Tuesday, February 15, 2005

News of the Day (February 15)

The North Korea Conundrum: Yours truly concludes his Epoch Times series on Stalinist North Korea (here’s Part I, Part II, and Part III) with an explanation why the solution lies with not just an end to the Stalinist regime, but to its Communist Chinese ally as well.

U.S. insists Stalinist North Korea will get no concessions for talks restart: The United States repeated its insistence that the Kim Jong-il regime return to six-party talks on the latter’s nuclear weapons program without any new concessions. State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher put it this way: “the North Koreans shouldn't be rewarded for causing difficulties in the reconvening of talks” (Fox News). This statement was made as Christopher Hill, currently ambassador to democratic South Korea, was named the new U.S. point man for future rounds (if there are any) of talks, which include South Korea, Japan, Russia, and Communist China (Cybercast News). Also reporting: CNN

As U.S. takes aim at SNK’s illicit money streams, South Korea goes dovish, again: The London Telegraph reported that the U.S. “has secretly agreed a package of measures aimed at severing North Korea's illicit funding from counterfeiting, drugs trafficking and missile sales in an attempt to halt the Stalinist regime's nuclear weapons programme.” The paper noted, citing unnamed U.S. officials, “While the measures are not seen primarily as a means to bring about regime change in North Korea, it might have that beneficial side-effect.” Boucher himself noted the U.S. plans, but without mention of the potential side-effect (Washington Times). Meanwhile, the dovish government of South Korea reverted to form, as Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon “said his country wants to intensify diplomacy with North Korea” (BBC).

Another call for North Korean liberation: Claudia Rosette, Wall Street Journal (subscription is usually required, please let me know if you have difficulty with this link), also includes in her column a plea for the refugees from SNK, and some well-deserved verbal slaps at Communist China and the toothless United Nations.

Parade’s Worst Dictators – Kim Jong-il, Number 2; Hu Jintao, Number 4: Parade magazine compiled a list of the ten worst dictators in the world (Daily Times, Pakistan). Omar al-Bashir of Sudan nudged out Kim Jong-il of North Korea for the top spot, but Communist Chinese leader Hu Jintao was as high as number 4 (the Burmese junta was ahead of him). While we can’t be sure what led to this unusually sober view of Hu (the story itself will be available on line next Monday), perhaps Parade caught wind of the Hanyuan County Massacre?

On the Falun Gong War: Attorney Guo Guoting writes to the Epoch Times about the plight his client, jailed practitioner Qu Yanlai, has suffered.

More on Zhao’s treatment by the Party: Lin Di, Radio Free Asia, spoke to Open Magazine (reprinted by the Epoch Times) about the Communists’ treatment of Zhao Ziyang – the party boss deposed for opposing the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Communist Central Bank issues warning about Shanghai real estate: Communist China’s central bank “warned financial institutions to pay attention to the possibility of risk shifting from the real estate market to banks” (Epoch Times). The central bank cited Shanghai in particular – of note because it was showered with goodies when its patron – Jiang Zemin – was running the show.

BBC TV goes to Communist China: BBC TV will be airing an episode of Question Time from Shanghai. Among the panelists will be Chris Patten, the last UK-appointed Hong Kong Governor who brought democracy to the city. The BBC is priding itself on this: “People in Shanghai, residents or visitors, will be able to apply to join the studio audience and to put forward any questions they like on the most important political issues in China today.” Sounds like the “breakthrough” host David Dimbleby says it is, except for one problem: the BBC website is blocked in Communist China. Oops!

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