June 25, 2003

STIRRINGS IN KOREA?

How bad are things for the North Koreans? It’s hard to be certain. We do know that at least 100,000 of them prefer living like hunted animals in China to life at home. Satellite photographs support estimates that 200,000 of them live in North Korea¡’s horrific concentration camp systems. Up to 2 million of them are estimated to have starved to death since a famine, selectively focused on the least “politically reliable,” began in 1994. No government has been so oppressive of its own people since the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. No government has ever let its people suffer such a fate while spending so lavishly on the opulent lifestyles of its leaders, and on a bloated war machine that it holds against the throats of its neighbors.

Given that the greatest mass slaughter of Koreans in history is taking place 30 miles north of Seoul — at this very hour and minute — one would expect strong reactions in South Korea. One would expect to see mass candlelight vigils for the millions of North Koreans selectively culled for starvation since 1994. One would expect Koreans to rain their nationalist fury at China for propping up Kim Jong Il’s failed state in order to keep Korea divided. There should be battalions of riot police protecting the Chinese Embassy from angry students each time China hunts down more North Korean refugees and pitches whole families of them back into Kim Jong Il¡¯s furnace. There should be outcries that Korea’s government tolerates this without a peep of protest. Politicians should face eternal demands not to kowtow to the leaders of China, and to demand apologies from them for the next century. One would not expect South Koreans to help perpetuate the oppression of their brothers by buying North Korean products or booking overpriced Mount Kumgang tour packages. One would expect them to be passionately interested in the courageous work of the brave souls who risk confinement in Chinese prisons to save the lives of North Korean refugees.

Yes. Instead we have this:

Two aides in the administration of former South Korean president, Kim Dae Jung, have been indicted over allegations the government made secret payments to secure an inter-Korean summit.

An indepedent inquiry has found the Kim administration paid more than $US100 million to the North ahead of the landmark inter-Korean summit in 2000.

The investigation stopped short of describing the money as a bribe, but did say the donation was clearly related to the summit and had been secretly sent through improper channels.

I met with Kim Dae Jung some years ago, and I thought he was a well-meaning man though a bit kooky (he explained to me that he had once been saved from murder by Jesus’ personal intervention). But I repeat what I’ve said here before: The dreadful goings-on in North Korea will come out, as will the complicity of many South Korean politicians. And the result will be quite dramatic. (Via The Marmot’s Hole).