North Korea Using Psychological Warfare to Bargain with U.S.

We have all witness numerous attempts by North Korea to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with from threats of war against South Korea to attacks on the United States with long range nuclear missiles, however the end result of these threats have left the North Korea with little bargaining power as the United Nations has sanctioned them for repeated offenses and South Korea grows tired of the tantrums. What is the next logical step in North Korea’s psychological warfare? North Korea now hopes to use an old trick from the past that is sure to get the United States’ attention. On Saturday, the Associated Press reported that North Korea will try an American detainee for allegedly trying to overthrow the government complicating an already tense relationship between Pyongyang and Washington. The indictment comes as North Korea has run out of ammo to use against the U.S. and South Korea in order to force bargaining between the nations. North Korea remains angry over U.N. sanctions passed in February over nuclear tests and the ongoing U.S. South Korean drills though most believe the motive behind the indictment is to force its Korean War foes to negotiate on its own terms according to the Associated Press.

The man identified above, Kenneth Bae, also known by his Korean name in North Korean state media, Pae Jun Ho, is a tour operator arrested after arriving with a tour on Nov.3 in Rason which is a special economic zone bordering China and Russia. He is the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009, however the other detainees were eventually deported or released after high profile diplomatic interventions with some involving President Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. According to the Korean Central News Agency, “The preliminary inquiry into crimes committed by American citizen Pae Jun Ho closed. In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK with hostility toward it. His crimes were proved by evidence.” Under North Korea’s criminal code terrorist acts include murdering, kidnapping and injuring the country’s citizens can lead to a death sentence or life in jail AP reports.

The actual trial of Bae has not been set and the charges have yet to be announced by the KCNA as little information has been made public. North Korea and the United States do not have diplomatic relations due to the 1050-53 Korean War as the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represent the United States. Friends, colleagues and activist in South Korea said that Bae is a missionary based in a border town in China who made frequent trips to North Korea to feed orphans , but do not know whether he tried to evangelize while in North Korea AP reports. Officially, North Korea guarantee freedom of religion, however authorities have been known to crack down on Christians who are seen as threats to government because of the western influence. The distribution of Bibles and secret prayer services do carry a penalty of banishment to a labor camp or execution according to defectors from the country.

 

Korean War Part II: The Remix

Ban Kimoon North KoreaYongbyon Nuclear Plant

As North Korea has already made public the cutting of communication with South Korea and the ignoring of the armistice that ended the Korean War, the fear of war breaking out in the region is very real as the worldwide community waits with bated breath to see what North Korea will do next. The United Nation chief has already chimed in with fears North Korea is on a collision course with other nations that could lead to war. With recent sanctions on North Korea’s nuclear program and threats of potential strikes on the United States, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon believe the isolated nation appears to be “on a collision course with the international community” amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula reports the Associated Press. Ban (pictures above), a former South Korean Foreign Minister, said Tuesday in Andorra that the crisis has gone too far because of increasing threats of war by North Korea against the United States and South Korea. He said international negotiations are needed now even though he believes no one intends on attacking North Korea.

North Korea said Tuesday it will escalate production of nuclear weapons materials including restarting the plutonium reactor which leads many outsiders to believe that Pyongyang is trying to extract concessions from the United States by fear of war. As the Associated Press reports, the North’s General Department of Atomic Energy announced their scientist will begin readjusting and restarting uranium enrichment that could make a bomb’s worth of plutonium each year as experts consider the announcement a public declaration that the highly enriched uranium could be used for bomb fuel. The declaration has Washington and its allies concerned that North Korea’s timetable for a nuclear tipped missile aimed at the United States may happen sooner than later even though it is believed to be years away from that technology. The recent weeks are seen as an effort by Pyongyang to force disarmament for aid talks with Washington and to boost domestic loyalty to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by portraying him as a powerful leader according to Hwang Jihwan, a North Korean expert at the University of Seoul reports the Associated Press. The Korean Central News Agency stated that the North Korean atomic spokesman said the measure is meant to address the country’s electricity shortahe but also to “bolstering up the nuclear armed force both in quality and quantity.” The Uranium enrichment program worries outsiders due to the fact that the technology can be hidden much easier than huge plutonium facilities and highly enriched uranium can be used for nuclear weapons. Kim Jin Moo, a North Korean expert at the Korean Insitute for Defense Analysis in South KOrea, believes the announcement of highly enriched uranium through adjustments is North Korea’s way of “blackmailing the international community by suggesting that it will now produce weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium.” China, Pyongyang’s only major economic and diplomatic supporter, expressed disapproval as Chinese Poreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei stated: “We noticed North Korea’s statement, which we think is regrettable.”

Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test in February prompting new U.N, sanctions that caused North Korea to declare that the armistice ending the Korean War in 1953 is void shutting down communication with Seoul, threatening to launch strikes against the U.S. and its allies, and recently declaring at a high level government assembly to make nuclear arms and a stronger economy as the top priority. The Korean Peninsula is in a state of war a the truce not peace treaty ended the Korean War and the United States stationed 28, 500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent to the North. Washington has taken all of the North’s threat seriously even though the White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Monday that the U.S. has not detected any military mobilization or reposition from Pyongyang. As the North raises the stakes, the United States took it a step further by flying nuclear capable bombers and stealth jets at the annual South Korean U.S. military drills. The latest atomic test from the North in February led to the sanctions against the Asian nations as it could not be determined whether highly enriched uranium or plutonium stockpiles were used since other countries including South Korea failed to detect radioactive elements that may have been leaked from the test.

 

 

 

The Ongoing Korean War

 

On Wednesday, North Korea announced it was cutting the last line of communication with South Korea as war could break out any moment warning the United States and South Korea of nuclear attack a few days earlier. The threat comes in line with the latest from North Korea in response to new U.N. sanctions imposed after the third nuclear test in February and to hostile military drills under way in South Korea with the United States according to Reuters. The North stopped communicating with the U.S. military that supervises the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the Red Cross line that both sides use. As the North’s KCNA news agency reports, a military spokesman stated that, “Under the situation where a war may break out at any moment, there is no need to keep north-south military communications which were laid between the militaries of both sides. There do not exist any dialogue channel and communications means between the DPRK and the U.S. and between the north and the south.”

However, few believe North Korea, formally known as Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), will start a full scale war as North and South Korea are still at war after the 1950-1953 civil conflict ended with an armistice not a treaty which the North will not honor anymore, Reuters reports. The “dialogue channel” used everyday is to process South Koreans who work in the Kaesong industrial project which is comprised of 123 South Korean firms who employ 50,000 North Koreans to make household goods and on average 120 South Koreans are stationed here at any one time. It is the last remaining project the two Koreas share as South Korea cut off aid and trade in response to the shooting of South Korean tourist in Pyongyang and the sinking of a naval vessel. As a last resort, Pyongyang would close Kaesong which is one of the last currency earners for North Korea doing $2 billion a year in trade with the South. The South said it would take steps to protect the workers at Kaesong but would not elaborate according to Reuters.

North Korea Attack History Shows Pattern In Strikes Against South Korea

North Korea Attack History Shows Pattern In Strikes Against South Korea.

If history tells us anything, which history always repeats itself it seems, then we may have another Korean War on our hands. The unsettling truth as recent Korean history has taught the world that it is only a matter of time before North Korea launches a sudden and deadly attack on South Korea only this time Seoul, South Korea vowed it will respond with a stronger blow as recently as recently as Tuesday which could turn into a larger war. According to the Associated Press, a single statment lost in the headline about nuclear strikes on Washington is one statement made by North Korean army Supreme Command on March 5 saying that North Korea “will make a strike of justice at any target anytime as it pleases without limit.” The attacks of three years ago over naval clashes with the South, which killed 50 South Koreans in 2010, are a chilling reminder of North Korea’s capabilities and intentions according to Bruce Klinger, a former U.S. intelligence official now at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. The newly inaugurated President Park Geun-hye, a conservative, says she will try to build trust with North Korea and explore renewed dialogue and aid shipments even though she has made similar comments. On Tuesday, the South Korean Defense Ministry repeated its promise to respond harshly to future attacks by the North and Spokesman Kim Min-seok reiterated that there is no signs of an attack anytime soon however if it did come to defending the South from the North that the North would suffer more powerful damage. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told his artillery troops near disputed waters with the South Korea Monday to be on maximum alert because war could break out anytime according to Pyongyang’s official media.

If war did break out, then the U.S. would assume control of the military due to a decades old alliance but South Korean has made it clear it will do what it has to respond to future North Korean attacks. Even though North Korea is furious over the annual U.S. South Korean military drills that end in April, Pyongyang will not attack as too much U.S. firepower is assembled says analyst and may wait til the drills end. As Chon Hyun-joon, an analyst at the Korean Institute for National Unification in Seoul, explains: “They are quiet when tension is high and state-of-the-art (U.S.) weapons are brought to South Korea for the drills. North Korea may take month to follow through on threats and warning, but when it does take action it happens quickly. North Korea has attempted military provocations within weeks of every South Korean Presidential inauguration dating back to 1992, according to Victor Cha, a former Asia advisor to President George W. Bush, and Ellen Kim at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. South Korea just inaugurated a new president on Feb. 25 leading Cha and Kin to write Thursday to “expect a North Korean provocation in the coming weeks.”

Google Earth Is Key To Revealing North Korea’s Prison Camp System, Activists Say

Google Earth Is Key To Revealing North Korea’s Prison Camp System, Activists Say.

Wow you really can find anything in real time on Google Earth, but in this case maybe this Google Exec better be a little more careful. Earlier this month, Eric Schmidt embarked on a journey to North Korea even though he was criticized by the U.S. State Department for timing and intention, human rights activist said that the visit is a reminder of something significant. Many believe that Google Earth will help to unlock the mystery surrounding North Korea’s system of labor and prison camps that hold some 250,000 political prisoners who are starved and forced to do intense manual labor. One Free Korea has complied a lot of information on 6 of these prison camps (the one shown above is camp 22 which can be seen on Google maps above). The blog notes that 50,000 men, women and children are housed here where they are forced to stone each other to death, women are raped by prison guards, about 2,000 people die from starvation each year. Many families are guilty by association and forced into these camps where some families see three generations of their lineage live and die within the walls for crimes committed long ago. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, a non-governmental U.S. organization, has credited Google Earth with bringing more of these camps to light in North Korea in the updated version of “The Hidden Gulag” released in 2012 focusing on the prisoners in these camps now being able to identify specific locations within the camps where they were held. As many people have said, the above project shows how hard it is for governments to hide these types of facilities and keep them a secret  anymore that eventually the full disclosure of the atrocities committed by the North Korean regimen will be revealed as it opens up more and more.