In Brief... World News Review: Korean Concerns

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In Brief... World News Review

Korean Concerns

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Much press has been given to the ongoing Iraqi crisis, but recent actions by the North Korean government are setting off alarms. The Korean peninsula was called "the most unpredictable security tinder box in the world" in a recent Boston Globe article.

North Korea fields the world's second-largest army, adding 13,000 soldiers and 900,000 reservists last year alone, in spite of widespread food shortages and even famine. U.S. intelligence says the country has three nuclear devices. Recent missile launches demonstrated North Korean capability to reach all of South Korea, Japan, and Okinawa.

For perspective, contrasting North Korea with Iraq, the North Koreans have thousands of tons of chemical and biological weapons along with the capacity to use them. The Communist Koreans have also openly threatened the 37,000 U.S. troops based in South Korea, and recently refused to allow weapons inspectors access to sites of suspected underground nuclear facilities. (The Arizona Republic, © 1998 ; Eric Margolis, © 1998)