Drooping NoDong


A reader writes:

I've been living in South Korea for the past 4 1/2 years (not military ... my wife's Korean). At any rate, I wanted to comment on the 'Nodong' or 'Rodong' missile post. The confusion between the names is arising because of the conflicting translations between Korean Hangul writing and Romanization into English. It's the same reason that the president of South Korea is sometimes referred to in print as 'Roh', and other times as 'Noh'. Since no one can seem to agree on which of the two romanization systems to use, we get messes like this (it has to do with the Chinese characters for the name). Long story short, both names refer to the same missile (which is basically just a Scud, as far as I know). And pronunciation-wise, 'Nodong' is correct. (long 'O' on both syllables). And I agree, they should have thought a bit more before they named it.

In case you're wondering about the situation here, the people seem to be rather angry at the government. Noh's administration has been downplaying the threat of a missile test, even going so far as to say it was most likely going to be a satellite launch, not a test of the long-range Taepodong-2. Well, they've got egg on their faces now. I'm really hoping that this will end the huge amounts of money that the South has been pouring into the North through projects like the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which has yielded diddly-squat for the South (except for cheap, exploited labor). Unfortunately, I'm not holding my breath with the current government. It is somewhat reassuring to see that even the leftist newspapers here seem to be condemning the tests, so perhaps Noh will have to do something substantial for a change.

The great thing about maniacal despots and religious crazies: they're often self-destructive. Bin Laden's big strategic mistake (in my view) was 9/11. Kim Jong-Il may have just committed his own geostrategic version of premature ejaculation with a drooping Nodong.

(Photo: Reuters.)