:45

I've just heard David Cameron on the radio saying in theory they could bomb us if they can bomb the US. I really hope they are not trying to pave the way for more senseless wars or interventions.

kim147 Thu 04-Apr-13 18:01:19

I think Cameron needs to understand the range of missiles. The UK is far to far from North Korea to be targeted (unless the PM knows more than we do).

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 18:07:05

Cameron is just trying to justify his ploughing of money into Trident on the week that he has cut loads of benefits.

kim147 Thu 04-Apr-13 18:12:06

A part of me just thinks the US is itching for NK to do something just so it can react.

It is a scarier world though. Our parents lived through the reality of the Soviet union and now we have rogue states like NK.

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 18:20:50

No offence to any Americans, I generally am happy that we have them as an ally and all that, but they have attacked over a lot less. If they wanted to react, they have been given enough ammunition, IMO.

lottieandmia Thu 04-Apr-13 18:29:32

Do you think this would be far more worrying if Romney had got in?

Agree about Trident!

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 04-Apr-13 18:36:34


I was saying to DH last week that if this had happened under Bush, I think that this could be panning out very differently.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Apr-13 18:47:49


This isn't really an AIBU so we've moved it to In The News.

lottieandmia Thu 04-Apr-13 18:48:38

Agreed. 'Hammer time' (shudder!)

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 04-Apr-13 19:00:33

I don't think the US is keen to go to war with North Korea. We're not afraid of them, of course, but we wouldn't relish it. Americans are not personally aggrieved against the North Koreans or anything like that.

Also, there wouldn't be anything to gain by conquering them. They don't have oil or anything like that. They just have a bunch of physically and intellectually stunted poor people who would cost everybody a whole bunch of money to deal with.

orangeandlemons Thu 04-Apr-13 21:04:36

It is like the Bay of Pigs! Only there it was probably worse, with 2 superpowers facing missiles at each other. My mum said it was terrifying. So whilst Kruschev probably wasn't mad and Lardboy is, it is a similar thing ratcheting up of threats.

orangeandlemons Thu 04-Apr-13 21:06:08

God, yes imagine Bush at the helm. thank God for Obama.

CheerfulYank Thu 04-Apr-13 21:55:48

Honestly, with the way he was raised and the people he has surrounding him now, I don't know how KJU could be anything but a better.

niceguy2 Thu 04-Apr-13 22:00:31

I can't see the US attacking. They would however be duty bound to defend SK if the North attacked.

If there were a lot of oil/gas at stake then it may be different but given the place barely has soil, let alone oil, I can't see it.

I also can't see China supporting NK. They have much more to lose economically by upsetting the US (and by extension the rest of the west) than the economically insignificant NK. In short, there's nothing in it for China to support NK. The only reason they do is that they don't want hundreds of thousands, if not millions of refugee's pouring into China.

flatpackhamster Thu 04-Apr-13 22:43:28


Cameron is just trying to justify his ploughing of money into Trident on the week that he has cut loads of benefits.

Gosh, that Cameron's clever. Organising it so that a programme that was agreed before he came to power continues operating to contain a country which was being crazy before he was born? It's like he planned it all from the beginning. The fiend.

NicholasTeakozy Fri 05-Apr-13 08:41:23

That's you schooled Twatters grin hmm

Flatpack is right. Camewrong has to push for Trident because North Korea has the ability to chuck a missile as far as Japan to the east, and Afghanistan to the west, so they're only 5000 or so miles shy of hitting us. So, yeah, Trident's a necessary defence against a despot with precisely zero chance of doing any harm to the UK.

MarmaladeTwatkins Fri 05-Apr-13 10:22:53

Not sure that I was debating the need for Trident, flatpack. We need it. Just don't try and kid any of us that Korea has a fart' s chance of hitting us. Nice that him presenting us with such a twattily inaccurate observation comes on this week of all weeks.

If I want to think that he's spouting off such bollocks for no other reason than those, I can, it is my opinion. Thanks all the same hmm

niceguy2 Fri 05-Apr-13 10:35:07

The key thing is that North Korea cannot hit us.......YET. They certainly are trying to build up their capability and maybe one day sooner than we think they may be able to. Then what? If we've scrapped Trident to save a few quid? We'd have a rogue nuclear power at the other side of the world who are mad enough to launch a nuke at us. What do we defend ourselves with? A few choice words?

flatpackhamster Fri 05-Apr-13 11:01:45


Flatpack is right. Camewrong has to push for Trident because North Korea has the ability to chuck a missile as far as Japan to the east, and Afghanistan to the west, so they're only 5000 or so miles shy of hitting us. So, yeah, Trident's a necessary defence against a despot with precisely zero chance of doing any harm to the UK.

It's a crying shame that Trident can only be fired at North Korea, isn't it, teakozy? If they'd thought it through they could have designed the missiles and submarine so that they could target other places. Oh, wait....


Not sure that I was debating the need for Trident, flatpack. We need it. Just don't try and kid any of us that Korea has a fart' s chance of hitting us. Nice that him presenting us with such a twattily inaccurate observation comes on this week of all weeks.

I haven't claimed anywhere that Korea can hit the UK, I just thought your linking of benefits changes (welfare costs will rise so 'cuts' is the wrong word) to Trident was lazy and inaccurate.

If I want to think that he's spouting off such bollocks for no other reason than those, I can, it is my opinion. Thanks all the same hmm

Of course you can. My opinion is that your opinion as bollocks as Cameron's opinion. So, basically, yah boo.

Absy Fri 05-Apr-13 11:15:54

Some examples of the level of control exercised in N Korea (which is funny, and tragic at the same time) - they never show sports games (particularly football) live, but only screen them a few days later so that they can adjust the outcome.

For the SA World Cup in 2010, they didn't want the stands to be empty of North Korean fans, but they don't like people leaving the country. Instead, they hired 1,000 Chinese actors and dressed them up in North Korean outfits so that they had "fans" at the games. Two of North Korea's players disappeared and didn't return home with the rest of the squad.

MarmaladeTwatkins Fri 05-Apr-13 11:17:41

Flatpack, you seem to think that we don't know what Trident is for, who it can be aimed at etc. Bit patronising...

I only brought it up because a previous poster was concerned that we are a direct target for N.Korea, because if what Cameron said when questioned on money for Trident. Personally, I feel he can plough whatever cash he sees fit into it. Sadly it is necessary. I think it's a bit irresponsible to say what he said wrt the UK being a target but I do think it was an easy way of justifying the expense to those questioning it.

So up yours buddy. smile

lottieandmia Fri 05-Apr-13 11:18:50

So, NK is making these threats because it wants the UN to ease the most recent sanctions imposed because of the test missiles is that correct? If so they are not going to gain much by starting a war imo. But since they've been blustering in this vein for so many years perhaps they are ramping things up so as to be taken seriously.

MarmaladeTwatkins Fri 05-Apr-13 11:26:38

Could be that. that In the past, the U.S has offered them more aid after threats have been issued, issued to shut them up.

flatpackhamster Fri 05-Apr-13 11:45:22


Flatpack, you seem to think that we don't know what Trident is for, who it can be aimed at etc. Bit patronising...

No, I was just correcting the misinformation of the communist.

I only brought it up because a previous poster was concerned that we are a direct target for N.Korea, because if what Cameron said when questioned on money for Trident. Personally, I feel he can plough whatever cash he sees fit into it. Sadly it is necessary. I think it's a bit irresponsible to say what he said wrt the UK being a target but I do think it was an easy way of justifying the expense to those questioning it.

Don't imagine for a moment that I don't recognise the prickitude of Cameron. But it isn't his decision to go ahead with the programme, is the point I'm making, and trying to pin it on him is a bit crappy. It would be like me criticising Gordon Brown for signing the UK up to the Maastricht treaty.

I don't see that the expense of Trident needs justifying. It's already been justified. I think that the fact that we can't fire Trident without the go ahead from the Septics needs justifying.

MissRee Fri 05-Apr-13 14:03:09

I see NK are now advising that they can't guarantee the safety of the embassies in Pyongyang after 10 April (in the event of war) and that they should evacuate.

More empty threats or does this mean they're actually going to go ahead with this?

coffeeinbed Fri 05-Apr-13 14:09:57

I'm getting really worried at the latest.
This is bonkers.

niceguy2 Fri 05-Apr-13 14:16:42

The one thing which is unknown by anyone other than the ruling elite in NK is whether or not they truly believe the bullshit they are peddling.

I wonder sometimes if those generals and the young leader truly think they stand a snowball in hell's chance of winning any military confrontation? Sure if they send their troops over the border then South Korea would suffer greatly in the short term. Seoul might not be in great shape and the world economy would suffer whilst we lose availability of our beloved Samsung Galaxy's, ipad's and tech.

But then the US are dutibound to defend South Korea. UK will join in since we join any war nowadays the US is involved in. The rest of the EU will probably send a few 'training monkeys' to show they're involved. North Korea would be toast and crucially their regime with it.

And should they be idiotic enough to lob a nuke anywhere outside of their own borders, that would give the US the very reason they need to reduce the place to a rather large car park.

The S. Korean army is modern, well equipped and well trained. They are supported by the US via a defence pact. The North Korean army just have a lot of hungry soldiers who wouldn't last a second after the US started bombing the crap out of them. It would be a total massacre!

But that all hinges on the NK leadership knowing that it would be suicide. I remember reading that in the communist days in China, the inner circle used to get peasants to replant crops near the roads the leader travelled along so to him it seemed like the communist revolution was working. The same could be happening here.

Maybe the generals have told Kim that they can hit NY & Washington. Just in the same way that Saddam's general's told him they had chemical weapons whereas in fact they had none.

flatpackhamster Fri 05-Apr-13 14:18:16

On that very subject, Tech website The Register has an interesting article.

coffeeinbed Fri 05-Apr-13 14:29:56

I would think Kim does what the generals tell him.
But then again, does anyone know?

lottieandmia Fri 05-Apr-13 14:33:47

I agree with most if what niceguy says - they have a huge army but they are starving and not well trained.

CheerfulYank Fri 05-Apr-13 17:11:27

I don't want them to attack us. Obviously for my country, but also for them. There are innocent people there living under the rule of a madman and we'd bomb the shit out of them.

It's just sad. And terrifying. And "look what a big man I am" posturing.

orangeandlemons Fri 05-Apr-13 17:15:15

What worries me is this. If they are just posturings and bluff, how can he step back from it? Pretend his rockets didn't launch? Pretend a last minute diplomatic answer.? This is what scares me, he doesn't seem to have left himself a get out

niceguy2 Fri 05-Apr-13 17:34:26

he doesn't seem to have left himself a get out

And that's what is worrying the powers that be. They object every year about the military exercises but this year the rhetoric seems much worse. That's the only reason it's made the papers.

I agree cheerfulyank. I can't imagine American's wanting to start another war at the other side of the country given the US's involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. You don't have a buffoon in charge anymore so the chances of starting something is low. But if the NK are stupid enough to draw first blood then yes....I think the US will flatten the regime. And to be honest most of the world would secretly be glad.

CheerfulYank Fri 05-Apr-13 18:44:59

Maybe people would be glad. But then it'd be "oh those ham fisted war mongering Americans" again.

And those oppressed innocent people bombed to smithereens.

harbinger Fri 05-Apr-13 19:03:01

From what I can gather Kim Jong il had three sons, with Kim Jong Un the youngest. Son Number One showed some gumption, went AWOL and does not live in NK. He has a son that seems to see NK's drawbacks.
Son number two still seems to be in NK.

I suspect that Kim Jong Un has internal power struggles with his generals.

Goading from brother number one? Brother two ?

niceguy2 Fri 05-Apr-13 19:14:05

The most likely is that the general's are the real power in NK and the 30yr old is a mere figurehead/mascot/puppet/scapegoat.

I suspect the generals are manipulating him like mad.

NicholasTeakozy Fri 05-Apr-13 21:13:25

Article on RT's website on how the US want to take South Korea into a war with the North.

Apologies for the link, for some reason I can only get on RT via the ixquick proxy. hmm

grimbletart Fri 05-Apr-13 21:28:24

I see China is moving a lot of troops up to the N. Korean border - probably to stop an influx of Korean refugees if the balloon goes up, or maybe to intervene....

If this basket case of a country did attack S Korea and the US stepped in as a result, what would China do.......? On the one hand it is clearly royally pissed off with its mad neighbour. On the other it is N Korea's backer.

harbinger Fri 05-Apr-13 21:35:12

There have been photos of KJU holding a gun.

Is the gun American?

lottieandmia Fri 05-Apr-13 22:00:09

Neither the UK nor Russia is planning to evacuate their embassies at this point according to the news.

KenAdams Wed 17-Apr-13 15:57:55

Just wanted to update as I'm halfway through the book now. You were right, it's fascinating. I genuinely didn't realise they were so oppressed. Very interesting.

quoteunquote Wed 17-Apr-13 16:03:37

it is a real insight to how this is happening, just wait until you get to the end.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 17-Apr-13 19:57:48

I'm half way through the book too. It is shocking.

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