U.S. Challenges in North Korea *Exclusive

By EWI BLOG | by Rachel Ehrenfeld
Monday, March 18th, 2013 @ 4:45PM

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As with Iran, talks and lax sanctions regimes have failed to prevent North Korea’s nuclear buildup.

Congratulating China’s new president Xi Jingping, President Obama called Xi’s attention to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs that increasingly threaten the United States and its allies. Obama “stressed the need for close coordination with China to ensure North Korea meets its denuclearization commitments.”

The Chinese however, have their own agenda. “Whether China – which holds and manages life-support for Pyongyang with massive food and energy aid in exchange, in part, for metals imports – would or could force Pyongyang to back off is a moot point. There is evidence the new Chinese leadership like its predecessors is conflicted, especially with reported support for Pyongyang in the People’s Liberation Army with its growing influence over all Beijing decision-making,” observed Sol Sanders.

On March 8,  following North Korea’s early February nuclear testing, the UN Security Council proposed to levy yet another set sanctions on North Korea.
Chinese deputy UN envoy, Wang Min, argued that the North Korean nuclear test posed no threat to international peace and security and “needed to be addressed through dialogue with the North Korean government.” Wang then managed to secure the removal of any reference to UN Chapter Seven in the resolution, ensuring that the new sanctions will not have the force of action that previous UN sanctions regimes have had.
The Chinese are North Korea’s largest trading partner. Their increase of investments in the North is notable. Some 100 Chinese firms have invested more than $300 million there, including in foodstuffs, industries, electronic, mining, textiles, chemicals and aquaculture.  These investors are, of course, offered tax incentives, preferential loans and land utilization deals. Some $6.5 billion more is in the works as Chinese infrastructure companies plan new ports, highways, and power plants.”
The 2009 U.N. sanctions on North Korea have largely failed according to a UN Panel of Experts report in May 2011. The report noted North Korea’s ability to evade sanctions had in fact improved.

In addition to China, South Korean, and some 30 European companies have invested in copper and gold mines, in North Korea, a well as factories of all sorts, and even Internet service.

According to Business Week, German owned DHL (DPW), delivers packages, and “German-backed outsourcer Nosotek offers North Korean programming help to Western companies developing cell-phone games. Egypt’s Orascom Telecom (OTLD) is building a 3G mobile-phone network. France’s Lafarge (LG) owns 30 percent of a cement plant… Two Hong Kong-listed companies operate casinos for tourists (locals aren’t allowed in),” and a Swedish group markets North Korean makes Noko Jeans.

Finally, Reza Kahlili, pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, have shed light on how North Korea’s nuclear program is being used by the Chinese to facilitate the Iranian nuclear program. When the Revolutionary Guards failed to make good on Chinese missile technology, China has enlisted the North Koreans to fix the problems: “Ultimately it was agreed that in exchange for $7 billion, hardware, installation and launch of the technology and the necessary training for the project would be handled by the North Koreans, since Pyongyang doesn’t recognize the U.N. sanctions.”

For now, it seems that China’s support of North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear ambitions and missile programs, as well as the Chinese military’s growing strength and the increase pace and volume of its cyber attacks on the U.S., will continue unabated.

Further Reading:

1: NATION, PAKISTAN: North Korea for enhancing trade ties with Pakistan

2: WSJ: South Korea Responds to North’s Provocations

3: WSJ: North Korea (Again) Claims It Will Nullify Armistice

4: WSJ: Australia Stalls North Korea Embassy Plan

5: CSM: China voted for new North Korea sanctions. Will it enforce them? The real test will be in China’s follow-through on ‘little brother’ North Korea.


Categories: ACD/EWI Blog, ACD/EWI Exclusive, Cyber

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