Starving North Koreans question missile tests: ‘Where did the money come from?’
|| The Telegraph UK
“North Korean state media continues to celebrate the launch of two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July and the nation’s status as a “global rocket power”, although there are growing suggestions that ordinary people are less enthusiastic about the regime’s achievements.
Quoting its network of covert contributors within North Korea, who communicate via mobile phone, the Seoul-based DailyNK news site has reported that ordinary citizens are asking – albeit quietly – how Kim Jong-un can afford missiles but continue to ration their food.
“Following the news that the regime launched missiles twice in July, locals are criticising the regime, asking, ‘Where did it get the money?’ “, a source in North Pyongan Province told DailyNK.
“They are feeling increasingly disillusioned by the Kim Jong-un regime, which spends more money on developing missiles than improving their livelihoods.
“Everyone is aware that whenever the regime launches a missile, economic sanctions will follow”, the source added. “There’s nothing to celebrate for the ordinary citizens.”
“In the beginning, the residents were proud of the regime openly opposing the US with nuclear development and missiles, but these days, anti-US sentiment has weakened while respect for the regime has plummeted.”
“People are still starving and there are homeless orphans on the streets, so naturally the residents are resentful about having to celebrate a missile launch”, another source told DailyNK, adding that there is also deepening resentment at the “inminban”, or local politically motivated neighbourhood watch units, increasing mandatory payments from residents.
Officials claim the payments are for local construction projects, but it is widely understood that they are spent on the nuclear and missile programmes.”
Chinese Global Times sounds a warning for Pyongyang over its plans to fire missiles near Guam
“China should remain neutral if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday, sounding a warning for Pyongyang over its plans to fire missiles near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
The comments from the influential Global Times came after U.S. President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric against North Korea again on Thursday, saying his earlier threat to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang if it launched an attack may not have been tough enough.
Asian equity markets sank again on Friday and European stocks looked set for their worst week this year because of the tensions.
“This situation is beginning to develop into this generation’s Cuban Missile crisis moment,” ING’s chief Asia economist Robert Carnell said in a research note. “While the U.S. president insists on ramping up the war of words, there is a decreasing chance of any diplomatic solution.”
China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis. Beijing has expressed frustration with both Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear and missile tests and with behavior from South Korea and the United States, such as military drills, that it sees as escalating tensions.
“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” the Global Times, which is widely read but does not represent government policy, said in an editorial.
“If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so,” it said.”
China Threatens To Bomb North Korea’s Nuclear Facilities If It Crosses Beijing’s “Bottom Line”
“With everyone putting down new and/or revised “red lines”, be it on Syria or North Korea, it was now China’s turn to reveal its “red” or rather “bottom line”, and in a harshly worded editorial titled “The United States Must Not Choose a Wrong Direction to Break the DPRK Nuclear Deadlock on Wednesday” Beijing warned it would attack North Korea’s facilities producing nuclear bombs, effectively engaging in an act of war, if North Korea crosses China’s “bottom line.”
The editorial in the military-focused Global Times tabloid, owned and operated by the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper, said that North Korea’s nuclear activities must not jeopardize northeastern China, and that if the North impacts China with its illicit nuclear tests through either “nuclear leakage or pollution”, then China will respond with force.
“China has a bottom line that it will protect at all costs, that is, the security and stability of northeast China… If the bottom line is touched, China will employ all means available including the military means to strike back. By that time, it is not an issue of discussion whether China acquiesces in the US’ blows, but the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks to DPRK nuclear facilities on its own.”
This, as the editorial puts it, is the “bottom line” for China; should it be crossed China will employ all means available including the military means to strike back,” warned the editorial.
It is worth noting is that shortly after publication, the article seems to have been retracted without explanation, the URL now returning a “404” error. However not before the original article was cached on a webpage owned by China Military, courtesy of google.
In the editorial, the author also declared that the “People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks to DPRK nuclear facilities on its own. A strike to nuclear facilities of the DPRK is the best military means in the opinion of the outside world.” The northeastern Chinese provinces of Liaoning and Jilin share borders with North Korea. These two provinces and Heilongjiang are part of the Shenyang Military Region, one of seven military regions of the People’s Liberation Army.
The editorial also explained the advantages to the world of a Chinese attack on North Korea’s nuclear facilities.
It noted China and the world know the locations of North Korea’s nuclear facilities. Once the PLA attacks these nuclear sites, North Korea will permanently suspend its nuclear weapons programs. North Korea “has limited resources of nuclear materials and is strictly blockaded in the outside world, erasing the possibility for DPRK to get the materials again.”
China also noted that “nuclear weapons is DPRK’s trump card for its defiance of China and the United States. Once this card is lost, it will become obedient immediately.”
The author then speculated rhetorically that if North Korea’s “nuclear facilities are destroyed, they will not even fight back, but probably block the news to fool its domestic people. The DPRK will freak out if its nuclear facilities are destroyed.” And yes, a Chinese author said “freak out.”
The report also said that “the DPRK must not fall into the turmoil to send a large number of refugees, it is not allowed to have a government that is hostile against China on the other side of the Yalu River, and the US military must not push forward its forces to the Yalu River.” It notes that “this sentence is meant for the United States, because the premise of it is that the US military has launched attacks to the DPRK.”
US deploys THAAD missile defence, special operatives that took out Osama bin Laden to North Korea
“The crack US Navy Seal team that took out Osama bin Laden is reportedly in training in South Korea, conducting “field training operations”, amid rising tension with North Korea.
South Korean media claims the famed Seal Team 6 — which killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011 — is part of the Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercise being carried out from March 7 to April 30 in South Korea.
While US military would not confirm the reports, it said “ground, air, naval and special operations” are taking part in “several joint and combined field training operations” which involve up to 17,000 troops.
The special operations teams are thought to also include the Army Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets. The training commenced one day after US deployed its state of the art THAAD missile defence system to the region.
South Korea’s JoongAng Daily has claimed the teams would take part in a drill to simulate the removal of Kim Jong-un — a move denied by Former US Navy Commander Gary Ross.
Asked about the Navy team’s participation in March, Commander Ross said: “There are variety of Special Operations Forces (SOF) participating in Foal Eagle, as they do in most regional exercises.”
“Foal Eagle is a regularly-scheduled, annual exercise that is the culmination of many months of planning and it is not being conducted in response to the current situation on peninsula,” he said.
KEY LINE OF DEFENCE
The training began the day after the US deployed their mobile THAAD missile defence system to South Korea that is becoming increasingly important as tensions mount with Pyongyang.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) is a “hit to kill” system that provides capability to intercept and defend population centres around the world. Makers Lockheed Martin claim it has a 100 per cent success rate and describe it as “one of the most advanced missile defence systems in the world.”
‘Ban Cars to Stop Terror’ Says Sweden’s Best-Selling Newspaper After Stockholm Attack
“Cars and other vehicles “have turned into deadly weapons”, and should be banished from cities to stop attacks like the one in Stockholm from happening in future, according to Aftonbladet editorialist Eva Franchell.
Crackdowns on immigration or extremist ideology are not the way forward when it comes to terror prevention, according to the veteran journalist, writing after Friday’s terror attack in Stockholm left four people dead.
Instead, it is cars — which she calls “effective murder machines” — that Franchell says “must simply be removed from city centres and places where people gather, if people are to be protected in future”.
Vehicles are “easy to steal, and so nothing has been able to stop their advance”, writes Ms. Franchell.
“It just isn’t reasonable that a big truck can be driven right into one of Stockholm’s busiest streets on a Friday afternoon right before Easter.”
Noting how it is a popular destination for tourists, Franchell says the city centre must be a “safe environment” for visitors to enjoy. She described it as “remarkable” that it is possible to drive around the Swedish capital’s medieval old town.
Outlining her vision for a car-free Stockholm, she argues: “Most problems with regards to mobility and public transport can be solved, and deliveries to shops and restaurants could take place at times when people aren’t out on the streets.”
“Vehicles have been allowed to dominate our cities for decades and it’s the people who need space. It’s vital now that cars be regulated,” the piece concludes.
The idea of reducing the number of cars in Swedish cities was backed last month by Sweden’s environment minister, who argued that driving is a gender equality issue as well as a matter of shrinking the nation’s carbon emissions.
“Cars are driven largely by men so by giving a lot of space to cars; we’re giving a lot of space to men — at the expense of women,” Karolina Skog explained.”