The February 28, 2010 StrategyPage has an interesting update on the brutal conditions in North Korea.
The whole thing is worth reading, but here is one excerpt that stood out for me:
North Korea is so broke that it can’t even expand its prison system. Currently, there are six main work camps, holding 200,000 prisoners. The camps run factories, mines and farms, but to build additional camps requires cash and resources the government doesn’t have. So food for the camps is being cut, to encourage the weaker prisoners to die, and make room for the many new “economic criminals” (especially those sneaking food in from China.)
There is also paralysis at the top when it comes to resuming negotiations with the U.S. and neighboring countries, that are willing to provide food and other aid, if the north will abandon nuclear weapons. Many North Korean officials are willing to make the trade, but refuse to allow the inspections demanded.
The big fear is that the outsiders will find out how bad off North Korea really is. This, despite the fact that this is not much of a secret anymore.
(Read the full text.)
Fortunately, it looks like the Obama Administration is not in a hurry to agree to more negotiations and talks with such a weakened (yet unrepentant) enemy.
Given that I oppose so many of the current President’s policies, I do wish to give him credit on those occasions where I agree with him.