Korea (FPIF) – Attacking North Korea now would undermine the very reason U.S. troops have been stationed on the peninsula for seven decades: to protect the South Korean people. “Let me be very clear: The policy of strategic patience has ended,”…
South Korea and Japan reached a controversial deal Monday to share defense intelligence, Japanese officials said, despite protests from opposition parties and activists in Seoul.
Japan controlled the Korean peninsula as a colony from 1910-1945, with the legacy of the harsh rule marring relations with both North and South Korea today.
South Korea and Japan were on the verge of signing a deal in June 2012, but Seoul suddenly backtracked, with Japanese media blaming anti-Japanese sentiment among the South Korean public for the move.
The war in Syria is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for all the civilians who suffer from constant aerial bombardment, who are trapped without food and medical assistance inside crumbling cities, who experience the retribution of either the Islamic State or the regime in Damascus. It’s a nightmare for those who try to escape and face the prospect of death in transit or limbo in refugee camps.
Syria is a nightmare for individuals, millions of them. But it’s not just that. If states could dream, then Syria would be their nightmare as well.
The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) regime is suspected of having produced and trafficked vast amounts of illicit drugs for decades, to the detriment of its population.
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea claims that the DPRK regime has been ordering the production of illicit drugs since the 1970s. Although initial quantities were estimated to be relatively low, the country’s former supreme leader, Kim Jong-Il, is alleged to have initiated the country’s illicit drug-producing boom in 1998.
According to a defected government official, Kim ordered all collective farms to allocate space for the cultivation of opium poppies. Opium produced was then “sent to the pharmaceutical plants” where it was “processed and refined into heroin […] under the direct control and strict supervision of the Central Government”.
Alongside the sanctions against the Kim Jong-un, North Korea have been accused of another crime that sounds plausible to the average citizen of the civilized world. Human trafficking!
The annual Trafficking in Persons Report published by the U.S. Department of State on June 30 places North Korea in the third tier in their rating (based on the extent that it neglects the problem) for the 14th time in a row. This category includes hugely disadvantaged countries that do not even meet the minimum requirements of the U.S. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and are therefore subject to sanctions. In addition to North Korea, these countries are Algeria, Myanmar, Gambia, Haiti, Iran, Russia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Syria, and a number of other countries.
Prior to the parliamentary elections in South Korea, the news was awash with a beautiful story regaling readers with the refrain: “they chose freedom!”. 13 people (12 women and one man, the manager) escaped from the North Korean restaurant, Ryugyong, in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province in Southeast China to South Korea.
At first, the story was presented in the finest of “cold war” traditions. The news broke of specially selected staff, middle-class immigrants who had ended up in China, where they began to watch South Korean TV series and surf the net. It was then that they understood how they had been deceived by the North Korean propaganda and how good life in the South is, thus making the decision to escape. What’s more, prior to the upcoming WPK Congress, the authorities had begun to demand large cash transfers, while the ban on South Korean tourists visiting North Korean restaurants had caused restaurant revenues to drop, and its staff had come under threat of repressions…
According to South Korean media, in late March, the North Koreans had come to contact with South Korean officials and informed them of their desire to escape. However, it was impossible to simply up and leave to South Korea – the North Korean authorities could waylay the escapees in Chinese airports, plus the Chinese authorities do not look favourably on such operations. Therefore, the escapees were dressed to look like South Koreans, given South Korean passports in advance, put in cars provided by South Koreans and taken overland to Malaysia, from where, on April 7, they flew into Seoul without fanfare.
On May 6-9, Pyongyang hosted the Seventh Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea. In the run-up to the congress, experts of different degrees of involvement made various predictions. On average, Korean studies experts maintained that the congress would be just another event in the life of North Korea. Some “generalists,” on the other hand, speculated that the event would trigger drastic economic reforms, others insisted that there would be radical purges, while there were some, who asserted that the event’s opening ceremony would be accompanied by a fifth nuclear test.
In fact, none of that happened. Actually, the only suspense of the whole event was in that foreign journalists were not allowed inside the building where the congress was held. There also were no official delegations from other countries (not because those who had been invited did not show up, but because it had been decided to hold the congress in private ). There was one more “sensation,” the leader of the country was dressed in a European style suit on the opening day.
The reason behind North Korea’s foray into central Africa
Since gaining independence from Belgium, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been chronically unstable and has been rocked by numerous coups and civil wars. DRC has always been a strategic country and as a result foreign powers have backed various actors throughout the years. However, according to a recent report, North Korea has joined the fray and provided the DRC government with arms and training for their troops. This, however, is illegal as the UN Security Council has placed an arms embargo that bans the export and import of weapons and military services to and from North Korea. This seemingly random and rather unusual scenario deserves an explanation.
DRC has been a strategic country since colonial times and has been valued by foreign powers for its abundant natural resources. DRC is abundant in resources like timber, diamonds, and tin. In recent years, DRC has also gained attention for its coltan resources. Coltan is a metal that is valued for its ability to old an electrical charge. As a result, this metal is used in almost all consumer electronics like smartphones, laptops, and videogame systems. This has made coltan a strategic resource in today’s economy. This resource is scarce and as a result, demand for this metal has caused its price to spike.