Urgent Security Council Meeting Sanctions North Korea, the U.S. in Confrontation with China and Russia

Urgent Security Council Meeting Sanctions North Korea, the U.S. in Confrontation with China and Russia

Translator: Himalaya Washington DC-boylatin1L

The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting after North Korea launched a series of ballistic missiles. The United States emphasized that it would strengthen sanctions against North Korea through a new resolution. Yet China and Russia are considering the relaxation of sanctions, and the United States is in confrontation with China and Russia.

On May 11, the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting at the request of the United States in response to North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches. As a result, the U.S. drafted a new resolution to strengthen sanctions against North Korea. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Thomas Greenfield said, the Security Council can no longer remain silent, and the sanctions resolution needs to be communicated to all members of the Council as soon as possible. Greenfield said we could not sit back and wait for provocative and dangerous acts such as North Korea’s nuclear test, calling for the resolution to be adopted as soon as possible. In addition, Greenfield accused China and Russia of “blocking all sanctions resolutions against North Korea for the past four years, equivalent to giving North Korea a free pass to its illegal behavior. In response, Chinese Communist Party Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun said, “The United States fetishizes the magical power of sanctions, and U.S. resolutions are not the appropriate way to deal with the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.” Communist China, along with Russia, has advocated easing sanctions against North Korea, and the United States has confronted China and Russia. 

Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Ishikane strongly criticized North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches and said, “North Korea is taking advantage of the U.N. Security Council’s less-than-tough response to accelerating its nuclear weapons development.” Ishikane stressed that it is now even more critical for the Security Council to respond quickly and consistently.

Regarding the new resolution submitted by the United States, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno said at a morning press conference, “We strongly condemn North Korea’s launch of ballistic missiles and firmly support the new Security Council resolution proposed by the United States. Furthermore, the series of nuclear missiles launched by North Korea, the activity seriously threatens the peace and security of the international community and repeatedly violates the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. Therefore, we cannot discuss easing sanctions.”

Matsuno said, “I hope the UNSC will work together to fulfill its responsibilities. We will continue to closely monitor the movement of the UNSC in response to the North Korean issue and work with the U.S. and other international communities to urge North Korea to comply with all of its obligations under UNSC resolutions.

Reference link: https://gnews.org/zh-hans/2518558/

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Afghanistan Emerges As Global Leader In Christian Persecution

Afghanistan Emerges As Global Leader In Christian Persecution

The worst perpetrator of religious persecution is no longer North Korea or China. The most difficult and dangerous place to be a Christian is now Afghanistan, according to a recent report by Open Doors USA. Afghanistan takes the lead thanks to its recent seizure by the Islamic militant group, the Taliban, which violently enforces its peculiar brand of Muslim extremism.

The total number of Christians in Afghanistan is estimated to be between 10,000 and 12,000, and almost all are converts from Islam. The Taliban forbid the conversion of Muslims to Christianity. Those who do risk being tried and convicted of apostasy, the punishment for which is death according to their interpretation of sharia law. Given widespread reports that the Taliban are already responsible for a hundred extrajudicial killings since their capture of the country last summer, it’s also very possible that Afghan Christians will be murdered prior to trial.

Almost 6,000 Christians were killed for their faith last year, according to the report, an increase of almost 25 percent from 2020. The world is becoming a less safe place for Christians. Where these deaths are happening points to another theme: the role of Islam.

Of all Christians killed, 4,650, or almost 80 percent, were in Nigeria alone (about 53 percent of Nigeria is Muslim). Another 11 percent (620 Christians) were killed Pakistan, which is about 95 percent Muslim. Yet there are few Muslim countries — or countries with large Muslim populations — where Christians can avoid intimidation, harassment, or violence. Seven out of the top 10 countries on the 2022 World Watch List experience some level of Islamic radicalism.

Qatar forced many church closures in the name of Covid-19, but those churches have been forced to remain shut even after other faith communities were allowed to reopen. Al-Shabaab, a powerful Islamic extremist group in Somalia, has executed people who commit what they consider apostasy. Jihadists have killed dozens of Christians in Burkina Faso, and forced hundreds of others to flee their homes. Christians suffer similarly from west Africa to Indonesia.

But it’s not just Muslim nations where Christians endure such things. For two decades prior to this year, North Korea was number one on Open Doors’ list — where Bibles are banned, North Korean citizens cannot attend church, and between 50,000–70,000 Christians are estimated to be held in the country’s notorious prison camps. Things haven’t gotten better in North Korea, it’s just that conditions have significantly worsened elsewhere in the world.

In communist China, Christian worship is tightly restricted and monitored, while the government imprisons and tortures Christians and regularly shuts down their churches. Hindu-majority India is in the top 10 of worst places for Christians, while Buddhist-majority Myanmar ranks twelfth. Cuba pushes many restrictive measures on churches, particularly Protestant ones.

Across the world in 2021, more than 360 million Christians suffered high levels of persecution or discrimination for their faith. Last year 5,110 churches or Christian buildings were attacked, 4,765 Christians were detained for their faith, and 3,829 Christians were abducted for faith-related reasons.

Perhaps the most famous example of the latter was the abduction of a group of American missionaries in Haiti by a strange, violent gang that practices voodoo. The missionary group, which included a baby, only recently escaped in December.

Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry said there are “seismic changes” happening in the persecution landscape around the globe. The organization’s World Watch List is based on a data-driven comparison of several factors, including the proportion of types of Christianity persecuted; proportion of inhabited territory affected; intensity of persecution; and frequency of persecution. Each country is then given a score based on this evaluation.

As I served in Afghanistan in the U.S. military and spent years advocating on behalf of Christians who suffer persecution at the hands of Muslim extremists, I recently published a book on this very topic, extensively detailing the suffering of Christians in Muslim countries. The book is especially focused on those who have fled Pakistan and sought refugee status while living as asylum seekers in Thailand, where I met hundreds of them.

I met two young Pakistani women who have extensive burn marks on their torsos from when they were captured and set on fire by Muslim extremists. Others have had female family members abducted and forcibly married to Muslim men and converted to Islam. That happens about 1,000 times every year in Pakistan. All have courageously retained their faith in Christ under terrible circumstances few of us in the West, God willing, will experience.

There are many ways Americans can support the global persecuted church. The first, which cannot be overestimated, is to pray. If we really believe in a merciful, personal God, then we must believe our prayers on behalf of the persecuted will not go unanswered. Prayer changes lives.

Of course, we can also donate to worthy causes. Certainly Open Doors is one, but there are many others such Jubilee Campaign, the Knights of Columbus, the Barnabas Fund, and the Voice of the Martyrs, among others.

Finally, we can advocate for them. Call your member of Congress, write letters to the media demanding more coverage of this crisis, or coordinate an event at your local church to bring attention to it.

Jesus himself warned his followers they would face persecution. “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first” (John 15:18). But that doesn’t mean we should put up with it, or sit idly by while our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer. For our Lord exhorts us: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).


Casey Chalk is a senior contributor at The Federalist and an editor and columnist at The New Oxford Review. He has a bachelor’s in history and master’s in teaching from the University of Virginia and a master’s in theology from Christendom College. He is the author of The Persecuted: True Stories of Courageous Christians Living Their Faith in Muslim Lands.

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Every Christian in Afghanistan ‘On the Run or in Hiding’: Open Doors 2022 World Watch List

Every Christian in Afghanistan ‘On the Run or in Hiding’: Open Doors 2022 World Watch List

Open Doors just released its 2022 ‘World Watch List’ which ranks the 50 countries where it is most difficult to follow Jesus. For the first time in two decades, North Korea is not in top spot due to the worsening situation in Afghanistan. Open Doors has also called on Christians to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics over increased persecution by the Chinese Communist Party.

Afghanistan is the most dangerous country in the world for Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s most recent World Watch List. It is the first time in 20 years that North Korea was not listed in first place on the watchdog’s persecution index.

The 2022 list was released this week at a virtual press conference, where Open Doors CEO David Curry revealed “the most seismic changes in the history of our research”. Curry explained that Afghanistan took top place because persecution there has grown worse, not because of any improvements in North Korea.

According to Curry, every Christian who stayed in Afghanistan following the chaotic withdrawal of Western powers in August 2021 “is either on the run or in hiding.”

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The 50 Hardest Places to Follow Jesus

The influential World Watch List ranks the 50 places in the world where it is most difficult to follow Jesus. Open Doors has determined that in the top ten countries — Afghanistan, North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Eritrea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran and India — Christians suffer “extreme” levels of persecution.

In the remaining 40 nations, the “pressure, intolerance and violence” Christians can experience is “very high”.

Open Doors

David Curry said that the 2022 World Watch list “shows that 360 million Christians globally now suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination. That’s one in seven Christians worldwide.”

Most of the countries on the index are located in Asia and Africa, where Islamic oppression, religious nationalism, dictatorial paranoia, and communist or post-communist oppression are common sources of persecution.

According to the 2022 report, almost 6,000 Christians were killed for their faith during the last year, while over 5,000 churches and Christian buildings were attacked. Over 6,000 believers were detained without trial, arrested or imprisoned for their faith.

The Persecution of Believers in Afghanistan

In a U.S. State Department report released in 2009, there were an estimated 500 to 8,000 Christians practicing their faith secretly in Afghanistan. The only physical church in the country before the Taliban took control last year was a Roman Catholic chapel for expatriates in the Italian Embassy.

David Curry recounts that “shortly after the Taliban seized control, a list was circulated with the names of prominent Christians. Somehow, this list fell into the hands of the Taliban.” He added that “those listed were among the first to be hunted.”

“The Taliban’s interpretation of Islam considers Christians to be traitors, enemies of the state, enemies of the tribe and community,” he explains. “They are infidels from Islam, and in their mind, the punishment is death.”

Curry believes that the Taliban’s recapturing of Afghanistan has not just intensified persecution there, but has sparked a rise in Islamic extremism across the region.

As the Daily Declaration noted in August last year, it is not just Christians who now suffer in Afghanistan, but Muslim women and children too.

A Call to Boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics

A prominent emphasis for Open Doors is prayer. In conduction with their release of 2022’s World Watch List, the organisation has made available to the public a booklet called “52 Weeks of Prayer for Persecuted Christians”. The booklet can be downloaded here.

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In addition to prayer, Open Doors’ CEO has urged Christians to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics scheduled to begin in Beijing this February. Curry highlighted the upcoming games as “one example of how China is using sports, money and investment in infrastructure around the world to whitewash their human rights violations.”

China ranked 17th on this year’s World Watch List, and Curry devoted a significant portion of the press release to discussing the religious persecution taking place there at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.

“Open Doors USA … is calling on every Christian to join this boycott of the Olympics in the name of our persecuted brothers and sisters in China,” he said.

The 2022 World Watch List can be viewed at the Open Doors website.

Image by Getty via The Scotsman.

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Can Kim Jong-un survive for another ten years?

Can Kim Jong-un survive for another ten years?

Ten years ago today, at noon on 19 December 2011, the veteran newsreader and ‘Pink Lady’ Ri Chun-hee, donned an unusual black hanbok. Struggling to hold back her tears, Ri announced that North Korea’s Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il – a recluse workaholic who had led the country for 17 years – had died.

On the same day, his twenty-something second son, Kim Jong-un, was duly anointed as the ‘great successor to the revolutionary cause’. Today’s anniversary does not reflect well on Kim’s legacy as leader of North Korea. He now rules a state crippled by economic problems, beset by factionalism in the ruling party, and which has sour relations with both the US and South Korea. After ten years in power, how did it all go so wrong for Jong-un?

Only a few years before his ascension, the youthful Jong-un had been a political nobody and it surprised most North Korean observers when he rose to the rank of a four-star general in 2010. He benefited from his older half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, falling out of favour with the wider family, allowing Jong-un – with his penchant for capitalist luxuries such as basketball and alcohol – to rise to the top.

Those who thought Kim would be an economic and political reformer – in the style of China’s Deng Xiaoping – were quickly proven wrong. Kim not only wanted to make North Korea great; he wanted to make it in his image.

Like his grandfather, he purged undesirables to consolidate power, ordering the execution of his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, in December 2013 after Jang allegedly suggested that North Korea move away from hereditary rule. Within the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, Kim promoted his sister, Kim Yo-jong, to high-flung positions within the Publicity and Information Department, responsible for propaganda dissemination, and the policy-making body of the State Affairs Commission. She has now become her elder brother’s mouthpiece, spouting vitriolic denunciations of the US and South Korea.

Kim Jong-un also strengthened North Korea’s status as a nuclear power. Four nuclear tests took place between 2013 and 2017 – two of which were allegedly Hydrogen bombs – which have been coupled with a smorgasbord of missile launches, including intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the US. Although he proudly declared that the North was a ‘full-fledged nuclear state’ in 2018, Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile aspirations have not stopped there. September this year saw the stupefying launches of a ‘hypersonic’ missile, and a rocket launched from a moving train.

Kim is no compromiser. In his notorious – if unsuccessful – theatrical diplomacy with Donald Trump, Kim was unwilling to concede anything on his nuclear programme and received nothing in return. Closer to home, after keeping his distance for seven years, Xi Jinping finally met Kim in 2018. Although Pyongyang and Beijing have since become closer, China knows that North Korea is ultimately an untrustworthy neighbour, but one it is willing to keep afloat.

The regime’s growing openness about its recent economic crisis point to Kim’s own domestic failures. Earlier this year, Kim admitted that his five-year economic plan had been a catastrophic failure. The party’s ‘new strategic line’ in 2018, targeting domestic economic development, is a distant memory.

Infrastructure development has been hampered by meteorological disasters and multilateral and bilateral sanctions: the US imposed new sanctions on the country only last week. The regime has even been forced to beg for cash from its moneyed elites, the donju. Yet even without sanctions, the North’s economy would hardly be efficient.

Then came coronavirus. The country’s calamitous decision to shut its borders in January 2020 both halted trade flows and became an excuse for Kim to prevent outside information reaching his people. Following a much-speculated absence, a slimmer Kim re-emerged this summer, warning his people that economic hardship would be a staple for some time.

In the ten years of Kim’s rule, three separate presidents have graced the White House in Washington and Blue House in Seoul. Biden’s policy towards the DPRK remains ambiguous. Whoever inherits the South Korean presidency next year will aim to improve upon Moon Jae-in’s ill-fated but repeated pledges to bolster cooperation with the North, and end the Korean War. Yet dealing with the US and South Korea, whilst important for Pyongyang, are not the North’s immediate concerns. Missile testing is likely to continue, albeit more sporadically than during the Trumpian days of ‘fire and fury’. Pyongyang wants to keep the US on its toes and ready to offer concessions, especially if the North is not high on Biden’s agenda.

As he plans his next decade, Kim’s short-term goal remains to ameliorate the ever-bleaker impact of Covid. The party will doubtlessly also continue emphasising the vapidities of its juche state ideology to keep its countrymen in line.

The resumption of the North’s interactions with the outside world, however, remains in the hands of Pyongyang. Although foreign diplomats, including those from the United Kingdom, have departed from their embassies in Pyongyang temporarily, their date of return remains unknown. Efforts by the United Kingdom and European states to talk to the North may not bear much fruit immediately, but should not be abandoned.

The Supreme Leader will be watching his own health. If he wants to lead his country in his own way, he must be fit to do so.

Madame Ri retired as a news broadcaster in 2012, but Kim III has brought her back to announce missile and nuclear tests; to laud his escapades with Trump; and to introduce his wife, Ri Sol-ju, as the new First Lady. Each time a celebration arises, nuclear or otherwise, the Pink Lady re-emerges. The question now though is if there will be many opportunities for North Korea to celebrate. The country is heading toward a bleak mid-winter. Whether Kim can survive another decade remains to be seen.


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Ben Domenech: China, North Korea Are America’s ‘Moral Equals’ on Abortion

Ben Domenech recently confronted his Fox News Primetime viewers with the fact that the United States’ current abortion policies are on par with those of communist China and North Korea.

“We have, as a nation, one of the most radical abortion regimes in the world,” Domenech said last week as he introduced his segment.

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The Fox News host observed the abortion industry and its allies refer to the Mississippi law, soon to be considered by the Supreme Court, as “extreme.” The law would prohibit most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, yet it “would be right at home in Europe,” he pointed out.

The Mississippi law is actually closer to the policies of many European countries that outlaw abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. These are many of the same countries the left wants us to emulate in almost every other way, except, of course, abortion, he noted.

“None of them have what America effectively has in many states – abortion up to the point of birth,” the host continued. “For that, you have to look at our moral equals in nations like China or North Korea.”

Pro-life activists demonstrate in front of the the US Supreme Court during the 47th annual March for Life on January 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. - Activists gathered in the nation's capital for the annual event to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in 1973. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Pro-life activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 47th annual March for Life on January 24, 2020, in Washington, DC. Activists gathered in the nation’s capital for the annual event to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in 1973. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

In January 2018, when former President Donald Trump acknowledged the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions past the fifth month of pregnancy, he noted:

It is disappointing that despite support from a bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators, this bill was blocked from further consideration. Scientific studies have demonstrated that babies in the womb feel pain at twenty weeks. The vote by the Senate rejects scientific fact and puts the United States out of the mainstream in the family of nations, in which only 7 out of 198 nations, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. We must defend those who cannot defend themselves.

Domenech maintained the likely reason why many Americans have still not awakened to the “moral reality of what abortion does to families and societies,” is both “complicated” and yet “very simple”:

Many of us have been willing to look the other way, and a vast industry of powerful forces in our country have worked very hard to make sure that we do. Understand, there is no more important single issue today to the left than the issue of abortion. It is an item of faith they are wedded to stronger than any religious conviction. If you’ve ever been taken aback by the vitriol, violence, and false accusations leveled against any who challenge abortion, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The kind that makes a young woman spit on an elderly priest.

“It’s safer to attempt sacrilege in the cathedral than abortion rallies,” he noted. “To criticize the abortion regime is to place yourself at odds, not just with the most powerful activist groups and donors; it is to take on the woke corporatists and Hollywood, and our corrupt media and big tech and, well, just about everybody with power in America today.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the crowd during a protest against the GOP health care plan, on Capitol Hill, July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. GOP efforts to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, were dealt setbacks when a mix of conservative and moderate Republican senators joined Democrats to oppose procedural measures on the bill. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the crowd during a protest against the GOP health care plan, on Capitol Hill, July 26, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Domenech said that since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, “the pro-abortion left has worked to gaslight the country into believing things that just aren’t true”:

They pretended they wanted abortions to be rare. They claimed they didn’t profit from them. They denied they sold organs. They refused to acknowledge the science of what we know about the development of unborn babies, utterly unknown to the authors of Roe, by the way, and they ignored the terrible and tragic impact on America’s poorest and most vulnerable families, and on the black community in particular.

Domenech observed the abortion industry and its allies have also done “everything they could to build up men like Bill Clinton and Andrew Cuomo because the abortion agenda is always more important.”

When it comes to the so-called “devout Catholic” President Joe Biden, Domenech said it is clear why he flipped on the Hyde Amendment, and ultimately supported the use of American taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions:

Every Sunday his head bowed in his church, he knows who runs the left. He wanted to be president, and he was willing to make a deal to do it. And in every aspect of this effort, the pro-abortion left has had the strong advocacy of a media that has displayed more corruption on this topic than perhaps any other. If you watch, ABC, NBC, or CBS today, pro-life women simply do not exist. The media’s coverage of this issue is indistinguishable from Planned Parenthood press releases, and the journalists who cover it are universally not just pro-choice, but obviously pro-abortion.

Despite the decades-long sad state of affairs in America where abortion is concerned, Domenech said there is now a beam of hope, especially palpable in the energy of the pro-life movement.

“Abortion is no longer accepted as an unobjectionable good,” he said.

Indeed, many Americans have now seen the displays by some of the pro-abortion groups, such as the Shout Your Abortion campaign, where women are urged to share happy stories about ending the lives of their unborn children. These, now, seem frantic and, at the very least, odd.

AUSTIN, TX - MAY 29: Protesters march down Congress Ave at a protest outside the Texas state capitol on May 29, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Thousands of protesters came out in response to a new bill outlawing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected signed on Wednesday by Texas Governor Greg Abbot. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Protesters march down Congress Ave at a protest outside the Texas state capitol on May 29, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Thousands of protesters came out in response to a new bill outlawing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected signed on Wednesday by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Ultrasound technology and the stories of women who have suffered the loss of miscarriage have also helped to change hearts and minds, Domenech said.

“When Iceland says they’ve eradicated Down syndrome, good people cringe because we know what that really means,” he observed.

“There is today, renewed hope among those who believe every unborn baby has a right to life,” he concluded, “that the Supreme Court may at long last reopen this significant question for us to decide, as citizens and states, instead of leaving the deepest moral question of life and death to nine people in robes.”

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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un: Citizens Suffering from ‘Grim’ Economy

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sunday urged officials of his country’s ruling party to work on improving citizens’ quality of life amid a “grim” economic situation, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Monday.

North Korea faces “huge tasks for adjusting and developing the state economy,” Kim said in a speech on October 10.

“The only way for dynamically pushing forward the unprecedented crucial work despite grim situation is for the entire Party to get united [sic],” he continued.

North Korean government officials “should always consider whether their work infringe upon the interests of the people or cause trouble to the people [sic],” the leader advised.

Kim’s lecture on Sunday took place in Pyongyang to mark the 76th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), the nation’s communist ruling political party. The celebration typically includes a large military parade in the national capital, though this year’s anniversary omitted the procession in favor of a toned-down affair. The event included art performances and a fireworks display, according to KCNA.

Kim’s remarks on October 10 marked the first time he has delivered a speech on WPK’s founding anniversary since the leader assumed power in late 2011, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency noted.

“Observers say the rare speech appears aimed at tightening internal unity in the face of the deepening economic fallout caused by the global coronavirus pandemic,” Yonhap reported.

North Korea has suffered from years of economic sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by the international community in an effort to discourage its development of nuclear weapons. The sanctions, coupled with historic flooding in recent months that washed away major harvests across several regions, have plunged North Korea into an economic crisis.

“People’s access to food is a serious concern and the most vulnerable children and elderly are at risk of starvation,” Tomas Ojea Quintana, a United Nations (U.N.) rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, said in a new U.N. report seen by Reuters on October 7.

“Essential medicines and medical supplies are in short supply and prices have increased severalfold as they stopped coming in from China, and humanitarian organizations have been unable to bring in medicines and other supplies,” the report states.

North Korea closed off its borders with China in early 2020 at the start of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, further isolating its already feeble economy.

“The current worsening humanitarian situation could turn into a crisis and must be averted,” the U.N. representative warned.

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North Korea Launches Ballistic Missiles at Japan

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday, violating U.N. Security Council resolutions and drawing sharp condemnation from the Japanese government. The provocative launch suggested tensions are rising on the Korean peninsula again after a relatively peaceful interlude during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

North Korea launched its missiles from its eastern coast, sending them about 500 miles at a cruising altitude of 37 miles before splashdown inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

“This is an outrage that threatens our nation and regional peace and security,” Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide declared.

Suga said the launches were “completely inexcusable” violations of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions that forbid North Korea from testing ballistic and nuclear missile technology.

People watch a news program that was showing part of a North Korean handout photo that says, "North Korea's long-range cruise missiles tests," in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. North Korea says it successfully test-fired newly developed long-range cruise missiles over the weekend, its first known testing activity in months, underscoring how it continues to expand its military capabilities amid a stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the United States. The letters read, "The North test-fired newly developed long-range cruise missiles." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

People watch a news program that was showing part of a North Korean handout photo that says, “North Korea’s long-range cruise missiles tests,” in Seoul, South Korea, September 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

“North Korea’s recent repeated launches of ballistic missiles and other projectiles are a serious problem for Japan and the international community as a whole,” the Japanese Defense Ministry said.

Kyodo News reported an emergency meeting between senior U.S. and Japanese diplomats was held in Tokyo on Wednesday to reaffirm support for the U.N. resolutions.

The U.S. State Department also condemned the missile launch and called on North Korea to “engage in dialogue” instead of provocations.

“Our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad,” the State Department stressed.

The New York Times noted the launch “occurred a day after the special envoy from the United States urged North Korea to resume nuclear disarmament talks, saying that Washington had no ‘hostile’ intent toward Pyongyang.” 

It may also be significant that the missiles were launched soon after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who represents North Korea’s most powerful supporter, met with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong in Seoul. 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi addresses a joint press conference with the German foreign minister after talks on February 13, 2020 at the German Foreign Ministry's Villa Borsig in North Berlin. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi addresses a joint press conference with the German foreign minister after talks on February 13, 2020, at the German Foreign Ministry’s Villa Borsig in North Berlin. (John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images)

Wang seemed to excuse North Korea’s actions by implying America and South Korea have behaved in comparably provocative ways by holding military drills, although he did not make specific accusations.

“It’s not just North Korea, but other countries as well that engage in military activities. We must all work together to resume dialogue. We all hope to contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” Wang said.

South Korean officials expressed “deep concern” over the launches and said North Korea’s actions would be carefully analyzed. 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed confidence that his country has “sufficient deterrence to respond to North Korea’s provocations at any time,” and pledged to continue developing weapons that can “overwhelm North Korea’s asymmetric power.”

In this photo provided by South Korea Presidential Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in talks on the phone with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. Suga on Thursday held his first telephone call with his South Korean counterpart since taking office, telling Moon that the neighbors should work to resolve their strained relations.(South Korea Presidential Blue House via AP).

In this photo provided by South Korea Presidential Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in talks on the phone with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, September 24, 2020. (South Korea Presidential Blue House via AP).

To that end, South Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Wednesday, becoming the first non-nuclear power to successfully launch a ballistic missile from a sub. North Korea, by contrast, claims to have developed SLBMs but lacks reliable submarine platforms that could launch them.

President Moon was in attendance as the test weapon was fired from a new 3,000-ton Dosan Ahn Chang-ho-class submarine. “Possessing a SLBM has significant meaning in securing deterrence against omnidirectional threats, and it is expected to play a key role in building self-defense capability and peace on the Korean peninsula,” Moon’s office said.

South Korea’s pugnacity enraged Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. In a statement released through the Communist dictatorship’s state media, Kim Yo-jong threatened dire consequences if Moon continues threatening and “slandering” North Korea.

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, attends wreath laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, March 2, 2019. (Photo by JORGE SILVA / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read JORGE SILVA/AFP via Getty Images)

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, attends wreath-laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, March 2, 2019. (Jorge Silva/AFP via Getty Images)

“If the president joins in the slander and detraction, this will be followed by counter actions, and the North-South relations will be pushed toward a complete destruction. We do not want that,” Kim fulminated.

“North Korea is trying to communicate a message that things will not go as Washington wishes, if it doesn’t accept the North’s demands,” Seoul-based analyst Moon Seong-mook told the Associated Press on Wednesday, suggesting North Korea may hope to take advantage of the Biden administration while it is “embroiled in a domestic debate following the chaotic pullout from Afghanistan.”

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Joe Biden’s Presidency Has Gone Off The Rails And The Democratic Party Will Pay For It

Joe Biden’s Presidency Has Gone Off The Rails And The Democratic Party Will Pay For It

Well, I certainly picked the wrong week to go on vacation. Normally you don’t have to worry about much going down news-wise in August, so I’ve typically taken a week there and the week after Christmas off in nearly a decade of writing this newsletter … and I cannot think of a single time I’ve done that where I felt more absent or overwhelmed by the amount of news I saw flying by every single day.

Today the White House faces a massive crush of challenges, both thanks to the world and of their own making. Their pandemic response has stalled, and they’re desperately throwing out impotent mandate threats — their vaunted plans proven incapable of returning the country to a state of normalcy, even if that’s what they ever really wanted.

Their Afghanistan withdrawal has resulted in the deaths of young Americans in the military and will likely soon lead to the deaths of civilians as well. Top Men are in a finger pointing war in Washington between the White House, the cabinet, and the military brass, while North Korea is spinning up its nuclear work and China is looking at Taiwan like a tasty snack.

American public schools, even sitting atop a ransom of billions, remain alone in the entire world to be in crisis about the requirements for fall in-person classes. The economy is doing insane things thanks to payments that continue to keep people from working and lead to help wanted signs on every window.

The border is a roiling crisis. Moderate Democrats are cracking under the weight of an increasingly unpopular party leadership. And to top it all off, a huge hurricane is slamming the gulf.

The condensed nature of these collapses, their rapidly moving nature and the responses they demand, require an administration — of either party — with basic core competencies and confidence that runs across multiple areas of engagement — public health, economic, foreign, security, and diplomatic policy.

This is the administration the media sold in 2020 — a return to strength, the adults are in charge again, America is back, blah blah blah. It was all a giant lie and it didn’t even take eight months to prove it.

The question I have now is: when does the Democratic Party — by which we really mean Barack Obama — decide a change is needed if it is to survive a political tidal wave which could go far beyond what we saw in 1994 and 2010. If a decision like that is not made, it’s possible that the Democratic Party may be on the verge of going into full rebuilding mode — with an entire generation of Baby Boomer leadership headed for the exits, to be replaced by a lackluster group of Gen Xers waiting for the Millennials to make it out of the minor leagues.

Their top two governors in New York and California are resigning in disgrace and sweating hard to avoid an embarrassing recall. Kamala Harris is posing in front of a bust of Ho Chi Minh and doing her best to distance herself from the embarrassment of her sleeping boss. There is nothing cool about this party, and while they won in 2020 by appealing to the extremely uncool Chardonnay moms with This House Welcomes Refugees signs outside their door, they just proved they don’t even care about those.

The media is going to have to work incredibly hard in the next several months to turn things around. Expect daily reports about the villainy of Ron DeSantis and the roving terror threat of Marjorie Taylor Greene. But even this may be too heavy a load for them to bear. This is a moment that demands basic core competence on how to govern and lead across multiple areas. And setting ideological debates aside, this administration apparently lacks nearly all of it.

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