Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The nuclear lesson from North Korea and Libya

So the Libyan rebel forces, aided by the massive military power of the United States and NATO, have cast Muammar Qaddafi onto the rubble heap of history.
As pundits contemplate the lessons that other states may take away from this undertaking, it may surprise one to learn that perhaps the shrewdest of those pundits has been none other than the "volatile," "unpredictable," and "irrational" leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il.

Just days after NATO commenced its "enforcement" of a UN-authorized "no-fly zone" by launching cruise missiles directly at Mr. Qaddafi's house, an anonymous North Korean Foreign Ministry official stated that "The Libyan crisis is teaching the international community a grave lesson."-- Qaddafi should have held on to his nuclear weapons program.

If Libya had possessed the capability, oh, to obliterate a major American military base in Italy, or to vaporize an entire American "carrier battle group" off the southern coast of France, it almost certainly would have dissuaded Washington (not to mention Rome and Paris) from military action. If the Libyan regime wanted to ensure its own survival, then, just like North Korea, it should have developed a nuclear deterrent – small, survivable, and just lethal enough to inflict unacceptable damage on any aggressor.

But instead, Qaddafi was seduced by the siren song of the West. Give up your weapons of mass destruction, they said, and we will welcome you into the international community.

No such fate awaits North’s Korea’s Kim. Volatile, irresponsible, and loathsome though his regime, he holds in his hands the royal flush of a nuclear deterrent.

-Tad Daley, author of “Apocalypse Never: Forging the Path to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World”

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kim Jong-un portrait to hang alongside his father and grandfather’s?

In one week, North Korea will celebrate the 85th anniversary of the founding of The Down-with-Imperialism Union by Kim Il-sung, the father of the country's current leader Kim Jong-il.

But the current focus in the Democratic People’s Republic is not on the current father, but on the son, Kim Jong-un -- the North Korean heir-apparent. "He is now performing the role of successor," Yoo Ho-yeol, a professor at Korea University in South Korea, told AP. "He has virtually cemented his status as the next leader."

Kim Jong-un burst onto the international spotlight last year when he was made a four-star general and the vice chairman of the Communist Party's military commission. Since then, Kim has been pushed into the public's consciousnesses in North Korea, where he is depicted as an intelligent, strong-willed future leader.

Kim Jong-un reportedy takes the helm of the country when Kim Jong-il is away on official state trips and he is also said to be in control of the military.

On Monday, Kim Jong-un was seen sitting next to his father during a Party Foundation Day military parade, the holiday celebrating the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea.

There have also been poems and lyrical ballads composed to praise his Kim Jong-un's leadership abilities, and the government has printed 10 million official portraits of him, according to BBC. The images could soon very well hang beside those of his father and grandfather.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

North Korean refugees flown to Seoul from Japan

Nine North Koreans who defected to Japan have been flown to South Korea for resettlement.

The group was put on a flight out of Japan on Tuesday. Japanese authorities said they had requested to be sent to South Korea, and Tokyo decided to honor that request for humanitarian reasons.

The nine said they departed North Korea on September 8. By the time they were spotted by Japan's Coast Guard about a week later, they had only a small amount of rice, some pickled vegetables and snacks, and had run out of drinking water.