sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More on North Korea

Narcotics

We've discussed the push within North Korea to "earn" foreign currency. When it comes to earning through narcotics trafficking, most of the heavy lifting is done by North Korean diplomats, operating under diplomatic cover - with full diplomatic immunity. Movement of physical narcotics is managed through the use of a diplomatic pouch or occasionally by North Korean merchant shipping. Successful earning is the pathway to success in the worker's paradise.
Diplomatic employees of the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea (DPRK), many of them have been apprehended abroad while trafficking in narcotics, including two in Turkey in December 2004; police investigations in Taiwan and Japan in recent years have linked North Korea to large illicit shipments of heroin and methamphetamine, including an attempt by the North Korean merchant ship Pong Su to deliver 150 kg of heroin to Australia in April 2003. (CIA World Factbook)
More recently North Korean diplomats in Mexico were found to have purchased 200 kg of cocaine from Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), also known as the Guadalajara Cartel. The narcotics were shipped to North Korea in a diplomatic pouch, presumably for the private use of party elites. As one official from Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional (CISEN) told a source close to Virtual Mirage, "That should be one hell of a party in the Party." Source asked CISEN whether or not the North Korean diplomats paid with high quality counterfeit US currency. Source hasn't heard back.

Officially, Party members do not partake of narcotics. Privately, things may swing another direction.

Sex Trafficking and Forced Labor
North Korea is a source country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; many North Korean workers recruited to work abroad under bilateral contracts with foreign governments, most often Russia and China, are subjected to forced labor and do not have a choice in the work the government assigns them, are not free to change jobs, and face government reprisals if they try to escape or complain to outsiders; tens of thousands of North Koreans, including children, held in prison camps are subjected to forced labor, including logging, mining, and farming; many North Korean women and girls, lured by promises of food, jobs, and freedom, have migrated to China illegally to escape poor social and economic conditions only to be forced into prostitution, domestic service, or agricultural work through forced marriages. (CIA World Factbook)
The United Nations has given North Korea a Tier 3 rating when it comes to human trafficking.
North Korea does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government continued to participate in human trafficking through its use of domestic forced labor camps and the provision of forced labor to foreign governments through bilateral contracts; officials did not demonstrate any efforts to address human trafficking through prosecution, protection, or prevention measures; no known investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of trafficking offenders or officials complicit in trafficking-related offenses were conducted; the government also made no efforts to identify or protect trafficking victims and did not permit NGOs to assist victims. (2015)

China

The map of China (right) graphically demonstrates the strategic location of all Korea to Beijing and Shanghai. The large US military presence on the Korean peninsula has been an ongoing irritation since the 1950's. More recently, the addition of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea has damaged their chi. 

In the past they felt that the way forward called for supporting the North, but all that has fallen out of balance with Kim Jong Un and the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile issue. A nuke on a missile, fired by the North Koreans, is as likely to hit Beijing as it is to hit Japan. 

The North Korean propaganda machine has been so virulent and they believe their own spew to the point where rationality is something that they can't understand.


Geopolitics - North Korea and China


Chilling relations between China and North Korea are becoming more evident. It's North Korea's game at this point and they can choose how it ends. 

The Korean People’s Army (KPA) celebrated its 85th anniversary today. Reuters reported that North Korean forces staged a massive live-fire artillery demonstration at a military base near Wonsan. The Party daily, Rodong Sinmun, reported, "There is no limit to the strike power of the People's Army, armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment including various precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles." 

All open source news services reported that only conventional weapons systems participated in the display.

According to the Daily NK, North Koreans in the China border region were disappointed that China did not send a delegation to North Korea on Kim Il-sung’s birthday on 15 April. They interpreted that as a portent of difficult times ahead.

This is the first credible report that did not send a delegation to Pyongyang to honor Kim Il-sung. The Chinese Foreign Ministry press spokesperson has been asked on multiple occasions whether China sent a delegation to watch the North Korean military parade on the 15th. The spokesperson always replied that China and North Korea are friendly neighbors. The two sides always maintain friendly exchanges.

On 24 April, the spokesperson was asked whether China sent a delegation to watch the military parade. The spokesperson again replied that China and North Korea are friendly neighbors. The two sides always maintain friendly exchanges.

A Chinese official snub of Kim Il-sung’s birthday means that relations with North Korea are extremely strained. If the Chinese also boycotted the KPA anniversary, relations might be at an all-time low.

China Daily is an English language daily newspaper owned by the China Daily Information Company. The BBC describes it as state-owned, meaning that it carries official views. They published an editorial today on China’s assessment of the confrontation with North Korea. Excerpts follow:
“… the situation is still inflammable.” 
“For as the sanctions imposed by the United Nations begin to bite deeper, the possibility that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea might become reckless out of desperation has never been higher….” 
“Judging from their recent words and deeds, policymakers in Pyongyang have seriously misread the UN sanctions, which are aimed at its nuclear/missile provocations, not its system or leadership. They have unfairly misrepresented Beijing's role in the process, disregarding its preoccupation with peace, humanitarian concerns and non-interference in the DPRK's domestic affairs. And they have greatly underestimated the international community's-not just any individual stakeholder's political will to denuclearize the peninsula.” 
“They are at once perilously overestimating their own strength and underestimating the hazards they are brewing for themselves.” 
“They need to reassess the situation so they do not make any misjudgments.” 
“Likewise, Washington should continue to exercise restraint and pursue a peaceful resolution to the issue.” 
“There have already been enough shows of force and confrontation, it is time for Pyongyang and Washington to take a step back from their previous rhetoric and instead heed the voices of reason calling for peaceful denuclearization of the peninsula.”
The editorial praised the President Trump for using “impressive patience” after announcing the end of “strategic patience.” It also praised him for agreeing with “peace-minded China.” It said tension has eased, but the situation is still dangerous. (Don't expect the corrupt, lying, smug, elite mainstream media in the USA to report the praise.)

The editorial restated themes from an earlier Chinese commentary that the North Korean policymakers are misreading their situation and that they have overestimated their strength and underestimated their peril.

The message is that UN sanctions and Chinese enforcement actions are not directed at overthrowing the North Korean government and system. They are designed to persuade North Korea to halt specific programs that China opposes. 

Kim Jong Un personally identifies with the missile and nuclear programs. Chinese advice and wisdom probably are unwelcome and, thus far, unheeded. At the same time the Chinese are exerting more pressure during this confrontation – including sanctions enforcement and use of blunter, more critical language -- than in any past crisis.

Brief Summary

You can make of this what you will. This blog does not tell you how to think or what to think, but simply provides the information with a little analysis that may or may not be correct. I don't think that anyone can tell you how this will end. Doing that would require that we crawl into the muddy, mushy minds of the power elite who rule North Korea and into the mind of the fat, near-sighted Dear Leader, bad haircut and all.   

China likely has spies close to the throne. Their reaction tells us things that we may not have direct knowledge of. All that is disturbing.

China has repeated to the US that North Korea is their problem and that they will deal with it. President Trump said that North Korea is China's problem and that they should deal with it. China is praising President Trump for impressive patience and agreeing with China.

Things are coming to a head with the Norks.