As the world grapples with how to rein in the “axis of evil” state which this week conducted a nuclear test, this spectacular satellite photo unveiled yesterday by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld shows in stark detail the haves and have-nots of the Korean peninsula.
The regime in the north is so short of electricity that the whole country is switched off at 9 p.m. – apart from the capital of Pyongyang where dictator Kim Jong-il and his cohorts live in relative luxury. But even there, lighting is drastically reduced.
The result, as shown in this picture taken one night earlier this week, is a startling contrast between the blacked-out north and the south, which is ablaze with light, particularly around major cities and the capital, Seoul, in the north-west of the country.
Mr Rumsfeld showed the picture to illustrate how backward the northern regime really is – and how oppressed its people are. Without electricity there can be none of the appliances that make life easy and that we take for granted, he said.
“Except for my wife and family, that is my favourite photo,” said Mr Rumsfeld.
“It says it all. There’s the south, the same people as the north, the same resources north and south, and the big difference is in the south it’s a free political system and a free economic system.
“The people in the north are starving, their growth is stunted. It’s a shame, a tragedy.”
An aide added: “This oppressive regime is too busy trying to make war to make life comfortable for its people.”