Posts Tagged Kim Jong-un

Rodman: I should finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize | The Daily Caller


Rodman: ‘If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong’

Gabe Finger

 

Dennis Rodman touted his diplomatic relationship and friendship with North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un and said that his efforts should put him in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize, in an interview with Sports Illustrated Tuesday.

Rodman defended the man he has been criticized for befriending.

“Fact is, he hasn’t bombed anywhere he’s threatened to yet. Not South Korea, not Hawaii, not … whatever. People say he’s the worst guy in the world. All I know is Kim told me he doesn’t want to go to war with America. His whole deal is to talk basketball with Obama. Unfortunately, Obama doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. I ask, Mr. President, what’s the harm in a simple phone call? This is a new age, man. Come on, Obama, reach out to Kim and be his friend.”

But until President Obama befriends the supreme leader to “talk basketball,” Rodman said he plans on being responsible for U.S. diplomatic relations.

“My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries, Why it’s been left to me to smooth things over, I don’t know. Dennis Rodman, of all people,” he said. “Keeping us safe is really not my job; it’s the black guy’s job. But I’ll tell you this: If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong.”

Obama himself won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Rodman has previously discussed his friendship with Kim on ABC’s This Week.


Rodman: I should finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize | The Daily Caller.

 

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Kim Jong-un Defends Right to Obtain Journalists’ Phone Records : The New Yorker


MAY 14, 2013

KIM JONG-UN DEFENDS RIGHT TO OBTAIN JOURNALISTS’ PHONE RECORDS

POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ

boro-jong-un-ap-post.jpg

PYONGYANG (The Borowitz Report)—As controversy swirled around the Department of Justice’s move to obtain journalists’ phone records, the White House picked up a vote of support today from an unexpected source, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

“I honestly don’t see what the fuss is all about,” Mr. Kim said in an official statement today. “Of course it’s the government’s right to know what people are doing at all times—and journalists would be right at the top of the list.”

Mr. Kim also offered a vigorous defense of the I.R.S. policy of auditing the tax returns of organizations that oppose the government: “Again, this is something I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep over, and I know Dad felt the same way.”

In what was an otherwise laudatory statement about the activities of the U.S. government, Mr. Kim offered one small critique: “They could save themselves the work of conducting audits and obtaining phone records if they would just get rid of journalists and anti-government groups in the first place. But, you know, baby steps.”

All in all, news of the I.R.S. audits and phone-records scandals have given the mercurial dictator hope that North Korea and the United States might have warmer relations in the future: “We have a lot more in common than I thought.”

 Kim Jong-un Defends Right to Obtain Journalists’ Phone Records  : The New Yorker.

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Norkoshop: How Pyongyang well and truly forked Adobe • The Register


Norkoshop: How Pyongyang well and truly forked Adobe

 

El Reg exclusively reveals Kim Jong-Un’s photo propaganda tool

By Lester Haines 

The recent news that North Korea had been caught red-handed indulging in some not-so-light hovercraft cloning, led our beloved Reg commenters to ponder just what software Pyongyang uses to big up its military capabilities.

One initial suggestion was that the communist state’s Illustrious Father and Leader, Kim Jong-Un, had forked the Gimp, presumably with the assistance of an enormous dongle, and at great risk of provoking a catastrophic innuendo melt-down.

Although snaffling some open source software and bending it to your dark will appears the line of least resistance towards a mighty photo propaganda machine, we at The Register can sensationally reveal today that it is in fact Adobe which has been well and truly forked.

By means which we’re not currently at liberty to divulge, we’ve managed to get our hands on a copy of “Most Glorious Kim Jong Il 사진Shop”, named in honour of North Korea’s former leader, but which we’ve dubbed “Norkoshop”, for reasons which will become apparent.

Out of the Norkoshop box come one program CD, an additional CD of plug-ins and approved library images, plus a delightful bonus DVD featuring a CGI-rendered missile strike on South Korea backed by an instrumental version of Queen’s We Are The Champions.

Installation couldn’t be easier: just slip the CD into your PC, provide your Party Member’s number, answer a few simple screening questions about North Korea’s impressive agricultural output over the last decade, and you’re away.

Here’s a basic screen shot (click on this and subsequent images for a bigger version):

The basic Norkoshop layout

Well, it’s quite evident whose code drives Norkoshop. The start-up interface does, though, show a few subtle tweaks, including the background automatic slideshow of square-chinned propaganda images.

This is paraded to the sound of a medley of rousing patriotic anthems, including farmers’ fave O Great Jong-Un, Father of Bounteous Melon Harvest and When I’m Forking Windows, played by the Korean People’s Army Ukulele and Clogdancing Cadre in the style of the great George Formby.

As you can imagine, the novelty quickly wears off, and it took us a while to work out that unchecking “Snap To Attention” kills the musical entertainment and the slideshow.

Taking a quick scoot around the menus, it’s noticeable that the default styles selection is somewhat limited, as is the range of available fonts. You can choose between the suitably utilitarian sans serif “Jong Il”, and its bold/condensed/italic flavours, the slightly more flamboyant “Divine Flourish of Eternal Struggle”, and “State Bureau Number 6″ – actually a crude faux typewriter script presumably used for creating old-school-style PDF death warrants.

On the surface, the tools menu looks identical to that of its decadent capitalist running dog lackey father, although it’s inexplicably lacking a “History Brush” option, which by our reckoning would be pretty handy if you’re trying to gloss over reports of last year’s wheat harvest.

Nonetheless, there are a couple of advanced tools lurking in there. The first to catch our eye shows exactly how North Korea magically breeds hovercraft, and it’s not just a matter of a quick copy-and-paste.

In fact, Norkoshop has a dedicated clone tool for military arsenal augmentation, whose drop-down menu allows you to select massed ranks of infantry, ICBMs, tanks or just about any other weapon of war for immediate insertion into images.

Here’s the recent snap of the KPA (Korean People’s Army) Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597 storming a beach somewhere on the country’s east coast, ready for the cloning treatment:

Preparing to clone hovercraft in beach assault photo

We stress that you don’t need to copy anything from the original photograph. Having tweaked the output parameters in the right-hand menu, you merely click on the image and voilà:

The photo after treatment, with added hovercraft

Truly remarkable, but there’s more. While any self-respecting totalitarian regime needs the ability to add virtual weaponry, it’s also important to be able to remove undesirable elements. In the good old days, countries like the Soviet Union would have teams of dedicated artists slaving over photographic prints, erasing comrades who’d incurred the state’s wrath.

Many a poor general found himself disappeared from official snaps, before the lads in the long black leather coats called at the door bearing a one-way ticket to the Gulags. The amount of work involved in visually expunging miscreants was tremendous, but mercifully North Korean retouchers are spared such slog, because Norkoshop boasts a fully automatic “Erase From History” tool.

Try the following example of an officer condemned for an “excessively casual stance” in the presence of Kim Jong-Un…

The magic effect of erase from history, with replacement celebrities

In a jiffy, he’s history. As an added bonus, the “AutoCeleb” option substitutes him for a range of international luminaries, the better to illustrate Pyongyang’s cordial relations with enlightened western stars.

Finally, we’d like to highlight the magnificent “State-Approved Haircut” brush, which will tame the most unruly barnet in accordance with government hairstyle edicts.

So, for parents fearful that their son’s penchant for the mullet might be the first step on a not-so-shining path to a forced labour camp, help is at hand.

Norkoshop grab showing untreated youth with errant hair

As with the armaments cloning tool, the State-Approved Haircut requires no more user input than opening the offending image and selecting a hairstyle, with the additional option of throwing a “Desired Character” into the mix. Once you’re happy with your choices, Norkoshop magically does the rest:

The treated photo, complete with Kim Jong-Il haircut and military uniform

What really wowed us was the “Military Service” filter, which along with “Noble Peasant” and “Humble Servant” state bureaucrat choices, provides clothing suitable for a true son of North Korea and a really nice wavy flag background. Amazing.

Well, we’re impressed, although quite what Adobe’s lawyers will make of it remains to be seen. We’d imagine some legal sword-rattling is imminent, to which Pyongyang’s response is likely to be a video showing ICBMs raining down on the company’s California HQ, as the Peasant Collective Number 13 Kazoo Orchestra blasts out The Final Countdown.

And yes, the whole audiovisual experience will be created on “Kim Jong-Un Koremiere” vid-editing software.

 Norkoshop: How Pyongyang well and truly forked Adobe • The Register.

 

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Failed North Korean Launching a Setback for Kim Jong-un – NYTimes.com


Rocket Failure May Be Test of North Korean Leader’s Power

 

Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

A North Korean news broadcaster was seen on a television in a Pyongyang hotel restaurant on Friday announcing the failure of the rocket launching.

 

By CHOE SANG-HUN and DAVID E. SANGER
April 13, 2012

 

SEOUL, South Korea — For the new North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, the spectacular failure of a rocket meant to put a satellite into orbit was more than a $1 billion humiliation. It could be the first test of whether anyone will dare challenge his rule, and raises the question, American officials said, of whether he will be tempted to recover by staging a larger provocation.

 

Bobby Yip/Reuters

In Pyongyang on Friday after the failure of the rocket launching, North Koreans attended a ceremony unveiling statues of the North’s founder, Kim Il-sung, and of the late leader Kim Jong-il.

 

Bobby Yip/Reuters

The Unha-3 rocket at the West Sea Satellite launch site in Pyongyang on April 8.

 

Mr. Kim wanted to mark his formal ascension to top political power — timed to the country’s biggest holiday in decades, the 100th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather and North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung — with fireworks, real and symbolic. Instead, the rocket carrying the satellite splintered harmlessly into the gray-blue waters of the Yellow Sea, and the North Korean government apparently concluded it had no choice but to tell its citizens the embarrassing news, which was bound to get around in a country that now has at least one million cellphones. It was the first time the country had admitted such a defeat.

For President Obama and his allies, though, the bigger question was not the fate of an aging rocket technology, but the future of a young dictator. The failure injected new unpredictability at an already uncertain time, when Kim Jong-un is trying to consolidate power, and raised new questions only weeks after Mr. Obama suggested that it was unclear who was really running North Korea.

There was considerable speculation on Friday among American and South Korean officials that Mr. Kim and his military, to re-establish some credibility, would stage a new nuclear test, for which preparations have been evident on satellite photographs for several weeks. “The North Koreans have tended to pursue patterns of provocative actions,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, told reporters aboard Air Force One.

The embarrassment means the United States probably has more time before it has to worry about the North’s ability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, one that could reach the West Coast. Until now, the American assessment had been that the North could have that capability within five years. (The technology to launch a small satellite into orbit is virtually identical to the missile technology to launch a warhead, so the rocket failure Friday suggests problems with the missile program.)

But American officials said that was little solace. There is a risk, even if a remote one, that the North will repeat the kind of attacks on a border island and a South Korean Navy vessel in 2010 for which it has been blamed.

The very fact that the rocket test happened meant that the young Mr. Kim, believed to be about 28, was either willing to defy China, which warned against the test, or was overruled by others in the power structure. The first option is worrisome, because it would suggest that, as the Chinese claim, they have very little influence. The second could suggest a struggle for influence, if not actual leadership. In an opaque country that is fiercely armed and is believed to have a half-dozen or more nuclear weapons or the plutonium to produce them, the idea of power struggles makes officials nervous.

“Frankly,” one senior American intelligence official said before the launching’s failure, “I’d rather have an unstable Kim Jong-un in charge than a free-for-all where you are wondering who’s really in control of the arsenal.”

Recent machinations over a deal in which the North promised to suspend some nuclear work for American food aid, then reneged quickly on a pledge to suspend long-range missile tests, at least raised the possibility that such a power struggle could be under way. And despite American officials’ worries, there is one situation in which it could lead to more moderate behavior: if the failed missile launching emboldens those who have long believed in reaching some accord with the West and now can make the case that hard-liners fumbled the provocation, which in the end scuttled the agreement to bring in much-needed food.

The launching drew swift, if predictable and somewhat toothless, international condemnation; the United Nations Security Council has prohibited such tests by the North for years, and Pyongyang has ignored it for just as long. But whatever steps the Security Council takes are likely to be weak — there are few sanctions left that have not already been attempted, and there are fears that stronger action could simply push the North to conduct a nuclear test, as it has done when condemned in the past.

Despite the embarrassing setback, Mr. Kim was installed hours after the rocket fizzled as the new head of the National Defense Commission, his country’s highest state agency, during a parliamentary meeting. That was the last among the top military, party and state posts that have been transferred to him after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in December.

For the launching, North Korea has recently completed a new site near the western border with China — at a cost of $400 million, according to South Korean estimates. The rocket itself cost another $450 million, the South Korean government believes. And the lost American food aid was estimated to be worth $200 million, driving the effective cost of the test above $1 billion in a country that cannot feed its own people.

The rocket reached only about 94 miles in altitude, far less than the 310 miles required to place a satellite into orbit and, as North Korean officials liked to say, present “a gift” to the closest the North Koreans have to a deity: Kim Il-sung.

In a socialist country steeped in the traditions of a Confucian dynasty, it is of paramount importance for the country’s new leader to embellish his rise to power with events that show his loyalty to his forefathers while demonstrating his own abilities to lead, analysts said. This launching was supposed to represent that moment: Both Kim Il-sung and his son, Kim Jong-il, ever fearful of an attack from the United States, had dreamed of North Korea having an effective nuclear deterrent, and that requires functioning missiles that could be fitted with weapons and reach the West.

“The main drive behind the rocket launch was domestic politics,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul and a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. “They wanted to introduce the Kim Jong-un era with a big celebratory bang. They wanted to make their people believe that they were now a powerful nation.”

The government, more famous for shutting off its country from the outside world, had intensified the prelaunching publicity. It trumpeted the satellite program as a key achievement of Kim Jong-un’s, claiming that he had personally directed a previous satellite launching in 2009. It also invited dozens of foreign journalists to visit the launching site and command and control center.

South Korea did not lose the opportunity to jab at the North’s hurt pride. “It is very regrettable that North Korea is spending enormous resources on developing nuclear and missile capabilities while ignoring the urgent welfare issue of the North Korean people,” said its foreign minister, Kim Sung-hwan.

Others were struck by the enormous loss of face for the country’s leadership.

“It is hard to imagine a greater humiliation,” a North Korea expert, Marcus Noland, wrote on his blog at the Web site of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

“The North Koreans have managed in a single stroke to not only defy the U.N. Security Council, the United States and even their patron China, but also demonstrate ineptitude,” Mr. Noland wrote. “Some of the scientists and engineers associated with the launch are likely facing death or the gulag as scapegoats for this embarrassment.”

Launching failures are not uncommon even for rich and technologically advanced nations. “This stuff is really hard to do,” David C. Wright, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a private group in Cambridge, Mass., said in an interview.

But in the myth-filled world of the Kim dynasty, there is little room for failure. The North’s two previous attempts to put a satellite into orbit failed, according to American officials, but both times the government insisted that the satellites were circling the earth, broadcasting songs about its great leaders.

Why the government changed its strategy this time, and told its people what happened, remains one of many unknowns about the North. Some analysts attributed it to the realization that the news would seep into the country anyway with so many cellphones smuggled from China, and North Korean merchants regularly crossing the Chinese border to bring home goods in short supply at home. Others speculated that it could not keep up a pretense with so many foreign reporters on hand.

One thing that is certain: the timing could not have been worse. The government announcement on television interrupted a show staged specifically to celebrate Kim Il-sung’s centenary. The show’s theme: his guiding principle of juche, or self-reliance, in defiance of the world.

 Failed North Korean Launching a Setback for Kim Jong-un – NYTimes.com.

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Why North Korea’s Rocket Mattered – NYTimes.com


Why North Korea’s Rocket Mattered

By SUNG-YOON LEE
Published: April 13, 2012

 

MEDFORD, Mass.

Oliver Munday and Jason Arias

SPECTACULAR failure though it was,North Korea’s latest rocket launching calls for punitive measures from America and its allies. Bad engineering is no reason for complacency; the benchmark for American policy must be North Korea’s intent. And for decades, that government has been determined to develop nuclear-tipped long-range missiles that would give it leverage over the United States on a host of issues.

It’s predictable that the misfire has triggered over-analysis and scapegoating, with calls for calm and tales of an internal power struggle between “hawks” and “doves” in the new Kim Jong-un government. Others say America and South Korea should re-engage the government in Pyongyang. Both views ignore the fact that Kim Jong-un is following a path of alternating provocations and peace offensives paved by his grandfather Kim Il-sung and perfected by his father, Kim Jong-il.

No government enjoys total unanimity. But the notion that in totalitarian North Korea, a few disgruntled military men might put their foot down and reverse a course of engagement set by their leader is foolish. It ignores the nature of the power structure in the North. For more than a half-century, the Kim clan has kept the military in line through vicious purges, competition that fosters loyalty to the leader, selective rewards and a multilayered security apparatus. While a military clique may one day challenge or even overthrow Kim Jong-un, the notion that the military wields a veto now is a mirage that plays into North Korea’s stratagems.

And for those inclined to believe that the North can be persuaded to change its behavior with inducements, consider this: Except for the invasion of the South in 1950, North Korea has never suffered a lasting or devastating penalty for its many attacks and provocations. On the contrary, it has often been rewarded for false pledges.

From January 1968 to December 1969, North Korea acted with impunity: It sent commandos into Seoul in a failed effort to kill the South Korean president, Park Chung-hee; it seized the United States Navy spy ship Pueblo and its crew, killing one sailor and holding 82 prisoners for 11 months until it got an apology from the Johnson administration; it shot down an American reconnaissance plane, killing 31 servicemen aboard, on Kim Il-sung’s birthday in 1969; and it ambushed and killed four American soldiers patrolling the military demarcation line in October 1969.

A thaw followed in the early 1970s, thanks to American rapprochement with China. Talks between North and South ensued. Kim Il-sung called for diplomatic talks with America. But then North Korea resumed attacks. In 1974 it made another attempt on President Park’s life, in which his wife died. In 1976 North Korean guards hacked two American soldiers to death.

In 1983, as North Korea sought talks with America, its agents targeted the South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan, with a bomb in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar). He survived, but 17 other South Korean officials died. In 1998 North Korea fired a missile over Japan while America, South Korea and Japan were sending energy aid. In 2006 it test-fired a long-range missile on July 5 and staged its first nuclear test three months later. In 2009, it launched a long-range rocket in April and tested a nuclear device on Memorial Day.

In all of these episodes, North Korea was never penalized in any meaningful way. Indeed, several provocations were followed by blandishments — rewards, in effect — in the form of food, fuel and cash from North Korea’s risk-averse adversaries in Seoul and Washington.

This record shows that North Korea doesn’t respond to either rhetorical hostility or diplomatic civility. Its latest ballistic stunt followed a long pattern of ignoring outside warnings. But the American response should not also be the usual — strong on rhetorical condemnation, weak on punitive action and generous in damage-control concessions. North Korea clearly seeks to continue this profitable cycle by dangling before America the possibility of denuclearization, even as it conducts missile and nuclear tests.

Now, as Kim Jong-un is believed to be preparing for another nuclear test, the question remains how much longer America and its allies will take before devising a new collective strategy — one that does not settle for short-term diplomatic gains at the cost of long-term strategic interests.

They can start by responding to the failed launching on Friday as if it had succeeded. The Obama administration is correct to cancel food shipments, which were contingent on a halt to missile and nuclear tests. But it should go further and act with its allies to hit the Kim government itself — by tightening economic sanctions aimed at the privileged few at the top of the Kim dynasty’s power structure; by not relenting in that pressure for the mere privilege of talking with North Korea; and by taking new measures to counter the propaganda apparatus with which the government controls the long-suffering North Korean people.

That may not stem North Korea’s provocations in the short term. But the alternative is, at best, another half-century of putting up with provocations from the North or, far worse, a major nuclear crisis that ends in a devastating war.

 Why North Korea’s Rocket Mattered – NYTimes.com.

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Borowitz Report – North Korea Expelled from Axis of Evil


North Korea Expelled from Axis of Evil

Ahmadinejad Cites ‘Lack of Evil’

 

PYONGYANG (The Borowitz Report ) – Just hours after an embarrassing launch of a rocket that crashed to the ground in a little over a minute, North Korea suffered another blow to its prestige as it was expelled from the Axis of Evil.

The decision was announced by the presiding Chairman of the Axis of Evil, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cited as the reason for the expulsion North Korea’s evident “lack of evil.”

“There are a lot of evil countries out there, Iran for one, who are trying to terrify the world by developing nuclear weapons,” he said.  “When North Korea launches a so-called ‘rocket’ and it goes about twenty feet before blowing up, that just makes it harder for the rest of us.”

A spokesman for the erstwhile evil nation objected strongly to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement, saying it was  “totally unfair to judge how evil a country is based on one crappy rocket.”

For a rogue nation that prides itself on threatening the world community, membership in the Axis of Evil is considered essential, which makes North Korea’s expulsion from the group a particularly damaging setback.

“The rocket thing is hurting our credibility, evil-wise, no question about it,” one aide to North Korean President Kim Jong-un said today.  “This afternoon we tried to threaten Japan and it went straight to voicemail.”

In a possible sign of newly reduced ambitions, North Korea today hurled a roll of toilet paper over the border at South Korea.

Mr. Ahmadinejad offered no comment about the latest incident on the Korean Peninsula, other than to say, “Really, the whole thing is kind of sad.”

 Borowitz Report.

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Failed North Korean Launch a Setback for Kim Jong-un – NYTimes.com


Rocket Failure Is Setback for North Korea’s New Leader

Vincent Yu/Associated Press

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, right, attended an unveiling ceremony for statues of late leaders in Pyongyang on Friday

By CHOE SANG-HUN

Published: April 13, 2012

 

SEOUL, South Korea — For the new North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, his government’s failure to put a satellite into orbit on Friday was a $1 billion humiliation.

David Guttenfelder/Associated Press

A news conference on the rocket launching in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Bobby Yip/Reuters

The Unha-3 rocket at the West Sea Satellite launch site in Pyongyang on April 8.

Mr. Kim wanted to mark his formal ascension to top political power — timed to the country’s biggest holiday in decades, the 100th birthday of his grandfather and North Korean founder, Kim Il-sung — with fireworks, real and symbolic. And the launching of its Kwangmyongsong, or Bright Shining Star, satellite was the marquee event.

On Friday, the satellite disintegrated in a different kind of fireworks. The rocket carrying it exploded midair about two minutes after the liftoff, according to American, South Korean and Japanese officials. The rocket and satellite, which cost the impoverished country an estimated $450 million to build, according to South Korean government estimates, splintered into many pieces and plunged into the gray blue waters of the Yellow Sea.

The launching drew swift international condemnation; the United Nations Security Council has prohibited such tests by North Korea for fear they are pretexts for testing missiles that could eventually deliver nuclear bombs. But the failure was at least as worrisome, injecting a new note of unpredictability at an already uncertain time, with Kim Jong-un still trying to consolidate power just months after his father’s death.

Most analysts believe the failed test will encourage the military — with Mr. Kim as its official leader — to take some provocative action to bolster its credentials, increasing the likelihood of a nuclear test that the country appeared to already be preparing. But the recent machinations over a deal with the United States, in which the North made an agreement for food aid, then reneged quickly, have at least raised the possibility that a power struggle was already under way. That raised questions about whether the launch failure would hurt hardliners and embolden those who believe the North has an opportunity to extract new concessions from the West if it avoids further provocation. At the United Nations, the Security Council met in emergency consultations Friday but took no action to punish the North for the launching. The council said in a statement that it “deplored this launch” as a violation of two Security Council resolutions, 1718 and 1874, which prohibit North Korea from conducting such activity and penalize the country with an arms embargo and other sanctions. The statement said the council would “continue consultations on an appropriate response, in accordance with its responsibilities, given the urgency of the matter.”

Briefing reporters afterward, Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador and rotating council president, declined to specify whether a further response would include new sanctions on North Korea, but she said “we think it’s important that the Council respond credibly. And we will be working in that direction.”

Despite the embarrassing technology setback, Mr. Kim was installed hours after the launching as the new head of the national defense commission, his country’s highest state agency, during a parliamentary meeting in the country’s capital, Pyongyang, on Friday. That was the last among the top military, party and state posts that have been transferred to him from his father, Kim Jong-il, who died in December.

For the launching and probably other future tests, North Korea has recently completed a brand new launch site near the western border with China — at a cost of $400 million according the South Korean estimates.

The rocket reached only about 94 miles in altitude, far less than 310 miles required to place a satellite into orbit and, as North Korean officials liked to say, present “a gift” to the closest the North Koreans had to a heavenly God: Kim Il-sung.

In a socialist country steeped in the traditions of a Confucian dynasty, it is of paramount import for the young leader, Mr. Kim, to embellish his rise to power with events that showed his loyalty to his forefathers while demonstrating his own abilities to lead, analysts said. Both Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, ever fearful of an attack from the United States, had dreamed of North Korea having a functioning nuclear deterrent; American intelligence officials already believe the country has the fuel for several bombs, but they do not yet believe it has figured out how to deliver those warheads on missiles that could threaten the West.

“The main drive behind the rocket launch was domestic politics,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul and a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. “They wanted to introduce the Kim Jong-un era with a big celebratory bang. They wanted to make their people believe that they were now a powerful nation.”

The government, more famous for shutting off its country from the outside world, had intensified the pre-launch publicity. It trumpeted the satellite program as a key achievement of Mr. Kim, claiming that he had personally directed a previous satellite launching in 2009. It also invited foreign journalists to visit the launch site and command and control center.

The result was more than a loss of face. North Korea lost 240,000 tons of food aid, estimated to be worth $200 million, that Washington had promised in February but then said it was canceling because of the announced rocket launch.

South Korea did not lose the opportunity to jab at the North’s hurt pride.

“It is very regrettable that North Korea is spending enormous resources on developing nuclear and missile capabilities while ignoring the urgent welfare issue of the North Korean people such as chronic food shortages,” said its foreign minister, Kim Sung-hwan.

“It is hard to imagine a greater humiliation,” a North Korea expert, Marcus Noland, saidon his blog at the Web site of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economicsin Washington.

“The North Koreans have managed in a single stroke to not only defy the U.N. Security Council, the United States and even their patron China, but also demonstrate ineptitude,” Mr. Noland said. “Some of the scientists and engineers associated with the launch are likely facing death or the gulag as scapegoats for this embarrassment.”

Launch failures are not uncommon even for rich and technologically advanced nations. But in the myth-filled world of the Kim family, there is little room for failure. The North’s two previous attempts to put a satellite into orbit failed, according to American officials, but both times the government insisted that the satellites were circling the earth and broadcasting songs about its great leaders.

This time, it had to admit to failure, analysts said, because of the presence of so many foreign reporters and because neighboring countries were watching the much-anticipated launch more closely than ever. On Friday, the North’s Central TV interrupted its regular programs to report the news. While this indicated that the government was not withholding the political embarrassment from its people, foreign reporters in Pyongyang said four long hours of eerie silence passed before the government admitted to its abortive launch.

Still, analysts warned, it was not a time for the North’s critics to gloat.

The North’s admission “suggests that, although a major setback to North Korea’s plan to celebrate Kim Il-sung’s centenary with a demonstration of hi-tech prowess, it is not such an embarrassment that they would try to deny it,” said John Delury, a North Korea expert at Yonsei University in Seoul. “There will be more propaganda opportunities over the weekend that perhaps can make up for the satellite’s fizzle.”

One question that Friday’s failed launch raises is: Where will the new leadership turn now for a much needed legitimization of Mr. Kim’s dynastic succession?

“Now it has become more certain that North Korea will raise tensions and go ahead with its third nuclear test to recover some of its lost face, especially if the United States pushes for more sanctions,” said Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst at Sejong Institute.

 Failed North Korean Launch a Setback for Kim Jong-un – NYTimes.com.

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Borowitz Report – To the People of Iowa


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POSTED JANUARY 2, 2012

A Letter from Kim Jong-un

To the People of Iowa

 

PYONGYANG (The Borowitz Report) – The following is a letter from Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, to the people of Iowa.

Dear Voters of Iowa:

In December I became Supreme Leader of North Korea.  Pretty amazing development for a twentysomething who at the time was still living at home and spending all day playing Angry Birds.  But there I was, receiving the cheers of millions of North Koreans, who usually don’t get that excited unless they’ve caught sight of a pork sandwich.  (LOL)

Here is why I am writing to you today: on Tuesday, you will go to your caucuses and choose from among a field of Republican presidential candidates.  And let me tell you, the idea of any of these people getting nuclear weapons scares the shit out of me.

This is just one of many differences between your country and mine.  In North Korea, we lock up the criminally insane.  In America, you let them debate on TV.  Right now you have people running for President I would not trust to take care of my plants.

So who do I recommend you vote for on Tuesday?  In a word, me.

If you think about it, I am the most Republican candidate of all.  In North Korea, we have no taxes.  We have achieved that through a conservative policy of no jobs.  Also, we have no wasteful “big government” programs providing food, shelter, or safe drinking water.  And am I pro-life?  Well, try this on for size: I believe that life begins at conception and ends at starvation.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: I’m too young to be President, since I’m under 35.  Well, who would you rather have running your country, someone who’s under 35, or someone whose IQ is under 35?  (LOL)

I think when you look at all the facts, voters of Iowa, you’ll realize that Kim Jong-un is the Republican who most deserves your vote.  And if you’re still not convinced, remember this: at least I’m not Mitt Romney.

Peace out yo,

Your Supreme Leader

 Borowitz Report.

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