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A senior Obama administration official told CBS News Friday that North Korea's belligerent words and war-like preparations are more bluff than bite.
"North Korea is in a mindset of war, but North Korea is not going to war," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer insight into the latest administration thinking on the volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula.
The official said North Korea is doing two things that signal it is not spoiling for war: maintaining continuous and unfettered access to the Kaesong Industrial Complex six miles north of the Demilitarized Zone and by continuing to promote tourists visits to North Korea, even amid its banging of war drums.
"There is pot-banging and chest-thumping, but they have literature attracting tourists that explicitly says pay no attention to all that (public) talk about nuclear war or another kind of war," the official said.
While analyzing what appeared to war maps, Kim looked at a target zone that appeared to include Asia-Pacific patrols of the 100-vessel-strong U.S. 7th Fleet.
The administration official said the only way the 7th Fleet would be vulnerable would be "if Kim Jung Un has a 'Call of Duty' video game and it includes a targeting of the 7th Fleet."
North Korea is largely isolated and disengaged from the world’s economy. Data collection is extremely challenging, and reported statistics on the economy remain largely speculative, requiring careful evaluation. North Korea’s economic freedom score is 1.5, making its economy the least free in the 2013 Index.
North Korea remains an unreformed and essentially closed dictatorial state. Despite experimenting with a few market reforms over the past decade, the world’s most repressed economy adheres firmly to a system of state command and control that upholds the regime’s long-standing songun (“military first”) policy. The Workers’ Party tightly controls every aspect of economic activity. The impoverished population is heavily dependent on government subsidies in housing and food rations, and the state-run rationing system has deteriorated significantly in recent years.
North Korea may be attempting to open its economy slightly by encouraging limited foreign direct investment. However, the dominant military establishment and ongoing leadership transition make any substantial near-term economic policy changes unlikely. Normal foreign trade is minimal, with China and South Korea being the most important trading partners.
Kaesŏng Industrial Park is being operated in the region, as a collaborative economic development with South Korea. It is located ten kilometres (six miles) north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone with direct road and rail access to South Korea and an hour's drive from Seoul. Construction started in June 2003, and in August 2003 North and South Korea ratified four tax and accountancy agreements to support investment. Pilot phase construction was completed in June 2004, and the industrial park opened in December 2004.
In 2012, the Ministry of Unification was informed that 8 of the current 123 companies had received a tax collection notice. The notices were made by a unilateral decision by North Korea. The eight companies were informed to pay ₩170,208,077 ($160,000 US) in taxes; two of the companies have already paid $20,000 in taxes to the North Koreans.
Unilateral decisions by the Central Special Direct General Bureau (CSDGB) to amend bylaws is a violation of Kaesong Industrial District Law, which requires that any revision of the laws be negotiated between the North and the South.
For the first time, in 2011, the companies in the KIR recorded an average operating profit of ₩56 million ($56,241 US), finally operating in the black after years in deficit.
Originally posted by Hefficide
They may or may not be able to land some missiles in Hawaii. But as for the mainland US?