North Korea's ICBMs

Why the fuck does anyone care? It takes them so long to assemble and fuel one for launch and it is so large and obvious when they do that, to even think that they could even get to fire one in a time of war is a joke.

Because the western world needs something to consider SERIOUS BIZNESS to distract public attention from all the local fuckups.

A fearful population is less likely to think about political decisions than a population depressed/angry at problems on their own soil. Even if the source of the fear is little more than a scowling strawman.

Kim Jong frequently states he is going to turn Seoul, South Korea into a city of fire.

South Korea is directly south of North Korea

I’d imagine they’d have plenty reason to care

South Korea has every reason to care, the people in the region are probably living with a permanant sentiment of fear.

But for people off the continent, not so much. If he wanted to fry South Korea he would not be trying to get ICBMs.

Honestly, if he REALLY gets a nuke airborne, Kim Jong is going to trigger something naaaasty.

No, they aren’t. The diplomacy between North and South Korea has always been characterized by alternating threats and friendly gestures (for example, Kim Jong Il wrote a letter expressing his condolences to the family of the former South Korean president, who recently committed suicide). Secondly, both North and South Korea are founded on an ideology of ethnic nationalism, which has deeper roots than their economic systems, so they have a greater solidarity with each other than with anyone else. This is best seen when they both start criticizing Japan (for example, North Korea will threaten Japan whenever Japan tries to claim certain islands in South Korea’s territorial waters). Lastly, they have certain economic ties with each other, which are much more significant to the North than to the South.

For all these reasons, South Korean society pays little attention to North Korea’s rhetoric. It is reported and discussed in the media (and occasionally played for its sensational value), but it doesn’t really have a big effect on the mood of the country.

I’m not sure the issue is that black and white. There is a sense of nationalism in South Korea, but then you have to remember the two countries are still technically at war, gunfire is still exchanged over the DMZ, and you have unusual events like the tunnels North Korea dug under the DMZ. (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/dprk/kpa-tunnels.htm).

Ethnic nationalism is one thing, but both countries were in an all out war just 50 years ago. If something were to happen you can’t deny that other nations allied with both countries wouldn’t get involved. That’s why this was taken seriously.

Those countries are still technically at war. An armistice was signed after the Korean War to agree on a ceasefire. North Korea’s act of restarting their nuclear weaponization program and missle testing pretty much ends that armistice.

Now Kim Jong Il has handed the regime to his most fanatical son. We’ll have to wait and see how the guy wants to play ball.

Also, didn’t Canada provide CANDU reactors to North Korea? Or was it Pakistan?

There is a lot more than “a sense of” ethnic nationalism in Korea. Ethnic nationalism defines their entire identity. Both their national mythologies (North and South) revolve around unified resistance to foreign invaders. They will even use certain figures from history (like Admiral Yi Sun-Shin), whose greatness they can both agree on, as a sort of compromise or conciliatory gesture toward each other. Both have declared reunification to be one of their core principles – Kim Jong Il proposed a sort of confederacy sometime in the nineties (he knew it would never happen, but the symbolism is the point), and South Korea has an entire ministry devoted to reunification.

It is true that they do exchange gunfire on a regular basis, but border skirmishes occur frequently around the world, even between countries that aren’t at war. The lack of a formal conclusion to the war is not entirely North Korea’s doing. The promise of a peace treaty is also a bargaining chip that can be used against North Korea. South Korea is unable to sign a treaty with North Korea on its own, without US approval (which at least two prior South Korean presidents failed to receive). That doesn’t mean that they are secretly friends or that they can easily reunify, but neither of them has any real desire to attack the other. The North Korean elite is aging, and its primary goal is to make the system last long enough for them to live out their days.

My post, however, was primarily directed at Zero’s statement about how South Koreans experience a “permanent sentiment of fear.” In this respect, at least, it is fairly black and white: they do not. There is at least as much anti-American or anti-Chinese sentiment in South Korea (to say nothing of anti-Japanese) as there is anti-North-Korean sentiment.

Like most nukes, this is symbolic at best. If Kim Jong even manages to get that thing off the ground, even if he doesn’t manage to actually hit anything with it, the retaliation will make the entire north side of the Korean Peninsula glow in the dark for the next century.

As usual, scare tactics.

Well, I did not know that. They never mention those things in the media I read, the daily newspaper and whatsnot, and it never really crossed my interests to research the relationship between the north and south of Korea.

South Korea is unable to sign a treaty with North Korea on its own, without US approval (which at least two prior South Korean presidents failed to receive)

And I did not know of this either. I knew the US were very involved sith S. Korea, but I never knew they had that much influence/control. Why did the US refuse peace however?

I’m guessing it’s easier to control South Korea if they’re constantly “at war” with their neighbor. Of course, that’s only speculation on my part. I’m not that knowledgeable about the subject.

Well, there are thousands of US troops stationed in South Korea, and South Koreans are allowed to fulfill their military service requirement by serving in the US armed forces (I personally know a Korean guy who did this), so the US has a lot of military influence over South Korea. Furthermore, the US itself participated in the Korean War, so North Korea would also need to sign a treaty directly with the US in order to formally end hostilities.

The reason why no treaty was signed is because North Korea was aligned with the USSR and China during the Korean War, and not signing a treaty was a symbolic way of showing that the US would not view the existence of a communist country as legitimate (the other superpowers probably had an analogous view). The USSR however quickly lost its influence in North Korea. Today, the idea of a peace treaty can be used as a bargaining chip to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, which themselves were a bargaining chip to maintain North Korea’s sovereignty in the wake of the Iraq invasion. It could also be an indirect way for the US and China to threaten each other.

That clears things up a bit, your original post made it sound like there were not any problems between the two countries. I’ve been to Seoul and the DMZ and the general feeling wasn’t fear, but rather concern. When talking to South Koreans about the DMZ and the situation in North Korea I usually got responses back of general concern for the wellbeing of North Korea, or statements that they were very strong people. Of course, don’t take that as a blanket statement for all South Koreans.

It’s a foggy situation as an unification would not be an easy process. You can compare it to East and West Germany but it’s really a different situation, East Germans were not completely shut off to the outside world like your average North Korean citizen is. I remember reading a story about a meet up between the two countries, representative from South Korea brought some South Korean made Kia vehicles up as gifts for the North Korean representatives. Most of the people on the North Korean side had been so isolated from any sort of news from the south that they simply could not believe South Korea was capable of manufacturing automobiles.

Anyway, here is a link to an interesting free documentary if you are more interested on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ6E3cShcVU

I wonder if a bribe would make the North Korean leadership “retire”? Something like a mansion and a bunch of land in China or something, along with $10,000,000 each, and they just fade out. Even if they want a hundred million dollars, that is STILL cheaper then an invasion.

Dude, you wouldn’t be able to bribe Kim. He’s got complete control over a whole country. Would you give that up for a bunch of money? o_O

I agree with SK, I think the two countries will unite within the next 20 years, and peacefully. North Korea can’t exist by itself - its too poor, and without a repressive leadership(that is dying off), the NK people would unite with SK without thinking twice.

I honestly don’t know the answer to Sinistral’s first question. I’d assume their missile delivery systems are potent enought to be a danger to someone, if not us than SK or Japan.

It will be interestign to see how unification happens, if it all. 20 years after the reunification, East and West Germany are still vastly different from each other, and there’s a lot of resentment on both sides. The economic differences between North and south Korea are far more vast than they were in Germany as well. The total GDP of North Korea is about 25 billion dollars, whereas the South is nearly 1 trillion. That’s a 40-fold difference. The South will have to inject ridiculous sums of money into the North to make it viable. Refugees are likely to flood over to China as well, straining tensions in a region already highly strained. That doesn’t even go into other differences, such as education, or the fact that South Koreans are, on average, 8 inches taller than their Northern counterparts. There’d likely be a lot of antipathy about North Koreans coming in and stealing jobs, working for lower pay…either way, reunification won’t be easy, even if it’s peaceful.

So is North Korea just like north of South Korea or something?

Never looked on a map, have you? It’s the northern part of the Korean peninsula.

Most South Koreans, especially the youth think that because the two nations have been separate for so long, they might as well be two countries. The language has essentially been split into two dialects to their ears. Their parent’s generation still hope for a unified Korea since the war broke up many families.

Considering that South Korea has a rapidly aging population, I’m not sure if there would be conflicts over jobs. Like pretty much every other fully developed nation, SK is gonna need serious labor infusions over the coming decades.

Statistics
There is a growing burden on the work force. The elderly dependency ratio, i.e. the proportion of the elderly population to the population of working age, is expected to jump to 69.4% in 2050 from 10% in 2000. This is the fastest growth rate in the world;
With a rapidly ageing population and shrinking work force, tax revenues will decrease, while expenditure on pensions and health care will expand, undermining the country’s fiscal position. Government expenditure on health increased at an annual average rate of 8.2% over the period 2000-2006. While public social spending in South Korea is currently the lowest in the OECD (6.0% of GDP in 2001 according to OECD), it is forecast to increase to around the current OECD average of 21.0% by 2030. GDP per capita growth could therefore stagnate resulting in lower disposable incomes and consumption;
Consumer markets will change as older people become a significant group of consumers. Medical and healthcare service providers can expect increasing demand from an ageing population. However, businesses offerring leisure, recreational products and durable goods will lose out as their target consumers tend to be younger. Businesses that adapt to this changing consumer market will be able to benefit from the ageing population.

http://www.euromonitor.com/Ageing_South_Korea

I think the biggest problem would be social in nature - 2-3 generations of Koreans have grown up under completely different styles of government. As Iraq has showed us, those who have lived under dictatorships all their life have trouble “adjusting” to freer systems. Still, the example of Mexicans in our own country shows it can be done with minimal violence, albeit some significant social tension.