Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un’s move to replace hardline spy chief creates fresh uncertainty in nuke talks

A major regime shake-up by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the eight weeks since his failed summit with President Trump has set U.S. officials on edge amid uncertainty over whether high-level personnel changes in Pyongyang will help or damage the stalled nuclear talks. With the prospect of a third Trump-Kim summit hanging in the balance, U.S. officials are scrambling to make sense of Mr. Kim’s apparent sidelining of top adviser Kim Yong-chol, a 73-year-old hard-liner and former intelligence chief disliked by the Trump administration, in favor of a much younger and lesser-known regime apparatchik named Jang Kum-chol. American and South Korean sources said that while Mr. Jang’s name was rarely mentioned by North Korea’s state-controlled media until two weeks ago, he has been an influential behind-the-scenes player for years, with a reputation for favoring diplomacy over hard-line confrontation. In his late-50s, Mr. Jang comes from an elite North Korean family and has spent his entire career working within the ruling Korean Workers’ Party United Front Department (UFD), a powerful intelligence arm of the regime that has long overseen relations with South Korea and increasingly with the United States, the sources said. He is believed to have been elevated to replace Kim Yong-chol as head of the UFD, although it is not clear whether that means Mr. Kim, who once threatened to turn South Korea into a “hell of fires” and is accused of masterminding a major 2014 cyberattack against the United States, is being punished by Kim Jong-un or pushed into a more background role. Either way, analysts say, Mr. Jang’s promotion can be read in a variety of ways at a time of maximum uncertainty in U.S.-North Korean diplomacy. “Outside observers may not be familiar with Jang, but he is well known within the power structure in Pyongyang, having spent his career in the UFD,” said Robert Collins, a senior adviser to the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea who has lived in South Korea more than four decades and is considered an authority on the regime in Pyongyang. “Jang also has a reputation there as a negotiator who is really the opposite of Kim Yong-chol, who is renowned for being an extreme hard nose in negotiations.” Longtime North Korea analyst Paik Haksoon, president of the Sejong Institute, a leading think tank in South Korea, went further, asserting that Mr. Jang’s sudden rise, coupled with the elevation last month of longtime nuclear negotiator and diplomat Choe Son-hui to the position of first vice foreign minister, was clearly meant by Kim Jong-un “to send a message.” “The North Koreans are playing politics by changing the players involved in the negotiations. By moving Jang and Choe to positions of more prominence, they are sending a signal to the Americans and to South Korea that North Korean negotiators may be more engaging diplomatically than Kim Yong-chol has been,” Mr. Paik said. “This is not a concession by North Korea,” he added, “but more of an overture to say that on a personal, attitudinal level, with regard to their personal negotiating styles, they could be more diplomatic.” But how they translate into tangible changes in the nuclear negotiations remains to be seen.

Indeed..  For more, click on the text above.

Trump cuts short North Korea summit after dispute over sanctions: ‘Sometimes you have to walk’

President Trump abruptly walked away from negotiations with North Korea in Vietnam and headed back to Washington on Thursday afternoon, saying the U.S. is unwilling to meet Kim Jong Un’s demand of lifting all sanctions on the rogue regime without first securing its meaningful commitment to denuclearization. Trump, speaking in Hanoi, Vietnam, told reporters he had asked Kim to do more regarding his intentions to denuclearize, and “he was unprepared to do that.” “Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said at a solo press conference following the summit. Trump specifically said negotiations fell through after the North demanded a full removal of U.S.-led international sanctions in exchange for the shuttering of the North’s Yongbyon nuclear facility. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the United States wasn’t willing to make a deal without the North committing to giving up its secretive nuclear facilities outside Yongbyon, as well as its missile and warheads program. “It was about the sanctions,” Trump said. “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.” “I’d much rather do it right than do it fast,” Trump added, echoing his remarks from earlier in the day, when he insisted that “speed” was not important. “We’re in position to do something very special.” Both leaders’ motorcades roared away from the downtown Hanoi summit site within minutes of each other after both a lunch and the signing ceremony were scuttled. Trump’s closing news conference was moved up, and he departed for Washington on Air Force One several hours ahead of schedule. The president said he trusted Kim’s promise that he would not resume nuclear and missile testing, but that the current U.S. sanctions would stay in place.

Sounds like Trump made the right call.  “Sometimes you have to walk.”  Indeed..  For more, click on the text above..

 

Statement from President Trump & Kim Jong Un

The following is the text of a joint statement signed by President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Singapore Summit on June 12, 2018. President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018. President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new U.S.–DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Convinced that the establishment of new U.S.–DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following: The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified. Having acknowledged that the U.S.–DPRK summit—the first in history—was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the U.S.–DPRK summit. President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.–DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.

Wow..  Who would have imagined this could have happened even three months ago?  The heads of Jim Acosta at CNN and the rest of the pathologically, deranged, rabid hate-Trump crowd at CNN, MSNBC, NBC and elsewhere must be exploding.  It’s a beautiful thing..    🙂

Pompeo: North Korea ‘Handful of Months’ Away from Threatening U.S. with Nuclear Weapons

Speaking at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) forum on the future of U.S. intelligence operations, CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned that North Korea could be a “handful of months” away from plausibly threatening the continental United States with nuclear weapons. Pompeo warned North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is advancing at a “very rapid clip.” He added that U.S. intelligence fears Kim would aggressively use nuclear weapons as a tool to conquer the entire Korean Peninsula. Pompeo repeated his recent warnings that “North Korea is ever closer to being able to hold America at risk,” but said the intelligence community is helping to hold them just shy of achieving their goals. “I said that was a handful of months,” he recalled. “I said the same thing several months before that. I want everyone to understand that we are working diligently to make sure that a year from now, I can still tell you they are several months away from having that capacity.” Later in his appearance, Pompeo clarified that he was not laying out a timeline where North Korea might be fielding nuclear missiles by the end of the summer, or anything quite so immediate. He said it was inappropriate to think in terms of timelines to landmark missile test launches. Instead, the real issue is reliability—“Can they reliably deliver the pain which Kim Jong-un wants to be able to deliver against the United States of America?” He explained: ” It’s one thing to be able to say, ‘Yes, it’s possible if everything went right, if the missile flew in the right direction, we could do it,’ as opposed to certainty. This is the core of deterrence theory. In the deterrence model, you have to be certain that what you aim to deliver will actually be successful. At the very least, you need to make sure your adversary believes that it is certain.” “That’s what Kim Jong-un is driving for. He is trying to put in our mind the reality that he can deliver that pain to the United States of America. Our mission is to make the day that he can do that as far off as possible,” Pompeo said. He disputed the commonly reported notion that the intelligence community was caught by surprise when North Korea’s nuclear program surged forward. “We’ll never get the week or the month right on something that’s this complicated, but we can get the direction of travel and the capacity for the rate of change right, and we did,” he insisted. During a question-and-answer session with AEI’s Marc Thiessen, Pompeo cautioned that he was not at liberty to divulge sensitive intelligence about North Korea, other than to say, “They have moved at a very rapid clip, make no mistake about it.” “They’re testing capacity has improved. The frequency that they have tests which are more materially successful has also improved, putting them ever closer to a place where Americans can be held at risk,” he said. Pompeo said the CIA believes Kim Jong-un to be a “rational actor,” and that his rational strategy is about more than achieving deterrence against conventional military action by the United States and its allies since the massive North Korean artillery threat to South Korean cities already provides such deterrence. Pompeo said the CIA believes that Kim wants “more than just regime preservation,” which is why the Trump administration is so determined to prevent him from achieving nuclear ICBM capability. They suspect Kim will not be content to become merely the latest authoritarian ruler sitting on an inventory of nuclear weapons he would never dare to use. Thiessen asked if Kim’s status as a “rational actor” meant limited military action to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program is possible since a rational state would not respond in a manner that guaranteed its own destruction. “I’m thrilled that you asked that. I’m equally happy not to answer,” Pompeo replied. “Let me say this, though: the American people should know we’re working to prepare a series of options to make sure that we can deliver a range of things, so the president will have the full suite of possibilities.” “We are in a much better place today than we were twelve months ago,” he said. “We are still suffering from having gaps. Part of that is not the intelligence community’s fault per se. These are difficult target sets. I’ll concede that at the outset. But it’s completely inadequate for the CIA to say, ‘Well, that’s a hard problem.’ Of course it’s a hard problem. That’s why you pay us.” He said the CIA’s top priorities in North Korea included analyzing its command structure, determining how sanctions affect various individuals and layers of North Korean society, and who might be helping the Kim regime mitigate the effects of sanctions.

Kim Jong Un’s bizarre North Korea propaganda photos

From a lubricant factory to an orphanage, potato factory or tire production center, Kim Jong Un has conducted many sporadic visits to odd and quirky North Korean sites throughout the years. Kim is often photographed with a massive grin and interacting with factory workers. Several officials also typically stand in the background taking notes — about something — during the visit, though the only details released about the trips come through KCNA. The visits are often described as “field guidance” from Kim and usually includes praise for the workers. At times, he’s joined by his rarely-seen wife, Ri Sol Ju, and his sister, Kim Yo Jong, with the women seen peering at glass cases of beauty products or standing behind the despot with a smile on their faces. Click here to see some bizarre photos of Kim during his visits.

North Korea’s plot to kill Kim Jong Un’s nephew foiled by Chinese officials, report says

Several North Korean agents were reportedly arrested after Chinese officials foiled an alleged plot to kill Kim Jong Un’s nephew— the son of the half-brother poisoned this year in a Malaysian airport. Two of the seven North Korean agents who were involved in the alleged plot were arrested in Beijing, South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported Monday, citing North Korean sources. The plot was stopped because Chinese officials increased security during the country’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party. “Special operatives belonging to the North’s reconnaissance squad have penetrated to remove Kim Han Sol, but some of them were arrested last week by the Chinese Ministry of National Security and are currently under investigation at special facilities outside Beijing,” the source told JongAng Ilbo. Kim Han Sol, who is reportedly in his 20s, surfaced in March after he released a video confirming the death of his father, Kim Jong Nam, who was killed in February when two women smeared the banned VX nerve agent on his face at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur airport. Speaking in English, Kim Jong Un’s nephew showed his passport as proof of his identity and said, “my father has been killed a few days ago.” He continued, “I’m currently with my mother and sister. We hope…” before the video’s audio abruptly cuts off. He ends with, “we hope this gets better soon.” Two women are on trial in Kim Jong Nam’s death. They have denied being part of the assassination plot and said they were duped into thinking they were playing a harmless prank for a reality television show. The involvement of missing North Korean agents have fueled a South Korea spy agency’s claim that the attack was part of a careful plot set up by Kim Jong Un to kill his brother. The half-brother and his family were living in exile since the early 2000s when Kim Jong Nam fell out of favor with his father, Kim Jong Il. Kim Han Sol, like many Kim family members, attended school outside of North Korea, including United World College in Mostar, Bosnia. He then moved to France to attend Paris Institute of Political Studies, the BBC reported. He is fluent in English. Kim previously spoke out about his “dictator” uncle during a 2012 interview on a Finnish TV show. “I’ve always dreamed that one day I would go back and make things better, and make things easier for the people back there. I also dream of unification,” Kim said about North Korea. He added that he spent summers in North Korea when his family was living in exile to “meet with my relatives and keep in touch with my family.” “I don’t really know how he became a dictator because first of all it was between him and my grandfather,” he said. The North Korean despot had his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, executed in 2013 and accused him of being a “traitor” and committing a series of “hideous crimes.” Reports claimed Kim Jong Un discovered a coup devised by his uncle and the Chinese government to overthrow him and his regime.

Kim Jong Un sends North Korean slaves to Russia to earn cash for regime

Brutal North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is shipping tens of thousands of impoverished citizens to Russia for the hard currency his cash-strapped regime desperately needs, Fox News has found. Alarmed human rights groups say the North Korea workers in Russia are little more than slaves, subjected to everything from cruel and violent acts to ruthless exploitation at the hands of corrupt officials, while being forced to turn over large chunks of their pay to the North Korean government. A report issued earlier this year by the Seoul-based Data Base Center for North Korean Human Rights estimates that about 50,000 North Korean laborers are working low-paying jobs in Russia. They send at least $120 million every year to the regime in Pyongyang. “The North Korean government maintains strict controls over their workers’ profits, in some cases probably taking 90 percent of their wages,” Scott Synder, director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy at the Council of Foreign Relations, said..

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