Wednesday, August 27, 2003

a big day

I was flat on my back all day today, having been taken down by fever, all-over bodyache, pounding headache, nausea, and dizziness. My k'eun adjoshi had left me, a while ago, a box containing small bottles of some sort of Korean mystery medicine, and I decided to OD on that, chugging down two bottles around noon and drinking some cold water. It's around 5PM now, and I'm well enough to walk around, but still not sure about my stomach. I ate a single slice of bread, and that's been it today.

Today's a big day because it's the start of the six-way talks. They've been going on while I've been flat on my back and staring blankly at the ceiling, so the time has come to survey the blogs & papers and see what the folks are saying.

First up: Kevin at IA remains pessimistic that anything substantive will result from these talks. I agree. Unless we come on strong and surprise NK with some radical demands, it's doubtful we'll be seeing anything different from negotiations past. Kevin's entry does say something sinister, though:

The 2004 presidential election will definitely play a large part in how this drama unfolds. The red lines drawn by the administration, and their response to NK crossing those lines, have likely been moved back significantly. As the article mentions, Bush has enough on his plate, and the last thing he needs is a Korean catastrophe to plunge his numbers further. Assuming Bush wins the election though...

There's a reason I'm leaving Korea in October 2004.


Whoops-- and Kevin beats me to the news sources: "No one budged an inch."

Sounds about right.

The Marmot points to a Nicholas Eberstadt article in the Washington Post.

The Vulture, meantime, has an interesting meditation on dog-eating, and concludes that it's a bad thing:

But anyway... back to the point... I used to think it was fine for Koreans to eat dog meat, as long as the dogs were killed humanely. But I've since come to believe that dogs, to a degree that no other animal can even come close to matching, actually like humans. Due to thousands of year of domestication and living side-by-side with people, it's in their nature to protect, serve, and comfort mankind. They truly are man's best friend, and I feel killing and eating them is, well, wrong.

Brian has eaten dog stew before. Like me, he finds the meat is OK, but the broth is nasty.

John Pomfret of the Washington Post sees the China-NK relationship as a crucial determinant for what happens during the talks. Here-- chew over this paragraph from the article:

Some Chinese academics have started arguing that North Korea's disappearance would actually not be harmful to China's long-term interests. In one unpublished paper, a specialist on Chinese security, Shi Yinhong, wrote that China could benefit in the long term from North Korea's collapse. South Korea, which would take over, would naturally gravitate toward Beijing and away from Japan and the United States, he wrote. U.S. troops would leave the peninsula and China's influence over northeast Asia would rise.

The Post's Peter Baker takes note of Russia's apparent turn away from NK as well.

On Much the same as what Kevin at IA pointed out: nobody's budging.

That seems to be about it for now. More news as it happens.

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