World View: U.S. Says Syria Has Used Chemical Weapons Twice

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • S. Korea sets deadline for N. Korea on Kaesong Industrial Complex
  • U.S. says Syria has used chemical weapons twice
  • China's Uighur violence may be related to East Turkestan Islamic Movement
  • U.N. Security Council approves 12,600 person force for Mali

S. Korea sets deadline for N. Korea on Kaesong Industrial Complex

Kaesong industrial complex
Kaesong industrial complex

The Kaesong industrial park is in North Korea, just across the border from South Korea. It was created in 2004 as a point of cooperation between the two Koreas. Until a month ago, it provided jobs for more than 5e,000 North Koreans, and over 1,000 South Koreans, many of whom cross the border each day to work there. The employers are South Korean manufacturing firms, mostly textiles. Each North Korean earns around $70 per month, though a larger amount is paid to the North Korean government, making Kaesong a major source of income.

Operations in Kaesong halted on April 9, when the North Koreans pulled out all 53,000 of its workers, as part of its circus-like daily threats of war. But now the South Koreans are saying that it's time to end the circus show, and demanding that the North "discuss ways of normalizing operations at Kaesong" by Friday. If the offer is rejected, then the South will take "serious measures," possibly shutting Kaesong down for good. Yonhap (Seoul)

U.S. says Syria has used chemical weapons twice

The White House and top U.S. administration officials said on Thursday that U.S. intelligence has concluded "with some degree of varying confidence" that the Syrian government has twice used chemical weapons against the opposition. Republican Senator John McCain is insisting that President Barack Obama should now honor his commitment that use of chemical weapons would be a "game changer" and would cross a "red line" that would trigger military intervention in Syria. However, U.S. officials are now saying that more definitive proof was needed before there could be military action. One issue is that if the U.S. launched a military intervention based on intelligence estimates, then the announcement would be met with widespread scorn. AP

China's Uighur violence may be related to East Turkestan Islamic Movement

The ethnic violence between Uighurs and Han Chinese in China's Xinjiang province in northwestern China that we reported yesterday is being described by Chinese authorities as the acts of a small group of thugs. However, it seems far more likely that there two major underlying causes:

  • In recent decades, Xinjiang province has seen a big influx of Han Chinese, brought into the region to exploit the natural resources and to dilute the Uighur population. (China uses the same policy with the Tibetans in Tibet province.) China's government is extremely oppressive towards the Uighurs, but they don't speak out because of fear.
  • Although no one has been formally accused in Tuesday's attack, the al-Qaeda linked East Turkestan Islamic Movement has been accused in the past of fomenting a separatist movement among Uighur communities in central Asia.
Chinese media are claiming that the United States holds a "double standard" when it comes to terrorism in the United States and in China. According to one Chinese professor:

"However, the West has been holding double standards in the definition of terrorism. If the East Turkestan separatists carry out evil deeds in Xinjiang, some Western opinions whitewash them as seeking 'national self-determination'"

The Chinese point out that the U.S. was quick to blame separatists from Chechnya for the Boston marathon bombings, but sympathizes with Uighur separatists who commit terrorism in Xinjiang. VOA and BBC

U.N. Security Council approves 12,600 person force for Mali

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a peacekeeping force for Mali, consisting of 11,200 troops and 1,440 police. Though the French-led intervention initially succeeded in driving the al-Qaeda linked militias from the towns and cities once under their control, a series of several attacks, including suicide bombings, in Mali's northern cities raise the question of whether the Islamist forces have really been defeated. CS Monitor


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