Tag Archives: Pyongyang

On arming North Korea with nuclear weapons and “psychopathic violence”

NASA N Korea

A photo of the Koreas at night taken from the International Space Station January 30, 2014. The image illustrates the stark difference between North and South Korea: North Korea is almost completely dark compared to neighboring South Korea and China. The darkened land appears as if it were a patch of water joining the Yellow Sea to the Sea of Japan. Photo courtesy of NASA.

North Korea is reportedly preparing for an underground bomb explosion at its Punggye-ri testing site, and also to test an inter-continental ballistic missile at its Sohae launch site. And amid rising tensions, there is no international consensus on a response. The country’s leader, writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe, “has shown a capacity for psychopathic violence that is unsettling in a man who, quite apart from his quest for nuclear weapons, already possesses conventional forces capable of flattening South Korea and much of Japan.” An excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column:

If North Korea’s young and unpredictable leader Kim Jong-un nursed any doubts about his need for nuclear weapons, recent events in Ukraine and Syria will have dismissed them.

With American and other spy satellites showing that North Korea is preparing new tests of a nuclear bomb and an inter-continental ballistic missile, the reality is that Pyongyang’s weapons program can no longer be negotiated away.

Kim, like his father Kim Jong-il before him, has read the lesson of the last decade. That is: if you don’t have or have given up your nuclear capacity, you risk invasion.

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein stopped trying to develop weapons of mass destruction in the 1990s, and look what happened to him.

Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi figured that cozying up to Washington was the answer, and voluntarily handed over all his nuclear development equipment. But it didn’t help. Gadhafi wound up hiding in a sewer pipe, and being mutilated to death by rebels, who felled his regime with the help of NATO.

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Analysis: power struggles in Beijing and Pyongyang

In the capitals of China and North Korea ‘tis the season to be merry, but only over the bodies – real and figurative –  of purged enemies and rivals.

Jonathan Manthorpe’s latest international affairs column focuses on the power struggles in the corridors of power in Beijing and Pyongyang. Log in to F&O first to read the column here.*

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