Friday, March 26, 2010

Yellow Sea, Black Oil


(fm the BC thread "The Birds" 30 minutes later)
(originally posted for the BC thread "The Gathering Storm")

Regarding my suspicions on the cause of today's possible naval conflict off Korea reported by Subotai Bahadur I did a little homework.

A couple of searches on "offshore drilling equipment" and "oil exploration yellow sea" yielded some interesting results. Clearly the DPRK is exploring in the area.

The industry is large and complicated this is a good web site, SubSea.org, but has little on the North China/Yellow Sea area.

The Norks are against the wall. If the industry told China that they can not do business as long as the waters are not safe then the DPRK may get defanged. The South Koreans manufacture much of the drilling equipment so there may be an opening to induce China to apply pressure.

My expectation is that in the event of a real war North Korea might simply implode leaving a humanitarian disaster behind. The biggest constraint on South Korea is not the mayhem that the North could inflict for 24 to 72 hours, which is real given the proximity of Seoul to the DMZ, but the cost of absorbing their impoverished cousins. The burden that West Germany assumed by unification with the DDR was seen. For 20 years now the ROK governments have paid to keep the North on life support.

This time "Some damn fool thing in the Balkans" can happen anywhere.

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