Flavin's Corner

The Reunification Church
or How Much Is That Nuclear Bomb In The Window?

     The DPRK (or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea),
better known as simply North Korea, has modified its demand
for $3,000,000 to allow the inspection of Keumjang-ri (also
spelled Kumchangn-ri), an underground facility thought to be
involved in the production of nuclear weapons.  Now, that
mysterious and wacky despot of North Korea, President Kim
Jong-il, says that the three million needn't be in cash--he'll
accept payment in food and medical supplies.  The North Korean
people are starving and in ill-health, but appear to have enough
determination left (according to communist propaganda) to
commit themselves to reuniting North and South Korea, or bomb
the bee-gee's out of S. Korea and make it inhabitable.  Ouch!

     The U.N. has recently approved the collection of some $376
million for immediate food-aid, but this is a separate matter and
has nothing to do with nuclear inspection.  It seems likely
someone, either America, the United Nations, the new European
Union, or some combination will come up with the necessary
payment to allow a look at Keumjang-ri.  Kim Jong-il, quirky
clown that he is, does appear sincere in his stated goal to
reunite North and South Korea at all costs.  The August '98
testing of a long-range missile over the Japanese mainland and
continued threats to bomb America ...scare me.  Like some
dormant volcano, the Korean "conflict" never officially ended
and could erupt once more.  Yup, ...kinda' scared!

     The rise and transformation of communism from an economic
theory and ideological reaction to the industrial age, realized
with the bloody Russian Revolution, continued through the Cold
War, commercialized with the gift of Nixon to Brezhnev of a
Lincoln town-car (or was it a Cadillac?), and the unavoidable
fizzle-flop in the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the tearing
down of the infamous Berlin Wall, are understood, matters of
history, and subject to perpetual debate concerning trivial
particulars.  Castro's Cuba allows the celebration of Christmas,
post-Mao China has enjoyed The Disney Channel for several
years, but Kim Jong-il's North Korea remains the only Stalinist
government continuing the communist 'dream'.  Gee, even North
Vietnam offers tourist packages...

     With the end of W.W.II and the defeat of Japan, Korea
became occupied and 'split' with the Soviets controlling the
north and America the south.  Calls by the U.N. for general
elections in 1948 led to the establishment of the Republic of
Korea (S. Korea), followed immediately by the formation of the
DPRK (N. Korea).  In 1950, with the urging and financial support
of the Soviet Union and China, N. Korea attempted to invade and
take over S. Korea.  The "Korean Conflict" of 1950-1953 is
variously remembered as "a United Nations' police action," "the
forgotten war," and the backdrop for the movie and subsequent
television series M*A*S*H.  A cease-fire treaty was
implemented in 1953, but the threat of aggression by N. Korea
against S. Korea continues to this day, indeed many regard the
"Korean Conflict" as far from over.

     It is estimated that N. Korea has committed 420,000
terrorist acts against S. Korea since 1953.  N. Korea was
publicly identified as a "terrorist state" after the 1987 bombing
of KAL 858, which killed 115 people, the arrest of two N. Korean
agents (one of whom committed suicide, and a second [pictured
below] who was brought to trial) and the subsequent discovery
of the personal involvement of then-President Kim Il-sung and
his son, current "Dear Leader" of N. Korea, Kim Jong-il.
Apparently N. Korea was jealous of S. Korea hosting the 1988
Olympics...  For more on N. Korean terrorism, click here.

     For several years analysts have believed that N. Korea has at
least a couple of nuclear weapons.  The full-operation of the
facility at Keumjang-ri is expected to produce enough plutonium
for a single nuke by 2002, with eight to ten nukes yearly after
that.  These guesses join the many similar intelligence reports,
testimonies by defectors, paranoid techno-thriller accounts of
purchased plutonium from former Soviet states, and other
spy-tales from around the globe.  To many, the nuclear threat
seems possible enough, and this is on top of the suspected
biological and chemical weapons N. Korea probably has.  Gee, N.
Korea must want reunification real bad!  And, apparently, will do
almost anything!

     Last week The New York Times ran a story which detailed
the extreme malnutrition of over six million N. Korean children
and the likely permanent deformities, those who survive into
adulthood, will face.  This appalling tragedy is difficult for the
rest of the world to understand in light of such extravagant
expenditures by Kim Jong-il as palaces, mansions (many
underground), and the funding of the Pleasure Team, an elite
(yeah, ...right) unit of Korean beauties whose job is to...  Well,
read about them here...

     Kim Jong-il, though rumored to have been born in Soviet
territory, is quite different from his Moscow-educated father
and presidential predecessor, Kim Il-sung.  Aside from his odd
hairdo, usage of high-heeled shoes, an extensive collection of old
Hollywood movies, and a reported fascination with Swedish
blondes, reliable information about his alleged marriage and two
children is scarce.  He's not as concerned with 'family' as his
Dad (and probably the 'people' he rules).  Basically, the current
"Dear Leader" of N. Korea is an odd fellow with two or more
nukes and a near life-long 'dream' of reuniting North and South
Korea.  Needless to add--S. Korea is ...nervous.

     Recently, much like Nixon's automobile gift to Brezhnev, S.
Korea's Chung Ju-yung, the founder of Hyundai, sent 50 of his
cars (said to be worth $540,000) to N. Korea and has publicly
predicted reunification within three years.  Communism began as
an economic theory and maybe capitalism will ultimately turn out
to be communism's only effective deterrent.

     Maybe the U.N. should send the Swedish Bikini Team along
with its humanitarian aid to N. Korea.  I apologize--that was
uncalled for.  A starving people, a "Dear Leader" with fetish
issues, and a military complex capable of nuclear, chemical, and
biological weapons, combine to generate a dangerous and deadly
situation.  If only money could buy happiness...

mooning for peace,

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