Thursday, May 10, 2018


Problem is we don't know quite what.

As I write this an aircraft is about to touch down at Andrews AFB just outside Washington with three Americans freed from prison in the DKR on the orders of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un.

Last week in Wellington I was party to a briefing on North Korea by a senior MFAT diplomat.    He made the following points:

#1   The economic sanctions, engineered by Trump and Xi Jinping, have had a devastating effect on the North Korean economy.

#2   Kim Jong-Un is his own man.    Western educated he is NOT like his father.

#3   The North Koreans had the measure of Obama.    Talk tough but when push came to shove he wimped out.   With Trump it's different.   His very unpredictably has them 'spooked' (my words).

#4   Up until now Kim has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with his Generals but that may be changing as technocrats in the ruling Workers Party appear to be challenging the old guard leadership with the support of Kim.

#5   Underpinning the talks that are about to talk place between Trump and Kim is the reality that the North Koreans have reneged on every agreement they have ever signed regarding their nuclear weapons program.    The West will insist on unfettered and ongoing access to the DKRs nuclear sites in return for the lifting of sanctions.   It is moot whether North Korea will agree to this.

#6   The talks could either go very well or very badly.

#7   North Korea has the largest military in the world.   The KPA has 1,106,000 active and 8,389,000
reserve and para military troops.    How will the Generals react to any attempt to scale back the military ... how does an essentially peasant economy absorb any significant demobilization?   

No-one knows for sure how this will play out.

Point #7 is mine. 


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

They might have the largest numerical military in the world but what of it's quality?

Starving soldiers are not the best foundation for defense.

I wonder if Kim suspects his military might turn against him in return for a decent feed?

Anonymous said...

1/. Trump engineered bugger all. The Norks have been living with sanctions since 2000 and it was the recent Chinese border closure on just about everything that broke the back of the Norks. hey are in the main not US sanctions but UN sanctions nad Trumps recent tweaking has had little to do with it.....

2/. Going to to a highly expensive Swiss school that caters for for high profile and at risk students does not qualify as being "western" educated. Assad was trained as an eye surgeon in the UK.....look what that got us. Half the sword of honour winners from Sandhurst turned into egotistical shits who turned into dictators.

3/. Obama left the decisions to the UN and did not act unilateral against the rule of law. The Iran debacle is a part of a UN agreement NOT a US agreement and Trump is acting like the a dictator and world policeman.

4/. Crystal ball time.

5/. Best not talk about reneging on nuclear agreements at the moment.

6/. Speculation, but I beleive that he will denuke IF the south also bans all nukes including those on US ships entering the waters....we all know how that one worked..not.

7/. A large percentage of the German population thought hat Hitler would save them at the last minute such was 10 years brainwashing and they fought to the last....this lot have had 80 years of mind manipulation. They will fight to the bitter end.

Lord Egbut the hopeful

Noel said...

It's a trip into the past.
All this spin reminds me of the Nixon/China summit.
How long have sanctions been imposed to be supported or flouted?
A decade at least?

Gerald said...

J Bloggs said...

To Kim Jong Un, unlike his father and grandfather, the Korean war is history, not lived experience. He may not be as invested in the whole re-unification by military conquest ideals of Kim Jong Sun or Kim Jong Il. It costs him nothing to renounce that goal and push for a peace (rather than an ongoing ceasefire) that has the USA and South Korea accept that North Korea is an independant state (De jure recognition of the de facto reality of the past 65 years).

Also, given the recent changes to the leadership in China (Xi Jingping becoming leader for life), he might also be looking over his shoulder at the behemoth sitting on his other border, and think that easing things off with S. Korea might give him manouevering room (just in case....)

Shelldrake said...


How many Sword of Honour winners have there been at the Royal Military Academy?

Name the half who became dictators?

Anonymous said...

Shelldrake...hyperbole my son hyperbole.... My point is that the British and French have military trained half the past dictators the world has seen....the other half went to Oxford. "Western" education means little.

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

J Bloggs ... thoughtful comment.

Egbut ... methinks your view of Trump has clouded your thinking on this one. The comment that the meeting now confirmed for S'pore could turn out positively or negatively is hardly rocket science but, should Trump pull it off with North Korea signing a peace treaty in return for ...... he will have succeeded where nine of his immediate predecessors failed. IMHO ongoing and unfettered verification is the key.

Your point about banning US nukes from Korean waters is a straw-man argument. US surface ships do not carry nukes. Subs, yes and US nuclear submarines are going to remain in the South China Sea, the Sea of Japan and the Pacific for the foreseeable future along with their counterparts from China and Russia.

Re 80 (70) years of 'brainwashing' and yep but you haven't taken into account that North Korea society is steeped in Confucian practice where the Kim dynasty is revered. What Kim says goes and if he says he's done a deal with the West that 'they' can live with then the great unwashed will give thanks ... the Generals might be a different story though.

Anonymous said...

Veteran.....right, and wrong re navy......All nuclear weapons in the United States’ arsenal fall under the purview/ownership of the National Nuclear Security Administration, an agency within the Department of Energy. This is a crucial additional layer of oversight. Only strategic nuclear weapons remain deployed with the US Navy. And surface fleet missile systems are not equipped with nuclear warheads. Tactical weapons still exist however, and the Navy still has access to them.

Back to confirm or deny which we had so much fun with years ago.

Lord Egbut