Xtra News Community 2
June 27, 2019, 05:58:46 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Welcome to Xtra News Community 2 — please also join our XNC2-BACKUP-GROUP.
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links BITEBACK! XNC2-BACKUP-GROUP Staff List Login Register  

Kim Jong-un celebrates American Independence Day in style…

Pages: 1 ... 5 6 7 8 9 [10]   Go Down
Author Topic: Kim Jong-un celebrates American Independence Day in style…  (Read 758 times)
Admin Staff
Posts: 29949

Having fun in the hills!

« Reply #225 on: September 19, 2017, 03:43:10 am »

Hilarious....Trump obviously mistook the long queues for non-existant gasoline in Florida for North Korea.

The idiot Orange Goblin is going senile and getting things confused in his fucked-up mind!

from The Washington Post....

Trump's claim there were long gas lines in North Korea
has residents puzzled

While there are no obvious signs of lengthy lines forming,
there has been evidence of an increase in prices.

By ANNA FIFIELD | 3:49AM EDT - Monday, September 18, 2017

People gather to watch footage of the launch of a Hwasong-12 rocket, beside a billboard advertising North Korea's Pyeonghwa Motors, in Pyongyang on September 16th. — Photograph: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
People gather to watch footage of the launch of a Hwasong-12 rocket, beside a billboard advertising North Korea's Pyeonghwa Motors,
in Pyongyang on September 16th. — Photograph: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

TOKYO — In his latest Twitter outburst against North Korea, President Trump said that “long gas lines [are] forming in North Korea,” adding an exclamatory “Too bad!” (In the same tweet, he bestowed a new nickname on Kim Jong Un: “Rocket Man”.)

But where is the president getting this information about gas lines from?

Residents in the North Korean capital are scratching their heads. Although there are reports of price increases, they've seen no queues at the few service stations in Pyongyang, a capital of some two million that has more cars than it used to but is still far from congested.

“We are not aware of any long queues at the gas stations,” said one foreign resident of Pyongyang. “At least, I haven't noticed anything. I asked a few Koreans and they haven't seen anything either.”

Another said there had been no obvious change since the last sanctions resolution was passed by the U.N. Security Council. “Traffic on Friday was as heavy here as I've seen it. Normal on Saturday. Quieter on Sunday.” In other words, the same as every week.

In its effort to punish Kim Jong Un for his continued defiance — repeated missile launches, a huge nuclear test — the United States has been leading a push to cut off oil to the isolated state. Its efforts to impose a complete oil embargo on North Korea failed, with China and Russia threatening to use their veto powers to block such a resolution.

Instead, the new sanctions measures passed last week cap North Korea's imports of crude oil at the level it's been at over the past year and limits refined petroleum imports — including gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil — to two million barrels a year.

North Korea receives about 4.5 million barrels of refined petroleum products a year and four million barrels of crude. The new sanctions will cut oil exports to North Korea by about 30 percent, the United States mission to the United Nations said. Of that, 55 percent of the cut would be in refined products, it said, and the sanctions limit North Korea's ability to import substitutes.

But analysts say there is plenty of wiggle room for China to continue supplying oil to North Korea if it wants to — just as a “livelihood exception” for coal exports previously did.

While supporting the sanctions in principle, China has a patchy record when it comes to implementation, and implementation depends almost entirely on China. About 90 percent of North Korea's trade goes through China.

The sanctions are unlikely to have a significant impact on North Korea's military or nuclear weapons and missile programs, said David von Hippel and Peter Hayes of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability.

“These military sectors will have priority access to refined fuels, including likely fuel caches of significant volume that have already been stockpiled and provide a substantial buffer against the sanctions,” they wrote in a recent note. “Primarily, these sanctions will affect the civilian population.”

North Korea was constantly looking for — and finding — ways around the sanctions, making the state more resilient to existing and future sanctions, von Hippel and Hayes wrote.

That means the sanctions will have little effect on the desired goal now — reversing North Korea's missile and nuclear programs — and could diminish the leverage that the international community has over North Korea in the future. For example, when it needs to persuade North Korea to come back to denuclearization talks, the analysts said.

While there are no obvious signs of gas lines forming — no surprise in a country where there is almost no private car ownership — there has been evidence of an increase in prices.

Gasoline prices started to rise in certain parts of the country after North Korea's sixth nuclear test, conducted on September 3rd, apparently in anticipation of shortages.

In Pyongyang, one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of gasoline — that's how it's measured in North Korea — rose from 18,000 to 23,000 North Korean won ($20 to $25.56) during the first week of September, the Daily NK website reported, citing individuals in the capital. Diesel prices had also risen, it reported.

There have been blips like this several times this year, but analysts say they have seen no other signs of stress in the economy — like rising rice prices or sudden exchange rate fluctuations.

There have been some limitations on filling jerrycans, but this appeared to be a measure to stop reselling and had been in place for some time, one Pyongyang resident said.

Others say it will take time to see whether there is any effect from the sanctions — and certainly longer than the week it took before Trump claimed an impact.

• 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: Tracing Trump's comments on North Korea

 • VIDEO: U.S. and South Korea agree on more sanctions against Pyongyang

 • Ban on North Korean clothing exports will hurt women the most, experts say

Report Spam   Logged

If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space! 
Part-Of-The-Furniture Member
Posts: 898

« Reply #226 on: September 19, 2017, 08:31:37 am »

“We are not aware of any long queues at the gas stations,” said one foreign resident of Pyongyang"

....haha....what you mean that resident did not want to spend the rest of his life is prison for making "dear leader" look bad...😳

..jjeezzz...is there no bounds to the stupidity of the left🙄

...I guess it won't be long before the Washington Post will be calling ktj for political commentary on NZ ....w👌er

Report Spam   Logged
Admin Staff
Posts: 29949

Having fun in the hills!

« Reply #227 on: November 06, 2017, 02:19:06 pm »

from The Washington Post....

Securing North Korean nuclear sites would require
a ground invasion, Pentagon says

A Navy admiral sent a blunt assessment of the dangers of military action to lawmakers.

By DAN LAMOTHE and CAROL MORELLO | 10:00PM EDT - Saturday, November 04, 2017

This file photo taken on October 26th, 2017 shows North Korean soldiers looking south at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone on the border between North and South Korea. — Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
This file photo taken on October 26th, 2017 shows North Korean soldiers looking south at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone
on the border between North and South Korea. — Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

THE ONLY WAY to locate and secure all of North Korea's nuclear weapons sites “with complete certainty” is through an invasion of ground forces, and in the event of conflict, Pyongyang could use biological and chemical weapons, the Pentagon told lawmakers in a new, blunt assessment of what war on the Korean Peninsula might look like.

The Pentagon, in a letter to lawmakers, said that a full discussion of U.S. capabilities to “counter North Korea's ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and to eliminate North Korea's nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities” is best suited for a classified briefing.

The letter also said that Pentagon leaders “assess that North Korea may consider the use of biological weapons” and that the country “has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents.”

The Pentagon repeated that a detailed discussion of how the United States would respond to the threat could not be discussed in public.

The letter was written by Rear Admiral Michael J. Dumont, the vice director of the Pentagon's Joint Staff, in response to a request for information from two House members about “expected casualty assessments in a conflict with North Korea,” including for civilians and U.S. and allied forces in South Korea, Japan and Guam.

“A decision to attack or invade another country will have ramifications for our troops and taxpayers, as well as the region, for decades,” Ted Lieu (Democrat-California) and Ruben Gallego (Democrat-Arizona) wrote to the Pentagon. “We have not heard detailed analysis of expected U.S. or allied force casualties, expected civilian casualties, what plans exist for the aftermath of a strike — including continuity of the South Korean Government.”

The Pentagon said that calculating “best- or worst-case casualty scenarios” was challenging and would depend on the “nature, intensity and duration” of a North Korean attack; how much warning civilians would have to get to the thousands of shelters in South Korea; and the ability of U.S. and South Korean forces to respond to North Korean artillery, rockets and ballistic missiles with their own retaliatory barrage and airstrikes.

The letter noted that Seoul, the South Korean capital, is a densely populated area with 25 million residents.

Any operation to pursue North Korean nuclear weapons would likely be spearheaded by U.S. Special Operations troops. Last year, President Barack Obama and then-Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter gave U.S. Special Operations Command a new, leading role coordinating the Pentagon's effort to counter weapons of mass destruction. SOCOM did not receive any new legal authorities for the mission but gained influence in how the military responds to such threats.

Elite U.S. forces have long trained to respond in the case of a so-called “loose nuke” in the hands of terrorists. But senior officials said SOCOM is increasingly focused on North Korea.

Dumont said the military backs the current U.S. strategy on North Korea, which is led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and focuses on ratcheting up economic and diplomatic pressure as the primary effort to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to stop developing nuclear weapons. Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., have emphasized that during trips to Seoul this year.

In contrast, President Trump, who goes unmentioned in the Pentagon letter, has taunted Kim as “Rocket Man” and expressed frustration with diplomatic efforts, hinting that he is considering pre-emptive military force.

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump tweeted on October 1st, adding, “Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!”

On October 7th, Trump added in additional tweets that North Korea had “made fools” of U.S. negotiators. “Sorry, but only one thing will work!” he said.

Mattis and other Pentagon leaders have often cited the grave threat faced by Seoul, but the military much less frequently draws attention to its plans for an underground hunt for nuclear weapons.

Air Force Colonel Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said that Dumont and other Pentagon officials had no additional comment about the letter.

A senior U.S. military official in South Korea, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations, said that while the 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea maintain a high degree of readiness, he “has to believe” that North Korea does not want a war, given all of the nations aligned against it.

“If you open the history books, this is not the first time that we've been in a heavy provocation cycle,” the official said. On the side of South Korea and the United States, he said, “there is no action taken without extreme consideration of not putting this in a position where a fight is going to happen.”

Dumont's letter also notes that “we have not seen any change in the offensive posture of North Korea's forces.”

A statement by 16 lawmakers, released simultaneously with the Pentagon letter, urged Trump to stop making “provocative statements” that impede diplomatic efforts and risk the lives of U.S. troops.

The Pentagon's “assessment underscores what we've known all along: There are no good military options for North Korea,” said the statement, organized by Lieu and Gallego and signed by 14 other members of Congress who are veterans, all but one of them Democrats.

In a telephone interview, Lieu said that the intent of asking the Pentagon for information was to spell out the cataclysmic consequences of war with North Korea and the aftermath.

“It's important for people to understand what a war with a nuclear power would look like,” said Lieu, citing estimates of 300,000 dead in the first few days alone. More than 100,000 Americans are potentially at risk.

Lieu, who spent part of his time in the Air Force on Guam preparing for military action against North Korea, called the letter a confirmation that a conflict would result in a “bloody, protracted ground war.” The Joint Chiefs, he believes, are “trying to send a message to the American public,” he said.

“This is grim,” Lieu said. “We need to understand what war means. And it hasn't been articulated very well. I think they're trying to articulate some of that.”

Gallego said that he wanted information because of what he sees as a cavalier attitude in the White House about military action in North Korea. The idea that a ground invasion would be needed to secure nuclear weapons is eye-opening, he said, and raises the possibility of the U.S. military losing thousands of troops.

“I think that you're dealing with career professionals at the Pentagon who realize that the drumbeats of war could actually end up leading us to war,” he said. “They want to make sure that there is full transparency and information out there about what can occur if our civilian leaders make wrong calculations.”

The Pentagon letter also notes the possibility of “opposition from China or Russia.”

“The Department of Defense maintains a set of up-to-date contingency plans to secure our vital national security interests,” Dumont wrote. “These plans account for a wide range of possibilities, including third-party intervention, and address how best to ‘contain escalation’.”

The letter says that both “Russia or China may prefer to avoid conflict with the United States, or possibly cooperate with us.”

• Dan Lamothe covers national security for The Washington Post and anchors its military blog, Checkpoint.

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

Report Spam   Logged

If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space! 
Admin Staff
Posts: 29949

Having fun in the hills!

« Reply #228 on: April 25, 2019, 06:43:48 pm »

from The Washington Post…

Kim Jong Un has a fleet of ghost ships sneaking
around the high seas to beat sanctions

The vessels use fake names and IDs to trade coal and oil — and some banks and insurers help.

By JEANNE WHALEN | 7:09PM EDT — Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A mound of North Korean coal at Rajin harbor in North Korea's Rason Special Economic Zone in 2017. — Photograph: Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
A mound of North Korean coal at Rajin harbor in North Korea's Rason Special Economic Zone in 2017.
 — Photograph: Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

IN APRIL 2018, a ship carrying $3 million worth of coal slipped into Indonesian waters with its identification transmitter switched off and its flag hidden from view.

Acting on a tip, Indonesia's navy detained the vessel, which identified itself as the “Wise Honest” from Sierra Leone. When inspectors went aboard, they found two dozen crew members and registration documents indicating a different country of origin — North Korea.

The interdiction, detailed in a March 5 report by U.N. sanctions monitors, is part of a worrying rise in coal exports from the hermit kingdom — exports that violate U.N. sanctions and help finance Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, the monitors said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is likely to seek Moscow's help in easing those sanctions on Thursday as he holds his first summit with President Vladimir Putin in Russia's Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

Pyongyang is growing bolder in its sanctions evasion in part because many countries — and their banks, insurers and commodities traders — have long failed to properly enforce the measures, North Korea experts said. And some sanctions specialists worry that mixed signals from the Trump administration may further undermine global enforcement.

“It's anarchy,” Hugh Griffiths, the outgoing coordinator of the U.N. monitors, said in an interview. “These massive gaps in maritime and financial governance will provide Chairman Kim with an economic lifeline for months, if not years, to come.”

While Washington has traditionally led the global policing of U.N. and U.S. sanctions, President Trump's recent overtures to Kim — and his order last month to withdraw new Treasury Department sanctions on North Korea — introduce “a tremendous sense of uncertainty in the global community,” said Elizabeth Rosenberg, a Treasury Department sanctions official from 2009 to 2013. “They don't know whether sanctions will be there the next day.”

The White House and the Treasury Department declined to comment. Trump this month said he did not want to increase U.S. sanctions “because of my relationship with Kim Jong Un” and because he believed “something very significant is going to happen” in his denuclearization talks with Kim.

North Korea conducts its illicit trading with a fleet of ghost ships that paint false names on their hulls, steal identification numbers from other vessels and execute their trades via ship-to-ship transfers at sea, to avoid prying eyes at ports.

In the case of the Wise Honest, a globe-trotting North Korean salesman arranged the shipment by holding meetings at Pyongyang's embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia — and then paid an Indonesian broker through bank transfers facilitated by JPMorgan Chase, according to bank documents and other evidence gathered by the monitors.

While the interception of the Wise Honest initially looked like a victory for enforcement, Indonesia recently defied U.N. monitors' instructions to seize the coal, allowing it to be transferred to another vessel, which promptly set sail for Malaysia, Griffiths said. He called this a “clear violation” of sanctions and said he has asked Malaysia to investigate. Indonesian and Malaysian officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Many countries agree that a nuclear North Korea represents a grave threat to global security. But enforcing the sanctions requires more time and money than many are willing to spend, Griffiths said.

Stopping Pyongyang's illicit trade would involve keeping close watch on North Korea's embassies and expelling diplomats who facilitate sanctions evasion, he said.

It would also require countries to boost regulation of insurers, banks and commodities traders to ensure they more thoroughly screen the shipments and transactions they support, the monitors said in the report.

Pyongyang's trading partners include criminal networks that knowingly turn a blind eye to sanctions law, Griffiths said. “If they see North Korean coal is cheaper to buy because it's illegal, there's an increased profit margin,” he said. Other traders unwittingly bumble into the transactions because they are not scrutinizing their deals closely enough, Griffiths said. In addition to coal exports, illegal oil imports to North Korea are also soaring.

Most of the ships that trade with Pyongyang sail under a “flag of convenience,” meaning they are registered in countries such as Panama, Togo and Dominica that provide little oversight. But vessels and firms in more-developed countries have also come under suspicion.

In late March, the Treasury and State departments added two oil tankers from South Korea and Singapore to a watch list of vessels “believed to have engaged in” illegal trade with North Korea. And the U.N. monitors found that a South Korean company was the intended recipient of the Wise Honest coal.

Singaporean officials said that they were investigating the tanker from their country and that they take their obligations to enforce sanctions “very seriously.” South Korea said it will “conduct a thorough investigation” on possible sanctions violations.

The U.N. Security Council banned North Korean coal exports — the country's largest source of external revenue — in August 2017, after Pyongyang carried out several missile launches. Soon after, the Security Council banned all ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean vessels and severely restricted North Korea's petroleum imports, in part to deprive its military of fuel.

Griffiths and his team of seven is the main monitor of compliance, working out of what Griffiths calls an “undisclosed location” near U.N. headquarters in New York — undisclosed after cyberattacks against the monitors raised concerns about their safety.

The team scrutinizes photos and satellite imagery — some supplied by the United States, Japan, South Korea and Britain — and bombards Pyongyang's trading partners with emails demanding that they explain their activity.

“We don't have subpoena power,” said Griffiths, a Briton who has spent his career investigating international crime for U.N., European Union and U.S. bodies. And the group is woefully understaffed for the size of the task, he said, with the same number of monitors as a U.N. team scrutinizing Somalia sanctions, despite having five times as many measures to track.

Still, the Griffiths team does have some teeth: It can recommend that the Security Council impose sanctions on companies and ships that violate the rules, a punishment that can hamper their ability to trade.

Some of the explanations the monitors receive are far-fetched. After the Shang Yuan Bao oil tanker was photographed transferring cargo through hoses to a North Korean vessel in May 2018, Griffiths contacted a Taiwan-based management company linked to the ship. According to the report, the company replied that it had used the hoses to provide drinking water to the North Korean ship, “based on humanitarian aid.”

Given that the ship's hoses are normally used for petroleum, the explanation was “not credible,” Griffiths said. “Anyone who has tried to drink petroleum-tainted water will tell you, you automatically retch,” he said.

In the case of the Wise Honest, a North Korean man named Jong Song Ho was central to the deal, the monitors said. In late 2017, he turned up for a meeting at North Korea's embassy in Jakarta, where North Korean diplomats introduced him to an Indonesian commodity trader named Hamid Ali.

Jong presented a business card introducing himself as president of Jinmyong Trading Group and Jinmyong Joint Bank in Pyongyang — the latter of which the United States hit with sanctions in 2017.

In early 2018, Ali and Jong met again in Jakarta and discussed a “trans-shipment of coal,” Ali told the monitors, according to the report. Jong then arranged to send $760,000 to Ali, via a company called Huitong Minerals, the report said. JPMorgan Chase helped facilitate this payment by acting as the correspondent bank in transfers, according to bank-transfer records obtained by the monitors.

Part of that money was a commission payment for helping arrange sale of the Wise Honest coal, Griffiths said.

Ali did not respond to The Washington Post's requests for comment. Jong and Huitong Minerals could not be reached for comment.

On March 11, 2018, a U.N. member state captured a photo of the Wise Honest being loaded with coal at a port in Nampo, North Korea.

After Indonesia detained the ship in April 2018, officials there told the monitors that a South Korean company, Enermax Korea, was the “final destination/recipient” of the coal, according to the report.

Enermax told the monitors it “simply received an offer of Indonesia-origin coal from someone who seemed to be a local broker in Indonesia.” Enermax did not respond to The Post's requests for comment.

Some ships carry on trading even after the Security Council places sanctions on them. In March 2018, the United Nations placed sanctions on a vessel registered in Dominica called the Yuk Tung, along with the Singaporean company that managed it, after the vessel traded with a North Korean ship. That punishment banned the Yuk Tung from all ports worldwide and effectively prohibited other ships from trading with it.

To keep operating in the East China Sea, the Yuk Tung painted a new name and a stolen identification number on its stern and falsely transmitted the stolen number. Meanwhile, the rightful owner of that ID was anchored in the Gulf of Guinea, more than 7,000 miles away, according to the monitors.

These tactics enabled the Yuk Tung to masquerade as the Maika and receive $5.7 million worth of petroleum in October from a Singaporean tanker controlled by one of the region's biggest commodities traders, Hin Leong Trading, Griffiths said. A U.N. member state told Griffiths's team it believed the petroleum was destined for North Korea.

The monitors said Hin Leong Trading, founded by Singaporean billionaire Lim Oon Kuin, cooperated with their investigation and appeared to be an “unwitting party” to an illicit transaction, but Griffiths said the company is not doing all it could to vet its trading partners.

“We shall continue to strive to improve our procedures and operations to ensure that sanctions are never breached,” a spokesman for Hin Leong said by email.

A British insurer and banks from the United States and Singapore were also involved in the deal, the monitors said, declining to name them.


Jeanne Whalen is The Washington Post's global business reporter. She joined The Post in 2018, after 19 years at The Wall Street Journal, where she reported from New York, London and Moscow. She has also written for the Financial Times and the Moscow Times. Whalen holds a BA degree in English from Cornell University.


Related to this topic:

 • Kim Jong Un vows North Korea will withstand sanctions pressure

 • VIDEO: The Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim, in less than 4 minutes

 • How a North Korean shipping ruse makes a mockery of sanctions

 • How Russia quietly undercuts North Korea sanctions

Report Spam   Logged

If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space! 

Pages: 1 ... 5 6 7 8 9 [10]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Open XNC2 Smileys
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum

Buy traffic for your forum/website
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy
Page created in 0.234 seconds with 11 queries.