28 January 2010

North Korean Provocations

In particular, North Korea has claimed to have taken a second American man into custody (the first being the Christian activist who walked into North Korean on Christmas Day). There has been no confirmation of this (no family has reported anyone having gone in, etc.), but the fact that NK announced it seems to suggest that those in charge are trying to provoke a response. This is bolstered by the fact that the North Korean military has been engaging in live fire exercises into disputed waters.

Is any of this important? Well, probably not. But, I think it might show the intelligence of the US and South Korean negotiators in that they've started ignoring provocations and are maintaining their focus on the important goals they are seeking. It's tough to negotiate with NK, because every concession gets only temporary good behavior. Acts of firmness merely stir up more bad behavior. Ignoring the little attention getting acts and focusing on the core problems is probably the best way to go.

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