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In the dark

Some South Koreans had an interesting experience when they visited North Korea recently.

Blackouts frequently interrupted a four-day stay in Pyongyang for South Koreans attending a rare joint seminar between the Cold War rivals, with the North's showcase city often plunged into pitch darkness by power outages.

'What is going on here?' a North Korean border control officer said when computer terminals lost power and the lights went out at the Soviet-era Sunan Airport terminal, which serves Pyongyang, while he was processing the documents of the visiting South Koreans.

There's another famine going on. As a result there isn't food around to feed the gerbils that spin the wheels and produce the electricity in The Hermit Kingdom.

One of his colleagues tried in vain to keep the line of visitors moving by checking passports in the faint light from a distant door.
They must be out of flashlight batteries too.
When the sun goes down in Pyongyang, people hurry along unlit sidewalks before they have to grope their way home in near total darkness.
Giving new meaning to the North Korean philosophy of Juche.
The visiting South Koreans were treated to a performance by artistically gifted students but had to wait to applaud because the lights went out at the end of the show in an unheated hall, leaving them wondering if the darkness was part of the act.
Yes. North Korea is one great big improvisational theater. That as a result of food and power shortages.


Outside observers are equally in the dark over Mr Kim's health and succession plans in Asia's only communist dynasty.
Kim Jong-il was recently seen picking someone's nose.

US and South Korean officials said Mr Kim suffered a stroke in August, raising questions about who was in control of the reclusive state and who was making decisions about the North's nuclear weapons programme.
On a serious note, China recently massed 150,000 of their troops along the DPRK/China border. Beijing, one of North Korea's few friends, seems to be concerned with potential regime change in Pyongyang. If the government collapses there, the Chinese moving in seems more likely than the South Koreans to me. Though I wonder if anyone really wants to inherit that disaster of a nation.

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Comments (10)

Well, with a Mr. Kim think-... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Well, with a Mr. Kim think-alike in the White House, we have something to look forward to! All of this knowing that the lights will come on when you flip the switch has become quite a bore over the decades anyhow. Of course, China knows full well that Hussein will do nothing should it advance into North Korea. And it will get the same response when it takes the South! Won't the new US adoring world be a wonderful place!

You know you're in trouble ... (Below threshold)
cirby:

You know you're in trouble when an invasion by China is the "happy ending" option.

"You know you're in trou... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"You know you're in trouble when an invasion by China is the "happy ending" option."

Ain't THAT the truth...

Makes me think that things have gotten considerably worse in NK, if they aren't keeping the showpiece facilities and cities lit... A performance blacked out? Passport check blacked out?

Frankly, they've staggered on a lot longer than I figured they would. I'll give 'em props for tenacity and stubborness...

"China recently massed 1... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"China recently massed 150,000 of their troops along the DPRK/China border"

Remember Biden's campaign "promise": "Obama will be tested"

The Chinese regime would be... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

The Chinese regime would be a dramatic improvement for the DPRK in terms of bureaucratic efficiency, logistical capabilities, and (this is the sad part)--respect for the welfare of individuals.

Kim Jong Il has as much in common with Barack Obama as he does with Ronald Reagan, OPM. He's so far off the political spectrum as to be an unfortunate enigma who makes even the Party leadership in China seem moderate and level-headed.

You can find (on Google and... (Below threshold)
Paul_In_Houston:

You can find (on Google and others) images from space at night showing the difference between South Korea (almost as lit as European countries)
and North Korea (almost completely dark except around Pyongyang).

Example at http://www.websitewarehouse.com/rsc/korea_lights_lg.jpg

Yes, the Chinese will take ... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

Yes, the Chinese will take NoKo without firing a shot the moment someone confirms that Kim is pushing daisies, and the Lightworker will not so much as say a word in protest.

If the South Koreans had any nads, they'd pounce first, but they were emasculated decades ago.

Remember though, how difficult it was for Germany when it reunited with the former Soviet-bloc East Germany? Sad to say, but South Korea may simply not have the resources to consider aquiring a country that is so destitute, it would take decades to repair.

I have a lot of sympathy fo... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

I have a lot of sympathy for the people of DPRK. They know the true meaning of the words "police state". Sadly, very little of the aid sent to DPRK ever makes it any further than the bellies of L'il Kim's military.

DPRK is the worst country in the world. You know it's bad when a takeover by PRC (Amnesty International's perennial "Most Oppressive State") would improve human rights. On the plus side, PRC has forsaken DPRK's (and the Khmer Rouge's) brand of agrarian communism for authoritarian capitalism.

Either way, a lot more of North Koreans are going to die before their situation improves. Very sad.

Wanderlust--if you knew any... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Wanderlust--if you knew anything about North-South relations, you'd know that they have already experimented with using the North as cheap labour, building factories in the DPRK close to the border/DMZ. It would be a slow transition, for sure, but it's not like none of the players who would be involved have given it any thought. The people of the South desperately want to reunify as they managed to keep their country intact for millenia despite overwhelming odds (being sandwiched between two vastly stronger empires, one of which was hell-bent on their destruction). They maintained national unity even after the Japanese empire was humbled by the United States. To say that Koreans are proud of their country would be an understatement: they are possibly the most patriotic people on Earth.

South Koreans like democracy and capitalism for different reasons than Americans: they view these concepts not as intrinsically good, or as effective means for advancing the prospects of individual prosperity, but as the most effective vehicles towards collective success for their people--defined in terms of "blood", or race. They have more empathy towards their relatives across the border than they do with Western capitalists, as they see Kim Jong Il's dictatorship as a misguided effort at achieving the same goal: Korean hegemony on the peninsula and strength throughout eastern Asia.

The South would gladly tighten its belt in order to reunify with the North. They have already taken steps towards making this more feasible.

Best, safety, swifty way is... (Below threshold)
kim, chol y:

Best, safety, swifty way is to establish north_america embassy in pyongyang and oversight neclear profilltering as well as.
Obama do it i gurantee.




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