North Korean Periscope, Three


TOKYO (majirox news) – Majirox News brings you short items about North Korea that have appeared in Japanese or Korean media but not been widely picked up in Western media.

Flee the North, Go to Harvard – In a new program sure to bring anguished screams from any unemployed American who hears about it, South Korea plans to send refugees from North Korea to the United States to study English and gain work experience.

“We’re extremely concerned,” says an official of South Korea’s Reunification Ministry, “among 20-year-olds, particularly college students, who fled the North there is an unemployment rate of 13.7%, which is more than four times the average unemployment rate in South Korea. A lot of this has to do with their inability to speak English.” There are around 5,000 of them.

The South Korean Government plans to send some of these youths to the United States for five months of extensive English language training and 12 months of work experience. This will be followed by one month touring the U.S.

However, who will be handing out these “work experience jobs” with the U.S. unemployment rate running at
9% ? If any are given out they should go to Americans first. Let the Koreans take care of their own.

Nobody Here But Us South Koreans – The Russians have developed a knack of antagonizing the Japanese about the Northern Territories, which the Russians call the southern Kurile Islands. Japan and Russia have been quarreling about these four smallish islands since the end of World War II.

These islands are currently held by Russia, but claimed by Japan. There has been a rush of Russian big cheeses visiting these islands since the beginning of 2010, which grates deeply on Japanese sensitivities.

The President of Russia visited the islands in November, which is akin to having Queen Elizabeth stage a state visit to St. Helena Island in the middle of the South Atlantic, which is isolated, far away, obscure and scantily populated.

Hard on the President’s heels came the Russian Assistant Prime Minister in December, and then in January the Assistant Defense Minister, which was soon followed by the Defense Minister. One wonders what there is to see on the islands.

Now the Russians have come up with the ultimate way to get on Japanese nerves: invite the South Koreans to help develop the Northern Territories.

“We think that South Korean industries will find interesting opportunities in natural materials, fisheries and the hotel business,” said Governor Horoshavin of the State of Sakhalin. The state includes the islands claimed by Japan as the Northern Territories. “We are looking forward to their proposals for all of Sakhalin, which will no doubt include the Kurile Islands.”

Meanwhile in Tokyo temperatures are no doubt rising to the boiling point.

Coming Food Crisis in North Korea, Again? - Bird Flu and Hoof and Mouth Disease is sweeping through Japan and South Korea. There have been nine major infections in Japan of bird flu since 2004, and a new one was recently announced in Oita Prefecture. As a result, over eight million chickens and tens of thousands of cattle were destroyed in the last six years.

There has been a shift in the origin of the bird flu from South East Asia to Siberia and Mongolia since around 2000, and with it a rise in virulence. Migratory flight paths of wild ducks and cranes usually take them over much of Japan, Northern China, North Korea and South Korea.

“Hoof and Mouth disease has reached catastrophic proportions in some areas of South Korea,” according to the South Korean Ministry of Health. “More than 500,000 animals have been slaughtered. This amounts to 20% of South Korea’s pig and cattle population. In addition, 3% of all chickens in South Korea have been destroyed because of an outbreak of bird flu.”

The same migratory and infectious paths that keep bringing the bird flu and other diseases to South Korea and Kyushu in Japan also sweeps over North Korea. At this point, no one knows how the North Koreans are coping, or if they have the technology and disinfectant chemicals necessary to deal with a countrywide pandemic of this nature.

South Korea and Japan are fighting back with vigorous chemical sterilization, special training of workers and a wide variety of highly specialized, sterile high tech chicken houses that stop diseases from developing. North Korea has none of this and there seems to be no way to stop the spread of these animal diseases if it should take hold in North Korea.

Given current bird migration patterns, it is inevitable that it will. In this case much of North Korea’s livestock could die or have to be destroyed, worsening even further North Korea’s grave food shortage.

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