ALONE IN THE DARK
Kim Jong Il plays a canny game with South Korea and the U.S.
by PHILIP GOUREVITCH
Issue of 2003-09-08
In 1866, the S.S. General Sherman, an ironclad schooner recommissioned for use in the China trade after service for the Union as a blockade runner in the Civil War, came sailing across the Yellow Sea and entered the mouth of the Taedong River on the west coast of the Korean peninsula. What the ship’s commander, a Captain Preston, was after—trade or spying or pillage, or all three—remains a matter of speculation. Korea, a feudal kingdom ruled according to a strictly paternalistic Confucian code, was notoriously hostile to foreigners, and with reason......