Chickens Defiantly Coming Home to Roost by James Church

[James Church (pen name of a former “Western” intelligence agent) is the author of the popular “Inspector O” series of mystery novels set in North Korea. In this article, written for our partner-site 38North, the long-time friend of CanKor examines words that are often used by the media to describe North Korean behaviours such as the recent satellite launch. His conclusion is that using words such as “defiance” and “provocation” are emotional labels that actually mask real issues and events, thereby leading to mistaken analysis and counter-productive responses. –CanKor]

The Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket launching at DPRK West Sea Satellite launch site in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province. (Video released by KCNA on Dec. 13, 2012)

The Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket taking off from the West Sea Satellite launch site in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province.
(Video released by KCNA on 13 December 2012.)

So far this week, the very, absolutely, most favorite word of headline writers and reporters is “defiance,” as in “North Korean Missile Launch Act of Defiance.” Yes, that’s one way to look at what happened a few hours past dawn on December 12, when the North made up for its “botched” (another favorite word recently) launch attempt last April.

Logically, we suppose an act of defiance needs something to be defiant against—something like established order, a stronger power, or impossible odds. At times, an act of defiance can be deemed heroic. On occasion, it’s considered to be a dangerous challenge. Now and again, it may be seen as merely a pain in the neck. Partially, it’s situational (i.e., what’s going on) and partially positional (i.e., where you sit.)

In this case, the North Koreans are being described as defiant because: 1) they are ignoring the international community (however defined); and 2) they are not acting in compliance with several UN Security Council resolutions and statements. The resolutions have numbers, but in an act of defiance I will not mention them. Read the rest of this entry »

Canada Warns North Korea Against Provocation

A statement warning North Korea about the planned launch of a “long-range ballistic missile” was issued by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on 3 December 2012. The text is found on the website of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. It reads as follows:

John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada (Photo: Wikipedia)

John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada (Photo: Wikipedia)

“We are extremely concerned about North Korea’s plan to test a long-range ballistic missile. 

“Canada strongly warns North Korea against this provocation, which clearly violates its obligations under successive UN Security Council resolutions and constitutes a threat to regional peace and security. 

“While the North Korean people struggle to find the basic necessities to survive, their government has turned a blind eye to their plight and instead chooses to advance its military capability. This is regrettable and completely unacceptable. 

“Canada will be working with like-minded countries and regional players to persuade North Korean officials to abandon their military ambitions and tend to the pressing needs of the North Korean people.”

38 North: The Syrian Litmus Test by Rudiger Frank

[From time to time CanKor will alert our readers to papers published by our partner-site 38North. The following article is authored by CanKor Brain Trust member Rudiger Frank, Professor of East Asian Economy and Society at the University of Vienna (also an Adjunct Professor at Korea University and the University of North Korean Studies, Kyungnam University, in Seoul). Please follow our links to this article on the 38North site. –CanKor.]

North Korea’s Strategic Outlook on Northeast Asia: The Syrian Litmus Test By Ruediger Frank

The Libyan story seems to be over, at least for now. We do not exactly know who is going to rule that country next and with what consequences. There is room for experience-based pessimism, but only time will tell. So it is now worth looking closer at another of the anti-dictatorship uprisings in the region. What is the meaning of Syria for North Korea?

The case is particularly interesting if we consider the international debate about its resolution. A few countries felt uneasy about intervening in Libya; however, in the case of Syria, one country is outspokenly against any international interference. That country is Russia, a long-time ally of Syria and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Two decades after the end of the Soviet Union, dissatisfaction and disillusionment on the individual level in Russia combines with nostalgia and translates into a deeply hurt national pride and an enormous anti-Western nationalist undercurrent in public opinion. The latter matters because, despite doubts about the nature of Russia’s democracy, political leaders there must consider the will of the masses if they want to get (re)elected. …Read More

CanKor Brain Trust member appointed to UN experts panel

CanKor extends heartfelt congratulations to Brain Trust member and former UK ambassador to the DPRK John Everard for his appointment to the Panel of Experts created by the UN Security Council in UN Security Council Resolution 1874 (after the DPRK’s May 2009 nuclear test).  The Panel assists the UN Committee established after the first nuclear test (the “1718 Committee”) in carrying out its mandate; gathers, examines and analyses information relevant to implementing the measures agreed by the Security Council; and recommends actions to improve their implementation.  He will be based in New York but will travel extensively because the Panel frequently inspects shipments of banned goods that have been intercepted by member states.

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