Sometimes the news seems to be filtered thru Cloudcukooland.

Take this story: Korean trains in historic linkup 

A pair of passenger trains have crossed the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea for the first time in more than 50 years.

The two trains – one travelling from the North and one from the South – each carried 150 invited passengers.

South Korea hailed it as a landmark in relations between the two countries.

Right. The rest of the article is a puff piece. Yes, a historic breakthru, but it is only for a single pair of trains, not starting service. So how much did this symbolic train trip cost?

Eighty million dollars.

Well, that’s better than the half billion paid for a “historic meeting” between north and South Korea.

For those of us old enough to remember the Berlin wall, we can only shake our heads when the world seems to think this is progress. And those reading the news will have to scroll to the end of the second article to find context:

The regime fears that ideas from abroad will quickly undermine its totalitarian control over a still docile population.

In the age of the internet, the fact that places like North Korea still exist is baffling. However, the dirty little secret is that the real danger is not from South Korea, (after all, contact from that country is miniscule) but from a growing Chinese economy next door.

The danger of a collapsing North Korean economy is that China will receive more refugees. Already these refugees are a problem, and the chronic famine problem makes it worse. North Korea, instead of opening to economic development, prefers propaganda and getting money by nuclear blackmail.

The train is just one more paper development that changes nothing.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines

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