[GOING TO THE BLOGS]Hard for Kim to say he’s sorry

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[GOING TO THE BLOGS]Hard for Kim to say he’s sorry

Reputedly a huge fan of Hollywood films, Kim Jong-il is no doubt familiar with the popular quote from the movie “Love Story:” “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” It appears the North Korean dictator is feeling little love from China these days. A Chinese delegation’s report that Kim has apologized ― or expressed regret ― for the recent nuclear test has the blogosphere questioning his sincerity. [Those reports have been called into question by U.S. officials and others. ― Ed.]
Concerning Mr. Kim’s condition-laden offer to rejoin the six-party talks, Andy Jackson writes at “The Marmot’s Hole” (http://www.rjkoehler.com/), “The U.S. financial sanctions related to North Korea’s counterfeiting of U.S. money and other nastiness can and will be stopped when North Korea stops its illegal acts. They are not matters for negotiation. Of course if, during the course of the six party talks, they want to negotiate an end of financial sanctions in exchange for verifiably ending their criminal activities, that seems fair.”
Adds commenter Ulsanchris at the same site, “Kim Jong-il knows the United States will refuse [N. Korea’s offer]. This way he is hoping that he can appear conciliatory while the U.S. looks stubborn.”
Sewing speculates that the apology is possibly groundwork for an additional nuclear test, “Now there’s talk that he won’t carry out a second test. This way, when he does do a second test (if he ever does, it’s because he would have been intending to do so all along), he’ll claim he was forced to do so by outside hostility (i.e., the current reaction to the first test). Senior Uri Party officials in S. Korea will then blame the Americans for forcing Kim into testing a second nuke.”
Reader Hugh suspects that the report itself was nothing more than posturing by the Chinese, “The Chinese envoy went to Beijing [sic] embarrassed and came back with this face-saving ‘good news’.” He further suggests that, short of a direct announcement from North Korea, Washington should dismiss the reports.

Love, international style
Despite the growing awareness ― largely resulting from the Super Bowl success of Hines Ward ― of the plight of biracial children in Korea, a large number of expats living here believe the nation has a long way to go on matters of discrimination. The Metropolitician addresses the always controversial subject of interracial dating at his blog titled “Scribblings of the Metropolitician” (http://metropolitician.blogs.com/ scribblings_of_the_metrop/), “If [a foreigner] is with a Korean woman and she’s ― oh, boy ― considered attractive by most Korean men, you WILL GET VERBALLY ASSAULTED and possibly worse. And I think it’s a statistical game. Yes, say there are only 1/10,000 Koreans you meet who would ever think of doing this to a foreign couple, how many people do you meet in a day?”
Offering a sympathetic female perspective, Jodi interjects, “Korea has a long way to go on this. I don’t think it will be so much a case of Korea needing to open its doors to more foreigners as it will be a case of Koreans going overseas and observing how the rest of the (developed) world deals with these same issues. Then when they come back to Korea, they will probably see where Korean society lags behind.”

Read all about it
In the age of the Internet and cable television, access to news is easy, but in the not-too-distant past, you had to wait for the evening news or morning paper. In a post at the blog “Gusts of Popular Feeling” (http://populargusts.blogspot.com/), Matt discusses Korea’s earliest newspapers at the end of the 19th century and their influence. “Newspapers help create a public space shared by thousands, and this homogenization across long distances began the process by which a Korean national identity would form ― which is why, of course, the Japanese sought to wipe them out.” Interesting, in view of the legions of Korean netizens these days.


by Scott Hammel
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