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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Between Nuclear Tests and Natural Disasters

"Whole villages have been washed away by flash floods. Families have lost everything, including their kitchen gardens and livestock, which many households depend upon to supplement their diets."
"The floods came just before the harvest period, when the crops were still in the ground."
Darlene Tymo, representative, country director, North Korea,  U.N. World Food Programme (WFP)

"The effects of this flooding will be even more dramatic and devastating than initially thought. The people there are in a very desperate situation."
"My impression was that this was a much worse disaster than the statistics indicate. The damage is very extensive, and there is clear evidence that the floodwaters were not only very high — you can see the watermarks above the window frames — but also moving very rapidly in some places."
"In the communities we visited, we were allowed to meet with local people, and we could see their spirit and their energy and their support for each other. These are people who are doing the best they can. They’re just normal, everyday people."
Chris Staines, the head of the Pyongyang office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Damaged caused by flooding in North Hamyong province, North Korea (7 Sept 2016)
AFP -- In some areas entire villages appear to have been washed away
As August came to a close, typhoon Lionrock lashed its way through northeast Asia. Authorities in North Korea estimated that 44,000 people had been displaced by massive flooding that ripped through the area. Later figures place that initial estimate at over 100,000 people left homeless, a figure reached by aid workers who had visited the area in the past week.

According to the North Korean government, 133 people died as a result of the disaster with another 395 missing because of the flooding claimed to be the worst the country had ever experienced. North Korean officials have lost little time launching appeals for donations from the international community. This, at a time when it has thumbed its nose at, taunting the international community with its largest yet nuclear test.

Simultaneously with ordinary North Koreans schooled to regard their dictator Kim Jong-un as an immortal who can do nothing wrong and has only their very best interests in heart as they struggle to survive on subsistence rations, their neighbour's defence ministry has warned that Pyongyang is likely to order another nuclear test at any time.

The country that suffers chronic food shortages, that sees fit to incarcerate complete families who complain about their plight and which threatens instability not only in the region but as far afield as its increasingly powerful ballistic missiles can reach, continues to expand lavish support on refining its nuclear nuclear program, now boasting of miniaturization enabling it to launch missiles with nuclear warheads, rather than use its treasury to import sufficient food to feed its population.

China, enraged over plans by the United States to reassure South Korea and Japan that it will defend the region from the North's aggression by installing an advanced missile defense system in South Korea, has deflated its willingness to remonstrate with Pyongyang over its nuclear tests. Beijing views the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (Thaad) as a threat to its own security, and it fears the prospect of upheaval related to war more than it does North Korean provocations.

Beijing doesn't relish the thought of North Korea becoming so unstable that China will be forced to take in thousands of refugees, resulting from the upheaval of conflict between the two Koreas. China "shares important responsibility" for the latest nuclear test, insists U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter. "It's China's responsibility. It's important that it use its location, its history, and its influence to further the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Even with the chaos and potential disaster looming over the region with China's belligerence over the East and South China Seas and North Korea's following in its mentor's shadow to flaunt its disregard for international sanctions for which China takes up the slack in trade, the world, through the United Nations, will respond to the dire need of ordinary civilians in desperate straits through the latest natural disaster, rescuing North Korea from the necessity to look after its own.

Damaged caused by flooding in North Hamyong province, North Korea (7 Sept 2016)
Destruction to crops will worsen North Korea's existing chronic food shortages -- AFP

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