Let Them Eat Plutonium

North Korea seemingly has plenty of money to pursue a nuclear weapons program and develop long range missile technology, but apparently no money for food.

North Korea could be on verge of famine, smuggled video shows

Footage shot inside North Korea has revealed that the country could be on the verge of a famine, showing filthy, homeless and orphaned children begging for scraps and soldiers stealing food from rice sellers.

The video was shot over several months by an undercover North Korean journalist who smuggled the footage out to China and could face the death penalty. It was obtained by Australian Broadcasting Corp this week.

See also:
Famine threatens to return to North Korea
North Korea’s Hunger, on Film
Video shows North Korea starvation has spread to the military
Rare video footage smuggled out of North Korea
N. Korea Hides Evidence of Famine
North Korea: Video reveals extreme poverty of “Dear Leader’s” country
Video reveals North Korean famine

Could this famine be the catalyst that finally causes the collapse of the North Korean regime? It’s impossible to predict. However, although the collapse of North Korea would be a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions in the short run, in the long run it would turn out to be a blessing for the Korean people and bring stability to the region that’s been lacking for over half a century.

/and in other, WTF, Bizarro World news North Korea to Chair UN Disarmament Conference

In Your Face Commie Heathens!

Yes, it’s provocative, but please notice it doesn’t involve grisly carnage or any form of violence. Unlike Islam, it’s the Christian way.

Giant Christmas tree on Korean border causes North Korea to issue threats

SOUTH Korea says a giant Christmas tree near the North Korean border will stay lit up till January 8 – a move likely to anger Pyongyang since the date marks the birthday of its heir apparent.

The communist North sees the tree topped with a glowing cross as a provocative propaganda symbol.

Cross-border tensions are high after the North’s deadly artillery attack last month on a South Korean border island and military drills by the South in response.

The tree – a 29-metre metal tower strung with light bulbs – was lit up on Tuesday for the first time in seven years as marines stood guard against any cross-border attack on it.

The tree, atop a military-controlled hill near the tense land border, was due to be switched off on December 26.

”However, we have decided to keep it until early January 8, in consideration of requests from religious groups,” defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told a briefing.

”At first, we planned to keep the lighting on only briefly because of (military) burdens but we had second thoughts as it may send a message of peace to the North.”

See also:
North Korea sees war games and Christmas tree as it gazes across tense border
Korea Tension Shifts to Tree
O Christmas Tree: Squabble Over South Korean Border Display Could Escalate
S Korea to keep Christmas tree lit near DPRK till January
South Korea lights border Christmas tree
South Korea Lights up Christmas Tree Near North Korean Border
South Korea lights up giant tree

Nothing, I mean nothing, drives heathens crazy like a giant Christmas tree topped with a giant cross. I’ll bet the North Koreans are just itching to shell it.

/it would be interesting to see the reaction if California’s border states tried the same thing

How Are Those Sanctions Working Out?

Apparently, the West’s sanctions regime doesn’t seem to be slowing down North Korea’s nuclear program.

Why We’re Always Fooled by North Korea

According to Siegfried Hecker, the former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, North Korea is working on two new nuclear facilities, a light water power reactor in early stages of construction, and a “modern, clean centrifuge plant” for uranium enrichment. Mr. Hecker visited the facility over the weekend and says it appears nearly complete.

The centrifuge plant is particularly significant because it could produce more than enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon every year—and it may not be the North’s only such facility. North Korea’s artillery bombardment of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong on Tuesday makes it doubly clear that Pyongyang intends to leverage its new nuclear breakthrough for maximum concessions from the international community.

This nuclear revelation is not an intelligence failure. Over the past decade, intelligence analysts have consistently predicted North Korea’s path to nuclear weapons and noted the increasing evidence of its missile and nuclear proliferation. The failure has been that of policy makers and pundits who denigrated the analysis, ignored it, or clung to the fallacy that North Korea would abide by a denuclearization deal.

See also:
A Return Trip to North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Complex
North Korean Uranium Plant Stokes Proliferation Worries
North Korea’s ‘Stunning’ Secret Nuclear Plant
Uranium Enrichment ‘Long Suspected’
N.Korea’s Uranium Enrichment Facility ‘a Ploy’
Pyongyang’s New Nuclear Facility Tests World Resolve
U.S. Calls North Korea’s Nuclear Revelation a ‘Publicity Stunt’
N. Korea uranium claim condemned
North Korean uranium enrichment no surprise (Rep. Pete Hoekstra)
U.S. scientist amazed by N. Korean nuclear facility
North Korea unveils sophisticated facility for enriching uranium

So, how are we responding to North Korea’s latest nuclear revelation? We’re not responding at all, as far as I can tell, not even a strongly worded letter.

/I guess we’re just going to let North Korea assemble all the nuclear weapons they want and hope they never use or sell them. not a particularly good strategy in my opinion

Win Or Die

It sucks to be a North Korean soccer coach or player. Hell, it sucks to be a North Korean period.

Failed N Korean World Cup coach fears for life

Kim Jong-hun might well be envious of Dunga and Maradona, the two South American coaches sacked for their teams’ “poor” performance in the recent FIFA world cup. Kim, the North Korean coach, has not just been sacked, he has suffered public humiliation and been made to work unpaid as a construction worker. News leaks from Pyongyang further say that Kim fears he might soon be executed.

According to unconfirmed reports, the entire North Korean squad, which lost all three of its World Cup games in South Africa, has been subjected to a humiliating dressing-down in public.

The hapless players spent six hours being lectured in public, on their failure and ‘betrayal’ of Kim Jong-un, son and heir of the great leader Kim Jong-il.

They were subjected to a session of harsh ideological criticism, a Chinese businessman told the South Korean media.

Under coercion, every player blamed the defeat on the coach who has reportedly been expelled from the governing Workers Party.

North Korea’s success in qualifying for the Cup had prompted the Party to organize countrywide celebratory lectures in recognition of Kim Jong-un’s accomplishment.

Ever since the team crashed out, experts on the hermit state have speculated that the players would surely be punished.

See also:
North Korea’s failed World Cup footballers undergo public mauling
North Korea soccer coach fears for his life
North Korean football team shamed in six-hour public inquiry over World Cup
North Korean soccer team forced into six-hour long public inquisition after losing at World Cup
North Korean Soccer Team Publicly Shamed For World Cup Failure
North Korean Soccer Team Punished for World Cup Failure
Sacked NKorean soccer coach fears for life
North Korea Soccer Team Reprimanded After World Cup, Radio Free Asia Says
North Korea’s World Cup Team Faces Government Wrath After World Cup Defeat
North Korean Soccer Coach Put Into Labor Camp After Disappointing World Cup
There Is No Joy in Pyongyang …
Welcome to the party, North Korean soccer team
Korea DPR national football team

Every day, more children are born in North Korea, facing a bleak, totalitarian future with no possible escape. Personally, I just can’t help but feel sorry for every last one of them.

/you know, ending the Korean War, once and for all, would eventually be viewed as the greatest humanitarian gesture in modern history

Invincible Spirit

Let the games begin.

US, S. Korea Begin Large War Games Off Korean Coast

A large 4-day exercise involving U.S and South Korea forces is under way in the Sea of Japan.

It comes in response to the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, four months ago. An international investigation blamed a North Korean torpedo attack for the incident.

The war games off the east coast of the Korean peninsula were called to send a strong message of deterrence to Pyongyang.

The joint military exercise is known as “Invincible Spirit.” And while the forces of the United States and South Korea routinely conduct drills together, this war game is considered unprecedented in scope.

For the first time, the most advanced fighters of the U.S. Air Force are participating. They are the F-22 Raptors. U.S. officials say four of the stealth technology jets are taking part, along with nearly 200 other aircraft.

At sea is the strike group of the USS George Washington. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is accompanied by three destroyers.

U.S. and South Korean top military officials say the exercises are a significant show of force intended to deter North Korea from further aggression.

See also:
U.S., S. Korea aim to strike the right tone as exercise kicks off
Massive show of U.S.-South Korea military might
U.S., S Korea start military drills amid concerns of neighboring countries
US and South Korea begin military drills in the face of nuclear threat from North Korea
U.S., South Korea launch naval drill to warn North Korea
U.S.-South Korean War Drills Begin
On board USS George Washington in S Korea navy drill
Anti-sub warfare part of S. Korea exercise
US rattles sabre in the Sea of Japan
America’s Spirit Invincible; China’s Still Puzzling
US and South Korea set to confront North with show of naval force
North Korea threatens ‘nuclear war’ over troop exercises
US, S.Korea begin war games

We have a pack of F-22 Raptors roaming freely over the Korean peninsula? Let’s go for it and not waste the tax dollars on an “exercise”.

/remember, we’re still at war with North Korea, today is just as good as any other day to end it, while we’re here, with the gear

Kim Jong-il Was Eight Years Old

It was sixty years ago today, when his daddy, Kim Il Sung, started a war that has yet to end.


The forever war

Vietnam used to claim that dubious title. Now it’s Afghanistan. But the surprise communist invasion 60 years ago today began a Korean war that eventually saw an armistice but still no peace treaty.

Indeed, since major fighting stopped in 1953, more than 90 Americans and 300 South Korean soldiers have been killed in clashes along the DMZ barbed wire between North and South Korea — in addition to the 46 ROK sailors killed by a North Korean torpedo in March.

That summer of 1950 tested America’s commitment to the cause of freedom as never before, not even in World War II. There was no Pearl Harbor, and no American interests at stake in Korea but one: that other peoples should never be enslaved against their will.

The Soviet-backed invasion came just five years after V-J Day. It was the first serious test of America’s post-World War II strength of will and its new strategy of containing communism. Would America step up to protect an impoverished nation so far from any vital shore? Many feared the Truman administration, with its attention focused on Europe, would not.

They were wrong. President Harry Truman got off a plane in Washington and immediately agreed to swift action to save South Korea. He had been thinking about Hitler and Mussolini on the plane, Truman said; this time, the totalitarians would not get away with it. America would send in troops at once.

The problem was, there were no troops — or very few. In 1945, America had spent $50 billion on defense, in 1950 $5 billion. Its 8.25 million-strong military had shrunk to less than 600,000, most of them still in Europe. The Eighth Army’s four undermanned, underequipped divisions would somehow have to stem the massive communist tide, as Gen. Walton Walker fed his troops in piecemeal.

See also:
S Korea marks 60th anniversary of Korean War
Tensions ripple through Korean peninsula on 60th anniversary of war
North Korea ratchets up tension as South marks 60th anniversary of war
South Korea Commemorates 60th Anniversary of Korean War
Not forgotten: Korean War veterans remember on the 60th anniversary
60th anniversary to start of Korean War gets gala memorial celebration
Korean War veterans mark 60th anniversary
Korean vets remember 60th anniversary
60th Anniversary Of The Start Of Korean War Remembered
Korean War National Museum
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Korean War

Technically, we’re still at war, there was only a ceasefire, South Korea never signed the Korean Armistice Agreement. So, the South Koreans live in freedom while the North lives in oppressive darkness.

/when will the North be free and Korea finally reunited?

It’s Five Minutes To Midnight, What Time Will It Be Thursday?

Keep the kids home from school, this’ll be fun for the whole family.

Doomsday Clock to be reset, watch it online

Take note, all you apocalypse watchers, because this Thursday the minute hand of the famous Doomsday Clock is set to move.

This is the first time, anyone with internet access can watch the minute hand being moved. But which way the hand will move and by how much have not been made public, LiveScience reported on Tuesday.

The event will take place at 10am EST on January 14 at the New York Academy of Sciences Building in New York City. While the actual clock is housed at the Bulletin of Atomic Sciences offices in Chicago, Illinois, a representation of the clock will be changed at Thursday’s news conference.

The last time the Doomsday Clock minute hand moved was in January 2007, when it was pushed forward by two minutes, from seven to five minutes before midnight. The change was meant to reflect two major sources of potential catastrophe that could bring us closer to “doomsday”, according to the board of ‘The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’, a magazine focused on warning the world of the dangers that the invention of the atomic bomb helped to unleash.

The factors influencing the latest Doomsday Clock change include negotiations on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.

Watch all the excitement live!

Date:
Thursday, January 14, 2010

Time:
10:00 AM EST (3:00 PM GMT)

Online Location:
www.TurnBackTheClock.org

See also:
Doomsday Clock to Change This Week
Doomsday clock to change on Jan. 14
See doomsday’s possible approach, streamed live
Doomsday Clock Due for Reset, But Which Way?
Doomsday Clock To Be Moved Thursday
Minute Hand on Doomsday Clock to Move This Week
Doomsday Clock to Change This Week
Doomsday Clock Update: Are We Closer to Armageddon? (Poll Results)
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Doomsday Clock
DoomsdayClock.org

Now common sense would dictate that between al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, the threat of nuclear proliferation and global warming hysteria, they’d move the minute hand a minute or two closer to midnight. Then again, you need to remember that the “scientists” in charge of the Doomsday Clock are pretty much liberal lefty loons (LLLs) and, with the ascension of Obama to the world stage and Obama’s subsequent Nobel Peace Prize, they might just have gotten it in their pointy heads that the world is actually safer today and move the minute hand back. Either way, we’ll find out Thursday.

/I’m going to go with one minute closer, four minutes to midnight

Operation Chromite

It was 59 years ago today . . .

OPERATION CHROMITE: MacArthur’s Masterstroke
The amphibious landing at Inchon, Korea and the drive to Seoul, September 1950

Introduction

The Korean War began at 04:00 on 25 June 1950 when large numbers of North Korean troops crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea with the objective of overthrowing the regime of President Syngman Rhee and unifying the whole Korean Peninsula under Communist control.

The United Nations, in an emergency session without the presence of the Soviet delegation who had staged a recent walk-out, passed an immediate resolution calling on North Korea to withdraw. When this was ignored, the United Nations Organization called for military intervention by member states to support the forces of South Korea and to help drive the North Koreans back over the 38th Parallel.

General Douglas MacArthur, then commanding the occupation forces in Japan and its virtual military governor, was placed in supreme command of the US forces which were the first to arrive in Korea. These were later joined by varying forces from a considerable number of United Nations member states all of whom agreed to serve under the overall command of MacArthur.

Overwhelmed by the North Korean forces (NKPA), the UN troops fell back and by the end of July 1950 occupied only the extreme south-east portion of the Korean Peninsula surrounding the port of Pusan which became the provisional capital of South Korea. Despite strenuous efforts by the NKPA, they were unable to break into the Pusan Perimeter and the North Korean high command became extremely anxious about the difficulties of supplying their armies surrounding the Perimeter through the communications bottleneck of the Seoul area and along their extended lines of communication.

MacArthur realized that if he could strangle these lines of communication, the force which did this could become the anvil against which the hammer of the troops within the Perimeter could strike the NKPA and so he looked for a suitable place for an amphibious landing for this purpose.

. . .

Decision

The American Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a delegation to Tokyo to meet with MacArthur in an endeavour to dissuade him from what they regarded as a suicidal operation. General Lawton Collins, Army Chief of Staff, and Admiral Forrest Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations, had a lengthy meeting with MacArthur and his senior commanders and advisers on 23 August 1950 at his headquarters in the Dai Ichi Building in Tokyo where a detailed briefing lasting some eighty minutes was presented by the staff of Admiral Doyle, the amphibious commander. Doyle himself then rose to make his own assessment by saying that, in his opinion, the best he could say about the operation was that it was not impossible. Both General Collins and Admiral Sherman presented the objections of the Joint Chiefs who recommended that Kunsan replace Inchon as the objective.

MacArthur sat quietly smoking his famous corn-cob pipe whilst all the objections to his plan were expounded, occasionally interrupting to ask a question. When the rest had finished, he quietly presented all the reasons which made him so certain of the correctness of the plan – the fact that the operation presented a gamble which the enemy was likely to discount for all the reasons which its opponents had advanced was, in itself, the main reason for attempting to do the apparently impossible. He drew the comparison with the assault of General Wolfe on the fortress of Quebec, emphasising the weakness of the enemy defences in this area which they obviously felt was unlikely to be attacked and stressing that no other landing area could so effectively pinch the vital nerves of the enemy and hasten the end of the war. His immense confidence allied to his enormous prestige as a field commander eventually won over all his detractors and the Joint Chiefs of Staff finally approved the landing having covered themselves by involving the President of the United States in their decision.

. . .

The plan of attack

On account of the tidal problems, the first attack had to be planned in two phases with approximately twelve hours between them. It was necessary for the island of Wolmi-do to be neutralized before the main force could proceed to land and, apart from the previous three days’ aerial and naval bombardrrients, this required an amphibious assault by US Marines who would occupy the island during the main landing. Thus the 5th Marines would land an assault battalion on the morning tide around 06:00 which was intended to overcome the garrison and occupy the island, holding it without further support until the evening tide when the main forces would land to the north and south of Inchon proper. These two landing forces would establish their own perimeters for the night of 15 September and break out on the morning of 16 September, link up together and drive inland to capture Kimpo airfield, cross the Han River and enter Seoul.

The landing on Wolmi-do

Third Battalion Fifth Marines sailed from Pusan on 12 September loaded on the LSD (Landing Ship Dock) Fort Marion and the destroyer-transports Bass, Diachenko and Wan tuck. Escorted by British and New Zealand warships, they slipped north up the coast of Korea buffeted by the howling winds and mountainous seas that came in the wake of typhoon ‘Kezia’.

At midnight on 14/15 September they reached Inchon Harbour passing the brightly lit lighthouse of Palmi-do where the gallant Lieutenant Clark sat wrapped in his blanket. Accompanied by the gunfire support ships, they entered the harbour and at 05:45 on 15 September the naval bombardment by shells and rockets was resumed and Wolmi-do was soon blazing once again. By the light of these fires, carrier-based Corsair fighter-bombers strafed the beaches and at 06:31, just a minute behind schedule, the leading landing boats disgorged the first US marines on Wolmi-do. Ten minutes later nine tanks were landed comprising three with flamethrowers, three with bulldozer blades and three conventionally armed. These at once started to attack the defenders who were holed up in numerous caves and strongpoints. A few of the approximately 500 defenders were able to escape over the causeway to Inchon, about 120 were killed, 180 were taken prisoner and a few who refused to surrender were entombed in their caves and bunkers by the blades of the bulldozer tanks. The American flag was raised on the highest point of the island only 47 minutes after the first landing and at 08:00 Lieutenant-Colonel Taplett, the battalion commander, radioed the fleet ‘WOLMI-DO SECURED’.

At a cost of some 20 men wounded, the first phase was successfully completed and the 5th Marines settled down to long and apprehensive hours of waiting as the tide receded over the vast mud flats cutting them off from their supporting ships which were forced to withdraw down Flying Fish Channel. The North Koreans were by now fully alerted to the impending attack on Inchon itself and it was expected that they would attempt to reinforce the town. With this in mind, aircraft from the carriers flew interdiction sorties throughout the day covering a radius of 25 miles [40 km] from the landing area to seal it off whilst the Marines on Wolmi-do fired on any movements seen on the mainland. Their tanks had already broken through the lightly held roadblock on the causeway between Wolmi-do and Inchon but Lieutenant-Colonel Taplett was refused permission to push any of his troops across to establish a bridgehead on the mainland. Despite only having about 20 000 troops in the area of Inchon, the North Koreans made no attempt to reinforce the town.

The main assault on Inchon

Using what navigable channels there remained, the assault shipping for the main landing assembled and the main naval bombardment to cover Red and Blue Beaches began at 14:30 to the intense relief of the 5th Marines on Wolmi-do. Under the effect of the naval bombardment, Inchon slowly began to burn and a huge pall of smoke billowed upwards and began to drift south towards Blue Beach. At 16:45 as the landing craft began to push off from the transports, some 2 000 rockets were loosed off at the beaches and low-flying aircraft attacked the defenders with bombs and cannon.

On Wolmi-do, the men of 3rd Battalion had a grandstand view of their comrades as they landed on Red Beach just to the north and were able to give them fire support with every weapon they possessed enfilading the enemy defences from the south-east. The objective of the 5th Marines on Red Beach was the early capture of the important features of Cemetery Hill and Observatory Hill which dominated the town and the surrounding countryside. The ‘beach’ on which they were to land was, in fact, a stretch of sea-wall and at 17:31 when the first waves arrived, there was still some four feet of wall above the ramps of the landing craft. Scrambling up their hook-ladders or leap-frogging over the backs of their buddies, the first wave landed successfully under cover of a shower of grenades from their comrades behind them without being fired upon by the enemy. Enemy resistance was limited except for one or two isolated pockets although a larger group on the left of the ‘beach’ was more tenacious and killed eight Marines before they were dislodged. In 25 minutes Cemetery Hill had been overrun and a NKPA mortar company taken prisoner. The leading company moved forward into the town heading for Observatory Hill in the gathering darkness. By midnight the regiment held a firm line round these two vital features and eight LSTs (Landing Ship Tank) were firmly grounded at Red Beach disgorging a stream of tanks, trucks and stores with which to supply the attacking troops.

To the south, the landing at Blue Beach was much more confused and it was fortunate that the 1st Marines did not run into determined resistance. The combination of the gathering rain clouds and the billowing smoke from the fires started by the bombardment reduced visibility to a few metres. Few of the landing craft or the amphibious vehicles had serviceable compasses and the helmsmen relied on instinct coupled with their last general view of the landing area when they entered the thick gloom which covered this ‘beach’ which, too, was mainly a rocky sea-wall. Many units became separated in the smoke and one reserve battalion was landed some 2 200 yards [2012 m] from the designated beach area.

Many of the Marines in the assault were hastily mustered reserves. One Amtrak (amphibious troopcarrier) helmsman, when asked where the compass was, replied ‘Search me! Two weeks ago I was driving a bus in San Francisco.’ The sea-wall itself was breached by shells from the naval guns as well as by an LST ploughing straight into it which made a hole large enough to allow its bow doors to be opened through the wall to offload bulldozer tanks. These tanks literally buried enemy snipers who were shooting from slit trenches behind the wall. One Marine sergeant was horrified to see the barge of Vice-Admiral Struble approach the sea-wall with the Admiral and Major-General Almond, the Corps Commander, on board just as the sergeant was lighting the fuse on a demolition charge. After a brief burst of colourful language from the Marine, the barge moved to a safer distance to watch the charge blow a useful hole in the sea-wall.

Once ashore the confusion of the landing was overcome and the Marines began to move out, swinging north-east to cut off the town of Inchon from the east and working their way slowly through the industrial area where small pockets of enemy were fighting among the warehouses of the waterfront. By 01:30, 16 September, they had reached and cut the main road running due east to Seoul and along which any enemy reinforcements could have been expected to travel. On both beachheads the weary Marines dozed over their weapons anticipating a night counter-attack which never materialized whilst their radio operators struggled to make contact with missing units to draw the battalions together. Thanks to the very light enemy resistance, the effects of the heavy bombardment beforehand and the small numbers of NKPA troops in the area, the whole landing had been accomplished with minimal casualties amounting to 20 killed, one missing and 174 wounded some of which were, unfortunately, the victims of misguided fire from their own LSTs. Air cover throughout the operation was provided by Royal Navy Seafires and Fireflies from HMS Triumph and US Navy Corsairs and Skyraiders from the carriers Valley Forge, Boxer and Phillippine Sea. It appeared that the North Koreans had withdrawn almost all their aircraft from the Inchon-Seoul area once the Naval aircraft began their strikes on enemy airfields prior to the landings and virtually no enemy air activity was experienced. The sole exception was an abortive sortie by two Yak-9 fighter-bombers on 17 September. These aircraft dropped a few small bombs near the USS Rochester and HMS Jamaica which replied by shooting down one of the Yaks and driving off the other one.

. . .

inchon
Soldiers_Climbing_Sea_Wall_in_Inchon
Mac-at-Inchon

See also:
Operation Chromite Inchon Landing X Corps Report 1950
Battle of Inchon
Operation Chromite
Korean War: Operation Chromite
Operation Chromite: counterattack at Inchon
The Inchon Landing: Operation Chromite
Operation CHROMITE – The Inchon Invasion

So, 59 years later we’re still at war with North Korea, they still threaten South Korea, claim to have nuclear weapons, and MacArthur and Truman are long dead.

/remember, we only signed a ceace fire, not a peace treaty

Time For More Talks Or Another Strongly Worded Letter

How many more times are we going to let North Korea urinate on our leg with impunity?

N Korea ‘in final uranium phase’

North Korea has entered the final phase of uranium enrichment, the North’s state media are reported as saying by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

“Uranium enrichment tests have been successfully carried out and that process is in the concluding stage,” state media were quoted as saying.

If confirmed, the move would be in defiance of international pressure for the North to abandon its nuclear work.

The UN passed tougher sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang in May.

Both that test and an earlier nuclear test by North Korea in 2006 were understood to have been plutonium-based warheads.

Defiance

The North’s KCNA news agency reported that North Korea’s delegation at the United Nations had written to the Security Council, saying Pyongyang was now ready “for both sanctions and dialogue”.

“Reprocessing of spent fuel rods is at its final phase and extracted plutonium is being weaponised,” the AFP news agency reported the delegation as saying.

“If some permanent members of the UN Security Council wish to put sanctions first before dialogue, we would respond with bolstering our nuclear deterrence first before we meet them in a dialogue,” the delegation said.

South Korea’s defence minister had warned in June that the North was going ahead with plans to enrich uranium, a step towards making nuclear weapons.

Observers say the US has long suspected the existence of a secret uranium enrichment programme in the North, though experts say it remains little-developed.

In the past few months, North Korea has fired a long-range rocket over Japanese territory and conducted an underground, plutonium-based nuclear test.

Renewed tensions

But more recently, the secretive communist nation has made more conciliatory gestures on the world stage.

Two US reporters and a South Korean worker were released from detention and Pyongyang said it was interested in resuming cross-border tourismand industrial projects with the South.

Less than two weeks ago, the first meeting between officials from the North and South for nearly two years took place unexpectedly in the southern capital, Seoul.

However, the latest communique indicated that the North was unhappy that the UN allowed South Korea to launch a satellite last month, after having condemned its own rocket launch in April, Reuters reported.

Correspondents said Pyongyang’s latest remarks appeared to seek once again to ratchet up tensions on the Korean peninsula.

See also:
N. Korea Says It’s in Last Stage of Uranium Enrichment
North Korea says in final phase of uranium enrichment
N. Korea Reports Advances in Enriching Uranium
N.Korea says in last stage of enriching uranium
UAE seizes North Korean weapons. Now what?
Why Are We Not Stomping North Korea’s Guts Out?

Between Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan, it’s just a matter of time before a working nuclear device ends up in the hands of some rogue state or non-state actor with a strong desire to detonate it at a time a place that is contrary to U.S. national interests.

/talks, letters, lots of whistling past the graveyard

Good On Bubba!

Clinton, 2 journalists depart NKorea for US

Former President Bill Clinton brought two freed U.S. journalists out of North Korea early Wednesday following rare talks with reclusive leader Kim Jong Il, who pardoned the women sentenced to hard labor for entering the country illegally.

Euna Lee and Laura Ling were heading back to the U.S. with Clinton, his spokesman Matt McKenna said, less than 24 hours after the former U.S. leader landed in the North Korean capital on a private, humanitarian trip to secure their release.

The women, dressed in short-sleeved shirts and jeans, appeared healthy as they climbed the steps to the plane and shook hands with Clinton before getting into the jet, APTN footage in Pyongyang showed. Clinton waved, put his hand over his heart and then saluted.

North Korean officials waved as the plane took off. McKenna said the flight was bound for Los Angeles, where the journalists will be reunited with their families. The White House had no comment.

Their departure was a jubilant conclusion to a more than four-month ordeal for the women arrested near the North Korean-Chinese border in March while on a reporting trip for Current TV, the media venture founded by former Vice President Al Gore. They were sentenced in June to 12 years of hard labor for illegal entry and engaging in “hostile acts.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had urged North Korea last month to grant them amnesty, saying they were remorseful and their families anguished.

North Korean media characterized the women’s release as proof of “humanitarian and peace-loving policy.”

Their families said they were “overjoyed” by the pardon. Lee, 36, a South Korean-born U.S. citizen, is the mother of a 4-year-old. Ling, a 32-year-old California native, is the younger sister of Lisa Ling, a correspondent for CNN as well as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “National Geographic Explorer.”

Clinton’s landmark trip to Pyongyang also resulted in rare talks with reclusive Kim Jong Il that state-run media described as “wide-ranging” and “exhaustive.” The meeting was Kim’s first with a prominent Western figure since reportedly suffering a stroke nearly a year ago.

While the White House emphasized the private nature of Clinton’s trip, his landmark visit to Pyongyang to free the Americans was a coup that came at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program.

State media said Clinton apologized on behalf of the women and relayed President Barack Obama’s gratitude. The report said the visit would “contribute to deepening the understanding” between North Korea and the United States.

The meeting also appeared aimed at dispelling persistent questions about the health of the authoritarian North Korean leader, who was said to be suffering from chronic diabetes and heart disease before the reported stroke.

Kim smiled broadly for a photo standing next to a towering Clinton. He was markedly thinner than a year ago, with his graying hair cropped short. The once-pudgy 67-year-old, who for decades had a noticeable pot belly, wore a khaki jumpsuit and appeared frail and diminutive in a group shot seated next to a robust Clinton.

The journalists’ release followed weeks of quiet negotiations between the State Department and the North Korean mission to the United Nations, said Daniel Sneider, associate director of research at Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.

Clinton “didn’t go to negotiate this, he went to reap the fruits of the negotiation,” Sneider said.

See also:
North Korea: 2 US journalists pardoned
Clinton Leaves North Korea With Two Journalists, Spokesman Says
N Korea frees US reporters after Clinton visit
Will nukes creep into Bill Clinton’s North Korea agenda?
Analysis: Obama lets NKorea’s Kim save face
Bill Clinton’s ‘rock star status’ delivers in North Korea
Clinton’s Unwise Trip to North Korea

Thank God the two journalists are free, safe, and on the way home to their families. Oh, and thanks to Bill Clinton too.

/still, you have to wonder exactly what we gave North Korea in return for thei release