World View: North Korea Holds American, South Koreans as 'Hostages'
- France's Hollande announces military cuts of 34,000 jobs
- North Korea holds an American and 7 S. Koreans as 'hostages'
France's Hollande announces military cuts of 34,000 jobs
Francois Hollande sits in an armored vehicle in January tribute to armed forces (Reuters)
France's president, Francois Hollande, announced on Monday that France
will cut 24,000 military jobs by 2019. This number is in addition to the 54,000 job cuts
already announced by former president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008.
The cuts come at a time when Hollande's Socialist government is forced to
reduce state spending by 60 billion euros over the next five years.
France's military took part in the Libya intervention in 2011 and is
still involved in the intervention in Mali to drive back Islamist
At the same time, the operation highlighted its limitations
in mid-air refueling, troop transportation, and intelligence gathering, much of which it relied on help from the United States. Reuters and AFP
North Korea holds an American and 7 S. Koreans as 'hostages'
North Korea's recent war threat circus seems to have died down,
with no apparent action beyond the clownish rhetoric. Now, the child dictator Kim Jong-un seems to be pursuing a new policy:
As we've described several times, Kaesong
Industrial Complex was built in North Korea in 2004 as a joint
venture between the North and South and was considered a symbol
of peaceful cooperation until a few weeks ago, when the North
Koreans suddenly withdrew their 53,000 workers from the project.
Since the North refused to negotiate, the South finally withdrew
its thousand or so employees, effectively shutting the complex
down. However, North Korea is holding seven South Koreans from
returning to the South, to "negotiate unpaid wages."
This comes at a time when North Korea is putting on trial an American
citizen named Kenneth Bae (Korean name Pae Jun-ho) who was
mysteriously arrested six months ago while leading a tour group into
the country. It's thought that Bae was arrested because he's a
Christian who's affiliated with Christian groups who had sometimes
aided North Korean defectors.
One possibility is that the North Koreans are taking Bae and the
seven South Koreans as hostages to gain negotiating leverage with the
west. In 2009, former President Bill Clinton flew to North Korea to
win the release of two American journalists who had been arrested. Former president Jimmy Carter made a similar
trip to North Korea in the past.
The North Koreans always portray
these trips by high American officials as a major humiliation for
America. We'll have to wait and see what demands the North Koreans
will make in return for freeing these hostages. BBC and Business Insider
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, France, Francois Hollande,
Nicolas Sarkozy, Mali, Libya,
North Korea, Kaesong industrial complex, Kim Jong-un,
Kenneth Bae, Pae Jun-ho, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter
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