Archive for North Korea

The World In Crisis

Posted in America, Britain, China, Environment, Government, Insanity, News, North Korea, President, Russia with tags , , , , on 13/08/2017 by floroy1942

It has often been said in the past that mankind will end up destroying itself. A bold statement if ever there was one. But with the current crisis with North Korea anything is possible. Kim Jong-Un has said he will fire missiles at the island of Guam in the coming three weeks or so, and if they are nuclear tipped the world will go to war.

President Trump’s statement that he will attack North Korea if that happens could be the prelude to a world nuclear war, for China has already said that if America unleashes nuclear weapons at North Korea they will retaliate. Who knows which side Russia will back if that happens.

Map: Guam in relation to North Korea

Guam has been an American military base since 1898 when they captured it from the Spanish during the Spanish-American war. Since then it has been the only base for Americans in the Far East. Guam is very important for the Americans and has become known as the ‘Tip of the Spear’ for the American armed forces in the Far East.  The remote 210-square mile US territory, about 4,000 miles west of Hawaii in the western Pacific Ocean, is a vital US military outpost and host to strategic bombers and at least 6,000 US service members. It is just 2,200 miles southeast of North Korea and is vulnerable to North Korea attack.

It is rumoured that the North Korea is developing missiles to reach the mainland of America and they are close to achieving this. If this happens we could see all-out war between America and North Korea. This could possibly mean that China jumps on the ‘band-wagon’ against America.

Many American politicians are of the opinion that this will never happen, but with someone like Kim Jong-Un it is dangerous to ignore this. He has total control over his country and has a huge army that could invade South Korea. If this happens we could possibly see Trump unleash nuclear weapons on the north.

There can be little doubt that if this happens, radioactivity will spread around the world and we may well see the end of mankind on this planet.

Roy.

Is A New Nuclear Arms Race Likely?

Posted in Al Quada, America, Britain, Europe, Iran, Israel, Nuclear Proliferation, UK, USA with tags , , , on 22/04/2012 by floroy1942

I fear the answer to this question is irrevocably: Yes! With India’s testing last week of a missile capable of reaching China, and North Korea’s abortive attempt, the possibility of such a thing is increasing. Despite its pleas to the contrary, Iran’s attempts at developing nuclear weapons could lead to other Middle East nations feeling the need to also possess such weapons. So all the cards are falling into place.

We now have a total of eight nations with nuclear capability, plus Israel that is considered by most experts to have such weapons. Only five of these nations have either signed or ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) while three have not, with Israel remaining “Undeclared”.

Country Warheads active/total Year of first test CTBT status
The five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT
United States 1,950 / 8,500 1945 (“Trinity”) Signatory
Russia (former Soviet Union) 2,430 / 10,000 1949 (“RDS-1”) Ratifier
United Kingdom 160 / 225 1952 (“Hurricane”) Ratifier
France 290 / 300 1960 (“Gerboise Blue”) Ratifier
China 180 / 240 1964 (“596”) Signatory
Non-NPT nuclear powers
India n.a. / 80–100 1974 (“Smiling Buddha”) Non-signatory
Pakistan n.a. / 90–110 1998 (“Chaqai-1”) Non-signatory
North Korea n.a. / <10 2006 (2006 Test) Non-signatory
Undeclared nuclear powers
Israel n.a. / 80–200 possibly 1979 (See Vela Incident) Signatory

There can be little doubt about Iran’s ambition to join this exclusive club, but if it does, it’s doubtful it would be willing to sign up to the NPT, but would join India, Pakistan and North Korea as non-signatories. Even Burma, which is ruled by the military, has been rumoured ever since 2002 of wishing to develop a nuclear capability and is said to have obtained help from North Korea. According to defectors, bunkers are being built with the help of the North Koreans. The military junta wishes to cement its hold on power in the country with the nuclear threat.

India's Recent Missile Test

Most of the non-signatory nations have natural enemies, India versus Pakistan, North Korea versus South Korea and eventually we could see Iran versus Israel, any of which could become a flashpoint. That ‘rogue’ states like North Korea and Iran would not hesitate to use these weapons at the slightest provocation is without doubt a disturbing factor.

As you would expect, the major nations balance their possession of these weapons with caution and use them as a deterrent only, but fanatics do not care if their country is devastated in pursuance of their ideals. This is certainly a dangerous precedent and adds a precarious element to the nuclear equation.

Nuclear proliferation is most at risk in the Middle East, for if Iran does develop these weapons, it is fairly certain countries like Saudi Arabia, and possibly Jordan, Syria and others will find it necessary to have their own as  deterrent against Iranian aggression. Iran, as the only nuclear power in the region will certainly be ‘top dog’, and in true human fashion will begin to flex its muscles in an effort to dominate other nations.

North Korea's Missile Did Not Get Very Far

North Korea will need little provocation from either the South or the United States to begin lobbing weapons into South Korea. Border clashes between the two are in fact a regular occurrence. It would not take much for it to escalate into war, in which case, with everything to lose the communist hierarchy in Pyong Yang would not hesitate to fire off nuclear missiles at the South, and if possible the USA, although the latter is doubtful at their current stage of missile development.

The world has become a less dangerous place since the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the ‘Cold War’, but sad to say, we may possibly be heading for another arms race in other parts of the world. India and Pakistan seem to have stockpiled enough, and appear content with the status quo even with the Kashmir problem between them unsolved, but North Korea is only just beginning to start the process. In five years time, when perhaps Iran also has nuclear weapons, she too will begin stockpiling and build up an arsenal of weapons and missiles.

 

They Must Think We Are Naive

Another dark side to nuclear weapons proliferation is terrorism. With countries like North Korea and Iran developing nuclear bombs, it makes it easier for terror organizations to get their hands on them. A nation like Iran may well secretly provide groups like al Quada with small nuclear devices, if the target is either Israel or America, in a covert operation to get at their sworn enemies while appearing innocent. Nuclear bombs that fit into a small suitcase were developed in Russia many decades ago, and even such a small device would create havoc in say, Tel Aviv or New York.  

In my opinion, the greatest danger from Iran and North Korea obtaining nuclear capability may well be the terrorism factor. There are a significant number of nations in the world, in particular the arab world, who would love to see a nuclear device exploded in New York, Washington, London, Paris or Berlin which would make 9/11 seem like child’s play by comparison.  There can be no doubt that such an act would throw the world into turmoil, the likes of which has never before been seen in our history.

"Sleep, Perchance to Dream....."

One can only hope that the hotheads in these countries never get to be in the majority, and that all nations of the world  come together and do what needs to be done to remove these threats as soon as possible. In the meantime, rest easy in your bed tonight for it is not likely to happen for some yet!

Roy. 

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Lust for Power

Posted in Ahmadinajad, Arab, Insanity, Iran, Islamic Revolution, Israel, Modern World, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, UN, United Nations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/06/2010 by floroy1942

Our Nuclear World

In 1970 The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) came into force signed by the then three nuclear powers, and ratified by 40 other nations. Since that date many other states have accepted the treaty by accession, and now a total of 189 countries have agreed to abide by its rules.

India and Pakistan

Only three nations, India, Pakistan and Israel refused to be a part of the treaty agreements. India began testing nuclear weapons in 1974 which forced Pakistan to go down the same road. Now both nations have a considerable number of nuclear weapons designed principally to keep the other at bay in their age-old conflict.

Under Scrutiny

Israel is another non-signatory that has developed a sophisticated nuclear arsenal, which is believed to include submarine launched nuclear tipped cruise missiles. In the case of Israel however, surrounded as she is by ‘unfriendly’ nations, one can perhaps understand the country’s predicament.

North Korea, while originally accepting the treaty, withdrew in January 2003, the reason for which quickly became obvious. Iran ratified the treaty on the 5th of March 1970 and although it has not withdrawn, is suspected of developing nuclear weapons.

Now a new player is on the block!

News came in this week that Burma is the latest country with nuclear ambitions despite acceding to the treaty in December 1992, and you know what they say; ‘There is no smoke without fire’. Based on information from a former Burmese Army Major, Sei Theen Win, the accusation has not been corroborated but shall we say, suspicions run deep.

One Way To Make Money!

One of the disturbing factors here appears to be the high level of co-operation between North Korea and the Burmese Military Junta, which is not surprising. North Korea is a desperately poor country, and one of the sure-fire ways of making money and friends is to export its limited nuclear technology to those countries and governments that aspire to being nuclear states. North Korea is known to have collaborated with Iran on its nuclear ambitions.

Nations like North Korea and Iran think they can ‘Stand Tall’ among the international community, and in particular their neighbouring states, by possessing ‘The Bomb’, although many will say for these two nations it is more about military superiority in their sphere of influence. Whichever way you look at it, its all about power!

Burma has been under military rule since the ‘coup d’etat’ by General Ne Win in 1962 which effectively ended democracy in the country. Pursuing a policy of isolationism, the military rulers of Burma managed to keep a lid on things until May 2008, when Cyclone Nargis destroyed large areas of the Irriwaddy Delta which supplied most of the nations rice. The initial refusal of the military junta to allow United Nations assistance to enter the country with much needed supplies caused a backlash for the junta that is still felt today.

After the devastation, civil unrest grew to huge proportions with mass protests in the streets of all the major cities, and the power of the junta was threatened. Opposition to military rule began to ferment, and in order to silence opposition the junta promised to hold elections, but their main protagonist Suu Kyi, leader of the anti-government movement was arrested and sentenced to house arrest by the junta.

This Way Kim! This Way!

Having successfully dealt the opposition a fatal blow they are now, it would seem, turning to the nuclear option. Which ever way you look at it, and whatever spin you put on it, Burma has no logical reason for wanting nuclear weapons unless it is a means for the military junta to retain power. Burma has not been threatened by any nation since WW2, so why would they want such weapons? You are left with the inevitable; Power!

Pull The Other Leg Ahmed!

Iran wants to be ‘Top Dog’ in the Middle East, apart that is from blowing Israel off the map. Fanatics like Ahmadinejad seem the think that with nuclear weapons, Iran will be able to throw its weight around and no-one will dare say anything against them. Because the middle east is the world’s most important supplier of oil, this could have serious ramifications. Again its all about ‘Power!’

Kim Jong-il's View of the World

So far as North Korea is concerned, the regime of Kim Jong-il has felt threatened from outside its borders ever since the end of the Korean war, principally by South Korea  and the USA, and therefore has taken steps to ensure the ‘wolves’ remain at bay. With the regimes finger on the trigger it is for sure that no-one will start a war with the North. By the acquisition of nuclear weapons, Kim Jong-il and his cohorts have successfully stalemated the Far East and ensured their continued survival.

For many governments, regimes and even individuals, power is a drug far more intoxicating than cocaine and must be retained at any cost. Such is our modern way of life.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” words first uttered in 1887 by  Sir John Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902) an English historian.

Roy.

The Mushroom Cometh!

Posted in Iran, North Korea, Nuclear Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons with tags , , , , , , , on 17/06/2009 by floroy1942

Some will say we are heading full speed into disaster, and you know something, they could be right! There are two global situations, which if allowed to develop any further, will certainly bring us all to the brink, and neither are palatable. I write of course about the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.

North Korea is ahead in the game because they have already tested two bombs, and have declared their intention to make fissionable material for more.

As for Iran, their President denies Iran’s nuclear ambitions as being anything more than the peaceful generation of electricity. No-one in their right mind is willing to believe this statement, but it does what the Iranians want it to do; it buys them time.

Today, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei has stated publicly he is convinced Iran wishes to have nuclear weapons technology to increase its standing in the Middle East and the World. He went on to say he believed they are not directly after ‘a bomb’, but at a minimum, the technology necessary to make one if they so desire.

He is quoted as saying; “It wants to send a message to its neighbours, it wants to send a message to the rest of the world: Yes, don’t mess with us, we can have nuclear weapons if we want it”.

So right now we have essentially two rogue states, one with, and one striving to get, nuclear weapon technology. It is abundantly clear that the whole world is extremely unhappy at the prospect of these two becoming nuclear powers, especially the Middle East Arab States, Japan, South Korea, the USA, and Europe.

While President Obama is clearly at a loss at what to do next, and who can blame him, both countries are getting steadily closer to their goal.

Naturally, The USA does not wish to be seen as the aggressor in either case, but I believe Obama knows he cannot wait until they have achieved their aim and developed not only the bomb, but the means to deliver it.

The threats delivered almost daily by Pyongyang indicate their willingness to go to war, or so it seems, but at the same time, Obama cannot be seen to be the architect of a new Korean Peninsular war. Most countries would agree with a ‘final solution’ to the North Korean bomb threat, but as hypocritical as they are, they would roundly condemn both Obama and the USA for any unilateral action it took to ensure North Korea’s bomb ambitions were stopped cold.

With Iran the situation is somewhat more complex, mainly because Israel is in the mix! There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Israel will not stand idly by while Iran builds a nuclear bomb. President Obama has made it very clear to the Israeli’s however that unilateral action against Iran’s bomb making capabilities is, in his view, a non-starter.

However, it is easy to understand why nerves are somewhat frayed in Tel Aviv. Iran already has sufficient missile technology to plant a nuclear bomb on Israel, all they need is the payload. If they get that I am sure there will be no stopping them, such is the feeling of hatred towards Israel in Iranian government circles. Indeed, Ahmadinejad has already stated publicly that he wishes to see “Israel wiped off the map”.

I think Mr. ElBaradei is somewhat naive if he thinks Iran will stop at having the necessary technology for a nuclear weapon and not actually produce one. Of course they will! If I give a child an ice cream and tell him/her to hold it and not taste it, would they?

Both North Korea and Iran were declared ‘State sponsors of terrorism’ by Bush and he may well have been right, so this opens up another avenue of worry for the international community. If both these States get the technology they are seeking, how do we know they will not sell that knowledge to other countries?

It was a milestone in human history when we seemed to go back from the brink of nuclear annihilation with the famous S.T.A.R.T Agreement between Russia and the USA, and the signing of the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Pact by the UN members. Now that North Korea has backed out of the latter treaty, and Iran denies its ambitions, the prospect of a nuclear holocaust may seem just that little bit closer again.

There are without doubt, many uncertainties in what the future holds for mankind, but one thing is certain, North Korea and Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

At some time in the reasonably near future, action will have to be taken to ensure that the dreams of domination by these two States is not allowed a fruitful outcome. At some time, before they get the technology they seek, someone is going to have to blow the hell out of the nuclear reactors and plants used in the bomb making process.

Already North Korea is starting to produce more weapons grade material from their stock of spent reactor fuel rods. Does the world have to wait until they have successfully produced another six or seven bombs before we take action? If we do, the likelihood of a nuclear response from North Korea will magnify a hundred fold.

Time is rapidly running out for any restraining action by the World, and it is clear that all the signatories of the UN Charter must come together and authorise whatever action is necessary, including force, to bring North Korea in line. An end must come to the prevarication of countries like Russia and China who seem to enjoy opposing UN Resolutions of this nature.

It is possible that if all the countries take a strong enough line with North Korea, Iran will see its position as hopeless and come into line too. Whichever way it goes, I believe we are heading for a crisis of huge proportions which only a united effort can stop. Heaven help us all.


May all your mushrooms be the eating kind.


Roy.

Political Pawns

Posted in North Korea, North Korea Labour Camps with tags , , , , , on 08/06/2009 by floroy1942

After the horror of the Nazi concentration camps during WW2 no-one in their right minds could imagine something like that ever happening again, but how wrong we all are.

The Two Luckless Reporters

The arrest, and now conviction of two female US journalists to twelve years hard labour in North Korea has turned attention to the plight of all political prisoners in North Korea. The two were arrested after supposedly crossing the River Tumen, which is the border between North Korea and China, although some say they were snatched from the Chinese side. Whatever the truth is, this event has focused attention on North Korea’s prisons and labour camps

The West has for decades known about the forced labour prisons, or ‘Gulags’ as they are usually referred to, but little attention has been paid to them by anyone, despite the stories of inhumane treatment, murder and torture from escapees who have made it to freedom.

No-one really knows how many of these gulags exist, but it is estimated there are about a dozen political prisons, and some thirty forced labour camps spread throughout the desolate mountainous valleys of North Korea.

Huaenyong Prison Camp

Many have now been found and photographed from space, and some are the size of small countries. Two in particular, Haengyong and Huaong are larger than the County of Columbia in Washington State (874sq.mls-2262sq.kms). Haengyong is said to be three times the size of this state, and is surrounded by ten foot high barbed wire fences plus mines and mantraps. It even has a battery of anti-aircraft weapons to prevent the camp being liberated from the air.

The labour camps house anyone who disagrees with the regime, or has voiced even a small criticism. The previous ‘Dear Leader’ Kim il-Sung, Kim Jong-il’s father decreed that three generations of all families denounced for dissension would be sent to the camps. With the words; “Factionalists or enemies of class, whoever they are, their seed must be eliminated through three generations” he made it clear it was considered prudent to ‘purge’ the bad blood from society.

Anything can be classed as ‘dissension’. One former female detainee was arrested and sent to the gulags for singing a popular South Korean pop song in her home, which ‘disturbed the socialist order’.

Typical is the arrest in the middle of the night carrying nothing but the clothes on your back. There is no trial or hearing, you are shipped to an ‘interrogation’ facility where you are tortured until you confess, once that is obtained you are transferred to the political penal colony where you are issued with a pick and shovel, crude cooking utensils and an old army blanket.

Korean Work Camp Inmates

Kang Chol-Hwan, who was an inmate for ten years before being released and escaping to the South where now works for a South Korean newspaper, has related how he grew up in prison because his grandfather had once ‘made complimentary comments about Japanese capitalism’. When he arrived in the camp he was nine years old.

He tells the story of children set to digging clay and constructing a building. While they were digging it collapsed and they died. The bodies were secretly buried and the parents were not even told, even when they came looking for them. He is also quoted as saying that he saw some elderly white caucasian males who he thought could be prisoners from the 1950-1953 Korean War.

He saw people being worked to death, prisoners beaten to death, rapes, executions, and babies kicked to death. Forced abortions among the women are commonplace, where the pregnant woman’s womb is forcibly injected with salt water to kill the baby, regardless of how long the woman has been pregnant. Even at nine months! Any woman who manages to give birth to a live baby watches while the guards kick and beat the baby to death. The death of all infants is said to ‘eradicate a new generation of dissidents’.

The Dear Leader

It is compulsory for mothers to watch as their sons and daughters are executed. Many families are forced to denounce their children in public before an execution. One escapee related how a mother was coerced to say; ‘Though you are my son, you are a traitor and a puppet of the imperialist. You deserve to die.’

In March 2005 a secret video of a public execution was smuggled out of North Korea. According to witnesses, a pole was erected for the execution even before the ‘Judge’ had reached a verdict. The prisoner was carried out, both arms and legs had been broken during his interrogation, and pebbles were placed in his mouth to stop him shouting insults about the Republic before he died.

The catalogue of cruelty in North Korean labour camps is unending. People, men women and children, have been kicked so hard by guards that their bones have been exposed amid the torn flesh, at which point the guards deliberately put salt into the wounds to compound the agony and torture.

Any guard who killed an ‘escapee’ was rewarded with an opportunity to study at a college. This caused the death of numerous innocents.

Many people have reported scores of inmates being used for biological and chemical testing. One witness, a prisoner from 1987 to 1993, states she saw fifty inmates marched into an auditorium and fed a piece of boiled cabbage. Within thirty minutes they had all vomited blood and died. She said the biological warfare researchers were excited about the event and were rejoicing at the effects, which were better than they had anticipated.

Border Fence - To Keep People IN.

No-one knows how many camps or political prisoners there are, but the nearest guess estimates around 200,000 at just six that are known, and analysts have concluded from escapees stories that between 20 and 25% of prisoners die annually from the harshness of the work in the mines, factories, farms and logging sites. This is not surprising when you realise they are deliberately kept in a weak state of semi-starvation, just like the victims of the Nazi’s and Stalin.

Many of them are young children, forced to work alongside grown-ups from 06.00hrs every morning until late evening. If you do not fulfil your work quota for the day you get less food. The work was so harsh and the rations so meagre that children never grew to normal height. Malnutrition caused seventeen-year-old boys to be no more than 150 centimetres (5 feet) tall weighing forty kilos (88 pounds), sometimes less.

The high profile arrest and sentencing of the two journalists, now means the world’s attention is finally being turned to the despicable events that are an every day occurrence in these places. This is what the two young ladies have ahead of them if a deal is not agreed between the government of North Korea and the United States.

Border Guard On Patrol

Once inside the wire rape is guaranteed, as is malnutrition and beatings if things follow the normal pattern. We will have to see if that is the case for such high profile prisoners. I hope for their sake Kim Jung-il will be cautious in his dealings with them. For should they come out alive after being tortured, beaten and starved, and tell what has happened to them, the wrath of the United States will be a monumental thing.

Let us all hope intervention is swift, and forget not the unfortunates already suffering there.

Roy.

North Korea – An Analysis

Posted in North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Security Council with tags , , , , , , on 29/05/2009 by floroy1942

For many months the North Korean leadership have been playing a game of brinkmanship with the international community and the UN. Why, what is their goal?

Using their emerging nuclear capability as a tool of intimidation, they have taken on the world with threats of expanding their weapons capability and test firing missiles. Naturally, there is a certain nervousness among the surrounding countries, South Korea, Japan and China, at the prospect of North Korea achieving a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it. The United States feels especially uncomfortable with the prospect of a nuclear armed North Korea, considering its many interests in the Far East.

This scenario may be some way off, but the ‘writing is on the wall’. In particular the firing of a long-range missile last month, thinly disguised as ‘a satellite launch into space’, caused much controversy and initiated an emergency meeting of the Security Council at the UN. After North Korea’s weapons test last Monday a further meeting was called.

It must be said that the UN, for all its supposed power is, and always has been, impotent in this and most other crisis’s the world over. It has never been possible for all nations, and in particular the permanent members of the Security Council, to agree on anything. So far, North Korea has received little more than punitive sanctions, for this read – a ‘slap on the wrist’, from the Security Council for its provocative actions.

In the past, it was always China and Russia who were hesitant to take any positive and meaningful action against the North Koreans for fear, they say, of making the situation worse. I believe events have proven them wrong. It would seem by its actions of late, North Korea had every intention of following this path regardless of any pressure brought to bear by the UN Security Council, or anyone else for that matter.

Traditionally, America has been the most hawkish when dealing with North Korea, as it sees a threat to its Far Eastern bases should they ever get a viable nuclear capability. But despite acting in its own interests, I believe it is also acting in the interests of the whole world, because no-one wants Kim Jong-il and his cronies to attain the status of a nuclear power.

Speculation is rife about the possibilities of nuclear weapon technology in the hands of such a dictatorial and oppressive regime as that in Pyongyang. It is not surprising they wish to hold on to the absolute power they have, and anyone, or anything that can upset that balance could become a target.

Should they see, for example the USA or Europe as a serious threat to their power base, they have the means to strike without direct involvement. One quick phone call to Bin Laden with the offer of a nuclear weapon and bingo, bye bye New York, London, Berlin or where-ever. I am sure Bin Laden and his pals would love to get hold of just such a device and use it against ‘the infidels’. Hopefully this is not likely to happen, but however far-fetched it may seem, it remains a nightmare that will not go away. It does make it abundantly clear that North Korea must be stopped before such a scenario becomes a possibility.

Yet another cause for concern is Pyongyang selling their nuclear technology to other countries in an effort to acquire much needed funds. It is well documented that they have sold missile technology to Syria, Egypt and other middle-eastern countries for this purpose. Should they begin selling nuclear weapons technology to these countries the whole balance of power in the Middle East will change forever, and not for the better. The world does not need a new arms race.

Experts have speculated that the main reason North Korea is following this antagonistic path, is to secure the succession for Kim Jung-il’s chosen son Kim Jong-un, his youngest. He is 25 years old, likes to drink and party as his father did, and has been groomed to succeed him. But outside of that little is known about him. Many experts believe he would become nothing more than a figurehead, and the power would remain in the hands of older, more experienced leaders.

Other experts are of the opinion, that this whole charade is nothing more than political blackmail, intended to get big rewards from the international community for ceasing their activities. To me that however does not hold water, because Pyongyang cannot expect to gain any more than it would have received under the six-nation talks that stalled some months ago.

Whichever way it goes, many Far Eastern countries are starting to get nervous, South Korea and Japan in particular. From reports it would seem even the Chinese are starting to lose patience with their neighbour. This could at last lead to a real consensus of opinion on action by the UN Security Council. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, the world waits with bated breath to find out what other surprises North Korea has in store.

Much has been said about South Korea becoming a full member of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) teams operating around Korea, a decision that prompted their northern neighbour to suspend the armistice that has been in place since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

The teams initial purpose, was to intercept and inspect shipping suspected of carrying nuclear material or technology, to help prevent their spread to other nations. The various naval ships making up the force have to date however confined themselves to exercises alone.

The North Korean Government released a statement this week, saying that if any of their ships were stopped they would consider it an act of war. Tough words, and you can be sure it would be South Korea that felt any repercussions, although it is extremely doubtful that Kim Jung-il would be rash enough to risk a full scale war with the South, and America. North Korea starting a second war would bring the UN countries together to provide men and materials for the conflict just as they did in 1950. There is no hope for them with that course of action. The statement has however been sufficient for most Chinese fishermen to vacate the waters around North Korea, a measure that could be spontaneous, or at the behest of the Chinese government.

It may be just the usual political posturing that is always present with the Pyongyang gang, hopefully they do not have a more sinister purpose.

Whichever way you look at it, the situation is extremely complicated, and no-one has any real clue what is behind all this brinkmanship by the ‘Dear Leader’ and his cronies. The one thing we can be sure of, there is nothing innocent about it.

It is time for the UN to really show its muscle with sanctions that will bite hard at the Government and leaders of North Korea, and put them on notice the world does not want another nuclear capable nation, especially them.

The freezing of bank accounts, belonging to companies known to be providing the north’s regime with weaponry, are among plans mentioned in the press as measures that may be employed against the Pyongyang hierarchy, but we shall see what the Security Council comes up with. Hopefully the measures will be harsh enough to make Kim Jung-il back off.


As Bob Dylan once sang: “The times they are a-changin'” – Hopefully, not for the worse.


Roy.

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