Justice in Colombia, engaging Pyongyang, Turkey’s tangled Syria policy…a look at what we’ve been up to this week.
Showing posts tagged as "pyongyang"
Showing posts tagged pyongyang
Pondering Pyongyang: Beijing’s problem child | CNN
By Kristie Lu Stout
After the United Nations slapped tougher sanctions on North Korea after its third nuclear test in February this year, Pyongyang screamed in defiance. It canceled its hotline with South Korea, withdrew its workers from the Kaesong industrial complex it jointly operates with Seoul, and carried on with its over-the-top threats.
China may have backed those sanctions but the economic lifeline is still there. Trade goes on between North Korea and China. In 2011, before some of these trade embargoes began, China accounted for an estimated 67.2% of North Korea’s exports and 61.6% of imports, according to the CIA World Factbook.
"If you talk to officials at the border, there’s no change," says Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, the North Asian head of the International Crisis Group.
Expanded UN sanctions on North Korea prompt rage from Pyongyang | Guardian
By Tania Branigan
North Korea has said it is cancelling a hotline and non-aggression pact with the South after the United Nations security council unanimously backed a toughened sanctions regime over the country’s third nuclear test.
Pyongyang issued a series of warnings in the run-up to Thursday’s vote, and in the hours before the council met it raised the threat of a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States. Experts point out it has a history of bellicose statements without matching action, and do not believe it capable of mounting a nuclear warhead on a missile that could reach the US, but expect the North to take action of some kind in response.
Shortly after the resolution was agreed the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the body dealing with cross-border affairs on the peninsula, announced the cancellation of the hotline and non-aggression pact, repeating its threat to retaliate with “crushing strikes” if enemies trespass on to its territory and to cancel nuclear disarmament agreements with the South.
The Dolphins of Pyongyang | The Atlantic
By Max Fisher
When youthful dictator Kim Jong Un spent who knows how much money building and populating a state-of-the-art dolphin aquarium, opened to great fanfare in Pyongyang this week, it would certainly seem like another moment of madness and unhinged narcissism by a regime that is singularly talented at both. And, of course, it is crazy — North Korea is in the middle of yet another food crisis, and whatever these highly trained animals and their specialized equipment cost probably could have kept some number of North Koreans fed, or perhaps rebuilt the thousands of shoddy homes destroyed in recent flooding.
Photo: Stefan Krasowski/Flickr
Defying History: How Kim Jong Un Could Hold Onto Power for Decades | The Atlantic
By Max Fisher
The world has been predicting North Korea’s imminent downfall for a generation now, and why shouldn’t we? The Stalinist, totalitarian nations of the world have collapsed so consistently and in such quick succession that this one, perhaps the faintest star in the Soviet constellation, seemed sure to follow. If the Soviet Union, for all its weapons and natural resources, couldn’t keep back the tides of history, how could impoverished little North Korea? If populous, powerful China felt it had no choice but to reform and open, wouldn’t its angry neighbor have to do the same?
China, North Korea Ties Hit Rough Weather | AP
By Alexa Olesen
China’s leadership is hitting a rough patch with ally North Korea under its new leader Kim Jong Un, as Beijing finds itself wrong-footed in episodes including Pyongyang’s rocket launch and the murky detention of Chinese fishing boats.
The testy state of China-North Korea affairs became public this week after Chinese media flashed images of the fishing crews, some of the 28 crew members stripped to their longjohns, returning home after 13 days in North Korean custody accused of illegal fishing. The reports quoted the fishermen as saying they were beaten and starved, and the coverage unleashed furious criticism in China’s blogosphere.
"The North Koreans are like bandits and robbers," China’s Southern Metropolis Weekly newspaper quoted one fisherman as saying Tuesday. The story, shared thousands of times on China’s Sina Weibo social media website, said the hijackers ripped down the Chinese flag on one boat and used it "like a rag."
While much remains unclear about the event — including whether the fishing boats were poaching in North Korean waters — to some Chinese observers it seemed like a slap on the face from Kim Jong Un, who took power after his dictator father died five months ago.
"The context of what is happening now between China and North Korea is this: Since Kim Jong Il died, the Kim Jong Un regime has been unfriendly to China," said Shi Yinhong, an international relations expert at Renmin University in Beijing.
But even to the skeptics, the recent discord is unlikely to rupture an alliance that the countries’ communist leaders like to say was “sealed in blood” in the Korean War. “They can weather it,” said John Delury of Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies in South Korea.
Pyongyang remains heavily reliant on Beijing for diplomatic protection in the United Nations and for much of the country’s food, trade and oil. Chinese leaders worry that without the Kims in power, a North Korean meltdown would send a destabilizing wave of refugees into China and give U.S. troops stationed in South Korea an opportunity to move closer to the Chinese border.