Wednesday, March 29, 2006

News and Views from Dongbei

There are a couple of stories floating around the net that I want to bring up here. I've decided that just citing the post and BBC is probably very little value-added for all my loyal readers out there. I know who each and every one of the 12 of you are!

First, sad news. There was a tragedy in Meihekou, Jilin province.

It was reported in Xinhua, Agence France Press, and a few others. Aparently a friendly card game turned not-so-friendly, and the insulted party came back with a grenade. It went off. 4 people died.

I spent Lunar New Year 3 years ago with a friend of mine and her family. It was a nice town--and it seemed to be on the verge of being able to prosper. Additionally, there is a community of Benedictine Sisters in Meihekou who run a hospital. These things are always terrible to read about. But having been in the town makes it even worse.

In other news, it appears that China may be preparing to annex North Korea. At least this is the position put forward by columnist Han Ki-heung. Following a fall and early winter of positive statements between China and North Korea, he seems convinced that China is attempting to pursue a policy of economically integrating the DPRK into the regional economy of China's North Eastern three provinces of Jilin, Liaoning, and Heilongjiang.

Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but it is a phenomenon, which if true, is likely to backfire on the Chinese. The South Koreans are remarkably sensative to their position between China and Japan in Asian affairs, "the shrimp caught between two whales." I can only assume that North Koreans--possibly more patriotic and jingoistic than even the Chinese themselves--would take such affront to that type of Chinese action as to spoil the possibility of China and North Korea having reasonable relations into the futre.

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