Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't mess with...

...Pyongyang???

No, the saying doesn't quite roll off the tongue as it does when referring to one of America's states, but there is a healthy degree of truth when it comes to a cautious approach to dealing with North Korea.

TIME magazine offers one of the reasons.
Kim Jong Il’s death leaves the Korean peninsula and the rest of East Asia in a period of great uncertainty. But one of Kim Jong Il’s most dangerous legacies has security implications well beyond the region: he leaves behind a thriving nuclear weapons export business that must now be stopped.
There has been mounting evidence in recent years that North Korea has set up an illicit nuclear export business to Syria, Iran and potentially elsewhere. Syria’s Al-Kibar nuclear reactor, which was bombed by Israeli warplanes in 2007, closely resembled a North Korean facility used to produce plutonium for bombs, and one western diplomat told me that several senior North Korean technicians were killed in the raid.

North Korea and Iran’s sharing of technology for missiles that could be used to deliver nuclear warheads is so extensive that some analysts say it is only appropriate to view it as operationally a joint missile program. No one knows if North Korea is also helping Iran with nuclear weapons design, and it’s possible it has other, yet-to-be-detected clients as well.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that the South Korean government says it has its doubts about how Kim Jong Il died. That story might seem like petty politics, so to speak, except that it highlights the magnitude of uncertainty surrounding almost everything connected to the North Korean leadership.

Kim Jong Il's legacy might not be his cavalier attitude toward nuclear proliferation. Rather, as Business Week notes, the horrible conditions his people face cannot be ignored

Nevertheless, there are other nations joining in the North Korean chorus of grief over Dear Leader's death.

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