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U.S., ROK, Australian navies conduct joint WMD-interdiction exercises

 

U.S., ROK, Australian navies conduct joint WMD-interdiction exercises, By Dagyum Ji
Drills intended to combat illicit nuclear shipments to DPRK
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Kim Jong Un's October: quelling unease in the ruling party?

Kim Jong Un’s October: quelling unease in the ruling party? By Tristan Webb
In a major speech, the leader defended policy and called for party unity – elsewhere, he shared responsibilities with his wife

Kim Jong Un’s reported appearances in October were dominated by domestic politics, not least because of some substantial but routine personnel changes in the Party’s Central Committee. On DPRK politics, two things stand out in domestic reporting. First, there is more evidence of policy splits within the ruling party.

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Seoul places unilateral sanctions on 18 North Koreans

 

Seoul places unilateral sanctions on 18 North Koreans, By Dagyum Ji
New measures target individuals designated by U.S.Treasury, linked to DPRK’s illicit banking
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North Korean seafood exports to China drop to zero in September

North Korean seafood exports to China drop to zero in September, By Leo Byrne
DPRK rice purchases from China also saw a sharp decrease in the same month

North Korean exports of seafood dropped to zero in September, Chinese trade figures indicate, as a new UN resolution passed in August targeting the DPRK’s revenue streams took hold. Formerly one of the North’s most valuable exports earning the country in excess of $100 million a year, UN Resolution 2371 included the DPRK’s seafood shipments.

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Trump meets with families of Japanese abductees

 

Trump meets with families of Japanese abductees, By Kosuke Takahashi
Meeting comes as Prime Minister Abe promises new unilateral sanctions against DPRK

 

Top MHI-NK Stories from around the web:

 

Trump says U.S. will ‘decide soon’ on relisting N. Korea as terrorism sponsor (Yonhap News) U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday that Washington will “decide soon” whether to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Trump made the remark on Air Force One on his way to Japan to kick off his Asian trip, which will later take him to South Korea and China. During his three-day visit to Japan, Trump will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the two will likely reaffirm their stance of applying pressure on Pyongyang. Trump arrives in Asia at a time of heightened tensions, caused by the North’s sixth and most powerful nuclear blast test in September and a series of ballistic missile launches.

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84 pct of Americans say Trump willing to use military force against N.K.: poll (Yonhap News) A large majority of Americans believe their president is willing to use military force against North Korea to counter its nuclear and missile threats, according to a recent survey. The poll, conducted Oct. 25-30 by Pew Research Center,  found that 84 percent of Americans thought President Donald Trump is “really willing to use military force against North Korea.” It was published Friday as Trump embarked on his first trip to Asia, including South Korea, Japan and China.

Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it continues to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the American mainland.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they believe the communist regime is capable of striking the U.S. with a nuclear weapon, up from 47 percent in 2013. A similar number, 65 percent, said the North Korean leadership appears “really willing” to use that capability against the U.S.

The U.S. should take North Korea’s nuclear threats “very seriously,” according to 71 percent of Americans, up from 56 percent in 2013.

There was a sharp partisan divide in confidence in Trump’s ability to handle the North Korean threat.

While 80 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning people said they are at least somewhat confident in the president’s ability, only 9 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning people expressed the same view.

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Satellite photographs reveal North Korea’s crimes against humanity (Washington Post) Satellite photography has become an invaluable tool in the cause of human rights. David Hawk and Amanda Mortwedt Oh of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea used it to prepare a report providing unsettling details about a parallel set of prison camps in North Korea that exist along with the political camps exposed earlier.

These are places with “gated high walls and barbed wire fences, guard towers, dormitories, and workshops or mines,” further evidence that North Korea’s leaders have carried out crimes against humanity.

Previously, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry reported in 2014 on a chain of penal camps in North Korea operated by the Ministry of State Security, or secret police. These political or concentration camps are hidden and extrajudicial, and people can be held incommunicado for life. Family members are held there also. The camps are used to “preemptively purge, punish, and remove from North Korean society” those whom the regime fears might challenge their rule or their ideology, Mr. Hawk say

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Why Trump’s itinerary in Japan hints at re-listing North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism (Free Korea U.S.) Before Trump leaves Japan, he will leave no doubt that Pyongyang will go back on the SSOT, Stanton says. “Congress will not forgive the administration if it misses the deadline and only then says that it will not put Pyongyang back on the list…”                                                      ———————————————————————————

Slouching Toward War With North Korea (New York Times)

The Congressional Research Service last month estimated that as many as 300,000 people could die in the first few days of war — and that’s if it remains nonnuclear. If there is a nuclear exchange, “there easily could be a million deaths on the first day,” says Scott Sagan, an international security expert at Stanford.Sagan says the odds of war “are certainly greater than is widely recognized by the American public.”

President Trump is traveling in Asia this week, rallying countries to strengthen sanctions against North Korea. His past efforts at this have been quite successful, and during my recent visit to Pyongyang I saw signs that sanctions were biting.

But the goal appears doomed:“Almost no expert believes that sanctions will force Kim Jong-un to give up his nuclear weapons or halt his missile program. That puts us on a collision course, for North Korea seems determined to develop a clear capacity to target the U.S.with nuclear weapons, while the White House hints that it would rather have a war than allow the North to become a nuclear threat.

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