September 16, 2003

Korea update

Winds of Change has a regional briefing on North Korea up. If you haven't checked this site out, you should. They tend to be a bit gung-ho about everything for my tastes, but the briefings are usually top notch.

Two items to whet your whistle. One sobering:

North Korea has been using Russian technology in developing a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching any target in the continental United States, an administration official said Thursday.

The official, asking not to be identified, estimated the potential range at 9,400 miles. The distance from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, to San Francisco is about 5,500 miles.

In theory at least, the new missile could strike any target on U.S. soil, a potential that becomes all the more ominous if Pyongyang is able to cap the rocket with a nuclear warhead, the official said.

And one encouraging:

China said Monday that its military has taken over patrolling its frontier with North Korea, but wouldn't disclose why it made the change.

The Foreign Ministry would not confirm reports in Hong Kong media that China moved 150,000 troops to the border to stem crime by North Korean soldiers and to pressure its isolated communist neighbor to halt its nuclear weapons program.

"It is a normal adjustment carried out after many years of preparation by the relevant parties," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement.

It wasn't clear which agency previously patrolled the border, which is off-limits to foreign reporters. But such duties are believed to have been held by the People's Armed Police, a paramilitary force also run by the Defense Ministry.

Posted by richard at September 16, 2003 10:28 PM