China shields North Korea from reports, citing them “divorced from reality.”

Having not posted recently, I figured this was as good a topic as any to cover…

The People’s Republic of China, through its representative in China’s Mission in Geneva, said of a UN Report on Human Rights abuses in North Korea; that the reports of Human Rights abuses in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are “divorced from reality,” placing themselves in the way as a shield to the atrocities reported of North Korea, particularly their prison camps.

The report itself, made by a panel of jurists commissioned by the United Nations, specifically pointed to reports from political prison camps; and indeed, by those fortunate few who have escaped and are able to give eyewitness [and, further, often physical evidence] accounts to the regimes tactics of political imprisonment.

The government of the DPRK has stated that the reports are “a fabrication by hostile forces,” the standard-issue rhetoric when North Korea speaks in relation to critical statements made of it.

By Beijing’s willful “shielding” of North Korea’s human rights abuses, it makes one wonder if they may not take further action to shield their ally — and how far they may go to do so.

Further Reading:
UN Report on North Korean Human Rights

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If North Korea and Cuba have been trading arms…

North Korean Missiles aboard the DPRK Ship Chong Chon Gang.  (Courtesy of Yahoo)

North Korean Missiles aboard the DPRK Ship Chong Chon Gang. (Courtesy of Yahoo)

…could this lead to a new Cuban Missile Crisis?

Panama found a North Korean vessel with several missiles (stated to be “outdated”) in its hold bound from Cuba back to the Juche-state that is banned from importing almost any type of weapon by sanction.

The Cuban government, in a televised statement, stated they were headed to North Korea for “repair” and return back to the communist state.

Let’s leave the “repair” aspect of this alone — and assume for a moment, that that’s true.  This means that North Korea and Cuba could very  well have been doing this for awhile, freely — with nobody’s knowledge.

Imagine another Cuban Missile Crisis, with arms once again aimed at the United States by a nation less than 100 miles away from the US Coastline.  Except this time, the arms and the figurative “button” are now in the hands of authoritarian North Korea — and a government hell-bent on proving a point to it’s people that it can, indeed “rain holy fire” down on the nation that the Juche and Songun state has made out to be it’s blood-enemy.

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DPRK Ship Chong Chon Gang

Could this be a flue warning sign of something that could come in the future?  Could this have also blown open a cover of how North Korea’s been getting stuff?

Russia — What’s happening?

English: Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin

English: Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone’s concerned with things in the Middle East.  Be it Iran or Morsi’s Egypt… or even the Korean Peninsula.  Rightfully so, these could be hotspots for problems that America; and even the world, could find itself dealing with in the future if they’re not handled appropriately by the international community.

However, I look at one country — like many others, and wonder: What’s happening in Russia?

Over the past several years, Putin has managed to not only consolidate a considerable purse of power, but indeed, even a cult of personality that North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un would even find respectable.  However, compared to North Korea, Russia is far more democratic.  …or is it?

Not only has Putin managed to skirt the constitutional term limits in office by playing musical chairs with his Prime Minister (and former President) Dmitry Medvedev, but he’s also begun exercising power by “popular decree.”

Indeed, when Putin was originally elected in 2000, he drastically restructured the governance of the Federation as such.  When he took office, there were 89 regions that had some form of independent governance.  Chechnya itself had a democratically elected President.   This changed under Putin, who essentially reshuffled their powers into seven (now eight) federal districts that aligned almost exclusively with the Army commands, with the heads of these regions enjoying powers similar to that under Imperial Russia.

Bribery, particularly when it comes to government contracts, went from “accepted” practice to near-standard practice.  In a poll conducted in 2010, 15% of Russians admitted to paying a bribe within the previous year.  Those are the ADMITTED numbers.

Moreover, the amount of bribes in the economy have skyrocketed from the equivalent of $33 billion to over $400 billion in the last decade, notably during the Putin Administrations.  Arguably a consequence of economic and legal mismanagement after Federation from the Soviet era.

Media has also become a major concern.  Two of the three major television outlets are owned and operated by the Russian Federation itself.  State owned, state controlled.  Further, ITAR and RIA-Novosti are state-owned as well, while Interfax is stated to not be.  Music and public expression is also a concern, as members of the band Pussy Riot were arrested and charged with “hooliganism,” stating that the band was trying to incite religious hatred and blasphemy.  The Orthodox Church has even called on the Russian government to “criminalize” acts of blasphemy.

Obviously, the external forces in government, as well as the will of Vladimir Putin, are a major concern.  Bribes fly back and forth, ambitious Putin-friendly commissars are installed as figurative regional-governors general, and the political freedom of the people continue to erode, all while the cult of personality that surrounds Vladimir Putin continues.

Why aren’t people talking about the political freedoms in the largest nation on the face of the planet being talked about more?

Kim Jong-un is talking to his citizens, not the USA.

This post contains mostly commentary and speculation.

More and more, I’m becoming convinced that North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un is not talking to the United States or to South Korea.  He’s speaking to his own people.

One thing Kim Jong-un lacked was the cult of personality his father had.  Indeed, for a number of years after the death of the “Eternal PresidentKim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il was absent from the media for several years, making no appearances his first years in office as the dictator of North Korea.

However, almost  immediately after his “coming out party” in North Korea, no doubt to get him cemented into the North Korean People‘s ethos of acceptable leaders — Kim Jong-un has been all over the media.  Was this a panicked attempt to cement his image into the minds of North Koreans, knowing their ailing Supreme Leader‘s time on Earth was borrowed time?  Or was this part of a plan already in motion to get him in the public eye, and the elder Kim’s demise shortly after was just coincidence?

Because he has both a lack of military experience, save his rank of Wonsu (Marshal or “Generalissimo” ) in the [North] Korean People’s Army that he was gifted by his father the year before his demise, and a lack of time in an actual government position, his acceptability by the people I think is a major concern.

Back to the original point, I’m thinking more and more this is the younger Kim’s attempt to call a “Rally Around The Flag.”  While I’ve always compared the nation of North Korea to the state-equivalent of a paranoid-schizophrenic; and while Kim Jong-un’s lack of experience with the United States and the outside world first-hand that his Father and Father before him had concerns me — the more I hear, the more I’m convinced he isn’t talking to South Korea…  or the USA.  He’s talking to his people.  He’s trying to get North Korea to not only accept him, but be “with” him.

Does he, in his ignorance, know the level of “most dangerous game” he’s playing?

Can North Korea cripple the South’s economy — without firing a single shot?

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Nearly a decade ago, the two Koreas came together to agree on a jointly-run special manufacturing zone that sits a few kilometers inside North Korea — the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

This state-level “joint venture” if you will, has become an important fixture in the economies of both Koreas.  According to the Wall Street Journal, over 120 companies employ over 50,000 North Korean citizens to work in their industrial and manufacturing plans.

The brainchild of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korea’s recently-departed Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il, the two came together in 2000 to work the plan out for it’s implementation — and it opened for business in 2004.

English: Area map of Kaesong Industrial Region...

Kaesong Industrial Region, North Korea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the last North-South line of communication “cut” according to the North Korean military, could the complex that employs tens of thousands of North Koreans, pumping much needed capital into the isolated Stalinist-state; and provides massive amounts of product to South Korea — could this cripple the South Korean economy?

As of this week, traffic in and out of Kaesong is status-quo.  It’s business as usual.

North Korea’s nascent Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un has threatened to close the industrial complex, threatening economic input for South Korea.  Is the North willing to put desperately needed cash at risk to send a message to the South — or is this the usual dose of saber-rattling rhetoric meant to cement the new “Dear Leader” in the hearts of his people?