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The Korean Dilemma

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    Video of a tearful Kim Jong Un gets all the experts guessing
    By YOSHIHIRO MAKINO/ Correspondent

    May 30, 2018 at 17:00 JST

    SEOUL--Video footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un venting tears of frustration over the slow pace of economic reform in his backward country is making the rounds of the corridors of power in Pyongyang.

    This side of the man, considered by many in the West as a despot, could be viewed as an attempt to portray the "Dear Leader" in a more flattering light as North Korea continues to signal its readiness to open up more to the outside world through a dramatic change in its foreign policy.

    As the third-generation member to lead North Korea with an iron grip, Kim Jong Un, like his father and grandfather before him, is revered as a god-like figure.

    According to a defector to South Korea who once served North Korea's ruling Workers' Party of Korea, this different and rarely seen side of Kim Jong Un featured in a documentary to educate party officials who lead the lowest rungs of the leadership apparatus or state-run enterprises.

    The video shows Kim Jong Un standing on an unspecified stretch of coastline gazing toward the horizon as tears trickle down his cheek.

    A narrator explains that the North Korean leader is distraught over his inability to radically overhaul the economy to make the reclusive country a vibrant power.

    The defector learned about the video from a contact who remains in North Korea.

    According to the defector, the video surfaced from around April and was shown to those in high-ranking positions at local branches of the Workers' Party or state-run companies.

    Portraying the North Korean leader in a moment of weakness may well have been a sly propaganda ploy to convince subordinates to work much harder so as not to reduce him to tears.

    Given the tepid results from economic initiatives to date, the defector said the video was also probably intended to drive home the point that "party officials had no choice but to obey Kim Jong Un" as North Korea dangles the prospect of abandoning its military provocations in return for extensive economic assistance and safeguards for its security.

    The defector speculated the video was also intended to convince the rank and file to accept the anticipated fruits of on-off summit talks tentatively set for June 12 between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore.

    Until now, North Korea's state media have repeatedly referred to the country's nuclear and missile arsenal as "the sword to protect the North Korean people."

    But, with preliminary negotiations between North Korea and the United States focusing on Pyongyang renouncing its nuclear program, any announcement of such an agreement with Washington would represent a fundamental turnaround in North Korea's foreign policy.

    Seen in this light, the video may be an attempt to downplay any sense of alarm triggered by a sudden shift in policy. Elite party officials living and working in Pyongyang have strong vested interests in showing their fealty to Kim Jong Un, but the same may not apply to the lower ranks.

    North Korea is clearly desperate for the summit talks to go ahead, given its sharp reaction to Trump's abrupt cancellation of the June 12 session.

    U.S. officials met with their North Korean counterparts to pave the way for the summit after Pyongyang signaled it was open to greater dialogue. The switch to dialogue took place before the video was taken, likely in March.

    Between late March and early April, Mike Pompeo, then head of the CIA, secretly visited North Korea for talks with Kim Jong Un, in which the North Korean leader reportedly said his nation was prepared to abandon its nuclear weapons.

    As that position has not yet filtered down to the masses, who clearly embrace the notion of an all-powerful North Korea in the face of evil adversary the United States, the video may be intended to prepare the nation for the day that will mark a sea change in the country's fundamental outlook and way of dealing with the rest of the world.


    • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
      JMSDF Spots Suspected Chinese Ship Next To North Korean Tanker

      TOKYO (AP) — Japan's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that a Japanese navy surveillance aircraft has spotted a suspected Chinese-flagged ship apparently transferring fuel to a North Korean tanker on the open seas.

      A ministry statement said that the two vessels were suspected of engaging in offshore ship-to-ship transfers banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

      It said Japan has informed the U.N. Security Council of the May 19 sighting of the North Korean-flagged tanker, Ji Song 6, moored alongside the ship carrying a flag believed to be Chinese in open seas in the East China Sea.

      Four photos taken by the Maritime Self-Defense Force were released, including two showing the ships alongside each other, connected by a hose.

      The U.N. has blacklisted the North Korean tanker.

      The disclosure of the alleged offshore transfer comes as preparations for an expected summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared to be in their final stages.

      U.N. sanctions on the North limit energy trade and ban offshore transfers of goods to North Korean ships as part of international efforts to pressure Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear weapons.

      Japan and the U.S. have said the sanctions must be enforced strictly to be effective, and asked China in particular to tighten enforcement. Link

      I'm shocked, SHOCKED, to find that China is double-dealing!
      Considering the thousands of freighters leaving Chinese ports on a daily basis, it's actually more surprising this thing hasn't been seen more (in addition to PRC customs' ingrained indifference to what's being brought out of China, as opposed to imports).


      • 11 days until 6/12. We'll see what happens. I wouldn't be surprised it's on-again, off-again 10 times from now 'til then.

        Full article:

        Donald Trump says Kim Jong Un summit will go ahead on June 12

        US President Donald Trump has said talks between the United States and North Korea will in fact take place on June 12. The announcement comes after Trump received a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

        US President Donald Trump on Friday said a summit between North Korea and the US will be held on June 12 as originally planned.

        The announcement came after North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol delivered a personal letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Trump.

        'A great start'

        Following an Oval Office meeting with Kim Yong Chol, Trump said he would be making a mistake not to go forward with the on-again, off-again nuclear summit in Singapore, and called the meeting, "a great start."

        The encounter, which was expected to be brief, lasted more than an hour.

        "We're going to deal," Trump told reporters, adding that is was likely that more than one meeting would be necessary. He concluded, "I think you're going to have a very positive result in the end. We will see what we will see."

        Trump said he believed Kim Jong Un wanted to denuclearize and that a relationship between North Korea and the US would start on June 12. "I think it's probably going to be a very successful, ultimately a successful process," he said.

        He said the US had hundreds of new sanctions ready to impose on North Korea but that they would be withheld as long as denuclearization talks continued. He added that he looked forward to the day when sanctions on North Korea could be lifted.

        "I don't even want to use the term 'maximum pressure' anymore," Trump said, using his preferred term for the harsh US economic sanctions against North Korea.
        Last edited by Ironduke; 02 Jun 18,, 00:59.
        "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


        • Logistics is such a pain

          The U.S. is trying to find a discreet way to pay for Kim Jong Un’s hotel during the summit | WAPO | Jun 01 2018

          The prideful but cash-poor pariah state requires that a foreign country foot the bill at its preferred lodging: the Fullerton, a magnificent neoclassical hotel near the mouth of the Singapore River, where just one presidential suite costs more than $6,000 per night.
          In 2014, when then-U.S. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. visited North Korea to retrieve two prisoners, his North Korean hosts served him an “elaborate 12-course Korean meal,” the veteran intelligence official said, but then insisted that he pay for it.
          Last edited by Double Edge; 02 Jun 18,, 01:12.


          • Full blog article:
            North Korea reportedly wants a McDonald’s. That could be a pretty big deal.

            It is little more than a footnote in the back-and-forth over the planned North Korea summit — but the rumor of a McDonald’s in Pyongyang is juicier than a three-patty Big Mac.

            North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may allow a “Western hamburger franchise” into the country as a show of goodwill to the United States, according to an intelligence report described by U.S. officials to NBC. That follows remarks by South Korean adviser Chung-in Moon in late April, who said that North Korea might be interested in welcoming a McDonald’s as tensions ease.

            Compared to the threat of nuclear war, of course, a Pyongyang McDonald’s seems like small fries. But experts and history suggest there’s more at play here than one token franchise.

            McDonald’s has long been seen as a symbol of Western culture and capitalism — particularly in communist countries. And it’s expansion into China and Russia was seen as a landmark in the 1990s.

            “This has happened with a number of different communist cultures,” said Jenny Town, a research analyst at the Stimson Center and the managing editor of 38 North, an academic news site about North Korea. “Once they start to get different points of contact with the West, it changes their views — and it usually starts with McDonald’s or Coca-Cola.”
            LRM has got a hardcore addiction to that double bread with meat. Once you hit it, you can't quit it.

            Luckily, Ironduke has the hookup in the form of a Bacon McQuad.
            Last edited by Ironduke; 03 Jun 18,, 12:13.
            "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


            • Full article:

              Trump-Kim summit to be held on Singapore's Sentosa island

              The much-anticipated meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take place at a hotel on the Singaporean island of Sentosa, the White House has confirmed.

              The 12 June summit was called off two weeks ago by Mr Trump but has since been salvaged after a flurry of contacts between the two sides.

              Mr Trump said on Tuesday that plans were "moving along very nicely".

              The US wants Mr Kim to commit to giving up his nuclear weapons.

              But it is unclear exactly what is on the table for the discussions in Singapore. Mr Trump has suggested the first meeting will kick off a longer process of negotiations, calling it a "get-to-know-you situation".

              "A lot of relationships being built, a lot of negotiations going on before the trip," he told reporters on Tuesday. "It's very important - it'll be a very important couple of days."

              The summit would represent the first ever meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president.

              White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed on Twitter that the summit would take place at the five-star Capella Hotel.

              But it appears that the two leaders will stay elsewhere. Mr Trump will likely be at the Shangri-La Hotel, where US presidents have stayed before, while Mr Kim will probably stay at the St Regis Singapore, the Straits Times newspaper reports. The two hotels are on the main island, near the famous Orchard Road shopping strip.

              Sentosa is one of 63 islands that make up Singapore.

              The 500-hectare island, only a short distance from the main island, is home to luxury resorts, private marinas and plush golf clubs.

              But the island also has a dark history of piracy, bloodshed and war.
              "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


              • The irony of this is OUTSTANDING. Sentosa is a sort of odd Singaporean theme park come holiday resort combined with an old British fortress complete with giant & ultimately useless WW2 guns. A surreal place for a surreal meeting. The kicker, however, is that from 1989 to 1997 it was the forced residence of Chia Thye Poh, a Socialist member of Singapore's Parliament who was arrested in 1966 and jailed until 1989. He was then forced to live on Sentosa for 8 more years. Maybe he can give Kim a personalized tour. ;-)

                Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C


                • well then, looks like we're all good.



                  Trump: 'Don't have to prepare very much' for North Korea summit
                  By Jordan Fabian - 06/07/18 12:42 PM EDT

                  President Trump on Thursday said he does not have to prepare “very much” for his high-stakes summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because he believes “it’s about attitude.”

                  “I think I'm very well prepared,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “I don't think I have to prepare very much. It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done.”

                  The president said the scheduled June 12 summit with Kim will be “much more than a photo op,” adding that it could last up to three days. Trump also suggested he could host a second round of talks with the North Korean leader to discuss his nuclear program.

                  "They have to denuke, if they don't denuclearize, that will not be acceptable," he said.
                  There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                  • Full article:

                    Kim Trump summit: S Korean reporters arrested over N Korea 'trespass'

                    Singapore police have arrested two South Korean journalists who are accused of trespassing in the home of the North Korean ambassador ahead of next week's Trump-Kim summit.

                    Police said they were called to the residence on Thursday afternoon.

                    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is expected to arrive in Singapore for the summit on Sunday, reports say.

                    Mr Trump has said he will consider inviting Mr Kim to the White House if the Singapore meeting goes well.

                    The US and its regional allies want to see North Korea give up its nuclear weapons but Mr Trump has acknowledged that it "will take longer" than one meeting to realise that goal.

                    What do we know about the arrests?

                    Singapore police said on Facebook that two South Koreans aged 42 and 45 working for South Korean broadcaster KBS had been arrested.

                    Two other South Koreans are under investigation.

                    About 3,000 journalists are expected in Singapore to cover the summit.

                    Meanwhile a Mr Kim lookalike said he had been questioned on arrival in Singapore.

                    The Hong Kong-based impersonator calling himself Howard X said on Facebook that he was questioned for two hours by immigration officials.

                    "They search my bags and then told me that this is a very sensitive time to be in Singapore and that I should stay away from the Sentosa Island as well as the Shangri-La hotel in town," Howard X said.
                    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


                    • Both leaders will be best friends after this meeting : O

                      Last edited by Double Edge; 08 Jun 18,, 14:01.


                      • What you didn't know

                        First Ignore, Then Disparage: Reporting Trump’s Nuclear Diplomacy | 38 North | Jun 06 2018

                        Calling out the MSM's BS!

                        Did you know that during the 2016 campaign, candidate Donald Trump repeatedly talked about negotiating with North Korea, not just having a hamburger with Kim Jong Un?

                        Or that within days of his inauguration, President Trump signed off on delivery of a token amount of flood relief, the first humanitarian aid to the DPRK in five years?

                        You may have heard that in February 2017, the chief of the American division in the DPRK Foreign Ministry was invited to New York to meet with the U.S. diplomat in charge of negotiating with the North – only to have their meeting cancelled over the assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother. But did you know that within weeks, talks began in the so-called “New York channel”? Subsequent meetings with North Korean policy-makers were held in Oslo and Pyongyang. That led to the release of the American detainee Otto Warmbier.

                        Did you know that the administration dropped preconditions for negotiations earlier this year?

                        Then came the disclosure of a proposed meeting between North Korea’s Kim Yong Chol and Vice President Mike Pence during the Olympics in South Korea – only to be cancelled by the North Koreans when Pence gave every indication en route to Seoul that he was not in a negotiating mood. If you missed it, that’s somewhat understandable because word of the meeting only reached the State Department belatedly. In the meantime, however, did you know that intelligence officials were talking with their North Korean counterparts?

                        If you were an assiduous reader of the press or a close observer of television news, evidence of diplomatic engagement with North Korea came as a surprise.


                        • Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
                          so, that explains why this thread doesn't exist: no one knew The Trumpet was such a HUUGE . . . whatever.
                          Trust me?
                          I'm an economist!


                          • I can see it now. Trump laughing and saying fine "I'll share a hamburger with him. One son of a bitch to another."


                            • Originally posted by DOR View Post
                              so, that explains why this thread doesn't exist: no one knew The Trumpet was such a HUUGE . . . whatever.
                              Blog post rightly calls out NYT & WAPO. I'm tired of this useless second guessing and disparaging. Anything Trump does is bad, we're all doomed. Anytime i start to see negativity i stop reading. this has served me quite well ever since he became a candidate. Its useful too in India when electioneering for the next year's general election is already in full swing with the usual bashing going on.

                              Kelly spoke well about the topic but then has to throw in, 70% the meet wil be a bust, 20% Trump will make things worse meaning he only gives 10% that the meet will be successful. In other words not confident. Why ? because Trump is this and that. Calling it before it even happens is the problem

                              Trump said its the start of a process recently. All i need to know. This meet isn't going to be a bust, its going to be the start of a process and its obvious the first meet will go well and be a success. Full credit to the man for being open to a meet so early on
                              Last edited by Double Edge; 11 Jun 18,, 17:14.


                              • Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
                                Trump said its the start of a process recently. All i need to know. This meet isn't going to be a bust, its going to be the start of a process and its obvious the first meet will go well and be a success. Full credit to the man for being open to a meet so early on
                                Trump's already talking about leaving the summit early, because negotiations had moved "more quickly than expected".

                                The summit hadn't even f--king STARTED
                                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”