North Korea’s Kim keeps teen sex slaves, executes musicians with anti-aircraft guns, defector reveals

Kim Jong Un’s officials plucked teenage girls from North Korean schools to serve as the leader’s sex slaves, indulged in a gluttonous lifestyle while his people starved and ordered public executions that turned into horrific shows of violence, a North Korean defector revealed.

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Hee Yeon, who fled Pyongyang in 2015 and now lives in Seoul, told The Mirror about the years she spent living in constant fear of Kim Jong Un since the ruthless dictator took control of North Korea in 2011.

“Despite our privilege we were scared. I saw terrible things in Pyongyang,” Hee Yeon said.

FEMALE PRISONERS IN NORTH KOREAN CAMPS RAPED AND EXECUTED, THEIR BABIES FED TO DOGS, REPORT SAYS

In what heinous example, she recalled standing in a crowd of 10,000 people assembled to watch the execution of 11 musicians who allegedly made a pornographic video. Security guards ordered the viewers to leave their classes and stand in a stadium around the men, who were tied up and gagged.

“What I saw that day made me sick in my stomach. They were lashed to the end of anti-aircraft guns,” she said. “A gun was fired, the noise was deafening, absolutely terrifying. And the guns were fired one after the other.”

She added: “The musicians just disappeared each time the guns were fired into them. Their bodies were blown to bits, totally destroyed, blood and bits flying everywhere…and then, after that, military tanks moved in and they ran over the bits on the ground where the remains lay.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets supporters in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 12, 2017. REUTERS/KCNA   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RC1DA0FE3F10

Kim Jong Un meets supporters in Pyongyang. The dictator was hailed as “the great successor” when he came into power in 2011.  (Reuters)

Hee Yeon remembered seeing the remains “smashed…into the ground until there was nothing left.” She said the gruesome scene haunted her and took away her appetite for three days.

A report, released by The Transnational Justice Working Group in Seoul in July, also stated the regime’s firing squad carried out public executions in school yards, bridges and sports stadiums.

But that was just the tip of the insanity Hee Yeon said she witnessed. She said no one was immune to the young leader’s vicious whims, and anyone could be executed if they were suspected of disloyalty.

NORTH KOREA FIRING SQUAD CARRIES OUT PUBLIC EXECUTIONS IN SCHOOL YARDS, REPORT SAYS

“I was brought up [and] told he was like a god – that he was as a young boy an expert sailor, marksman before the age of seven, god-like,” she said. “Then I met him at big events, I found him terrifying, really scary, nothing god-like about him.”

Several previous reports also painted Kim as a hot-tempered man. He reportedly executed his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, when he “flew into a rage” after finding out about an alleged coup plot that was planned with China. Nam Sung Wook, a security expert, recalled the leader “exploded with foul language” when his former girlfriend suggested he stop smoking.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps during a celebration for nuclear scientists and engineers who contributed to a hydrogen bomb test, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on September 10, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RC15DB4A91F0

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps during a celebration for nuclear scientists and engineers who contributed to a hydrogen bomb test, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.  (Reuters)

Hee Yeon also said “the prettiest” schoolgirls were taken away to work in one of Kim’s “hundreds of homes around Pyongyang.”

“They learn to serve him food like caviar and extremely rare delicacies. They are also taught how to massage him and they become sex slaves,” she said. “Yes, they have to sleep with him and they cannot make a mistake or object because they could very easily simply disappear.”

And as the rest of North Korea suffered from poverty and food shortages, Kim was reportedly indulging in $2,700 “bird’s nest soup,” caviar and other imported dishes.

“One of my friends went to work at one of his hundreds of homes in Pyongyang and she told me this was what he liked,” Hee Yeon told The Mirror.

CAN US MILITARY SHOOT DOWN A NORTH KOREAN MISSILE?

Kim came into power when his father died from a heart attack in December 2011. He has been credited with propelling the regime’s missile and nuclear program, appointing rocket scientists to identify flaws in the program that hadn’t been noticed before. Little is known about his secretive family, but he is married to Ri Sol-ju and reportedly has three children, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

This undated file image distributed on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, by the North Korean government, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location. North Korea’s latest nuclear test was part theater, part propaganda and maybe even part fake. But experts say it was also a major display of something very real: Pyongyang’s mastery of much of the know-how it needs to reach its decades-old goal of becoming a full-fledged nuclear state.  The jury is still out on whether North Korea tested, as it claims, a hydrogen bomb ready to be mounted on an ICBM.  (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

The photo shows Kim Jong Un after the regime carried out its sixth nuclear test, reportedly a hydrogen bomb.  (KCNA via KNS)

Kim vowed to complete his nuclear program despite recent U.N. sanctions against North Korea and President Trump’s threats to destroy the dictatorship. Trump addressed the U.N. assembly on Tuesday and mocked Kim as “rocket man,” saying the dictator was “on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”

North Korea has threatened to strike the U.S. territory of Guam with missiles and conducted its 15th missile test of the year last week. It carried out its sixth nuclear test in early September. But amid the bombastic threats, Hee Yeon said the leader’s actions reflect his fear the regime will eventually be toppled.

“Kim Jong-Un threatens war because he feels cornered and has no escape,” she said.

Courtesy, Fox News

Why China won’t help US against North Korea

Even after multiple rounds of sanctions, Pyongyang is continuing to provoke the international community with weapons testing. China and the US face bad options, and each other, in creating a united front.

Chinese and North Korean flags (Getty Images/K. Frayer)

After North Korea detonated what is suspected to be a hydrogen bomb on September 3, the US spearheaded the toughest sanctions levied to date against Pyongyang by the UN Security Council. But after the second round of “historic” sanctions within a month, the detrimental effect of partially cutting off fossil fuel supplies, freezing individual assets and preventing textile trade are seen by many observers as being just another incremental response to a belligerent regime clearly determined at all costs to continue developing nuclear weapons.

Friday’s ballistic missile launch over Japan, the second over Japanese territory in two weeks, also indicates that sanctions have yet to deter Pyongyang’s provocations. The launch also presents a direct challenge to the US and China to somehow create a united front against the North.

The US had originally pushed for a tougher sanctions regime – including a full oil embargo and travel ban for North Korean officials – but had to soften its demands to ensure full cooperation from China.

Read more: ‘Ultimate sanction’ – Will cutting off oil bring North Korea to its knees?

Aside from the self-congratulation earlier this week in Washington over another unanimous UN vote, the rift between Chinese and US interests moving forward on North Korea is clear, as it is apparent that Beijing is continuing to stop short of taking action that would topple the Kim Jong Un regime.

US China Trade (picture-alliance/AP Photo/S. Loeb)The US is dubious of China’s commitment to enforcing sanctions

This, combined with North Korea’s constant weapons testing and rapid advancements in capability, is exacerbating the already tense relationship between the US and China.

Read more: What is China’s role in the North Korean crisis?

Dialogue – made in China

Following the UN Security Council resolution on September 11, China’s official Xinhua news agency released a commentary stating that the Trump administration was making a mistake by pursuing deeper sanctions rather than seeking diplomatic engagement with North Korea.

“The US needs to switch from isolation to communication in order to end an ‘endless loop’ on the Korean peninsula where nuclear and missile tests trigger tougher sanctions and tougher sanctions invite further tests,” Xinhua said.

China has been advocating a so-called “freeze for freeze” strategy, where the Kim regime agrees to cease all weapons testing and missile launches in exchange for the US diminishing its military footprint on the peninsula and ceasing all joint military exercises with the South.

The US has roundly rejected any new forms of “freeze” agreements that it considers would weaken its strategic posture on the Korean peninsula. Two similar deals struck between the US and North Korea during the Clinton and Bush administrations fell through after they were not honored by Pyongyang.

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China was North Korea’s last major trading partner.

US dollars for Chinese compliance

The US is dubious of China’s commitment to enforcing sanctions, as Chinese individuals and companies have been found in the past to be in violation of UN sanctions for not cutting ties with North Korea.

After the last round of UN sanctions against Pyongyang in August, the US issued an additional set of sanctions against Chinese individuals and companies for allegedly aiding the North Korean weapons program.

A commentary in the Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times responded by accusing the US of “severely violating” international law by sanctioning Chinese companies and individuals, while maintaining that China “strictly implements” UN Security Council resolutions.

“Who grants Washington the right to make judgments on which companies violate UN Security Council resolutions?” said the commentary.

The new round of sanctions on Monday makes it illegal for foreign firms to form commercial joint ventures with North Korean entities.

On Tuesday, the US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told media that if China didn’t follow the UN sanctions on North Korea, the Trump administration would pursue additional sanctions on Beijing to cut off access to the US financial system.

“If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system, and that’s quite meaningful,” Mnuchin said.

Ely Ratner, a former national security advisor with the Obama administration and a China expert at the US Council on Foreign Relations, told DW that the Trump administration would likely impose additional secondary sanctions on Chinese firms, banks, and individuals that continue doing business with North Korea illegally in violation of UN sanctions.

“The Chinese government won’t like this, but it only has itself to blame for not enforcing UN Security Council resolutions that it voted for,” said Ratner.

A Trump administration official told Reuters news agency that any such “secondary sanctions” on Chinese banks and other companies were on hold for now to give China time to show it was prepared to fully enforce the latest and previous rounds of sanctions.

Read more: North Korea sanctions: EU targets main exports with an expanded blacklist

Infografik Timeline Nordkoreas Raketentests 05.07.2017 ENG

China won’t back down

But even if China complies with what the US considers are watered-down sanctions, the bottom line is that it is not in China’s national interest to eliminate the Kim regime in Pyongyang. Observers agree that Beijing is less concerned about the North’s weapons program than it is about a US-sponsored, re-united Korean peninsula.

“China doesn’t want the DPRK to collapse because that would leave many uncertainties regarding its weapons, refugees and a US base at its doorstep,” Eduardo Araral, Vice Dean of research at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, told DW.

Araral added that the US would not be able to handle North Korea without cooperation from China. “US-China ties are so intertwined that the US cannot continue hurting China, for example on trade, without hurting itself,” he said.

A post- Kim peninsula?

One of the major hurdles in preventing a united front from the US and China in dealing with the Kim regime, is the uncertainty of the geopolitical outcome on the Korean Peninsula if the North were to collapse and be folded into the South.

US and Chinese interests do merge, however, in that both do not want a nuclear-ready North Korean military machine, and China especially does not want nuclear war in its backyard. It should be noted that China does not necessarily have friendly relations with North Korea. Chinese President Xi Jinping has never met with Kim Jong Un and there are signals that China is willing to take a tougher stance on the regime. Nevertheless, these considerations are outweighed by a tangle of Chinese geopolitical interests.

For China to accept a united Korean peninsula, they would need to be assured that the US would demilitarize in the region and that a new regional security architecture could be created with Beijing’s interests at the helm. This scenario presents a problem, not only for US interests, but also for Japan and South Korea.

Noah Feldman, author of “Cool War: The United States, China, and the Future of Global Competition” and professor at Harvard Law School, told a debate organized and broadcast online by Intelligence Squared on September 13, that China presented a “structural problem” for a unified Korea. US security guarantees on the Korean peninsula would be essential for South Korea and Japan to agree to a new geopolitical structure in Northeast Asia, which is something that China won’t agree to.

“Countries are living under the Chinese economic sphere of influence, while depending on the US as a security guarantor. They are playing both ends against the middle and that has worked for those countries,” said Feldman during the debate.

It is worthwhile noting that the only time the US and China have engaged in direct conflict was on the Korean peninsula in 1950, after the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army entered the Korean War to fight on behalf of North Korea against a US-led coalition defending the South. And more than 65 years later, it seems that again decisive action from the Chinese is necessary to tip the balance in Northeast Asia.

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Why Russia props up the dangerous North Korean regime

Hollie McKay

As North Korea continues to develop a nuclear-weapons program, threatening the U.S. and neighboring countries while starving and enslaving much of its population, the regime of Kim Jong Un continues to receive an increasing amount of both public and private support from Russia. But why?

“Putin is weakening sanctions against North Korea to weaken the concept of sanctions themselves,” Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which seeks to illuminate human rights abuses in communist governments, told Fox News. “Russia is under heavy international sanctions and Putin wants to empower naysayers in the West who think sanctions ae either too inefficient or too provocative of the dictatorial regimes they are levied against.”

However, Russia did go along this week in siding with the latest round of U.S.-pushed sanctions, approved by the U.N. Security Council. If properly enforced, the new sanctions would severely limit North Korea’s access to international currency and fuel required for its prohibited ballistic missile and nuclear programs. It won’t be able to export textiles, one of its only export industries. In addition, importing oil and fuel will be a marginally harder, as will propelling its people off to make money in labor jobs abroad.

Nonetheless, the sanctions initially proposed by the U.S. – which included completely cutting off oil imports – were significantly diluted largely at Russia’s behest. Moscow is also one of the biggest food-aid donors to North Korea, which is widely accused of pouring its finances into military and missile spending rather than feeding its impoverished population.

Furthermore, experts contend that Russia has long been a prominent recipient of North Korea’s cheap, hard labor trade. For more than fifty years, North Koreans have been sent to do logging in the bitter forests of Siberia. Yet more recently, they are reported to have been used as construction workers in cities such as St. Petersburg which is preparing for the 2018 World Cup, as well as working in private homes across the country.

A brand new ferry system was even set up just four months ago to carry cargo and passengers between Vladivostok, Russia, and Rason, North Korea. But this week, it emerged that U.S. officials now believe Russian smugglers are operating to undercut sanctions by way of these two ports, with Russian entrepreneurs setting up “front” companies to conceal transactions and launder payments, according to the reporting of The Washington Post.

The alleged movements are believed to provide something of a lifeline to Kim Jong Un’s regime, and could effectively keep it from faltering under the hefty and mounting sanctions.

According to Geoff Hellman, Chairman and CEO of the Economic Policy Forum which focuses on business dealings in the Asia-Pacific Region and Russia, it is all an “Asymmetric Hybrid Warfare” (AHW) tactic aimed at promoting Russia’s image at home, as a place of “law and order, peace-loving and devoted to economic prosperity” compared to a more “war-mongering” United States.

“Russia supports actions that benefit Russia. Russia purports to support sanctions against North Korea, but in practice supports North Korea in its effort to evade sanctions,” he said. “Russia employs criminal networks to set up front companies in Singapore, for example, to transship oil.”

Russia and North Korea indeed share a feeble but consequential 11-mile land border and 12-mile maritime border that functions as supply routes between the two nations. But perhaps more significantly, relations between the two countries have deep roots dating back to the end of World War II when North Korea served the Soviet Union as a potent communist ally on the eastern flank.

The Embassy of Russia in North Korea – officially referred to as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – boasts both historic and future economic and trade ties between the two nations, highlighting that Russian private companies seek to enter the “untapped Korean market” while the government too has grand plans.

“Russia and the DPRK undertake joint efforts to implement bilateral and multilateral economic projects such as the construction of the gas pipeline from Russia to South Korea through the DPRK territory as well as electric power lines using the same route and connection of the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Korean railways,” the embassy states. “If implemented, the projects will be economically beneficial to all the participants.”

In 2012, Russia agreed to discard some 90 percent of North Korea’s $11 billion Soviet-era debt, with the remaining debt fraction to be paid into an account devoted to promoting trade between the two countries.

MILLIONS OF AMERICAN LIVES COULD BE AT STAKE AS NORTH KOREA THREATENS TO ATTACK POWER GRID

And even though Putin recently declared his condemnation of North Korea’s provocative testing exercises, he insisted that a military response would lead to a “global catastrophe.” Putin’s Russia has held a long-running policy of pushing back against U.S.-mandated regime change, and by backing North Korea at the ire of the United States, Russia is able to assert itself as a prominent player in the world of foreign affairs.

“Russia may not like what North Korea is doing, but in taking this stance they get to be a player on the world stage again which is one of their goals,” explained Clint Watts, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Center. “And it is a way to position themselves against the U.S., which hasn’t been complying with their wishes. There hasn’t been the big reset Putin had hoped for with Trump.”

North Korea has undertaken 16 missile tests this year alone – including two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests and one possible hydrogen-bomb test this month. President Trump has warned the rogue state that the sanctions imposed are “nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.”

NORTH KOREA THREATENS ‘PAIN AND SUFFERING’ IN RETALIATION FOR NEW U.N. SANCTIONS

But, by forging closer ties to a U.S. enemy, Moscow may have greater leverage in getting what it wants from Washington.

“By Putin’s calculation, misbehavior by North Korea makes his stock go up as the U.S. pleads for Russian assistance,” noted Ryan Mauro, national security expert at the Clarion Project. “From a bargaining perspective, it makes sense for Russia to assist North Korea and see what it can get America to offer in exchange for assistance.”

Yet at least for now, the U.S. State Department is formally maintaining that “Russia supports the overall goal of de-nuclearizing the Korean Peninsula,” and is hopeful that “they will follow through on their agreements.”

“Remember, Russia doesn’t see the same degree of problem here as the U.S. and South Korea do. Korean missiles won’t be aimed at Russian soil,” added one Moscow-based official.

The Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. did not respond to a request for comment.

Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay

Courtesy, Fox News

 

A war with North Korea — the American people aren’t ready

Harry J. Kazianis

When it comes to North Korea, much digital ink as has been spilled by yours truly on these very pages concerning the dangers and challenges ahead—demonstrated by North Korea’s latest missile launch—when it comes to dealing with and deterring the so-called “hermit kingdom.”

So, let me spare you hours of reading countless articles, op-eds, and tweets.

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To be honest, there is only one thing you really need to know: A war with North Korea—meaning a full-blown, all out conflict where nuclear, chemical, biological and large amounts of conventional weapons are used—would be a war like no other.

Such a conflict would be nothing like the First Gulf War, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, the Second Gulf War or Libya.

One way to achieve such a result would be a North Korean attack on South Korea’s vast civilian nuclear infrastructure. Remember Chernobyl or the nuclear tragedy in Japan a few years ago? Well Pyongyang could weaponize such a disaster with ease.

Oh no, this would be an epic conflict where millions of people on the Korean Peninsula, in Japan and even in the U.S. homeland could lose their lives in the most horrific of ways.

Some might call such talk fear-mongering. But I call it reality—and we need to face up to it. Now.

Imagine large cities like Seoul, Tokyo, and perhaps Los Angeles turned to atomic ash before it’s all over. Imagine the millions of internally and externally displaced refugees whose lives would be destroyed from the sheer carnage. Then, imagine the trillions of dollars needed to put back together the economics pieces, to say nothing of the hopes and dreams of countless millions of people that would be wiped out in a nuclear nightmare that seems almost unthinkable.

Accept this nightmare is all too real.

And thanks to administration after administration—Democrat and Republican—who decided taking on North Korea was just not worth the risk, who thought patience, appeasement or bribery were better choices, we now face a crisis with no easy solution.

While I have already gone into specific detail over just how horrific just a conflict would be thanks to war games I have conducted over the years, such a war would be waged on many different fronts and have many pathways towards a humanitarian disaster that this planet has not seen in decades.

For example, North Korea does not need to launch a full-out nuclear attack on America and its allies to kill scores of people—it just needs to get a little creative.

One way to achieve such a result would be a North Korean attack on South Korea’s vast civilian nuclear infrastructure. Remember Chernobyl or the nuclear tragedy in Japan a few years ago? Well Pyongyang could weaponize such a disaster with ease.

Seoul operates 24 nuclear power plants that could all come under North Korean attack. And while these plants are relatively far from the north, Kim Jong Un does not have to be a military mastermind to conceive of a way to destroy such nuclear reactors, spreading atomic materials across the Korean Peninsula and into Northeast Asia. With many of these facilities lumped together, Pyongyang could fire a salvo of missiles at these plants with devastating impact.

Or, Kim could utilize his special forces who could infiltrate the south from tunnels or who could already be in place, launching terror attacks against such facilities. If North Korea were to destroy just a few reactors, imagine multiple Chernobyl-style nuclear disasters while South Korean and U.S. forces are trying to fight North Korea’s other forces. With millions of people trying to flee the inevitable radioactive fallout, fear might just be Kim Jong Un’s best weapon.

Considering the dangers America and its allies face, the Trump Administration needs to do all it can to contain the North Korea threat. As I have said on a few occasions here, our best strategy is to eliminate any possible funds going into North Korea, driving up the costs for Kim to deploy his military assets and develop new even more dangerous weapons of mass destruction.

Team Trump should begin by asking for a new and much more robust sanctions package at the UN—something that makes Pyongyang finally pay for its risky actions. As an oil embargo is unlikely to pass and could destabilize the regime—something that could be even worse than a war—North Korea should be stopped from exporting its slave labor that it uses to make important hard currency, currency that of course goes into funding its military machine. Such a practice is nothing but revolting, and should have never been allowed in the first place.

President Trump should also announce that any entity that is caught helping the North Koreans evade sanctions, whether it’s Chinese banks or businesses or any private firm or entity from any nation, would be immediately banned from doing any business in the U.S.

In fact, President Trump should embrace a bipartisan bill crafted by Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, called the North Korean Enablers Accountability Act. The bill, if passed, would “ban any entity that does business with North Korea or its enablers from using the United States financial system, and impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labor trafficking abuses.” The president should push for such legislation to be passed without delay, but include a 30-day grace period so such entities could be given a chance to halt their activities. But after that, it’s time these entities suffer for enabling a regime that has as many as 200,000 in prison camps and treats their citizens like prisoners.

But whatever the Trump Administration decides to do—they need to do it now. Letting North Korea slip off our collective national security radar once again for whatever the other challenge of the day is would be a big mistake. We could end up paying for such a mistake with countless innocent American lives—a tragedy we have the power to avoid.

Harry J. Kazianis (@grecianformula) is director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, founded by former President Richard M. Nixon. Click here, for more on Mr. Kazianis.

Courtesy, Fox News

North Korea expert: ‘No way to stop’ Kim Jong Un’s regime

There’s “no way to stop” Kim Jong Un’s regime and its missile and nuclear program, a North Korea expert told Fox News on Thursday, the warning coming amid Pyongyang’s continued threats to sink Japan and blast the U.S. “into ashes and darkness.”

Leading Seoul-based North Korea expert Andrei Lankov told Fox News that Kim Jong Un is accelerating his missile and nuclear program “much faster than anybody expected.”

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“They want to get the point of having a sufficient number of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of destroying a sufficient number of American cities,” Lankov said.

The expert expressed doubt about reining in North Korea’s trajectory in achieving its military goal, adding the use of any “military force” would send the peninsula into war. He said sanctions and regional diplomacy wouldn’t work, either.

“I don’t think, unfortunately, there is no way to stop them,” Lankov said. “No way…A use of military force, but that would result in a second Korean war. That would be an absolute disaster.”

He added: “They will not want to talk about denuclearization…they could talk about a nuclear freeze…in exchange for political and economic concessions.”

WHY RUSSIA PROPS UP THE DANGEROUS NORTH KOREAN REGIME

Lankov provided a glimmer of hope amid the dour analysis, saying he’s only “mildly worried” and believes Kim is rational and knows a war with the U.S. would end his regime.

“It is alarming, there is the probability of mistakes, misunderstandings, stupidity…just bad luck,” Lankov added.

North Korea continued its bombastic and bellicose threats against the U.S. and its neighbors on Thursday – this time vowing to sink Japan with a nuclear bomb and reduce the U.S. “into ashes and darkness.”

“The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche. Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” a statement released by the state’s official Korean Central News Agency said. “Let’s reduce the U.S. mainland into ashes and darkness. Let’s vent our spite with mobilization of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now.”

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called the threat “extremely provocative and outrageous” and said it “significantly escalates tension in the region and is absolutely unacceptable.”

South Korea President Moon Jae-in on Thursday dismissed the notion of developing or receiving nuclear arms in an attempt to deter the North, according to Yonhap News Agency.

“I share the view that the South has to increase its defense capabilities in response to the North’s advancing nuclear and missile capabilities, but I don’t agree to the idea of South Korea developing nuclear arms on its own or seeking the redeployment of tactical nukes,” he said.

A new round of sanctions against North Korea was issued on Monday after the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to pass the resolution which bans all natural gas liquids and condensates but caps crude oil imports. All textile exports are also banned and countries are prohibited from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers.

THE WORLD IS FIXATED NORTH KOREA’S LEADER, MISSILES. SO WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO OVERLOOK ITS FORLORN PEOPLE?

But despite efforts to sink the regime’s economy, North Korea seems to be moving forward with its nuclear and missile program, reportedly resuming work at its underground nuclear testing site, according to defense analysts. A report by 38 North said satellite images captured a large cargo truck at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site on Sept. 8, possibly prepping for another nuclear detonation. The regime conducted its sixth nuclear test earlier this month.

“Such activity, coming shortly after the largest underground nuclear test conducted at Punggye-ri to date (via the North Portal), suggests that onsite work could now be changing focus to further prepare those other portals for future underground nuclear testing,” the report said.

Fox News’ Greg Palkot and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Courtesy, Fox News

US to ‘pay dear price’ for envoy Haley’s claim N. Korea ‘begs for war’ – Pyongyang

US to ‘pay dear price’ for envoy Haley’s claim N. Korea ‘begs for war’ – Pyongyang
As tensions mount on the Korean Peninsula, a statement carried on North Korea’s official KCNA news service warned that Washington’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s remarks that Pyongyang was “begging for war” would not be left unanswered.

At an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Monday, Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said that North Korea’s persistent nuclear and missile testing could provoke the US into a conflict.

“His [Kim Jong-un’s] abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war,” she said.

On Friday, a news broadcast from the official state-run Korean Central News Agency described Haley as a “political prostitute”whose “hysteric fit” would have dire consequences for the United States.

“Nikki should be careful with her tongue though she might be a blind fool,” said the statement on KCNA. “The US administration will have to pay a dear price for her tongue-lashing.”

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have escalated over the past few months following a series of missile tests. The rhetoric and military maneuvers from the US and its allies have also escalated. On Sunday, Pyongyang reportedly tested a hydrogen bomb, its most powerful weapon to date, estimated to be over 10 times the size of the bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

Despite the already tense situation on the Korean Peninsula, US President Donald Trump has waged a war of words with Pyongyang, threatening to unleash “fire and fury” in August if North Korea continued to threaten US territory, such as the Pacific island of Guam. In response, KCNA reported leader Kim Jong-Un as saying he would not launch an attack, instead preferring to “watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees.” The North Korean leadership did warn, however, that “if America persists in its “extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], the latter will make an important decision as it already declared.”

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At the same time, the US has been deploying more military equipment into South Korea, such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defense system which has met with protests from both Russia and China, as well as the local population. On Thursday, clashes broke out between police and protesters in the South Korean province of Gyeongsangbuk, where locals fear the THAAD deployment will make them a target of the North Korean government.

The US has also been holding joint military drills with South Korea, holding their annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises in late August. The maneuvers involved 40,000 American and South Korean troops in land, air, and sea drills, despite ongoing tensions with Pyongyang.

Russia reacted to North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test on Sunday by noting that through these military drills, the United States too has engaged in activity on the peninsula that could be considered provocative.

“The United States and South Korea are provoking Pyongyang by flexing military muscle and making repeated threats of intervention and pre-emptive strikes,” Leonid Slutsky, head of the State Duma foreign affairs committee, told reporters.

To help end the crisis, Russia and China have proposed a double-freeze plan, which would see Pyongyang suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile tests in exchange for a halt in joint US-South Korea military drills. The US has rejected this proposal, saying that it has every right to conduct exercises with its ally, South Korea. The US has also demanded more sanctions, calling for Russia to stop shipping oil to North Korea. However, Moscow has rejected these calls, stressing that dialogue, not sanctions, is the only solution to the crisis.

“Pyongyang needs to be involved in dialogue, conditions must be created in which Pyongyang will feel secure, and that will allow us to search for solutions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a conference call on Thursday.

Kim Jong Un’s rocket scientist behind North Korea’s missile program revealed

The rocket scientist who could help launch World War III was “plucked from obscurity” by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and has risen in the rogue regime due to his efficiency at achieving Pyongyang’s deadly aims.

Kim Jong Sik caught Kim’s attention after he helped successfully launch an Unha-3 rocket in December 2012, Michael Madden, director of North Korea Leadership Watch and contributor 38 North told Fox News on Wednesday. The scientist, who’s now often pictured with the dictator and donning the military uniform of a general, got credit for the launch after identifying mistakes in the failed April 2012 attempt. It’s unclear if Kim Jong Sik spent any time in the military before his rapid rise.

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“He moved from being a mid-level at a space [operations center] who floated up the North Korean authority ladder after the 2012 launch,” Madden said, adding that he’s “more than a name on a list of officials.”

Few details are known about Kim Jong Sik, but Madden described the shadowy scientist as a “key figure” behind North Korea’s missile successes — including its two intercontinental ballistic missile launches in July.

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“He is a guy who has his current job and rose to prominence by fixing and identifying mistakes while developing missiles,” Madden told Fox News.

Madden added the rocket scientist was already on Kim’s radar because there’s a small population of aeronautics in North Korea.

The addition of Kim Jong Sik, who was “plucked from obscurity,” could explain the huge strides the volatile regime has made in its nuclear and missile programs since Kim Jong Un rose to power following his father’s death in 2011. North Korea claimed it detonated a hydrogen bomb on Sunday, but experts have not independently confirmed the device.

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Madden said Kim Jong Sik is believed to be in his 50s and is one of several people who holds the deputy director title – a position that holds more power than some “senior” officials. He added the scientist “has a lot of power in personnel and policy making.”

“Kim Jong Sik is someone that might end up serving higher office in North Korea — at some point — based on his trajectory of his career,” Madden said.

The North Korean leader has promoted the rocket scientist based on his achievements – not because of family ties. Madden described Kim Jong Un more of a “micromanager” than his father who knows when to bring outside people to investigate problems.

“[Kim Jong Un] is aware of certain deficiencies and strength. He knows problems and knows ways to solve them by introducing people to help,” Madden said, adding that this is “natural for any political system.”

Kim Jong Un also reportedly handpicked two other men — Ri Pyong Chol and Jong Chang Ha — to lead the missile program with Kim Jong Sik, Reuters reported.

“Kim Jong Un is raising a new generation of people separate from his father’s key aides,” a South Korean official told Reuters.

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North Korea, known for their “gift packages” threats, often claims it is just steps away from achieving nuclear and missile capabilities, including shrinking down warheads to fit into ICBMs — a task it has spent decades to perfect. Madden said the rogue regime is “basically in the final process” and could conclude and finalize this development in a year or two.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Courtesy, Fox News

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