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Kim Jong-un celebrates American Independence Day in style…


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Author Topic: Kim Jong-un celebrates American Independence Day in style…  (Read 1248 times)
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #175 on: September 09, 2017, 01:06:50 am »


from The Washington Post....

Another North Korean holiday? Time for another missile launch.

North Korea marks its major holidays with parades — and defiant
demonstrations of its military might in the face of global imperialism.


By MICHELLE YE HEE LEE | 4:21AM EDT - Friday, September 08, 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps during the Day of the Sun festival in Pyongyang on April 15th. — Photograph: How Hwee Young/European Pressphoto Agency.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps during the Day of the Sun festival in Pyongyang on April 15th.
 — Photograph: How Hwee Young/European Pressphoto Agency.


SEOUL — Saturday is the 69th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and neighboring countries are bracing for the rogue country to celebrate in a classic North Korean way: by conducting a test of its nuclear and missile program.

Since earlier in the week, South Korean government officials had reported signs of another missile test in the works, possibly a long-range launch set for this weekend.

Then on Thursday, the South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon announced that the government expects North Korea to launch another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on September 9th, saying the situation is “very grave”. The National Security Council met on Thursday to discuss plans in case of the new missile test.

Like many countries, North Korea likes to celebrate independence or founding days with parades and proclamations, but Pyongyang likes to add dramatic gestures against imperialism, particularly ones that showcase its military might.

For example, in 2015, North Korea turned back its time zone by a half hour, creating “Pyongyang Time” on its 70th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese occupation. “The wicked Japanese imperialists committed such unpardonable crimes as depriving Korea of even its standard time while mercilessly trampling down its land,” the official KCNA news agency said at the time.

North Korea's neighboring countries have come to expect the isolated country to conduct regular exercises, particularly to celebrate the Day of the Sun in April, the birthday of its founding president. And on September 9th last year, North Korea marked the anniversary of its founding with an underground nuclear test, saying it was building protection against “threats and sanctions”.

Kim Il Sung, the founding president of North Korea and the current leader's grandfather, emerged as a leader under the Communist Party of Korea with the help of the Soviet Union after World War II, and established the Worker's Party of North Korea in 1946.

Over the next two years, Kim formed the northern half of the Korean Peninsula into its own state, and by September 1948, had become the leader of the Supreme People's Assembly. On September 9th, 1948, the Democratic Republic of North Korea was established.

Fast forward 69 years. Predicting exactly what action the rogue nation will take on a given day is a futile exercise, but there's anticipation building up to the weekend — particularly given South Korean intelligence on technical preparations leading up to another test.




The significance of another intercontinental ballistic missile test would be more political than practical, said Christopher Green, senior adviser for the Korean Peninsula at the International Crisis Group. There's another holiday around the corner — October 10th, the anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers' Party — so it's not imperative for Pyongyang to conduct a test on September 9th, he said.

Moreover, the shorter the space between each test, the less there is that North Korea's scientists and technicians can learn from them and make improvements to their designs, he said.

“To the degree that North Korea knows that the international community is going to punish it for conducting its sixth nuclear test — or try to punish it, at any rate — there is no incentive not to do something else provocative on September 9th. If one is going to be punished for one's actions anyway, why not go the whole hog?” Green said.

“On the other side of the coin, everyone now seems to expect North Korea to take a provocative step of some kind on September 9th, and it doesn't serve Pyongyang's interests to be too predictable in the short run. They may opt to wait,” Green added.

North Korea has been stepping up its nuclear and missile program significantly in recent months. In July, North Korea conducted two tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile that appeared capable of reaching the United States mainland.

The United Nations Security Council already has imposed sanctions, including on coal and seafood. Yet they have done little to alter North Korean behavior; less than a week ago, Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date. This prompted South Korean President Moon Jae-in to push for even harsher sanctions, including cutting off the critical crude oil supply, but China and Russia — permanent members of the UN Security Council — have yet to come around to that particular idea.

“There's been no diplomatic intervention to stop the continued testing, and the pace has been consistently fast,” said John Delury, associate professor of Chinese Studies at the Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul.

It remains unclear what the international community can do next. Meanwhile, North Korea issued a defiant statement on Thursday: “We will reply to U.S. barbarian sanctions and pressure with our powerful countermeasures.”

“North Korea could be playing with us, looking like they're moving stuff around just to keep people on edge,” Delury said. “If there’s nothing on the 9th, there will be a sign of relief — but it's sort of meaningless, because we've set this expectation.”

In Seoul, life is carrying on as normal. Delury's advice to a certain WorldViews reporter trying to figure out whether she can make plans to see her grandmother in Seoul this weekend: “When it comes between your grandma and Kim Jong Un, you should pick your grandma.”


• Michelle Ye Hee Lee normally reports for The Fact Checker at The Washington Post.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • South Korean president ‘sandwiched’ by the threat from the North

 • Has the U.S. actually succeeded with North Korea? A top admiral says so.

 • For Kim Jong Un, nuclear weapons are a security blanket. And he wants to keep it.

 • In latest test, North Korea detonates its most powerful nuclear device yet


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/09/08/another-north-korean-holiday-time-for-another-missile-launch
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« Reply #176 on: September 11, 2017, 01:33:42 am »


from The Washington Post....

What should we do about North Korea?
We may be thinking about it all wrong.


Trying to marshal good reasons to adopt a certain strategy can lead policymakers astray.

By BRADLEY DeWEES | 9:31PM EDT - Friday, September 08, 2017

Korean People's Army soldiers attend a mass celebration on September 6th in Pyongyang for scientists involved in carrying out North Korea's largest nuclear blast to date. — Photograph: Kim Won-Jin/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Korean People's Army soldiers attend a mass celebration on September 6th in Pyongyang for scientists involved in carrying out
North Korea's largest nuclear blast to date. — Photograph: Kim Won-Jin/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


NORTH KOREA's recent nuclear and missile developments — including what it claimed to be a test of a hydrogen bomb, and a missile test that led the Japanese government to advise its citizens to take cover — have brought Pyongyang and Washington to a level of tension not seen since the Korean War. Options for dealing with the crisis include containment of a nuclear North Korea as well as military action that would set back its nuclear progress. Experts tend to agree that none of the options are good.

The United States does, however, have better and worse ways to decide on a North Korea strategy. Framing the decision in the right way — asking not just “Why should we do this?” but “At what price do other options become more attractive?” — could make the difference between war and peace.

Selecting from options such as containment or military action can take two forms — what decision scientists call “choice” or “matching”. “Choice” requires a decision-maker to separate options from one another, while “matching” requires the decision-maker to equate options with one other.

Choice would lead a decision-maker to ask why containment is better than military action (or vice versa). This “why?” question triggers a search for good reasons to adopt or reject an option. Matching, by contrast, would lead a decision-maker to ask how much (or how little) military action would have to cost before it was as desirable as containment. This “how much?” question triggers a quantification of the dimensions common to each option.

The two processes can lead to different outcomes because choice — and the concomitant search for “good reasons” — can bias a decision-maker in several ways.

Choice pushes people toward the option scoring highest on the most important criterion, even if that option leads to a worse overall outcome. The criteria at stake in this decision include lives, money, living under the risk of a nuclear North Korea and maintaining the credibility of public threats. In the latter category would be statements such as one President Trump made on August 8th: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” If maintaining the credibility of threats like this is the most important criterion to the administration, choice would favor a military option. Choice also would predispose a military option if preventing a nuclear North Korea is the most important criterion to the administration, as recent statements by national security adviser H.R. McMaster imply: North Korea having “nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States” would be “intolerable from the president’s perspective.” In both cases, acting on one's most important criterion constitutes a good reason.

Matching could lead to a different decision even if the relative importance of each criterion remained unchanged. Using matching, the task would be to say how much, in lives and money, one values avoiding the risk of a nuclear North Korea or maintaining the credibility of public threats. What containment lacks on these criteria it could make up for in saving lives and money. Matching wouldn't predestine the outcome — preventing a nuclear North Korea or maintaining credibility could still be important enough to justify military action, but a decision-maker would have to directly confront the cost of what Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said would be the “worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.”

Choice based on reasons factors a decision-maker's audience into the decision. What counts as a good reason depends on what a decision-maker's audience thinks is a good reason. This is important in the context of a North Korea strategy, because the decision could change based on who a decision-maker has in mind when deciding. Is a military adviser thinking of troops? A political leader thinking of supporters? Of history? What counts as a good reason for one group may not necessarily be good for another. Matching, on the other hand, is more stable across audiences — the audience is unlikely to affect the numbers underlying the decision.

Choice based on reasons also allows a bigger role for emotions. In the context of national security decisions, this is perhaps the most important difference. When members of a staff, military or country feel anger, fear or a desire not to appear weak, using those emotions as reasons for acting can be simple and compelling. As Ambassador Nikki Haley argued this past week in trying to get the U.N. Security Council to act: “North Korea basically has slapped everyone in the face in the international community that has asked them to stop.” Such emotions could push us toward a military option. Matching, on the other hand, would limit the effect emotions can have on a decision — stating how many lives and dollars one is angry would be difficult, and even more difficult to defend to others.

I have no inside knowledge of the administration's decision process, but it probably is relying on choice. I say this for two reasons. First, choice is more natural for people. In our own lives, we're more likely to reach for good reasons rather than expend extra mental effort on quantification. Second, the administration's most recent national security decision — selecting a strategy for Afghanistan — seemed to rely on choice. As the defense secretary said just before the Afghanistan decision was made: “We're sharpening each one of the options so you can see the pluses and minuses of each one…. Now just make the decision.” Reporting of that decision process described a menu of options, and the president chose the one he deemed most desirable.

Importantly, even if the pluses and minuses of each option are quantified, quantification alone does not imply matching. Matching would require senior policymakers themselves to step through the quantification to decide which option is most desirable. It's the act of quantification — of asking oneself “how much?” rather than “why?” — that insulates a decision-maker from bias.

Matching and the quantification associated with it are unnatural and even morally uncomfortable when the stakes include human lives, but when it comes to a situation as dangerous as the standoff with North Korea, it's important to force an unnatural decision process. To be sure, a decision process does not make the decision easier — it cannot change the fact that risk and benefit are positively correlated. What a good process can do, though, is ensure the United States confronts the standoff consistently and with a complete understanding of what is in its best interest. In a turbulent world, consistency and completeness can be achievements of their own.


• Bradley DeWees is a captain in the Air Force and a doctoral student in decision science and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. The views expressed here are his and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. government or any part thereof.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Escaping North Korea: ‘We … decided to kill ourselves rather than be sent back’


https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/what-should-we-do-about-north-korea-we-may-be-thinking-about-it-all-wrong/2017/09/08/6ffd31f0-924f-11e7-89fa-bb822a46da5b_story.html
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« Reply #177 on: September 11, 2017, 01:33:55 am »


from The Washington Post....

Why Kim Jong Un wouldn't be irrational to use a nuclear bomb first

The nuclear strategy of weaker powers.

By VIPIN NARANG | 9:45PM EDT - Friday, September 08, 2017

If Kim Jong Un feels threatened, he may believe he has no other choice. — Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters.
If Kim Jong Un feels threatened, he may believe he has no other choice. — Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters.

NORTH KOREA's nuclear weapons program is advancing quickly. This year, it has tested a suite of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles that can hit neighbors and American bases in East Asia, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, two intercontinental-range ballistic missiles and a purported thermonuclear weapon capable of flattening a city. Soon Kim Jong Un will be able to deliver it to our shores, if he cannot do so already.

This, we are told, is an unfortunate but not an existential problem. Although it will reshape geopolitics, there is no real threat of nuclear warfare, because Kim has no death wish. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Americans should sleep well at night, and analysts argue that it would be tantamount to national suicide for Kim to use nuclear weapons against the United States. If his purpose is to ensure his survival (how better to understand his quest for nukes?), why would he risk it by starting a conflict with Washington he can't win? Surely it won't come to war, let alone nuclear war.

Yes, Kim is brutally rational. And that is precisely why he may have to use nuclear weapons, but not in a first strike against American cities. Kim's nuclear arsenal exists to stop his enemies' quest for regime change. If North Korea and the United States wind up shooting at each other, it might make sense for Kim to use nuclear weapons first in a way that increases his chances of survival. The basic idea is to use one set of nuclear devices to stave off the conventional invasion, and hold in reserve longer range, more powerful devices that threaten the enemy's cities to deter nuclear annihilation. It's a doctrine called “asymmetric escalation”, employed by states that are conventionally weak. France articulated it during the Cold War to deter the more powerful Soviet Union, and Pakistan does the same today against a more powerful India.

The strategy turns on Kim's main calculation that the United States will say it's not worth losing a major American city to get rid of him. This would allow him to avoid the fate of Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Moammar Gaddafi, who did not have nuclear weapons. Deterrence worked uneasily during the Cold War — albeit with close calls and some hair-raising moments — but it worked. Many of the same principles about mutual destruction still obtain today between major powers.

Yet the equation for North Korea, which cannot ensure mutual destruction, is slightly different. Faced with the prospect of a U.S.-led invasion, Pyongyang's conventional inferiority requires it to degrade the United States' ability to sustain the attack against it. This means it essentially has no option but to use nuclear weapons first against targets such as Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, which stations American bombers, and a variety of allied bases in Japan and South Korea. North Korea has to use nuclear weapons there because it does not have enough conventional warheads to damage the bases meaningfully; a conventional response would not slow or stop a U.S. onslaught. It is for these bases that North Korea has tested the medium-range missiles, reportedly developed a compact nuclear fission warhead and honed guidance for the missiles that would carry it.

Wouldn't such an attack mean the retaliatory annihilation of North Korea? Not necessarily. This is why the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and the H-bomb are so important. Kim's survival theory is that North Korea could threaten to destroy an American city with a thermonuclear-tipped ICBM if the United States continued an invasion or retaliated with nuclear weapons. Anytime its cities can be held at risk, the United States' deterrence equation changes, as it did during the Cold War. Are we willing to risk losing millions of civilians in our homeland? Possibly not. And it's unlikely that we could reliably destroy all of Kim's ICBMs on the ground or intercept the warheads in the air, particularly as he builds more. So the prospect of losing San Francisco thanks to our nuclear retaliation may cause us to pause conventional operations and elicit a cease-fire, thereby preserving Kim's regime and rule. Kim may surmise that if he doesn't use nuclear weapons first, he is certain to lose; if he does, he may have a fighting chance of surviving.

This scenario to stave off an invasion with a limited nuclear attack on a U.S. military target is not irrational, although it is clearly risky and terrifyingly tragic. One wrinkle is that North Korea's arsenal is currently small and vulnerable, and U.S. military strategy, reiterated by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, is to try to find and destroy all of Kim's nuclear systems in the event of a war. That gives Kim an incentive to go first, go early and go massively if he is not confident about surviving a U.S. attempt at disarming him. If Kim thinks we are coming after him or his forces, he cannot afford to be wrong, and he cannot afford to launch second.

States with small arsenals that are put under counterforce pressure have itchy trigger fingers. It is what is known as the use-it-or-lose-it dilemma. Prior to World War I, European powers believed they all had to mobilize military forces first or risk massive conventional defeat. The calculation for North Korea is the same today, except with nuclear weapons.

This current risk is amplified by our saber-rattling. How do we assure Kim that the B-1B sorties from Guam that are meant as “shows of strength” are not a prelude to a counterforce surprise attack? We are in a particularly dangerous phase right now, and not because Kim is unpredictable. The more rational he is, the itchier his trigger finger could be.

At the broader political level, Kim has another aim with his nuclear weapons: to break our alliances. The Soviet Union's acquisition of ICBM technology caused panic among our allies. France developed its own nuclear weapons, because Charles de Gaulle was convinced we would not trade Pittsburgh for Paris. Today, the concern among our allies is that with our homeland at risk, we might not trade San Francisco for Seoul, or Toledo for Tokyo. These anxieties are amplified when President Trump accuses South Korea and China of “appeasement” after North Korea's thermonuclear test. Pyongyang probably read that tweet with glee, thinking that its political strategy is already working. With a nuclear security umbrella like the one we maintain in East Asia, it’s always harder to reassure allies than it is to deter the adversary. Right now, we are being outplayed by Kim on both counts.

Dispensing with the notion that Kim is crazy or irrational is important for two reasons. First, it clarifies the military and political strategies he might envision with nuclear weapons. Second, it suggests that he responds to both domestic and international incentives. It means deterrence — which was always coupled with reassurance and diplomacy — can work with North Korea, just as it did with the Soviet Union and China. But deterrence works both ways: We can no longer threaten to attack North Korea without risking a nuclear exchange.


• Vipin Narang is an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specializing in nuclear proliferation and strategy.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Tillerson says Americans ‘should sleep well at night’ after North Korea threats

 • Diplomacy really can work against North Korea. Here's why.

 • I live on Guam. Here's how we’re coping with the nuclear standoff.

 • How President Trump could tweet his way into nuclear war.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/why-kim-jong-un-wouldnt-be-irrational-to-use-a-nuclear-bomb-first/2017/09/08/a9d36ca4-934f-11e7-aace-04b862b2b3f3_story.html
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« Reply #178 on: September 11, 2017, 03:00:23 am »

Moonbats usually like to salivate over how smart they think the enemies of their own civilisation are.
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« Reply #179 on: September 11, 2017, 10:28:35 am »


Well....Kim Jong Un has made an idiot out of Donald Trump so far.

And if The Donald is silly enough to engage in military action against North Korea, vast numbers of South Koreans and Japanese will die.

And even if The Donald goes all-out nuclear against North Korea and turns the country into a pile of smoking, radioactive ashes, chances are several million Americans will die when North Korean ICBMs are launched at American cities in a final act from NK.

So I'd say that Kim has achieved his nuclear deterrent against the same thing happening to him as happened to the non-nuclear-armed Saddam and Gaddafi.

And although Trump may be a moron and an idiot, the adults in the room with him (the White House Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of State) are intelligent people who actually have functioning brains unlike their clown & buffoon boss.
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« Reply #180 on: September 12, 2017, 07:29:50 am »



Trump presides over 9/11 ceremonies, vows 'America does not bend'

President Trump commemorated the Sept. 11 attacks for the first time as commander-in-chief on Monday, leading a moment of silence and sharing words of strength on the 16th anniversary of that tragic day.

“We can never erase your pain, but we can honor their sacrifice by pledging our resolve to do whatever we must to keep our people safe,” Trump said, speaking to hundreds of family members gathered at the Pentagon.

The president, a New Yorker, was joined by first lady Melania Trump to observe a moment of silence first at the White House in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 American lives lost in the attacks -- when hijackers led by Usama Bin Laden crashed airplanes into New York City’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pa.

The moment of silence at 8:45 a.m. commemorates the moment the first plane, American Flight 11, struck the north tower of the World Trade Center. The second plane, United Flight 175, struck the south Twin Tower at 9:03 a.m. 16 years ago.

The president and first lady then visited the Pentagon to observe another moment of silence led by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. The president laid a wreath at the Pentagon to honor the victims.

“We never asked for this fight but we are steadfastly committed to seeing it through,” Mattis said at the Pentagon. “We Americans are not made of cotton candy. We’re not seaweed drifting in the current. We are not intimidated by our enemies.”

Mattis added: “Mr. President, your military does not scare.”

Trump took the podium following Mattis’ remarks, honoring the families and the lives lost, and the heroism that day.

“The horror and anguish of that dark day were seared into our national memory forever. Innocent men, women, and children whose lives were taken so needlessly,” Trump said.

The president honored “each family,” ensuring that “no force on earth can ever take away your memories, diminish your love or break your will to endure, and carry on and go forward.”

“On that day, not only did the world change, but we all changed. Our eyes were open to the depths of the evil that we face,” he said.

The president added: “In that hour of darkness, we also came together with renewed purpose. Our differences never looked so small.”

Trump went on to honor the “nearly 5 million” men and women who have joined the ranks in the last 16 years to defend the United States of America. Since 9/11, nearly 7,000 service members have died. The president’s remarks come after the administration announced a renewed Afghanistan policy late last month. A senior U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that the president signed off on sending an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan, after apparently listening to appeals from his generals.

“We’re ensuring that they [terrorists] never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against our country,” Trump said. “We are making claim to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp, and nowhere to hide–anywhere—on this very large earth.”

The president thanked members of the military for their service and said, “America does not bend. We do not waver. And we will never, ever yield.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Pence led the ceremony in Shanksville, where Flight 93 crashed into an open field at 10:03 a.m. 16 years ago. Many believe the passengers on that flight prevented a larger attack by fighting back.

In his remarks, an emotional vice president recalled being on Capitol Hill on 9/11 during what was his first year in Congress. Pence remembered the heroes on Flight 93 that prayed with a phone operator before plummeting to the ground, and assured the family members gathered at the memorial that this was “personal.”

“Among the many lives that were saved by their selfless courage, they might well have saved my own life that day, 16 years ago,” the vice president said, thanking the audience for the “privilege” of speaking. “I will always believe that I and many others in our nation’s Capitol were able to go home that day to hug our families because of the courage and selflessness of the heroes on Flight 93. For me, it’s personal.”

He added: "We will drive the cancer of terrorism from the face of the earth."

As the ceremonies took place in Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, hundreds gathered at Ground Zero in Manhattan for reading of the names of those who lost their lives 16 years ago.
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« Reply #181 on: September 12, 2017, 05:03:09 pm »


Yeah, we know....Trump ALWAYS talks a lot of shit.
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« Reply #182 on: September 12, 2017, 09:54:45 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Why haven't sanctions on North Korea worked?
Two very different theories.


The differing theories point toward a worrying ambiguity.

By ADAM TAYLOR | 12:35PM EDT - Monday, September 11, 2017

Kim Jong Un, second from left, attends a banquet in Pyongyang this month to celebrate North Korea's latest nuclear test. — Photograph: Yonhap/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia EFE.
Kim Jong Un, second from left, attends a banquet in Pyongyang this month to celebrate North Korea's latest nuclear test.
 — Photograph: Yonhap/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia EFE.


NORTH KOREA has been under United Nations sanctions since 2006. These sanctions have grown significantly stronger over time. Other nations and entities, including the United States and the European Union, also have imposed unilateral measures on Pyongyang in that period.

And yet, North Korea's nuclear weapons program has not only persisted but flourished. The country also remains a dictatorship, with one of the worst human rights records in the world. It seems obvious that sanctions on North Korea have failed — so far, at least.

It's worth asking why, especially with another round of punitive measures on the table. The good news is that there are two clear and logical theories for why existing sanctions on North Korea haven't worked. But there's bad news, too: At their core, the two theories are pretty different — and if both are to be believed, they may imply contradictory policies.


Theory one: Sanctions have not hit North Korea hard enough.

The idea behind this theory is easy to grasp: North Korea hasn't been hit hard enough by sanctions to steer it away from belligerence. Observers note that life in North Korea, in economic terms, appears to have improved significantly since 2006. “The sanctions were perfunctory,” former North Korean official Ri Jong Ho, who defected, told The Washington Post earlier this year.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the sanctions are not strict — notably, the measures imposed by the United Nations in August did away with precautions against causing humanitarian suffering. And North Korea's apparent economic resilience can't fully be attributed to the economic measures undertaken by Kim Jong Un, either, though those are important, too.

Instead, the biggest problem with the sanctions may be implementation. China and Russia, two of North Korea's most important trading partners, have often balked at fully implementing the sanctions. Even when China finally agreed to meet the U.N. cap on coal imports from North Korea last year, some suspected that Beijing was still dragging its feet.

Other countries may turn a blind eye, too. A recent U.N. report on North Korea's economy suggested that there was plenty of blame to go around. For example, when direct coal imports to China began to drop, Pyongyang began rerouting this coal to other countries, including Malaysia and Vietnam. The North Korean regime is also suspected of working on Syria's missile systems and sending military trainers to African nations, including Angola and Uganda.

“As the sanctions regime expands, so does the scope of evasion,” the report's authors noted. But if this problem could be addressed, it might offer hope that sanctions could compel North Korea to change its behavior.


Theory two: North Korea's leadership doesn't care about sanctions.

A less hopeful theory posits that North Korea is impervious to sanctions because … well, basically, because it's North Korea. Consider it this way: Sanctions are designed to change a nation state's behavior through the use of economic pressure. The idea is generally that the country's leaders will ultimately decide that the economic cost of their behavior is too great and switch course.

But North Korea isn't like any other country. Its leadership may not operate the way we would expect it to. North Korea is one of the most closed-off dictatorships the world has seen. Even seasoned observers of autocratic states have expressed shock at the fervent adulation for the Kim dynasty in the country. Under such a system, public opinion seems to have little effect on Kim Jong Un.

“They'd rather eat grass than give up their nuclear program,” one high-profile proponent of this theory, Russian President Vladimir Putin, said recently.

Kim seems to view nuclear weapons as his only option against the United States. These weapons would not only help him avoid being overthrown like Libya's Moammar Gaddafi — a frequent reference point for North Korea — but could also get U.S. forces out of South Korea and perhaps even reunite the peninsula under Pyongyang's terms (sure, the latter scenario is unlikely, but who in North Korea would tell Kim that?).

In fact, after surviving the devastation of the Korean War and the famine during the 1990s, there is a sense among some North Korean officials that the sacrifices imposed by the sanctions — or, worse, war — might be worth it. “A lot of people would die,” one official recently told the New Yorker's Evan Osnos. “But not everyone would die.”


The problem.

Which of these theories is more accurate? It may not be possible to say definitively. Measuring the effectiveness of sanctions in any circumstances is almost always difficult, let alone with regard to a country as secretive and frequently duplicitous as North Korea. Meanwhile, we have little real understanding of how Kim makes his decisions and what his private feelings about sanctions are.

In some ways, both theories may be partially right. China has been reluctant to sign off on an oil embargo against North Korea, in part because it believes Pyongyang may view such a move as an existential threat and react in an unexpected way.

But the differing theories point toward a worrying ambiguity. If North Korea really is impervious to sanctions, imposing more such measures on the country could be a waste of time and perhaps even counterproductive. At the same time, if sanctions could actually change North Korea's behavior, the skepticism of powerful critics like Putin undermines that enterprise and bodes ill for their effectiveness.


• Adam Taylor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. Originally from London, he studied at the University of Manchester and Columbia University.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Does diplomacy stand a chance in North Korea?

 • The messy data behind China's growing trade with North Korea


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/09/11/why-havent-sanctions-on-north-korea-worked-two-very-different-theories
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« Reply #183 on: September 12, 2017, 09:54:56 pm »


from The Washington Post....

U.N. agrees to toughest-ever sanctions against North Korea

The U.S. and its allies pushed for a full embargo.

By CAROL MORELLO, MICHELLE YE HEE LEE and EMILY RAUHALA | 5:46PM EDT - Monday, September 11, 2017

THE U.N. Security Council on Monday agreed on its toughest-ever sanctions against North Korea that passed unanimously after the United States softened its initial demands to win support from China and Russia.

The sanctions set limits on North Korea's oil imports and banned its textile exports in an effort to deprive the reclusive nation of the income it needs to maintain its nuclear and ballistic missile program and increase the pressure to negotiate a way out of punishing sanctions.

“Today, we are attempting to take the future of the North Korean nuclear program out of the hands of its outlaw regime,” said Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

“Today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea,” she added. “And today the Security Council is saying if North Korea does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves.”

The new sanctions come on top of previous ones that cut into North Korea's exports of coal, iron ore and seafood. Haley said that more than 90 percent of North Korea's reported exports are now fully banned by sanctions.

The new sanctions ratchet up the pressure on North Korea, though they are far less sweeping than what Washington originally sought after Pyongyang carried out its sixth and most potent nuclear test on September 3rd. But the United States agreed to drop several key demands, and toned down others, to keep China and Russia from exercising their veto over the measure.

Just a week ago, Haley urged the “strongest possible” sanctions on North Korea. Among the measures Washington pushed in an initial draft were a complete oil embargo and an asset freeze and global travel ban on leader Kim Jong Un. During negotiations last week and through the weekend, the embargo became a cap, and the punitive measures against the leader were dropped.

Though toned down, the sanctions are potentially far-reaching in their ability to shave as much as $1.3 billion from North Korea's revenue.

Under the Security Council resolution, imports of both refined and crude oil will be capped at 8.5 million barrels a year, which Haley said represents a 30 percent cut. Natural gas and condensates also were prohibited to close off possible alternative fuels. In addition, textiles, which last year accounted for $726 million, representing more than a quarter of North Korea's export income, are banned.

In an effort to curb smuggling, the resolution allows countries to demand the inspection of ships suspected of carrying North Korean goods, though a U.S. proposal to allow the ships to be challenged with military force was dropped. But ships proven to be abetting Pyongyang's efforts to evade sanctions are subject to an asset freeze and may be barred from sailing into ports.

And in a separate measure that will not take effect immediately, countries will be required not to renew contracts for an estimated 93,000 North Korean guest workers who labor overseas. According to U.S. assessments, their salaries bring the North Korean government $500 million a year.

In her remarks at the Security Council, Haley evoked the lessons of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon 16 years ago.

“That day, the United States saw that mass murder can come from a clear blue sky on a beautiful Tuesday morning,” she said. “But today, the threat to the United States and the world is not coming out of the blue. The North Korean regime has demonstrated that it will not act on its own to end its nuclear program. The civilized world must do what the regime refuses to do. We must stop its march toward a nuclear arsenal with the ability to deliver it anywhere in the world.”

Haley said the United States is not seeking war with North Korea, which she said had “not yet passed the point of no return.”

“If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future,” she said. “If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it.”

In recent days, the United States and its allies spent the past several days trying to come up with a resolution that would be acceptable to Moscow and Beijing.

Chinese analysts believe the country will continue to take an incremental approach.

It's not that Beijing is not angry with Kim — it is. But Beijing worries that instability in North Korea will hurt Chinese interests.

Recent weapons tests have literally shaken Chinese border areas, and residents worry about nuclear fallout. Chinese authorities worry conflict could send North Korean refugees streaming across the border or bring U.S. troops closer to their door.

“Beijing has multiple, complex strategic considerations,” said Michael Kovrig, a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group. “It wants to send a message to Kim Jong Un that his nuclear program is unacceptable and to punish bad behavior, but it does not want to trigger North Korea's collapse or turn its neighbor into a permanent enemy.”

Crude oil supply is vital to North Korea, particularly its military. A complete cutoff could be perceived in Pyongyang as an existential threat to the regime, Kovrig said. So China needs to seriously consider the chaos — political and otherwise — that could ensue.

And the timing is key. “Once China employs its economic leverage, it loses it as a further bargaining tool,” Kovrig said. “That's why in the past, China has tried to calibrate sanctions to ‘punish but not strangle’ North Korea.”

Haley praised Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying the Security Council resolution would not have happened without the relationship between Xi and President Trump.

Russia, itself the subject of sanctions over Ukraine, has called sanctions against Moscow “illegal”. Russia's ambassador to the U.N., Vasilly Nebenzia, said Moscow believes it would be “wrong” to allow North Korea's nuclear test to go unanswered. But he criticized the United States for not assuring Pyongyang that Washington does not seek war or regime change.

“We're convinced that diverting the menace posed by North Korea could be done not by more sanctions but by political means,” he said.

In Pyongyang, North Korea's Foreign Ministry on Monday issued a statement warning the United States will pay a “due price” if it pursues stronger sanctions.

“The forthcoming measures to be taken by the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history,” according to the statement released by the Korean Central News Agency.


• Carol Morello is the diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, covering the State Department.

• Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports for The Washington Post's Fact Checker.

• Emily Rauhala is a China Correspondent for The Washington Post. She was previously a Beijing-based correspondent for TIME, and an editor at the magazine's Hong Kong office.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-the-push-for-oil-embargo-on-north-korea-china-is-reluctant-to-sign-off/2017/09/11/3a5b56fe-96e5-11e7-a527-3573bd073e02_story.html
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« Reply #184 on: September 12, 2017, 09:55:08 pm »


from The Washington Post....

How Russia quietly undercuts sanctions intended to stop
North Korea's nuclear program


Just as China is finally cracking down, Russian profiteers step in to aid Kim Jong Un.

By JOBY WARRICK | 7:37PM EDT - Monday, September 11, 2017

A South Korean news magazine with photos of President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un under the headline “Korean Peninsula Crisis” is displayed at the Dong-A Ilbo building in Seoul. — Photograph: Ahn Young-Joon/Associated Press.
A South Korean news magazine with photos of President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un under the headline
“Korean Peninsula Crisis” is displayed at the Dong-A Ilbo building in Seoul. — Photograph: Ahn Young-Joon/Associated Press.


RUSSIAN SMUGGLERS are scurrying to the aid of North Korea with shipments of petroleum and other vital supplies that could help that country weather harsh new economic sanctions, U.S. officials say in an assessment that casts further doubt on whether financial measures alone can force dictator Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear weapons program.

The spike in Russian exports is occurring as China — by far North Korea's biggest trading partner — is beginning to dramatically ratchet up the economic pressure on its troublesome neighbor in the face of provocative behavior such as last week's test of a powerful nuclear bomb.

Official documents and interviews point to a rise in tanker traffic this spring between North Korean ports and Vladivostok, the far-eastern Russian city near the small land border shared by the two countries. With international trade with North Korea increasingly constrained by U.N. sanctions, Russian entrepreneurs are seizing opportunities to make a quick profit, setting up a maze of front companies to conceal —transactions and launder payments, according to U.S. law enforcement officials who monitor sanction-busting activity.

Such trade could provide a lifeline to North Korea at a time when the United States is seeking to deepen Kim's economic and political isolation in response to recent nuclear and missiles tests. Trump administration officials were hoping that new trade restrictions by China — including a temporary ban on gasoline and diesel exports imposed this spring by a state-owned Chinese petroleum company — could finally drive Kim to negotiate an agreement to halt work on nuclear weapons and long-range delivery systems.

The U.N. Security Council late on Monday approved a package of new economic sanctions that included a cap on oil imports to North Korea, effectively slashing its fuel supply by 30 percent, diplomats said. A U.S. proposal for a total oil embargo was dropped in exchange for Russian and Chinese support for the measure.

“As the Chinese cut off oil and gas, we're seeing them turn to Russia,” said a senior official with detailed knowledge of smuggling operations. The official, one of several current and former U.S. officials interviewed about the trend, insisted on anonymity in describing analyses based on intelligence and confidential informants.

“Whenever they are cut off from their primary supplier, they just try to get it from somewhere else,” the official said.

The increase in trade with Russia was a primary reason for a series of legal measures announced last month by Justice and Treasury officials targeting Russian nationals accused of helping North Korea evade sanctions. Court documents filed in support of the measures describe a web of alleged front companies established by Russian citizens for the specific purpose of concealing business arrangements with Pyongyang.

While Russian companies have engaged in such illicit trade with North Korea in the past, U.S. officials and experts on North Korea observed a sharp rise beginning last spring, coinciding with new U.N. sanctions and the ban on fuel shipments in May by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation. The smuggled goods mostly are diesel and other fuels, which are vital to North Korea's economy and can't be produced indigenously. In the past, U.S. agencies also have tracked shipments of Russian industrial equipment and ores as well as luxury goods.

Traffic between Vladivostok and the port of Rajin in North Korea has become so heavy that local officials this year launched a dedicated ferry line between the two cities. The service was temporarily suspended last week because of a financial dispute.

China, with its large shared border and traditionally close ties with Pyongyang, remains North Korea's most important trading partner, accounting for more than 90 percent of the country's foreign commerce. Thus, Beijing's co-operation is key to any sanctions regime that seeks to force Kim to alter his behavior, current and former U.S. officials say.

Still, Russia, with its massive petroleum reserves and proven willingness to partner with unsavory regimes, could provide just enough of a boost to keep North Korea's economy moving, allowing it to again resist international pressure to give up its strategic weapons, the officials said.

“Russia is now a player in this realm,” said Anthony Ruggiero, a former Treasury Department official who is now a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank. “The Chinese may be fed up with North Korea and willing to do more to increase the pressure. But it's not clear that the Russians are willing to go along with that.”

The reports of Russian oil smuggling come as Moscow continues to criticize international efforts to impose more trade restrictions on North Korea. Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a joint news conference on Wednesday with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, pointedly refused to support new restrictions on fuel supplies for the North.

“We should not act out of emotions and push North Korea to a dead end,” Putin said, according to South Korean media accounts of the news conference.

Rare insight into exactly how Russian firms conduct business with Kim's isolated regime can be gleaned from the court papers filed last month to support new sanctions against Russian nationals accused of supplying diesel and other fuels to North Korea. The papers describe in detail how one company, Velmur, was set up by Russian operatives in Singapore to allegedly help North Korea purchase millions of dollars' worth of fuel while keeping details of the transactions opaque.

Velmur was registered in Singapore in 2014 as a real estate management company. Yet its chief function appears to be “facilitating the laundering of funds for North Korea financial facilitators and sanctioned entities,” according to a Justice Department complaint filed on August 22nd. The company has no known headquarters, office space or even a Web address, but rather “bears the hallmarks of a front company,” the complaint states.

According to the documents, Velmur worked with other Russian partners to obtain contracts this year to purchase nearly $7 million worth of diesel fuel from a Russian supplier known as IPC between February and May. In each case, North Korean operatives wired the payments to Velmur in hard currency — U.S. dollars — and Velmur in turn used the money to pay IPC for diesel tanker shipments departing the port of Vladivostok, the documents show.

“The investigation has concluded that North Korea was the destination” of the diesel trans-shipments, the Justice Department records state. “As such, it appears that Velmur, while registered as a real estate management company, is in fact a North Korean financial facilitator.”

Officials for Velmur could not be reached for comment. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, reacting to the U.S. court filing last month, dismissed the sanctions policy as futile, while declining to address specific allegations about sanctions-busting by Russian individuals.

“Washington, in theory, should have learned that, for us, the language of sanctions is unacceptable; the solution of real problems is only hindered by such actions,” Ryabkov said. “So far, however, it does not seem that they have come to an understanding of such obvious truths.”

U.S. officials acknowledged that it may be impossible to physically stop Russian tankers from delivering fuel shipments to North Korean ports, as long as the Putin government grants tacit approval. But the United States enjoys some leverage because of the smugglers' preference for conducting business in dollars.

When Justice Department officials announced sanctions on Russian businesses last month, they also sought the forfeiture of millions of dollars in U.S. currency allegedly involved in the transactions, a step intended as a warning to others considering trading with North Korea. Black-market traders tend to shun North Korea's currency, the won, which has been devalued to the point that some Pyongyang department stores insist on payment in dollars, euros or Chinese renminbi.

“There are vulnerabilities here, because the people North Korea is doing business with want dollars. It was dollars that the North Koreans were attempting to send to Russia,” said Ruggiero, the former Treasury official. “The Russians are not about to start taking North Korean won.”


David Filipov in Moscow contributed to this report.

• Joby Warrick joined The Washington Post's national staff in 1996. He has covered national security, the environment and the Middle East and currently writes about terrorism. He is the author of two books, including 2015's Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, which was awarded a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: ‘We are not looming for war,’ Haley says about new sanctions against North Korea

 • For North Korean leader, nukes are a security blanket he can’t do without

 • Some see Russian hand in North Korea’s rapid missile gains


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/how-russia-quietly-undercuts-sanctions-intended-to-stop-north-koreas-nuclear-program/2017/09/11/f963867e-93e4-11e7-8754-d478688d23b4_story.html
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« Reply #185 on: September 12, 2017, 10:20:44 pm »

...yeah...nah...socialist dictatorships always end up bad🙄
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« Reply #186 on: September 12, 2017, 10:42:20 pm »


Good to see Donald Trump's favourite mates, the RUSSIANS, sticking their oar in, eh?

Those Russians must be real good capitalists if they'll trade with ANYBODY, eh?

You can see why deal-maker Donald Trump likes them so much, eh?
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« Reply #187 on: September 12, 2017, 11:25:35 pm »

Yes..it was good to see the UN pass the toughest ever sanctions against North Korea..including Russia and China😜
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« Reply #188 on: September 12, 2017, 11:27:26 pm »


I betcha the Chinese government continues to look the other way while Chinese businessmen trade with North Korea.

Ditto with the Russian government and Russian businessmen.
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« Reply #189 on: September 12, 2017, 11:32:47 pm »

Yes..I agree...very good to see the UN. Working together...including Russia and China😉
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« Reply #190 on: September 12, 2017, 11:52:35 pm »


Still won't change anything....North Korea already has their nuclear deterrent.

America will have to sacrifice a couple of American cities (and the millions of civilians in them) if they wish to take out North Korea.

Mind you, the Americans have a history about not caring about humans being exterminated in the blink of an eye by nukes.

After all, the Americans are the only country to have ever carried out mass-extermination of human beings using nukes.
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« Reply #191 on: September 13, 2017, 12:03:05 am »

Yes... I agree...Pearl Habour was a big mistake....you don't  turn up to a gun fight with a knife😉
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« Reply #192 on: September 13, 2017, 01:45:57 am »


Guess what?

North Korea already have the nukes....and the means to deliver them.

Just like the Americans.

I reckon Iran will be the next country to get a nuclear deterrent against outsiders invading them.
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« Reply #193 on: September 13, 2017, 07:56:37 am »

Ktj..."North Korea already have the nukes....and the means to deliver them.

Just like the Americans."


......ah.....I think not just like the Americans......think your predisposition to being in denial is surfacing again🤡
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« Reply #194 on: September 14, 2017, 05:19:29 am »


from The Washington Post....

North Korea nuclear test may have been twice as strong as first thought

New analysis of seismic data suggests the bomb’s yield could have been up to 250 kilotons.

By MICHELLE YE HEE LEE | 6:02AM EDT - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending a photo session with teachers who volunteered to work at remote schools, released on September 12th by the official Korean Central News Agency. — Photograph: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending a photo session with teachers who volunteered to work at remote schools, released
on September 12th by the official Korean Central News Agency. — Photograph: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


SEOUL — North Korea's powerful nuclear test earlier this month may have been even stronger than first reported, equivalent to roughly 17 times the strength of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a new analysis by a U.S. monitoring group.

North Korea's September 3rd nuclear test, its sixth and biggest, showed how much progress it has made on its nuclear and missile program.

Preliminary estimates had found the yield, or the amount of energy released by the blast, to have been about 100 kilotons. In comparison, the bomb detonated over Hiroshima in 1945 released about 15 kilotons of energy.

But a new analysis by 38 North, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, found North Korea's test may have been much stronger.

Updated seismic data showed the magnitude of the resulting earthquake was greater than initial estimates — between 6.1 and 6.3. That means the yield of the latest test was roughly 250 kilotons, reported 38 North's Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu.

In other words, the North Korean test may have been almost 17 times stronger than the bomb detonated over Hiroshima. This is close to what 38 North previously calculated as the maximum yield that could be contained at the underground Punggye-ri test site.

This new estimate by 38 North is much higher than those of the U.S. government and its allies at the time. The United States intelligence assessment put the blast at 140 kilotons, Japan at 160 kilotons and South Korea at 50.

Satellite imagery showed the test resulted in many more landslides than after any of the previous five tests, according to the 38 North analysis.

North Korea described the device it had detonated as a hydrogen bomb designed to be carried by a long-range missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. The international community widely condemned the test and within 10 days, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved its toughest sanctions on the country to date.

In the wake of the North Korean test, both the United States and South Korea are highlighting their own military readiness.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was traveling Wednesday to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, the center of American nuclear arsenal, with more than 100 land-based nuclear missiles and aircraft.

Meanwhile, the South Korean Air Force on Wednesday conducted its first live-fire drill to test its pre-emptive strike capability, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.


• Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports for The Washington Post's Fact Checker.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • South Koreans now want their own nuclear weapons


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/north-korea-nuclear-test-maybe-have-been-twice-as-strong-as-first-thought/2017/09/13/19b026d8-985b-11e7-a527-3573bd073e02_story.html
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« Reply #195 on: September 15, 2017, 12:22:06 am »


from The Washington Post....

North Korea's latest nuclear test was so powerful
it reshaped the mountain above it


New radar images show North Korea's September 3rd nuclear test
was powerful enough to have changed the topography of the
mountain above the tunnel where the test likely took place.


By MICHELLE YE HEE LEE | 3:14AM EDT - Thursday, September 14, 2017

SEOUL — New radar satellite images show the September 3rd nuclear test by North Korea was powerful enough to sink a roughly 85-acre area on the peak of a mountain above the tunnels where the test likely took place.

North Korea carries out its nuclear tests in a complex of tunnels at its Punggye-ri site and images of the mountains, in this case Mount Mantap, above it can give experts a sense of where the device was tested exactly and how powerful it was.

The new Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite images, captured before and after September 3rd, showed “significant changes at Mount Mantap's peak elevation. Prior to the test, Mount Mantap was 2,205 meters high; the mountain has since diminished in height,” wrote Jeffrey Lewis, head of the East Asia program at the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies in California.

“You can see that the explosion visibly displaces the mountain, which demonstrates both how large the explosion was but also that it occurred in the same tunnel complex as the preceding four nuclear tests,” Lewis wrote on the Arms Control Wonk website. “This is useful because the relationship between the size of the explosion and the magnitude of the seismic signals is sensitive to the overburden — how much rock is above the explosion.”

The images were taken by Airbus, a space technology company that makes earth observation satellites, using its TerraSAR-X satellite, and provided to experts at the center. You can see the change in this animated image Lewis posted on Twitter:




The device, which North Korea described as a hydrogen bomb capable of being placed on a ballistic missile, was the most powerful tested to date. Original estimates had put its yield in the 100 kiloton range, but updated seismic data analyzed by experts this week put it closer to a whopping 250 kilotons, or nearly 17 times more powerful than the bomb that flattened Hiroshima.

The new images are “additional proof that the September 2017 explosion was much larger than ever before at this site,” said Melissa Hanham, senior research associate at the Center for Non-proliferation. In comparison, radar images of last year's nuclear test did not show a noticeable change in the surface area of the same mountain, she said.

The sunken area corresponds with some of the highest peaks of Mount Mantap, Hanham said.

“It makes sense that they would use their existing tunnel network attached to the North Portal entrance, because this leads to where the overburden is the greatest,” Hanham said. “If they used a tunnel with less overburden, they might have blown the top off the mountain.”

The growing nuclear threat from the north has led to more South Koreans calling for their own nuclear weapons. A Gallup Korea poll conducted after the September 3rd test found 60 percent of respondents supported nuclear weapons for the south.

But in an interview with CNN on Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in ruled out the idea: "To respond to North Korea by having our own nuclear weapons will not maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula and could lead to a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia."

In response to the September 3rd nuclear test, the United Nations on Monday unanimously agreed on its toughest sanctions against North Korea to date, setting limits on its oil imports and banning its textile exports. North Korea condemned the sanctions, and warned that the United States would “suffer the greatest pain” it has ever experienced for leading the effort to ratchet up economic pressures on the reclusive nation.

On Thursday, North Korea issued another threat, this time targeting both Japan and the U.S. In a statement issued by North Korea's official news agency, Pyongyang said it would use nuclear weapons to “sink” Japan and “reduce the U.S. mainland to ashes and darkness”.


• Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports for The Washington Post's Fact Checker.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/09/14/orth-koreas-latest-nuclear-test-was-so-powerful-it-reshaped-the-mountain-above-it
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« Reply #196 on: September 15, 2017, 01:16:18 am »

Why Russia props up the dangerous North Korean regime
By Hollie McKay

Published September 13, 2017
FoxNews.com
As North Korea continues to develop a nuclear-weapons program, threatening the U.S. and neighboring countries while starving and enslaving much of its population, the regime of Kim Jong Un continues to receive an increasing amount of both public and private support from Russia. But why?

“Putin is weakening sanctions against North Korea to weaken the concept of sanctions themselves,” Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which seeks to illuminate human rights abuses in communist governments, told Fox News. “Russia is under heavy international sanctions and Putin wants to empower naysayers in the West who think sanctions ae either too inefficient or too provocative of the dictatorial regimes they are levied against.”

However, Russia did go along this week in siding with the latest round of U.S.-pushed sanctions, approved by the U.N. Security Council. If properly enforced, the new sanctions would severely limit North Korea’s access to international currency and fuel required for its prohibited ballistic missile and nuclear programs. It won’t be able to export textiles, one of its only export industries. In addition, importing oil and fuel will be a marginally harder, as will propelling its people off to make money in labor jobs abroad.

Nonetheless, the sanctions initially proposed by the U.S. – which included completely cutting off oil imports – were significantly diluted largely at Russia’s behest. Moscow is also one of the biggest food-aid donors to North Korea, which is widely accused of pouring its finances into military and missile spending rather than feeding its impoverished population.

Related Image
In this undated image distributed on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, by the North Korean government, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location. North Korea’s state media on Sunday, Sept 3, 2017, said leader Kim Jong Un inspected the loading of a hydrogen bomb into a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a claim to technological mastery that some outside experts will doubt but that will raise already high worries on the Korean Peninsula. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)Expand / Collapse
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting the loading of a hydrogen bomb into a new intercontinental ballistic missile.  (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Furthermore, experts contend that Russia has long been a prominent recipient of North Korea’s cheap, hard labor trade. For more than fifty years, North Koreans have been sent to do logging in the bitter forests of Siberia. Yet more recently, they are reported to have been used as construction workers in cities such as St. Petersburg which is preparing for the 2018 World Cup, as well as working in private homes across the country.

A brand new ferry system was even set up just four months ago to carry cargo and passengers between Vladivostok, Russia, and Rason, North Korea. But this week, it emerged that U.S. officials now believe Russian smugglers are operating to undercut sanctions by way of these two ports, with Russian entrepreneurs setting up “front” companies to conceal transactions and launder payments, according to the reporting of The Washington Post.

The alleged movements are believed to provide something of a lifeline to Kim Jong Un’s regime, and could effectively keep it from faltering under the hefty and mounting sanctions.

According to Geoff Hellman, Chairman and CEO of the Economic Policy Forum which focuses on business dealings in the Asia-Pacific Region and Russia, it is all an “Asymmetric Hybrid Warfare” (AHW) tactic aimed at promoting Russia’s image at home, as a place of “law and order, peace-loving and devoted to economic prosperity” compared to a more “war-mongering” United States.

“Russia supports actions that benefit Russia. Russia purports to support sanctions against North Korea, but in practice supports North Korea in its effort to evade sanctions,” he said. “Russia employs criminal networks to set up front companies in Singapore, for example, to transship oil.”

Related Image
FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2014 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with president of the Presidium of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Nam at the Olympic reception hosted by the Russian President in Sochi, Russia.  The North Korea's nominal head of state, not its absolute leader Kim Jong Un, is to visit Russia in May, 2015 to attend celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany.  Pyongyang's state media said Monday, May 4, 2015,  that Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, will travel to Russia to take part in the ceremony. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service, File)Expand / Collapse
Russian President Vladmir Putin with the president of the Presidium of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Nam.  (The Associated Press)

Russia and North Korea indeed share a feeble but consequential 11-mile land border and 12-mile maritime border that functions as supply routes between the two nations. But perhaps more significantly, relations between the two countries have deep roots dating back to the end of World War II when North Korea served the Soviet Union as a potent communist ally on the eastern flank.

The Embassy of Russia in North Korea – officially referred to as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – boasts both historic and future economic and trade ties between the two nations, highlighting that Russian private companies seek to enter the “untapped Korean market” while the government too has grand plans.

“Russia and the DPRK undertake joint efforts to implement bilateral and multilateral economic projects such as the construction of the gas pipeline from Russia to South Korea through the DPRK territory as well as electric power lines using the same route and connection of the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Korean railways,” the embassy states. “If implemented, the projects will be economically beneficial to all the participants.”

In 2012, Russia agreed to discard some 90 percent of North Korea’s $11 billion Soviet-era debt, with the remaining debt fraction to be paid into an account devoted to promoting trade between the two countries.

MILLIONS OF AMERICAN LIVES COULD BE AT STAKE AS NORTH KOREA THREATENS TO ATTACK POWER GRID

And even though Putin recently declared his condemnation of North Korea’s provocative testing exercises, he insisted that a military response would lead to a “global catastrophe.” Putin’s Russia has held a long-running policy of pushing back against U.S.-mandated regime change, and by backing North Korea at the ire of the United States, Russia is able to assert itself as a prominent player in the world of foreign affairs.

“Russia may not like what North Korea is doing, but in taking this stance they get to be a player on the world stage again which is one of their goals,” explained Clint Watts, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Center. “And it is a way to position themselves against the U.S., which hasn’t been complying with their wishes. There hasn’t been the big reset Putin had hoped for with Trump.”

North Korea has undertaken 16 missile tests this year alone – including two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests and one possible hydrogen-bomb test this month. President Trump has warned the rogue state that the sanctions imposed are “nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.”

NORTH KOREA THREATENS 'PAIN AND SUFFERING' IN RETALIATION FOR NEW U.N. SANCTIONS

But, by forging closer ties to a U.S. enemy, Moscow may have greater leverage in getting what it wants from Washington.

“By Putin’s calculation, misbehavior by North Korea makes his stock go up as the U.S. pleads for Russian assistance,” noted Ryan Mauro, national security expert at the Clarion Project. “From a bargaining perspective, it makes sense for Russia to assist North Korea and see what it can get America to offer in exchange for assistance.”

Yet at least for now, the U.S. State Department is formally maintaining that “Russia supports the overall goal of de-nuclearizing the Korean Peninsula,” and is hopeful that “they will follow through on their agreements.”

“Remember, Russia doesn’t see the same degree of problem here as the U.S. and South Korea do. Korean missiles won’t be aimed at Russian soil,” added one Moscow-based official.

The Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. did not respond to a request for comment.


Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay
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« Reply #197 on: September 15, 2017, 02:53:56 am »


Ah, but according to Donald Trump (there's a shitload of video footage of him saying it too, both before and after his election campaign), the Russians and Putin are the good guys.

You wouldn't argue with Donald Trump would you, considering that you think the sun shines out of his arsehole?
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« Reply #198 on: September 15, 2017, 09:33:56 am »

As with all socialist leaders...it's not a question of if they turn bad, but when😉
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« Reply #199 on: September 15, 2017, 01:23:54 pm »


from The Washington Post....

North Korea fires another missile from near Pyongyang,
reportedly over Japan


This would be the second launch over Japan in less than three weeks.

By ANNA FIFIELD | 6:40PM EDT - Thursday, September 14, 2017

A photo made available by the North Korean Central News Agency shows the second test-fire of Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea on July 28th, 2017. Multiple media reported on Friday, September 15th, 2017, that North Korea has launched another unidentified missile and that it has passed over Japan. — Photograph: KCNA/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia EFE.
A photo made available by the North Korean Central News Agency shows the second test-fire of Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic
missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea on July 28th, 2017. Multiple media reported on Friday, September 15th, 2017,
that North Korea has launched another unidentified missile and that it has passed over Japan.
 — Photograph: KCNA/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia EFE.


SEOUL — North Korea fired another missile from the Pyongyang area early on Friday morning, with the Japanese public broadcaster NHK reporting that it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

South Korea's joint chiefs of staff said that the missile was launched from a site near the capital, Pyongyang, and fired in an easterly direction at about 6:30 a.m. local time. The Japanese government is still assessing the launch, but it immediately triggered emergency alerts in Japan.

The alerts warned residents that a missile had been launched and to seek shelter.

On Thursday, a North Korean state agency had issued an alarming threat to Japan.

“The four islands of the [Japanese] archipelago should be sunken into the sea by [our] nuclear bomb,” the Korea Asia-Pacific peace committee said in a statement carried by the official news agency.

Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan's four main islands.

“Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” the committee said.

This is the second time in less than three weeks that North Korea would have fired a missile over Japan.

On August 28th, North Korea fired a Hwasong-12, an inter­mediate-range ballistic missile technically capable of flying 3,000 miles, enough to reach the U.S. territory of Guam.

But the last missile flew to the east, over Hokkaido and into the Pacific Ocean, rather than on a southward path toward Guam. North Korea was apparently testing its flight on a normal trajectory without crossing a “red line” of aiming at the United States.

But the missile launch, followed by a huge nuclear test, triggered tough new sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.

Following Friday's launch, South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, convened an emergency meeting of his national security council.


• Anna Fifield is The Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo, focusing on Japan and the Koreas. She previously reported for the Financial Times from Washington DC, Seoul, Sydney, London and from across the Middle East.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Economy of deceit: How North Korea funds its nuclear weapons program | Loopholes

 • YouTube has shut down more North Korean channels — and researchers are livid

 • For Kim Jong Un, nuclear weapons are a security blanket. And he wants to keep it.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/north-korea-fires-another-missile-from-near-pyongyang-reportedly-over-japan/2017/09/14/9d465988-9999-11e7-a527-3573bd073e02_story.html
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