Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rumors of War - Nations in Distress

Kim Jong Un unpopular among top North Korea top officials - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A senior North Korean official who resigned because he was 'overcome with stress' was forced to return to his position under Kim Jong Un's orders. That and other signs indicate Kim Jong Un doesn't have adequate levels of support from top cadres of the Korean Workers' Party, said Ko Young-hwan, a former North Korean diplomat and defector. [...] North Korea has purged more than a hundred officials under Kim. In other parts of the country, ordinary North Koreans have 'given up hope' in the future of the Kim regime, and lead a hand-to-mouth existence on a daily basis, Ko said."

China's Xi Jinping warns against Korea instability - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Chinese President Xi Jinping told a ministerial gathering in Beijing his government would not tolerate any instability on the Korean peninsula. Speaking at the fifth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, or CICA, Xi said China is fully committed to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and to its peace and stability  [...] Twenty-six member countries, including Russia and South Korea, were in attendance. North Korea did not send a representative – but it was unclear whether Pyongyang had received an invitation in the wake of worsening relations with Beijing."

North Korea tightens security ahead of congress: South Korea | Reuters
Reuters reports: "North Korea has tightened security ahead of a ruling party congress, South Korea said on Friday, with authorities keen to avoid any 'mishap' at the gathering at which advances in the drive for nuclear weapons will likely be hailed. Thousands of delegates are expected in the capital, Pyongyang, from May 6 for the first congress in 36 years at which young leader Kim Jong Un is expected to cement his leadership and formally declare the country a nuclear-armed state. "

Comment: Although missile launches and bomb tests make a war initiated by North Korea a real concern, the primary threat is the implosion of the North Korean state. A bloodless coup is a possibility, if staged by a respected member of the party/military, but given how indoctrinated the military in that country is and how pervasive the cult of personality around Kim Jong Un is, it's likely that a coup would meet with strong resistance. A civil war between generals competing to be the next dictator is the more likely scenario. The upcoming party conference provides an ideal nexus for intrigue and machinations. If young Un can hold on to power over the next few weeks he may yet be able to stabilize his country...if he wants to.

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