Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Korean Confusion

Last I knew everything was quiet:

"Kim Jong Un says N. Korea set for any US threat" by Eric Talmadge Associated Press  October 10, 2015

How odd; my print copy comes from the Washington Post.

PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared Saturday that his country was ready to stand up to any threat posed by the United States as he spoke at a lavish military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the North’s ruling party and trumpet his third-generation leadership.

Kim Jong Un declared Saturday that North Korea was ready to fight “any kind of war” waged by the United States, as he presided over a huge military parade in the center of Pyongyang to mark the 70th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party.

The parade, which featured thousands of goose-stepping soldiers and military hardware including missiles and drones mounted on trucks, kicked off what is expected to be one of the North’s biggest celebrations ever — an attention-getting event that is the government’s way of showing the world and its own people that the Kim dynasty is firmly in control and its military a power to be reckoned with. 

I'm no longer confused. I can't really countenance this war-promoting propaganda slop anymore. So sorry.

The highly orchestrated event included goose-stepping soldiers, convoys of rocket launchers and missiles, and fighter jets roaring overhead. It was the biggest such parade North Korea has ever held, part of Kim’s efforts to bolster his leadership of the world’s most closed and authoritarian state.

What, Korea have football Sundays, too?

Kim walked down a red carpet and saluted his honor guard before walking up to a podium to deliver a speech laced with the fiery rhetoric that is commonly used by the communist regime.

Sort of like the Asian Hitler, huh? Sigh. 

I'll tell you what rhetoric I'm tired of.

“We have stood up against the American imperialists, and we are ready for any kind of war against the United States,” Kim said in a long speech before the parade, his first public address in three years.

And their pre$$.

‘‘Our revolutionary force is ready to respond to any kind of war the American imperialists want,’’ said Kim, flanked by visiting Chinese official Liu Yunshan and senior North Korean officials.

“Our military’s invincible spirit causes anxiety and fear to our enemies,” said Kim, who in addition to leading the country as the “Great Successor” holds the post of first secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party. “We can firmly declare that we can fight and win against the U.S. anywhere.”

‘‘Through the line of Songun (military-first) politics, our Korean People’s Army has become the strongest revolutionary force and our country has become an impenetrable fortress and a global military power,’’ he said, interrupted by applause several times.

Wearing his trademark navy blue Mao suit and reading from notes as he stood on a balcony overlooking rows of soldiers in Kim Il Sung Square, Kim was flanked by generals decked out with medals.

Kim didn’t specifically comment on North Korea’s nuclear or long-range missile capabilities and also didn’t have anything to say about relations with rival South Korea.

Nothing about unification?

He spent most of his speech arguing that the party has been successfully improving the lives of the North Korean people in face of external threats since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War and declared it will continue to do so.

But also at his side was Liu Yunshan, the fifth-most-senior official in China’s Communist Party. The North’s official Korean Central Television showed footage of the two men laughing and waving throughout the event. Analysts said it was significant that Liu featured so prominently at the event and wondered whether it signaled an improvement in the frosty relations between Pyongyang and Beijing.

Didn't seem so significant to AP.

In a military parade that followed, tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers and a variety of missiles mounted on trucks rolled by, while military planes flew in formation above the square, forming the symbol of the Workers’ Party of Korea — a hammer, brush and sickle. Another group of planes formed the number 70 in the sky.

After Kim spoke, rows of tanks, trucks bearing Scud missiles, and 107mm and 300mm rocket launchers rolled through the square, the center of the capital and home to the Korean Workers’ Party headquarters.

An expert at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, a security think tank in Seoul, Jin Moo Kim, said North Korea revealed a new 300-millimeter rocket launcher. It also displayed drones and a KN-08 ballistic missile, with an estimated range of 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) that the country had previously shown off in 2012. Kim said the presence of Liu might have prevented the North from revealing its most provocative weapons.

Oh, they have drones, too. How dare they?

A formation of military planes flying over the proceedings formed the symbol of the Workers’ Party – a hammer, sickle and writing brush – and the number 70, to Kim’s evident delight. Banners floating above the square read: “Long live the invincible Korean Workers’ Party” while people held up cards saying: “Military-first policy” and “Protect the mother nation.”

Same here.

Thousands of civilian marchers followed, holding colored cards to spell out Kim’s name, and he responded by waving to the crowd and holding the hand of Liu, the visiting Chinese official.

Analysts say that this year’s parade, celebrating seven decades since the creation of the Korean Workers’ Party, is about boosting the regime’s claims to legitimacy and further enabling the 30-something leader to present himself as the rightful heir to the system established by his grandfather, North Korea’s “eternal president” Kim Il Sung.

The guest list was less impressive.

The surprising component of the weekend’s events was the prominence of Liu, who greeted Kim with three hugs and a broad smile when he presented the North Korean leader with a letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday evening.

While no world leaders attended — North Korean ally China sent Liu, the Communist Party’s No. 5 leader, not its head of state, or even vice premier — the normally isolated and quiet North Korean capital has been flooded by tourists, international media and delegations ranging from ethnic Koreans living abroad to obscure Russian and Mongolian groups dedicated to studying North Korea’s political ideas.

Sure is a contrast in takes regarding the Chinese visitor.

Relations between the neighbors, once called “as close as lips and teeth,” have soured in the three years since Xi took office and made it clear that he thought little of Kim and his penchant for nuclear and missile tests. Kim did not attend China’s own military parade, marking the end of World War II, in Beijing last month.

As the clock struck midnight Friday, Kim marked the anniversary by paying respect to both his late father and grandfather at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA.

But Liu brought a letter from Xi that said China had “been striving to treat the bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective in a bid to maintain, consolidate and expand the bilateral relations,” according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, which carried reports of the letter prominently.

They, like Japan during WWII, are trying to form a defensive perimeter around the homeland.

Even though North Korean officials did not divulge details of the celebration plans in advance, open-source satellite imagery has been monitoring large-scale troop activities at the Mirim military air base in Pyongyang. Masses of Pyongyang citizens have for weeks been out in public plazas across the city practicing their roles for a torchlight parade in the evening.

Nothing happens on this planet without the electric eye of the EUSraeli Empire watching.

“Under the new circumstance, the Chinese side is willing to seek closer communication and deepen cooperation, pushing for a long-term, healthy and stable development of the Sino-[North Korean] ties,” the letter said.

For the finale, a stage was set up on a river running through central Pyongyang for a late-night concert featuring North Korea’s most popular musical group, the all-female Moranbong Band. Tickets for foreigners hoping to attend the concert were going for 100 euros ($114) a pop.

North Koreans have concerts and fun???

“The overt embrace of China and the overt diplomatic message was striking,” said Adam Cathcart, an expert on China and North Korea who teaches at Leeds University in England. “This seemed like quite a concession on the part of the North Koreans after several years of giving them the cold shoulder.”

That is where my print copy ended, and maybe it is the Koreans wanting help on the place the AmeriKans land.

The spectacle promised to be the most elaborate since Kim assumed power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in late 2011.

Coming after last month’s parade in Beijing, which was attended by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Liu’s prominence at Saturday’s event showed that China was not playing favorites between the Koreas and wanted to be seen as the diplomatic power in Asia, Cathcart said.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported that Liu told Kim that China was willing to work with North Korea for a quick resumption of six-party nuclear talks. The talks, which aim to end the North’s nuclear program and also involve the U.S., South Korea, Russia and Japan, stalled seven years ago.

“I don’t have high expectations that North Korea is going to do what China wants, but we should be happy that somebody is talking to North Korea,” he said.

I always prefer useless negotiations to outright hostilities, yeah. Not both together, though (as the blog editor turns toward Palestine).

Some foreign analysts believe the particularly strong emphasis this year on making the anniversary of the party’s foundation such a lavish fete is a sign that Kim is trying to build up his own stature along with that of the party relative to the military.

The high-profile Chinese delegation — which also included a senior member of China’s People’s Liberation Army — appeared to have paid initial dividends.

Though Kim’s leadership and both institutions are strong, the power balance among various government organs in North Korea is a delicate one and maintaining that balance is a key to keeping Kim’s regime solid and unchallenged.

How do they know so much about such a closed regime?

North Korea had warned that it was preparing to test what it calls a rocket for launching satellites into space but which is widely seen as cover for a long-range missile program.

North Korea maintains its ‘‘military-first policy,’’ which it says is necessary to counter threats from South Korea and the United States, but officials have recently stressed the role of the party in improving the standard of living for the people, who are increasingly aware of how far they lag behind their affluent cousins south of the Demilitarized Zone and in economic giant China.

What, there a presidential election in Korea this year?

Analysts had speculated that the regime would conduct the launch in the days leading up to the anniversary, but that did not happen, leading some to wonder whether Beijing had leaned on Pyongyang to behave itself while Liu was in town.

In the run-up to this year’s anniversary, large-scale construction and development projects have been launched and hailed with great fanfare in the state media.

Furthermore, satellite imagery suggested a launch was not imminent. “The absence of any visible preparations for a launch indicate it is increasingly unlikely that a test will be conducted this month,” analysts Jack Liu and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. wrote in a post for 38 North, a Web site dedicated to North Korea.

The projects include new hydropower plants and high-rise apartments, but it is unclear how much of North Korea’s limited financial resources have been put into improving the lot of the majority of its citizens who are not fortunate enough to live in the relatively developed and affluent capital.

Have you seen the bulging wealth inequality in the society over here? 


"Obama open to N. Korea talks; But says country must be serious about intentions" by Matthew Pennington Associated Press  October 16, 2015

WASHINGTON — South Korean President Park Geun-hye, a close ally, echoed the US leader’s view.

That's what you do to a bully. Appease him to his face, then go over and surreptitiously do what you have to do to survive. 

Park has cultivated closer relations with China as she looks to coax Beijing away from its traditional embrace of Pyongyang. Last month, she prompted handwringing in Washington when she attended a Chinese military parade marking the end of World War II.

If the United States did not, that's an insult.

But Obama said he had no problem with Park meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping, and joked that Xi ‘‘was in this room, eating my food,’’ during a state visit last month.



Is his term really coming to an end, because that remark shows he has either been in office to long or now feels entitled to it.

‘‘We want South Korea to have a strong relationship with China, just as we want to have a strong relationship with China. We want to see China’s peaceful rise. We want them to be cooperating with us in putting pressure on the DPRK,’’ Obama said, referring to the North’s official title, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

But he added that the United States would expect South Korea to speak out if China fails to abide by international norms and rules.

The United States has voiced mounting concerns to Beijing over cybertheft and China’s massive island-building in the disputed South China Sea.


And no sooner where the words out of the liar-and-thief's mouth:

"US may test waters claimed by China" by Christopher Bodeen Associated Press  October 09, 2015

BEIJING — Beijing expressed ‘‘serious concern’’ Thursday about a reported US plan to challenge China’s South China Sea territorial claims by sailing a Navy ship near one of its newly built artificial islands.

It's called a PROVOCATION! Nothing confusing about that.

The US newspaper Navy Times reported on Wednesday that the Navy may soon receive approval for the mission to sail inside the 12-nautical mile territorial limit surrounding one of the man-made structures.

Who has to sign of on that, huh?

That would drive home Washington’s stance that the artificial islands do not constitute sovereign territory and build a legal case under international law for the US position, the newspaper said.

Like the United States government has ever given a damn about international law! 

Exhibit A: excusing its master Israel at the U.N. 

Exhibit B: Torture

Exhibit C: (enter name of country attacked here) 

Yup, gonna build a case for international law by breaking international law, yeah.

Btw, what Sea is it? The South CHINA Sea you say? 

I think that pretty much clears things up.

Five other governments also claim the region in part or in total. The United States doesn’t take a formal position on sovereignty but insists on freedom of navigation in the vital sea lanes and airspace above....

Meaning we insist on "our" right to go anywhere. Now imagine if China were threatening Hawaii, say.

China and the United States have discussed the issue on numerous occasions, including during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington last month, Hua said.

The Navy Times report said rumors have been circulating since May about plans to send a ship through China’s claimed territorial waters. It cited three Pentagon officials speaking on background as saying that Navy officials now believe ‘‘approval of the mission is imminent.’’

Just waiting for the all-clear then, huh?


Related: China Dams Cambodia 

And what does AmeriKa do when someone runs afoul of them? 

Why sic the U.N. on them and then bomb the place (China has suffered a rash of port and warehouse explosions over the past few months, something the war-promoting pre$$ has mostly ignored) even when they do everything asked of them.

UPDATE: South and North Koreans, separated almost a lifetime, reunite briefly

I'm no longer confused. There is only one entity pushing confrontation and war in this world, and it's all for show purposes. The great powers are together (with bankers behind them) when it comes to carving up the world.

Related: Such scenes created a wave of emotions Saturday

Now that's what I like to see in Korea!