The Two Koreas - Motivations

North Korean Radio Explains Clash

On what motivates the North - excerpt:

In an interview with the BBC, Brian Myers, an American expert on North Korea, suggested:

We need to keep in mind that North Korea is a self-described ‘military-first’ state — in other words, a state which justifies its existence not on the basis of any kind of economic promises or economic claims but on the basis of the claim to be the stronger of the two Koreas, the Korea that is standing up for itself. And when you have that kind of raison d’etre, then you need military victories on a periodic basis — or, at least, provocations of the outside world.

New Focus on North’s Food Shortage

More on the North - Excerpt:

“They’re in a desperate situation, and they want food immediately, not next year,” Mr. Choi said on Wednesday. “Food is the No. 1 issue.”

Others used harsher terms.

“This incident seems to fit the pattern of a Mafia shakedown,” said Tim Peters, a longtime resident in Seoul and head of Helping Hands Korea, an nongovernmental organization that works with North Korean defectors. “It’s a Mafia extortion by the Kim regime. And it has worked for them before: It’s the feed-us-or-we’ll-shoot-you approach. And now with winter coming on, they’re trying to get more food aid.”

“The regime wants just enough food to keep the population from turning.”

Analysts Puzzle Over Cause of Flare-Up

North alleges that the South fired first - Excerpt:

The South Korean Defense Ministry said the attack on the island was unprovoked. In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Lee called the attack “unprecedented.”

“It was a premeditated provocation and an indiscriminate attack against civilians,” he said.

But North Korea, through its official news agency, said the South had fired first, sending live rounds from a battery on another island onto its side of the maritime border.

“What has been missing in all the analysis is that we’re not listening to what North Korea says,” said Michael Breen, the author of a book about the two Koreas and a biography of Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader. “Because of the blustering language the North Koreans always use, you tend to dismiss it.

“But if the North was holding live-fire exercises five miles offshore from South Korea, it wouldn’t just be business as usual. These waters, they consider theirs. What’s the point, anyway, of doing these live-fire drills so close to North Korea?”

The South Korean deputy defense minister acknowledged Tuesday night that the South had fired artillery close to North Korea, but he insisted the shots were aimed away from the North. Defense officials also said the North had known about the exercises.

Anxiety in Seoul as Civilian Deaths Are Reported

And the South - Excerpt:

And in Seoul — which lies well within range of North Korean missiles — people seemed caught somewhere between calm and dread, angry over the deaths but perhaps slightly relieved that things had not escalated.

Kwak Kyeh-nyong, a lighting designer, said the situation certainly had him worried on Tuesday night.

“It felt quite serious last night, and I was thinking that if a war started, I would have to go back into military service,” he said, sipping an early-morning espresso to nurse a hangover after a night of prebirthday partying. He turned 27 on Wednesday.

“I did my military service very close to the North Korean border. Every day I went to the DMZ. If a war had started, I would have been dead within five minutes.”

Comment: I'm just thinking ... if the young men of our greatest generation had a dread of dying and concerned about going into military service as they nursed hangovers, I would either be speaking German or Japanese today! Perhaps With the Old Breed should be translated into Korean!

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