South Korea is taking a hardline against the terrorists who kidnapped one of it’s citizens working in Iraq and threatening to kill him if their demands aren’t met. This is in stark contrast though to the position the government has taken with regard to dealing with communist North Korea.
It would be hard to argue that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il is any different from the terrorists in the middle east. Since 2000 when the first talk of reunification arose, South Korea has been falling all over itself to meet Kim’s demands. Back then the South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung paid the North between $100-$500 million dollars to get the talks rolling. The payoff wasn’t discovered until after Kim Dae-Jung won the Nobel Peace Prize that year. Kim, who left office under a cloud as a result (as do many Korean politicians) is now being resurrected a la Richard Nixon. The latest rumors in Seoul are that Kim will become a special envoy to the North. I wonder how much more money that will cost the South.
In addition to the aforementioned payoff, the South has provided several millions tons of food aid. I don’t have a problem in providing aid to a starving nation, but how did they get there to begin with and who is to guarantee that the food actually went to those in need? After the horrific train explosion in North Korea in April, the South immediately tried to provide food, medical supplies and relief workers. The North was very slow to accept this help, lest it open a window on how bad things really are there. They did show incredible gall though when they rejected additional food and demanded bulldozers and construction materials to rebuild the city that was leveled by the blast. Leave it to the communists to think about rebuilding while people were dying in hospitals.
So why does the North get away with this bullying? The only reason is that unlike the time when Germany reunited there is a nuclear threat. Kim Jong-Il is playing his hand to the max and getting just about everything he wants. The biggest stumbling block in his plans is the U.S. and their 37,000 plus troops in the South and the hard line stance of the Bush adminsitration in the nuclear disarmament talks. He knows that the U.S. could easily wipe out his forces and so he concentrates on changing public opinion in South Korea.
President Bush knows what Dr. Fred Schwarz wrote back in 1960, You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists) to be true. South Korean president Roh Moo Hyun needs only to look at history to see what happens when you capitulate to the communists.