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North Korea Threatens Japan
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Don't know if anyone here is following this story, but it's definitely worth following.

Last week, DNA tests showed that bones provided by North Korea to prove that a missing Japanese woman, Megumi Yokota, was dead, did not belong to her but to several other people.

Pyongyang admitted kidnapping her in 1977 but said she committed suicide in 1984. Many in Japan, including her parents, are suspicious and believe she is still alive.

So now Japan is threatening economic sanctions. North Korea's response?

"If sanctions are applied against the DPRK (North Korea)... we will regard it as a declaration of war against our country and promptly react to the action by an effective physical method," a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency said.

In other words, we're going to launch a volley of missiles at your major cities. Nice.

Now whether or not they would actually follow through with the threat is in doubt. But who wants to call that bluff? It's not blackmail...the correct term is extortion.

Japan provides massive amounts of food aid to North Korea, and as I've noted here before, the neediest often don't receive it. The million-man army of NK and party loyalists are the ones who remain well-fed, while the peasants in the countryside starve to death.

According to this story, we're trying to play a delicate diplomatic game:

[Shinzo] Abe also said Japan will be able to obtain support from the United States for economic sanctions against North Korea if Japan decides on the move, although U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has reportedly urged Japan to avoid using sanctions at this time.

"I talked with a senior U.S. government official, and the official agreed with the party's (the LDP's) proposal of setting a deadline for North Korea (to give a full account of Yokota's fate) before moving on to sanctions," Abe said.

The United States, which has repeatedly expressed its support for Japan's efforts to settle the abduction issue, is apparently concerned that unilateral sanctions by Japan could harden North Korea's stance towards an early resumption of the stalled six-nation talks on its nuclear programs.

So we're trying to calm down the Japanese so that we can sit down with the North Koreans, a barbaric nuclear police state that kidnaps citizens of neighboring countries to use as spies then lies about their fate and sends the parents a sack of someone else's ashes. Beautiful.

And we have to deal with them, and probably keep sending them blood money, because they have the technology to decimate our friends. NK is basically like a group of thugs with guns who kidnap the local grocer's daughter, brainwash her, and tell her parents she's dead. Then threaten to kill the rest of the grocer's family and burn down the store if they don't keep supplying the thugs with free food.

Is anyone here telling me that with hindsight, a pre-emptive war against North Korea in the early 90's wouldn't have been a good idea?

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