Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Hermit Kingdom


What happens if you pull down
Beams and supports?
A host of opinions greet the leaning skeleton house.
with rulers and ink keep milling around.

(Chong Chol)

Like the court of King Seonjo in great disarray after the Japanese invasions of 1592, so, too, is everyone else after Trump's dramatic walking-back from challenging the now-American legitimised North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un, to signing a vague peace agreement that is sure to collapse at some point in the future, as so many others have done.

While it should be plain by now that China nor its vassal state can ever be trusted, those precedents have been ignored for a cheap victory (for lack of a better term).

From the agreement:

Convinced that the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
  1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

These vagaries are not reassuring and have been exploited in the past by North Korea.

When will Kim denuclearise? Does that mean even the nuclear facilities in North Korea (of which there are many)? :

Diplomacy will not disarm a regime that remains constitutionally mendacious, opaque, and hostile. Until that changes, the prospects for productive negotiations with Pyongyang approach zero. To change this, we must enforce sanctions strictly enough, and challenge its propaganda enough in the eyes of the Korean people, to bankrupt Pyongyang’s bodyguard of lies and fracture the walls it builds around its guilty secrets. Some of the members who voted for those conditions are now going wobbly on holding the North Koreans to the conditions in the law. But going wobbly on important principles is just the sort of display of weakness what shows Pyongyang that it can get away with violating any standard that obstructs its ambitions. Ultimately, that’s what got us where we are now.

Why demand steady progress on improving the conditions in its prison camps? Because verification isn’t just about where food aid monitors and weapons inspectors are allowed to go, such as the vast area to the immediate east of North Korea’s nuclear test site. It isn’t just about the uranium-smeared documents Pyongyang hands over. It’s also about what prisoners, military officers, and nuclear scientists are afraid to tell us about where to look and what to look for.

That is also not in the agreement.

Kim does have the reassurance that there will no longer be American-Korean military drills on the peninsula:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday rocked a region and suggested the upending of decades of U.S. defence posture on the Korean Peninsula when he announced that he was stopping annual U.S.-South Korean military drills and wants to remove the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in the South as a deterrent against North Korean attack.

China must be thrilled.

It is highly doubtful that Kim's many gulags will be scrutinised and shut down, not that it is a concern for the man who signed this agreement and even used the plight of North Korean defectors to affect it.

To wit:

President Trump said that the sufferings of the young US student Otto Warmbier had been a factor that moved him to seek the meeting with Chairman Kim. I acknowledge that suffering and it calls out for a transparent response. But so does the suffering of the tens and hundreds and thousands of North Koreans, South Koreans and Japanese who have no one to speak for them, except the United Nations human rights inquiry. The summit in Singapore has ended with bilateral commitments. But a commitment on human rights is nowhere to be found. And statements were varying in subsequent media briefings. If that card was not played in Singapore, the prospects that it will be played successfully at a later stage look grim.


The discussion of trust came after Stephanopoulos asked the president: “What other kinds of security guarantees did you offer?” Trump responded that he did not want to offer specifics, but “He’s going to be happy. His country does love him — his people, you see [ABC makes a mid-sentence edit] the fervor, they have a great fervor.”

(Sidebar: this kind of talk makes that puppet Stephanopoulos look credible. Ugh.)

Kim's countrymen love him?

What's not to love? :

A North Korean defector has spoken about the horrific human right violations she says she witnessed in the state’s prison camps — including starved prisoners fed to dogs.

Speaking at the UN Monday, Ji Hyeon A described how she was forced to have an abortion when she was three months pregnant. She pleaded with the world to take action.

This agreement is a political and moral failure that will only hurt Trump in the end. No one will care how many jobs he created or how many times he made that mincing son of Pierre cry when the Chinese-backed North Korean regime resumes its nuclear program and works its people to death.

Also - one really shouldn't expect anything from the fluff-headed, iron-fisted cocooned academics so moved by the illusion of North Korean glasnost but they might be embarrassed when these professors defect:

For the eighth year in a row, six North Korean university professors will arrive next month to take part in a one-of-a-kind six-month immersion program that exposes them to courses in business, trade, economics and finance, plus field trips that give them a taste of Canadian culture.

Professor Kyung-Ae Park, who has been quietly running the Canada-DPRK Knowledge Partnership Program since 2011 and frequently travels to Pyongyang, told the National Post that if the Trump-Kim summit went well, it would be her hope to expand the program to include not just North Korean professors but also bureaucrats and policy experts.

“If the summit goes well and some of the sanctions are relaxed, then I hope we could initiate this — diversifying the participants,” Park said.


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