Still Strangely Soft on North Korea's Dictatorship

The paper's strangely soft coverage of North Korea's tyrannical state continued in Thursday's report by Choe Sang-Hun from Seoul, "South Korea Adds Terms For Its Aid To the North," chastising South Korea's new "conservative" governmentfor its "hard line" against North Korea.

The new, conservative South Korean government took a tougher line on North Korea on Wednesday, warning that it would speak out against human rights abuses in the Communist North and that it would not expand economic ties unless the North abandoned its nuclear weapons programs.

North Korea angrily reacted on Thursday by expelling 11 South Korean officials based in a joint industrial complex in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.

The new South Korean policy, outlined by the new president, Lee Myung-bak, means at least a temporary reduction in generous South Korean economic aid at a dire time for the North, with cuts in humanitarian aid expected to follow. In recent weeks, relief experts have warned that food shortages in the North will worsen because of high global commodity prices, flood damage and aid donors' reluctance in light of the country's nuclear wrangling with the United States.

Isn't it always a "dire time" in the North, due to its totalitarian government's warped economic and social policies that have left their own people to starve?

The text box underlined the emphasis: "A harder line from Seoul's new leader on rights and weapons."