Never let a crisis go to waste

Although it is small potatoes internationally, North Korea has detained 2 American journalists and moved them for interrogation to Pyongyang. Kim Jong Il too believes that "you never want to let a serious crisis go to waste". With Washington preoccupied with the financial turmoil, the Dear Leader may believe he can get away with anything he wants.

A diplomatic source said the two reporters were on the frozen Tumen river, which runs along the eastern portion of the border with China, when they were taken by North Korean security guards. The arrest has raised alarm in Washington because it took three months to secure the release of an American in 1996 after he was detained by North Korean guards when he crossed the Yalu River that also separates the North and China.

Kim wants money and probably wants tacit approval to test his missiles over Japan. The detention of the two US reporters is taking place at a time when South Korea and Japan are increasingly worried about Pyongyang's intentions.

BEIJING (AP) — South Korea's top nuclear negotiator arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks aimed at reviving efforts to verify North Korea's nuclear programs amid growing unease over Pyongyang's plans to launch a rocket. ...

The flurry of activity comes amid concerns about North Korea's declaration that it will fire a rocket in early April in violation of a U.N. ban prohibiting the country from ballistic activity. Some fear the launch is a cover for the test-fire of long-range missile technology. Wi will focus on working out contingency plans in case Pyongyang goes ahead with the rocket launch, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said."As the clock ticks, we are placing more weight on countermeasures after a launch," he was quoted by Yonhap as saying before he left for Beijing on Tuesday.