Kim Jong-un Is A Gangster: Here’s How To Sort Him Out
Robert Huish , 9 Jan 18
       

In this recent photo, South Koreans watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s speech. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should never talk to each other on the phone, or through Twitter. Two unpredictable, nuclear-armed egotists are a threat to themselves and to the world, regardless of the size of their buttons.

Fortunately, cooler heads are now communicating between North and South Korea. Still, this is no time for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, nor the international community, to get comfortable with Kim Jong-un.

North Korea flouts international agreements, bolsters its economy through sordid means and is responsible for ghastly human rights abuses.

As a researcher on social justice and human security in North Korea, I have a reminder for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as they prepare to meet in Vancouver next week to discuss North Korea: Kim Jong-un runs a feudal gangland, not a nation state. The rules of diplomacy do not apply to the Hermit Kingdom.

North Korea is isolated, hungry, without power and without allies. Yet Kim gathers resources for nuclear proliferation, missiles and prison camps. This is thanks to his business partners. The international community has mistakenly ignored them.

How to deal with Kim’s belligerence? View him as a thug. And like any gangster, understand how he makes money and what really scares him.

First, target those who profit with Kim. Second, empower defectors who can speak to North Korea’s grim reality. Their voices matter both within and outside of North Korea.

Kim acquires weapons by sea, he pays for them with narcotics, cyber-attacks and cryptocurrency. Masterful smugglers, North Korean vessels run under flags of convenience, shell companies process the funds, and other vessels entering North Korean waters deceptively turn off their broadcast identifiers.

‘Protector’ of North Koreans

I interviewed numerous North Korean defectors for three years. I also tracked vessels doing business with Mr. Kim. From this work, I make two conclusions about how the international community should approach North Korea.

First, Kim holds power through a projected image of ordained invincibility. He is the protector of the North Korean people. He may not provide enough food, and he may send them to prison camps, but only he can protect against pending violence from the United States.

Missile launches and nuclear tests pose little threat to the West. They are symbolic demonstrations of power for his compatriots.

Second, in order to prop up his image as the Great Marshal, Kim collects his military resources below the radar. Illegal smuggling, counterfeiting, insurance scams, weapons sales, cyber attacks, narcotics production and forced labour abroad bring in cash. And there are global markets for all, accessed through shady diplomats and shadowy shell companies. They skirt sanctions with impunity.

Formal diplomacy fails as North Korea relies more on the illicit, rather than the legitimate, international community. Until now.

Sign in to view full article

       
Are The Rich More Selfish Than The Rest Of Us?
Social scientists have long known that the rich are not exactly model citizens.
Jan Stoop, James Andreoni, Nikos Nikiforakis
Wed, 12 Apr 17
When Things Go Wrong In An Automated World, Would We Still Know What To Do?
We live in a world that is both increasingly complex and automated. So just as we are having to deal ...
Peter Fisher
Mon, 27 Mar 17
Letter from Former Insider at Chinese Hospital Reports Detail About Organ Harvesting
A foreign patient receives a life-extending organ transplant in a Chinese hospital. Feeling grateful, he asks a hospital staff member ...
Epoch Times Staff
Mon, 2 Jan 17
Fighting Online Trolls With Bots
The wonder of internet connectivity can turn into a horror show if the people who use online platforms decide that ...
Saiph Savage
Fri, 13 Jan 17
The Phone Calls That Helped Expose Organ Harvesting in China
Drhiyuan Wang has spent more than 10 years investigating how other doctors in China have killed massive numbers of people ...
James Burke
Wed, 8 Feb 17
Get your January/February 2018 issue at Kinokuniya stores today!
An Epoch Times Survey
An Epoch Times Survey
Sports Elements
Sports Elements
BUCHERER