— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2017
I doubt this will be the only response from North Korea after President Trump’s very blunt address given towards North Korea at the UN this week:
North Korea has ridiculed President Donald Trump’s threats over its missile program, comparing his comments during his maiden speech to the United Nations to the sound of a “barking dog.”
Speaking on Tuesday, Trump said the U.S. would “have no choice but to totally destroy” North Korea and earlier this week on Twitter referred to Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man.”
North Korea’s delegation left the hall in New York ahead of Trump’s speech, but the country’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, compared Trump’s remarks to the sound of a dog barking in televized remarks to the press in New York.
“There is a saying that goes: ‘Even when dogs bark, the parade goes on’,” Ri said, quoted in Reuters. “If [Trump] was thinking about surprising us with dog-barking sounds then he is clearly dreaming.”
When asked about the “Rocket Man” remarks, Ri quipped “I feel sorry for his aides,” a perceptive comment given the now viral image on social media showing Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly covering his eyes in apparent dismay at the president’s speech. [Newsweek]
You can read more at the link.
It is going to be interesting to see how the Kim regime responds to President Trump’s UN speech because he has made it pretty clear what is coming Pyongyang’s way if they don’t stop their provocations:
President Trump made his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday morning, telling the gathering of world leaders that if Pyongyang continues its nuclear provocations, the United States “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” [Yahoo News]
You can read more at the link as well as watch President Trump’s speech where he also said “Rocket Man was on a suicide mission” in reference to Kim Jong-un.
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) September 19, 2017
As expected the United Nations sanctions in response to North Korea’s nuclear test have been watered down by the Russians and the Chinese. The cuts in oil imports and ban on textile exports will inconvenience the Kim regime, but I see nothing in these sanctions that will be a game changer in regards to changing the current status quo on the peninsula which is what the Chinese and Russians want to maintain:
The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted new sanctions against North Korea following its sixth nuclear test, imposing a cap on exports of crude oil to the country, though it fell short of a complete ban.
The 15-member council based in New York approved Resolution 2375, which imposes a cap on the supply, sales or transfer of crude oil to North Korea to the level of the past 12 months, some 4 million barrels, and limits exports of refined petroleum products to the country to 2 million barrels a year. It also bans the sale of condensates and natural gas liquids to the North.
However, the latest resolution fell short of the complete oil embargo called for in an earlier U.S.-drafted resolution, which would have needed the support of veto-wielding members China and Russia.
The resolution, though considered a watered-down version of the U.S. draft, will reduce oil provided to North Korea by around 30 percent, according to the U.S. mission to the United Nations, and cut off over 55 percent of refined petroleum products going to the country. China is the largest supplier of crude oil to the North.
It also includes a ban on North Korean textile exports, which was the country’s second largest export category in 2016 after coal and other minerals, and is expected to reduce its revenues by up to $800 million.
The latest resolution does not include North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or his sister on its blacklist, as initially proposed. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
You can read more at the link.
A ROK Drop favorite Andrei Lankov explains why Russia is going to attempt to water down United Nations sanctions on North Korea or veto them all together and it has nothing to do with Putin taking an anti-US position:
Vladimir Putin was right when he recently said that even if North Koreans have to eat grass, they will not surrender nuclear weapons (of course, in North Korea the people who make decisions on nuclear weapons are far removed from the people who would have no choice but to eat grass).
However, there is the probability that a really harsh sanctions regime will eventually provoke a grave political crisis and revolution in North Korea: instead of eating grass, the people will rebel.
For American observers, who will watch enthusiastic TV reports about a North Korean revolution in safety, this development, as long as it does not trigger a region-wide war, will be welcome. After all, regime collapse will bring about the complete solution of the North Korean nuclear issue, the U.S.’s overwhelming concern.
However, Russia and China, inconveniently located on the border with North Korea, have reasons to be unenthusiastic about prospects of a Syria-like or Libya-like situation, anarchy and civil war in a nuclear-armed country nearby. For Moscow – and, for that matter, for Beijing – a collapsing North Korea is a greater threat than a nuclear one, however bad a nuclear North Korea is. [NK News]
You can read the rest of the analysis at the link.
Here is the latest on the North Korea sanctions front:
The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) has passed a new resolution aimed at preventing North Korea from exploiting loopholes in past sanctions to pursue its nuclear ambitions.
The latest sanctions, which were approved at a meeting in New York City, Wednesday, mainly target Pyongyang’s coal earnings.
Starting Jan. 1, they will restrict North Korea’s annual exports of coal, a major source of hard currency and its single largest export item, to $400 million or 7.5 million tons, whichever is lower in value.
They also newly blacklisted 10 entities and 11 individuals, many of who are suspected of helping the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID).
The KOMID sells coal and other natural resources to raise cash for the Kim Jong-un regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The 11 individuals include two former ambassadors _ Park Chul-il and Kim Sok-chol who served in Egypt and Myanmar, respectively.
Among the 10 entities are banks and trading companies, such as the Korea United Development Bank, Ilsim International Bank, Korea Daesong Bank, Korea Foreign Technical Trade Center and Korea Daesong General Trading Corporation. [Korea Times]
You can read more at the link which includes a number of other sanctions the regime is hit by.
I am just wondering who from the United Nations is going to be sitting at the Chinese border to make sure the proper tonnage of coal is being imported into China? We have already seen how China does not enforce sanctions with their continuing oil imports into North Korea. From what I have read I have seen nothing in these latest sanctions that will change regime behavior.
Over at One Free Korea he has a very good rundown on the sanctions and explains why they are largely unenforceable and feature a number of loopholes the North Koreans are sure to exploit.
For people familiar with the Roh Moo-hyun years of the Korean government, this latest revelation should not come as any surprise:
Presidential candidate Moon Jae-in has been embroiled in a controversy over an ex-foreign minister’s claim that he supported a recommendation to seek Pyongyang’s opinion on a 2007 U.N. resolution on North Korea’s human rights situation ahead of a vote.
Song Min-soon, who served as foreign minister for President Roh Moo-hyun, said in his memoir published last week that South Korea abstained from the vote after listening to Pyongyang’s opposition.
Song claimed that the proposal to seek the North’s opinion was backed by Moon, then Roh’s presidential chief of staff, amid divided opinions among Cabinet members.
The recently surfaced claim soon instigated political sparring between rival parties. The ruling Saenuri Party called for an investigation to get to the bottom of the issue, accusing Moon of having virtually been “in league with” the North. [Korea Times]
You can read more at the link.
It looks like the Obama administration is about to make a bigger issue of North Korea’s human rights record:
The United States ambassador to the United Nations visited a settlement support center for North Korean defectors on Sunday, official sources said.
Samantha Power, who arrived in Seoul the day before, toured the Hanawon center in Anseong some 77 kilometers south of the South Korean capital and held talks with North Koreans who fled the reclusive country.
Authorities said she took part in a prayer session with some of the defectors who are receiving training so they can assimilate into their new lives in the South.
Government insiders said the trip reflects Washington’s drive to make an issue of the North’s deplorable human rights abuses that could lead to the matter being linked to additional sanctions down the road. Currently talks are underway at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to penalize the North following its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9. [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link.
A bunch of western aid workers were beaten and gang raped and one journalist murdered by South Sudanese soldiers and the United Nations peacekeepers nearby did nothing to intervene:
About 20 minutes later, a Quick Reaction Force of Ethiopians from the multinational U.N. mission was tasked to intervene, coordinating with South Sudan’s army chief of staff, Paul Malong, who was also sending soldiers. But the Ethiopian battalion stood down, according to the timeline. Malong’s troops eventually abandoned their intervention too because it took too long for the Quick Reaction Force to act.
The American who was released early in the assault and made it to the U.N. base said he also alerted U.N. staff. At around dusk, a U.N. worker he knew requested three different battalions to send a Quick Reaction Force.
“Everyone refused to go. Ethiopia, China, and Nepal. All refused to go,” he said. [Associated Press]
You can read more at the link, but why have peacekeepers if they are not going to keep the peace? This seems to be a reoccurring problem with United Nations troops. Considering that the ROK Army has peacekeepers in South Sudan it makes me wonder what they would do if faced with this same situation?