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Showing posts from January, 2022

North Korea missile tests: What does Kim Jong-un want?

North Korea's renewed flurry of missile tests have, so far, been met here in Tokyo with a bit of shrug. It's all very different from August 2017 when Japan awoke to the sound of air raid sirens. Without warning North Korea had fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over the top of Japan into the Pacific Ocean. It was an audacious act. This time North Korea's missiles have all been short range, and have landed in the sea, well away from the Japanese coast. Kim Jong-un appears to be holding back, for now. But that could change if he doesn't get the result he wants. So, what does Kim Jong-un want? Speak to military analysts and they'll tell you these latest launches show North Korea is moving rapidly down the road to a full and effective nuclear deterrent. "From my perspective it was predictable," says Professor Kim Dong Yup, a former South Korean naval commander. "We get surprised because we underestimate North Korean technology and assume i

North Korea: Covid-19 Used to Bludgeon Rights

Deepening Systematic Repression Creates Humanitarian Crisis (New York) – North Korea’s unnecessary and extreme restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic helped tighten government control while creating a humanitarian crisis, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2022. “North Korea used Covid-19 restrictions to further oppress the North Korean people while igniting a crisis over access to food, medicine, and other essential goods,” said Lina Yoon, senior Korea researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Governments and international institutions should press the North Korean government to accept monitored international assistance like food, vaccines, and medicine, and to be transparent and non-discriminatory in addressing the pandemic.” In the 752-page World Report 2022, its 32nd edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in nearly 100 countries. Executive Director Kenneth Roth challenges the conventional wisdom that autocracy is ascendent. In country after countr