This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Kim Jong-Un's Ongoing Games

"This latest provocation, yet another violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, underlines the threat that North Korea presents to regional and international security." 
"In conducting this test [ballistic missile launched from a submarine in the Sea of Japan], North Korea has again shown its blatant disregard for its international obligations and the UK will be working on a strong multilateral response through the UN and EU."
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

"We have seen the reports that North Korea launched what appeared to be a ballistic missile from a submarine in the Sea of Japan. Launches using ballistic missile technology are a clear violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions."
"We call on North Korea to refrain from actions that further destabilize the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations."
"The United States remains steadfast in its commitments to the defense of its allies. We will continue to coordinate closely with the ROK, Japan, and other allies and partners."
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby
FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the test-fire of a strategic submarine underwater ballistic missile © KCNA

A few short hours ago North Korea played another round in its cat-and-mouse game. There is also the issue of North Korea keeping the world in suspense over its projected fifth nuclear test. Kim Jong-Un declared a few weeks back that "a nuclear warhead explosion test and a test-fire of several kinds of ballistic rockets able to carry nuclear warheads will be conducted in a short time to further enhance the reliance of nuclear attack capability", placing the world on notice, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

But not to worry, global authorities are on the alert, and North Korea pays dearly through sanctions for its intransigent threats to world stability. Its warm relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran which also poses a similar threat led to the wisdom of the combined world authorities working out an 'agreement' with Iran which is scheduled to postpone the Republic's full induction into the nuclear club, but while the world considers Iran to be deadly but not insane, the hermit kingdom of North Korea is felt to be both deadly and lunatic.

Iran is not insane, of course, merely delusional, as is its partner in nuclear adventurism and global blackmail. Sanctions imposed on both countries have kept them from realizing any measure of financial growth, but in neither instance did it stop them from advancing further scientific and technological initiatives, intensive and costly even while their economies suffered and their people faced economic hardships.

Both totalitarian regimes, one theistic, the other nominally secular, substituting a Kim dynasty for a empowered religious base, have managed to subvent sanctions. Turkey has been useful to Iran, enabling sponsors of illegal sanction-busting activities to line their bank accounts as well. Punishment for North Korea's nuclear program through tougher UN sanctions saw little cooperation from China. And so, a restless convoy of hundreds of vehicles rarely inspected, trundle from China into North Korea.
Coal and iron ore goes in and crude oil goes out.  Rampant smuggling of North Korean rare earth minerals and gold becomes a revenue source for the North Korean government. Customs inspectors under UN rules are meant to judge the banned goods that may aid North Korea's nuclear program or the military. China, however, is not in the business of seeing its unruly neighbour become so debilitated that its population will begin to seriously slip into a tsunami of humanity heading for China.

Of the hundreds of trucks conveying merchandise, a mere five percent are ever inspected. Coal carried by North Korea's fleet of a few dozen cargo ships earn the country up to $1-billion annually. Some of those ships have been transferred to Chinese ownership, enabling them to dock at Chinese and other international ports. The transfer point between the two countries is Dandong in Liaoning Province, almost as impoverished as North Korea; that illicit trade profits Dandong.

"Whenever there are provocations, the traders say that the higher-ups call for enforcement, and then a few months later there  is no systematic implementation", stated Andrea Berger, proliferation expert at the Royal United Services Institute, London. Trade officials sent to Dandong from North Korea as purchasing agents roam the streets of Dandong as entitled middlemen feathering their own nests.

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