One of the more substantial news stories that happened during my hiatus was the announcement that a North Korean missile may have been what sunk a South Korean battleship. Now, obviously, this is no little matter and stretches far beyond the Korean borders, what with the Chinese support of the north and the American support of the south.
Now comes the other shoe dropping: half-pint dictator Kim Jong-Il ordering the military to be combat-ready in response to the accusation.
The order was broadcast on May 20 by O Kuk Ryol, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, according to the website of North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a Seoul-based group run by defectors from the communist country. Yonhap News agency reported on the posting earlier today, sending the won lower by the most in more than a year and causing stocks to drop.
While Kim doesn’t want war, North Korea is ready to counter any attacks, O said in the message, according to the group, which cited an unidentified person in the country. The organization was among the first in South Korea to report on North Korea’s botched currency revaluation late last year.
Now, sure, this isn’t the first (and certainly won’t be the last) time that Kim has threatened anyone, but that doesn’t mean it should be shrugged off. One of these times, he’s going to haul off and do something crazy. Particularly the older he gets and the more dire the economic situation in his country becomes, the likelihood of a desperate act gets better and better.
Or maybe he’ll die first. Let’s hope, right?