Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

U.S., South Korea, Japan say no to North Korea nukes -
UPI reports: "The United States, South Korea and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea after Kim Jong Un defended his weapons program at the Seventh Party Congress. [...] The three envoys had agreed to step up international pressure based on the principle of denuclearization. Additional sanctions would not be ruled out if it means it could lead to North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons, the foreign ministry said."

North Korea defends hydrogen bomb, blames U.S. for tensions -
UPI reports: "North Korea pointed the finger at the United States on Wednesday for Pyongyang's decision to develop a hydrogen bomb. [...]  Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA published a commentary claiming the United States, 'the world's largest nuclear power, has acted hostile toward us, escalating the nuclear threat.' 'Inevitably, we had to develop a nuclear weapon,' the North Korea statement read. [...] The message issued Wednesday and last week, however, could be for domestic propaganda purposes. The United States has repeatedly called for negotiations and for the easing of tensions but has insisted denuclearization is key to the talks."

No substantial reform in North Korea, Seoul ministry official says -
UPI reports: "No meaningful outcome has emerged in North Korea after the Seventh Party Congress, South Korea's unification minister said Tuesday. Speaking before a parliamentary committee, Hong Yong-pyo said the Kim Jong Un regime has no new strategy that departs from the 'teachings of the departed,' or the earlier generation, Yonhap reported. "

Comment: While young Un survived his first party congress without a coup or assassination, it's clear that the mood in the country has changed. Unless he can deliver some improvement in living standards the chances of his elimination by a rival remain high. I'm betting the purges will continue, if for no other reason than to keep his rivals off balance. The real worry is that he may seek to use an international crisis to unify party and military leaders and cement his leadership.  

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