Crisis management

"Crisis management" Continued...

Issue: "Living a legend," Aug. 19, 2006

On Aug. 7 a French aid agency, Action Against Hunger, found 17 of its workers in Muttur executed, shot in the head. Fifteen were wearing T-shirts bearing the group's name. Government and rebel forces blamed each other. "The deterioration of the security situation doesn't allow us to do our job," Vignati said. But killing aid workers now means "everybody is considered a potential enemy."

By Aug. 8, the Tigers said they had opened the channel's sluice gates. But the conflict has already escalated: In Colombo, a car bomb aimed at an anti-rebel politician killed two bystanders, one a 3-year-old.

North Korea

Before Lebanon's crisis, what to do about Kim Jong Il and his missile capabilities topped the world's diplomatic agenda. But since the leader's failed July 4 test of the intercontinental Taepodong-2, the crisis has lingered without resolution. One state-run South Korean think tank has reported that Pyongyang is working closely with Iran to develop its long-range missiles, and is building launch sites for improved shorter-range missiles that can strike Japan more precisely and hit deep into South Korea.

The relative success of the other six short- and medium-range missiles in July rattled North Korea's neighbors. If nothing else, the launches made Japan and South Korea reassess their policies toward Pyongyang.

Japan immediately imposed sanctions on Pyongyang and pushed for UN condemnation, while usually conciliatory South Korea stopped fertilizer and food aid. One former aide to President Roh Moo Hyun criticized Seoul's engagement policies. Quoted in the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper Aug. 8, he said, "A nuclear-armed North Korea maintains peace, but the peace comes from subordination and slavery, and unifying the two Koreas under liberal democracy will probably become impossible."

Still, Pyongyang has not agreed to return to six-party talks on nuclear disarmament, rebuffing the idea as recently as the ASEAN conference Rice attended in late July. As Kim is left to plot further mischief and other crises escalate, Rice may have more sober sonatas to play in the weeks ahead.


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