Monday, December 30, 2002

# Posted 8:29 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

EVIL SOUTH KOREAN CAPITALISTS: The NYT headline reads "U.S. Plan for Trade Penalties for North Korea Worries South Korean Investors". You read it and you think "Oh no! I thought Anti-Americanism was bad enough, but now South Koreans have a real, material interest in preventing the US and UN from imposing sanctions on Kim Jong Il."

But then you read the article and you realize that the headline should've been: "Economic Ties Between North and South Korea Minimal, Irrelevant." What is the annual value of inter-Korean trade? $600 million. Now, it might've been helpful if the Times put that figure in context by giving figures for South Korean trade with other nations. But they don't, so I will. The statistics are available here, from South Korea's National Statistics Office.

Exports to the US: $26.8 billion; To Japan: $12.4 billlion. Germany, the UK, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong all clock in at over $3 billion as well.

Oh, and one more fact buried near the end of the NYT article: North Korea's dysfunctional political system has screwed up almost every foreign investment project in North Korea.

Bottom line: Economic interests are not going to get in the way of imposing sanctions on North Korea.
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