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[GOING TO THE BLOGS]Lots of discussion over return to talks

Nov 05,2006
If there is one thing North Korea is good at ― besides counterfeiting foreign currency, illegally shipping weapons and illicit drugs, and receiving loads of cash by manipulating the South’s Sunshine Policy ― it’s staying in the headlines.
Pyongyang’s announcement that it would rejoin the six-party talks had bloggers talking about North Korea once again. American and Chinese leaders are viewing this as a small victory stemming from their recent measures toward the North, as Joshua observes at “One Free Korea” (http://freekorea.us/). “Although it should be obvious by now that the North Koreans will never agree to complete and verifiable disarmament, you can already detect a hint of triumphalism from the [U.S.] State Department.”
However, most of the Korean blogosphere considers the announcement to be nothing more than further rhetoric from the North.
Nomad writes at the “Lost Nomad” blog (www.lostnomad.org/), “Call me cynical or jaded, but I’m not going to break out the champagne to start celebrating. So what brought this on? The heat they’re feeling from the sanctions? Pressure applied from China? Whatever the reason, I’m not looking for any significant breakthroughs in the near future. Everybody’s been there, done that, and has numerous T-shirts.”
Richardson at “DPRK Studies” (www.dprkstudies.org/) also sees little to be excited about: “It’s too soon to celebrate, and besides, it’s sort of pathetic to consider just getting North Korea to the table as something wonderful.”
In the comments section of the same blog, Pelagius predicts how long the North’s latest “good intentions” will last.
“The Magic Eight Ball Says: North Korea reneges on this agreement the moment one of their ships is stopped, boarded and inspected.”
Writing at the blog “ROK Drop” (www.gikorea.net/BLOG/), a skeptical GI Korea does note one reason for a modicum of optimism this time around: “With the six-party talks back on, North Korea now has less cards to play as they have already conducted missile and nuclear tests. They are playing with a much weaker hand, but I don’t think they really have any intention of cutting a deal. This seems more like a face-saving measure for China.”

Does this mean no more tuna surprise?
If you, like most Koreans, like your sushi, sashimi or various other ocean delights, then you’d better get it while the gettin’s good, because according to Kevin at Big Hominid’s Hairy Chasms (http://bighominid.blogspot.com/), “Seafood, which is consumed worldwide, is apparently going to disappear within five decades as various patches of the global ecosystem collapse due to overfishing, pollution and other factors.”
Kevin links to an AP article written by Randolph E. Schmid that, if it proves to be true, doesn’t bode well for the Korean seafood industry, or humanity in general.

The City Hall of power
Long-time residents of Seoul have no doubt taken note of its recent metamorphosis into a somewhat visually pleasing city.
One of the improvements was the installation of grass in front of City Hall, but Robert at “The Marmot’s Hole” (www.rjkoehler.com/) suggests that the building itself is one of Seoul’s proudest features, “If I had to pick my five favorite buildings in Korea, [City Hall] would certainly be one of them. I pass it nearly every single day, but neither its beauty nor power diminishes even the slightest. Seoul City Hall, construction of which was completed in 1926, is a hard building to get a fix on architecturally. Many experts use the term ‘eclecticism’ to describe its style. Others, including the very nice lady I called today at Seoul City’s Department of Cultural Properties, describe it as ‘Renaissance.’ Personally, I think the best way to describe it is ‘stripped classicism’ meets ‘art deco.’ ”


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