Surprise! We Have Satellite(s)!

Some quick thoughts on the rocket launch:

  • Unha-3 rocketSurprise! Certainly caught everyone off guard. This especially after an official announcement possibly extending the launch window. Is this a case of Pyongyang simply buying time or disjointed government?
  • Si, su puede! This time around, the North Koreans have told their own people that it was a success. But really, did they have any choice on the matter? First, with a million cell phones now in circulation, keeping mum about a rocket launch at all would have been disastrous. Second, after announcing publicly that the April launch was a failure, coming out a second time empty-handed would have severely shaken public confidence in the endeavour. But how about those who do have access to the outside world? If it was a failure, couldn’t they spread the news over those cell phones you talk about? Sure – but as long as the regime gets to frame the issue first by calling it the “second successful satellite launch,” then does it really matter? Those who have tried hard to prove a negative (ie. there is no North Korean satellite) will find it hard pressed to combat the regime on this one. Read the rest of this entry »

Kim Jong Un: I Am NOT My Father

I would like to think that Kim Jong Un listened to my advice and hired a Don Draper type to sex up the regime’s image

abroad. Yes, such visions of grandeur. Bringing us back to reality, however, the DPRK has certainly gone to some great lengths to ameliorate its image abroad, to the point that some have described it as an “extreme makeover.” It all perhaps began with Kim Jong Un complaining about the general disrepair of amusement parks (“pathetic” is supposedly the word used). One has to wonder in opaque North Korea whether Kim was referring to simply the amusement park itself, or really criticizing the way that his father ran the country.

Meet the new boss

Then we have Kim the 3rd walking around accompanied by a mystery woman who we later find out he has married – perhaps even against his father’s wishes. Even if this allegation of filial impiety is not true, Kim Jong Il never trotted out his women in public.

The implication of this rather public announcement is enormous: again, Kim Jong Un is not his father! Then we have a well publicized concert involving trademark infringement of the Mickey Mouse variety and mini-skirts that would have shocked O Jin U if he were still around. We receive word of things like prisoner amnesties. Finally, Ri Yong Ho is sacked. The official cause is illness; the word on the street is power struggle, including fanciful notions of firefights in the inner sanctums of Pyongyang. Ri Yong Ho was supposedly one of the capos in the Kim Jong Il regime. Getting rid of someone like him again is clear signal that a new boss has rolled into town.

At the end of the day, this branding exercise seems a clear play to contrast Kim Jong Un from Kim Jong Il. Perhaps the rumours that Kim Jong Un (and Jang Song Thaek behind him) really want to open the country up. The evidence so far, doesn’t suggest that yet: the border hasn’t been this controlled since the 2008 Olympics and the kwan-li-so system still exists. What isclear is that the regime has, six months after his death, buried Kim Jong Il, set up his statue right beside Kim the 1st, and has all but announced that his era is over. Read the rest of this entry »

Canada “Unreservedly” Condemns Failed DPRK Rocket Launch

[The following is a statement by Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird as published on the Foreign Affairs and International Trade website. –CanKor]

Baird Strongly Condemns North Korea’s Rocket Launch

April 12, 2012 – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada unreservedly condemns North Korea’s rocket launch of earlier today.

“This type of brazen behaviour is entirely reckless and provocative. It ignores not only international will but also the basic needs of the North Korean people.

“While the average North Korean starves and struggles, the country’s rulers squander scarce internal resources and external goodwill.

“Actions like today’s will only further isolate this rogue regime and keep North Koreans from the better, brighter existence they deserve but are being denied by those in power.

“Canada will continue to work with its international partners with a view to securing peace and prosperity on the entire Korean peninsula.”

Canada remains gravely concerned about North Korea’s aggressive activities, including missile tests and nuclear weapons development. Canada’s goal is to see North Korea resume adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and comply fully with its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In August 2011, Canada imposed extensive economic sanctions against North Korea, which will remain in place until North Korea makes significant progress toward denuclearization and its aggressive activities cease. These sanctions are in addition to the sanctions resulting from UN Security Council resolutions that explicitly prohibit North Korea from conducting launches using ballistic missile technology.

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