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Tags China-Korea relations , North Korea incidents , North Korea issues

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Old 29th January 2015, 10:22 AM   #1
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North Korean Soldier killed in China

I just saw this New York Times Article on a soldier that apparently went into China to try and steal food. I'm wondering how indicative this is that things might get even more desperate there if they can't feed solders.

It seems to me this is some indication that the Great Un could lose control of the military if he can feed the the soldiers. If famine becomes widespread in the military, that is the end for his regime.
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Old 29th January 2015, 11:20 AM   #2
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When the army begins to get hungry, a regime is in trouble. I give you Russia,the spring of 1917.
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Old 29th January 2015, 03:21 PM   #3
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Hmmm... I doubt famine is widespread in the army. The famines were in the mid to late nineties. The situation is not the same there now.
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Old 29th January 2015, 04:47 PM   #4
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A bit more to this, from the OP link:
Quote:
On a cold, clear winter day last month, a North Korean soldier packed a pistol and slipped across the frozen Tumen River into northeastern China. He trekked about a mile to the tiny village of Jidi Tun. Then at dusk he opened fire on two elderly couples, killing all four people. Most likely hungry from the shortage of food that plagues some units of the armed forces in North Korea, he was looking for sustenance, local officials said; some reports said he was drunk.

Here's the original news article from back on January 5th that reported the incident.
Quote:
China has made a formal diplomatic complaint to North Korea after a soldier fleeing the North killed four Chinese citizens in late December during a robbery attempt, according to a statement on Monday from a Chinese official and news reports from China and South Korea...A report in Beijing News, citing the head of the village, said the four people killed in Nanping were two older couples. The two households were said to have had children working in South Korea, and the parents lived alone. The North Korean soldier broke into the home of a man with the surname Che; ate some of his food; stole 100 renminbi, or about $16; and wounded Mr. Che, the article said. Times news link

Interesting that originally the Chinese authorities did not report the North Korean soldier had been shot, only that he had been arrested. "A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said at a regularly scheduled news conference...that the North Korean had been detained by Chinese security forces and that the Public Security Bureau in China was “handling the case according to law.” The North Korean soldier had actually been shot by Chinese police and died a day or two later in a Chinese hospital. When the Foreign Ministry said that the case would be handled routinely the soldier involved might have already been deceased.
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Old 29th January 2015, 05:17 PM   #5
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If only those Chinese couples had been armed, they could have defended themselves.
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Old 29th January 2015, 08:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by newyorkguy View Post
Interesting that originally the Chinese authorities did not report the North Korean soldier had been shot, only that he had been arrested. "A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said at a regularly scheduled news conference...that the North Korean had been detained by Chinese security forces and that the Public Security Bureau in China was “handling the case according to law.” The North Korean soldier had actually been shot by Chinese police and died a day or two later in a Chinese hospital. When the Foreign Ministry said that the case would be handled routinely the soldier involved might have already been deceased.
A Guardian report on the same day reads:

Quote:
That night, Chinese soldiers and police shot the soldier in the stomach as he fled to the upper reaches of the Tumen. He remains unconscious in a local hospital.

China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying confirmed the incident at a press briefing on Monday afternoon, adding that China had “lodged representations” to North Korea and “will handle the case in line with relevant laws.”
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Old 29th January 2015, 08:09 PM   #7
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The Chinese government should feed the solders. Then give them pro Chinese propaganda. Then if there is any conflict between the two countries the NK solders would not fight.
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Old 29th January 2015, 09:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
A Guardian report on the same day reads:
The report you are citing was from:
Quote:
Monday 5 January 2015 00.36 EST
The incident occurred on December 28, 2014. This is how the Yonhap News agency reported the incident on Jan. 5, 2015:
Quote:
A North Korean army deserter has been detained by Chinese authorities for allegedly killing four Chinese citizens in an apparent robbery in the Chinese border city of Helong, a source with knowledge of the incident said Monday.

The gun-wielding North Korean man killed the four Chinese citizens and injured another Chinese person at their homes during an apparent robbery, according to the source. Chinese police and military authorities caught the suspect after a manhunt. The suspect has since been under investigation, the source said. link
By January 5 the "suspect who was being detained" had been dead for close to a week.
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Old 29th January 2015, 09:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
The Chinese government should feed the solders. Then give them pro Chinese propaganda. Then if there is any conflict between the two countries the NK solders would not fight.
This particular soldier most certainly won't fight. He's dead.
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Old 29th January 2015, 09:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by newyorkguy View Post
The report you are citing was from:

The incident occurred on December 28, 2014. This is how the Yonhap News agency reported the incident on Jan. 5, 2015:


By January 5 the "suspect who was being detained" had been dead for close to a week.
Fair enough, but my point is that by 5th January it was clear enough that he had been shot, as it was reported in the Guardian.
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Old 29th January 2015, 09:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
This particular soldier most certainly won't fight. He's dead.
He also will not bring his mates over for a good feed and re education.

Mates = rest of the army.
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Old 29th January 2015, 09:49 PM   #12
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The Guardian reported a press briefing by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the afternoon of January 5th in which it was admitted the North Korean soldier had been shot but not that he had died. From the Guardian on Jan. 5, 2015:
Quote:
The 26-year-old soldier crossed the Tumen river from North Korea into north-eastern China’s Jilin province at about 7.30am on 27 December, South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo newspaper and Yonhap news agency reported, citing an anonymous source....That night, Chinese soldiers and police shot the soldier in the stomach as he fled to the upper reaches of the Tumen. He remains unconscious in a local hospital...China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying confirmed the incident at a press briefing on Monday afternoon.
In the OP's link to the New York Times story of today, it was reported:
Quote:
That night, a phalanx of Chinese security forces hunted him down and shot him in the stomach. They ferried him to the hospital here in Jilin Province, about 20 miles from the scene of the killings, but the soldier died a day or so later.
The point I have been trying to make is, the Chinese government is often accused of being less than candid about domestic events. This seems to be an example. That China’s foreign ministry reportedly confirmed a North Korean soldier had been shot by Chinese police on December 28th and remained hospitalized as of Jan. 5th. Today's New York Times [Jan. 29, 2015] reported the soldier had actually died December 29th or 30th, six to seven days before the news conference.
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Old 31st January 2015, 09:16 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
The Chinese government should feed the solders. Then give them pro Chinese propaganda. Then if there is any conflict between the two countries the NK solders would not fight.
China is propping up the DPRK.

It makes sense, because if it implodes, there would be a lot of refugees going North
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Old 31st January 2015, 10:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Hmmm... I doubt famine is widespread in the army. The famines were in the mid to late nineties. The situation is not the same there now.
According to a good deal of the literature on the subject, it might very well be.
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Old 31st January 2015, 01:45 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Greedo View Post
According to a good deal of the literature on the subject, it might very well be.
Which literature?
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Old 31st January 2015, 01:45 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
China is propping up the DPRK.

It makes sense, because if it implodes, there would be a lot of refugees going North
True, but things can change. If NK implodes the Chinese could even use the soldiers to do something with the refugees.
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Old 31st January 2015, 01:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Which literature?
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

Dear Leader by Jang Jin-sung

North Korea Undercover by John Sweeney

for instance.

If I recall correctly, in one of them a report was cited which claimed that it's still common practice in the North Korean countryside to gather grass to provide basic sustenance.
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Old 31st January 2015, 02:06 PM   #18
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Nothing to Envy specifically refers to the famine of the 1990s, not to the present day.

On the other hand, most specialists on North Korea do not say that hunger or starvation is on those levels today. Look up Andrei Lankov, for example, who has a piece that says that it is a myth that North Korea is starving today.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 31st January 2015, 02:10 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Nothing to Envy specifically refers to the famine of the 1990s, not to the present day.

On the other hand, most specialists on North Korea do not say that hunger or starvation is on those levels today. Look up Andrei Lankov, for example, who has a piece that says that it is a myth that North Korea is starving today.
As I said, not sure which one it was. I've read articles by so called experts that claimed malnutrition is still widespread and that NK does not have food self-sufficiency. Who really knows what goes on in that country?

Did you read the book by Lankov? I considered buying it when I saw it in a store, then forgot. Did you like it?
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Old 31st January 2015, 02:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Greedo View Post
As I said, not sure which one it was. Anyway, who really knows what goes on in that country?

Did you read the book by Lankov? I considered buying it when I saw it in a store, then forgot. Did you like it?
I've read most of it. I became busy with other things while reading it and haven't returned to it, but I think it was a very good read. I also have Sweeney's book but not read that one yet. It was bought for me, but I was a bit skeptical that Sweeney would be able to bring anything new to light. It seemed to me that his information is based on second hand sources and a tour of the main sights in North Korea that numerous journalists and tourists have had. Demick, Lankov, Myers and a few others do genuine research with a bit less sensationalism attached.
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Old 31st January 2015, 02:22 PM   #21
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Thanks.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
... It seemed to me that his information is based on second hand sources and a tour of the main sights in North Korea that numerous journalists and tourists have had....
Wouldn't be wrong about that! Good, quick read nevertheless.
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Old 31st January 2015, 02:40 PM   #22
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It's amazing to me to see that the honor of North Korea is being actively defended against what are presumably seen as unfair attacks.

The statement in the news story in the OP actually stated:
Quote:
Most likely hungry from the shortage of food that plagues some units of the armed forces in North Korea.
There's nothing about widespread famine. Some posters may have interpreted it that way but I'm sure they did not mean to slander North Korea's good name. (Yes I'm being sarcastic.)

However, given the closed nature of North Korea it is probably very hard to know what shortages if any plague North Korean armed forces. My guess is we will never really know what's going on in NK until the whole thing collapses someday and the real stories begin to come out. (No I'm not being sarcastic.)
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Old 31st January 2015, 02:48 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by seayakin View Post
I just saw this New York Times Article on a soldier that apparently went into China to try and steal food. I'm wondering how indicative this is that things might get even more desperate there if they can't feed solders.

It seems to me this is some indication that the Great Un could lose control of the military if he can feed the the soldiers. If famine becomes widespread in the military, that is the end for his regime.
They need to tie that special little POS to w post and let the soldiers and the people walk by and each gets to slap his goofy smile off his goofy face till there is no more face to slap. Won't get 'em food, but they will always have that bright spot in their lives to remember as the lights go out.
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Old 31st January 2015, 02:50 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
The Chinese government should feed the solders. Then give them pro Chinese propaganda. Then if there is any conflict between the two countries the NK solders would not fight.
Would it actually matter if they did?
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Old 31st January 2015, 04:10 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by newyorkguy View Post
It's amazing to me to see that the honor of North Korea is being actively defended against what are presumably seen as unfair attacks.

The statement in the news story in the OP actually stated:

There's nothing about widespread famine. Some posters may have interpreted it that way but I'm sure they did not mean to slander North Korea's good name. (Yes I'm being sarcastic.)

However, given the closed nature of North Korea it is probably very hard to know what shortages if any plague North Korean armed forces. My guess is we will never really know what's going on in NK until the whole thing collapses someday and the real stories begin to come out. (No I'm not being sarcastic.)
I don't see anyone defending the honour of North Korea. However if the NYT and others are free to speculate about what they think is going on in North Korea then I think it is best to get as close to the facts as we can.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 31st January 2015, 04:46 PM   #26
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I'm not sure that reputable news sources like the Times or the Guardian are basing their reports on sheer speculation. I'm sure they have many sources. This was in the Guardian last April:
Quote:
North Korean authorities have ceased distributing regular food rations outside Pyongyang – despite promises that supplies would "return to normal", Daily NK has learned. While last year saw provincial urban centres receive rations from the state's stockpiled war-time reserves, this year there has been very little distribution on offer for those beyond the walls of the "revolutionary capital"...In North Hamkyung, too, there are rumours that even the regional military bases have nothing to eat. Link
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Old 31st January 2015, 05:38 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by newyorkguy View Post
I'm not sure that reputable news sources like the Times or the Guardian are basing their reports on sheer speculation. I'm sure they have many sources. This was in the Guardian last April:
I didn't say "sheer speculation", but I did say "speculation" just as you have said "My guess is we will never really know what's going on in NK until the whole thing collapses someday and the real stories begin to come out."

And, if we are restricting ourselves to the story itself, then this is speculation.

Quote:
Most likely hungry from the shortage of food that plagues some units of the armed forces in North Korea.
Bear in mind that there is a difference between stating that some units of the armed forces have a shortage of food, and that this particular soldier was motivated by hunger.

However, the point that I responded to and which you seemed to take issue with was here:

Originally Posted by seayakin View Post
I just saw this New York Times Article on a soldier that apparently went into China to try and steal food. I'm wondering how indicative this is that things might get even more desperate there if they can't feed solders.

It seems to me this is some indication that the Great Un could lose control of the military if he can feed the the soldiers. If famine becomes widespread in the military, that is the end for his regime.
I think famine is putting it too strongly (and by that I mean I don't think it accords with the facts, not because I am defending the "honour" of North Korea).
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 31st January 2015, 05:41 PM   #28
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However, this is interesting:

Quote:
North Korean soldiers are being issued with lightened packs and other combat gear in an apparent bid to ease the loads carried by troops weakened by malnutrition, according to sources in the reclusive, nuclear-armed state.

The move, which went into effect at the beginning of the year, will reduce the weight of combat packs from 55 to 40 pounds, a civilian worker in Yanggang province, bordering China, told RFA’s Korean Service.

“[North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un has ordered supply departments to reduce the weight of combat equipment, and the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces is testing the lightened equipment with some units of troops,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

North Korea’s 7th Light Infantry and troops attached to the Pyongyang Defense Command have already performed training exercises using the lighter gear in the area of Sunchon city, the source said.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 31st January 2015, 08:59 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Greedo View Post
As I said, not sure which one it was. I've read articles by so called experts that claimed malnutrition is still widespread and that NK does not have food self-sufficiency. Who really knows what goes on in that country?
I'd have thought that satellite data should provide a good idea of what's being grown and harvested. That much of the enigma can be penetrated. How much wastage there is in storage and distribution is another matter entirely. In such an inflexible system I can well imagine trainloads of grain being delivered to bakeries with no fuel and being dumped on the trackside - over and over again. Meanwhile empty trains drive to military depots where the driver ticks the box marked "baked bread delivered".

Nobody ever got shot for ticking the box. Except the people who got shot for ticking the box. It's like Orwell's 1984 but in a bad way.
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Old 31st January 2015, 09:01 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
However, this is interesting:
And if I read this correctly:
Quote:
Though previous pack weights of 55 pounds excluded items such as weapons, gas masks, and water bottles, “Kim Jong Un’s order to reduce loads means that the weight of the army’s backpack, including gas masks and water bottles, must now be no more than 40 pounds,” a source in North Hamgyong province said.
(emphasis mine), the reduction is more than 15 pounds.

And in the last paragraphs, it claims chronic malnutrition exists in the army - not only among ordinary soldiers but also among NCOs - and that crossings to China to raid for food are quite common.

This paragraph also struck me:
Quote:
North Korea’s military, the Korean People’s Army (KPA), now numbers about 1.2 million troops, with the number of reserve forces believed to be about 7.7 million, according to the 2015 White Paper issued by the South Korean Defense Ministry last week.
Say what? 9 million soldiers on a population of 25 million? That's every adult male.

And on the photo, it looked like the soldiers were wearing potato sacks. Or rather, that the uniforms had been made for bigger bodies to wear them. Except, of course, for the fattie in the middle.
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Old 31st January 2015, 10:11 PM   #31
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Yes this Radio Free Asia report makes it sound like the New York Times was being fairly cautious when it reported food shortages plague "some units" of the North Korean military.
Quote:
Korean People's Army troops suffer from chronic malnutrition, an ASIAPRESS report, “Kim Jong-un’s Starving Soldiers,” said last year [2014]. “It is not only the ordinary soldiers but the subordinate officers that are also emaciated, and it is not unusual to see these soldiers visiting ordinary people’s homes, knocking door to door, asking for food,” ASIAPRESS said.

North Korean soldiers regularly cross the frozen Tumen River in the winter months to raid for food and rob villagers in China’s Jilin province, Bloomberg News said on Jan. 14.

Originally Posted by ddt View Post
And on the photo, it looked like the soldiers were wearing potato sacks. Or rather, that the uniforms had been made for bigger bodies to wear them. Except, of course, for the fattie in the middle.
He's the only one smiling too!
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Old 31st January 2015, 10:48 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by CapelDodger View Post
It's like Orwell's 1984 but in a bad way.
Wait... there's a good way to be like 1984?
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Old 31st January 2015, 11:16 PM   #33
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Let's invade North Korea! I bet their soldiers are just skeletons in uniforms propped against the battlements like in Beau Geste.
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Old 4th February 2015, 08:19 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
Let's invade North Korea! I bet their soldiers are just skeletons in uniforms propped against the battlements like in Beau Geste.
You first, General.
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Old 5th February 2015, 02:27 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
The Chinese government should feed the solders. Then give them pro Chinese propaganda. Then if there is any conflict between the two countries the NK solders would not fight.
How are ya gonna keep 'em down on the outpost now that they've seen rural China?
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