ACT OF WAR: NEW SANCTIONS, NEW NORTH KOREAN THREAT

North Korea, the world’s war propaganda factory, has come with new threats of annihilating its enemies after the fresh round of crippling sanctions imposed on it by the United Nations Security Council. The latest round of sanctions is, in fact, very harsh as they target the lifeline of any country, its energy security.

They cut export of petroleum products to North Korea by 90 per cent. To cripple the country even more on this front, export of transportation vehicles, machinery, and industrial equipment has also been banned.

And to complete the economic blockade, as North Korea has termed it, all North Korea immigrants who are working in other countries, are to be repatriated within 24 months. These sanctions, in fact, will be far reaching in isolating North Korea, if Kim Jong-Un, Donald Trump’s rocket-man or madman, doesn’t launch a missile or nuclear attack before that, as his country threatens every other day.

Building up on its war rhetoric, the desperate nation that has been on a spree of testing missile, nuclear and biological weapons, has termed it an act of war, “We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the US and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula.”

And in the routine North Korean way, they say they are going to punish everyone who is acting its interests. “Those countries that raised their hands in favour of this sanctions resolution shall be held completely responsible for all the consequences to be caused by the ‘resolution’ and we will make sure for ever and ever that they pay heavy price for what they have done,” said a release by KCNA, the official North Korean news agency.

The recent advances made by the country in acquiring lethal weapons and strategic capabilities have emboldened its war rhetoric to unprecedented levels.

After a series of nuclear capable missile tests including the one last month that is being touted as its most sophisticated one and a hydrogen bomb detonation, North Korea has declared itself nuclear power and in fact has termed the demands of terrified US, of North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons, a pipe dream, “The United States, completely terrified at our accomplishment is getting more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country.”

©SantoshChaubey

NORTH KOREA CLAIMS US’ FATE IS IN ITS HANDS, TRUMP ON DEATHBED STRUGGLE

The article originally appeared on India Today on 15 December.

An increasingly belligerent North Korean propaganda has gone a step ahead.

The country’s state-run newspaper Minju Choson – published by the North Korean cabinet – has written in a commentary that fearful of the North Korean might, the fate of America is in hands of its supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

Blaming the US President Donald Trump’s ignorance about North Korea, the commentary says the US tactics of nuclear blackmail and threat will no longer work “whether the US likes or not and wants or not”, adding that “the status of the standoff between the DPRK and US has come under the control of the faith and will of the North Korea which is holding the initiative.”

Claiming that North Korea has always emerged victorious, Minju Choson further writes that Trump is still in deep sleep not realizing the imminent danger he has put America in.

“The Trump group is attempting to seek a way out by pursuing a policy of military confrontation. This is nothing but a deathbed struggle by those alarmed by the might of North Korea.”

Warning the US to become prudent and think twice, the newspaper says the recent annual defence conference of the country under the guidance of their supreme leader Kim Jong-un has filled the North Korean people and its Army with iron faith and if the Americans try to annoy this valorous spirit, they will be forced to go for military confrontation which will ultimately result in victory and glory for North Korea and humiliating defeat for Trump and the US.

Though North Korean propaganda may say the US is blackmailing it, but the recent advances made by the country in acquiring lethal weapons and strategic capabilities, the nuclear capable inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can reach to the parts of America, a series of successful missile launches in recent months and a claimed detonation of hydrogen bomb, has emboldened its war rhetoric to unprecedented levels.

And unlike in past, the world has taken these military claims seriously, increasing manifold the threat perception about the isolated nation.

The most recent development has only added to it.

According to American and Asian intelligence officials, North Korea may have acquired capacity to produce biological weapons on military scale and in fact, the world has no way to find if the rogue nation has already begun it, as such facilities are concealed in its civilian factories.

Some experts also say the North may have been even trying to create super-germs in its labs using advanced genetic engineering.

That is why the world is giving dialogue a chance with no one in favour of direct military confrontation in spite of tough warnings and harsh war rhetoric from Trump and his administration.

World leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the United Nations have preferred diplomacy, dialogues and sanctions over a possibility of war or military confrontation to deal with North Korea, a stand that has forced even Trump and his team to take a soft approach hinting at dialogue.

The call for dialogue and diplomatic efforts was best summed up by United Nations chief Antonio Guterres yesterday when he warned that “the worst possible thing that could happen would be for us all to sleepwalk into a war that might have very dramatic circumstances.”

©SantoshChaubey

TONS OF BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS NEXT LEVEL OF NORTH KOREAN THREAT?

The article originally appeared on India Today on 12 December.

“Microbes by ton”, that is how a Washington Post story describes the bioweapons threat from North Korea, the rogue regime that has recently acquired Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) and has declared itself a nuclear power after claimed detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

But if the assessments of US and Asian intelligence officials are true, as the Washington Post and other stories on the subject in the global media quote, then a whole new chapter in North Korean threat to the world is about to begin, in extension of its regular warnings of launching nuclear attacks.

“North Korea is moving steadily to acquire the essential machinery that could potentially be used for an advanced bioweapons program, from factories that can produce microbes by the ton, to laboratories specializing in genetic modification,” the Post story writes.

There have long been speculation about North Korea developing weapons of biological warfare, after the country established in 1980s a biological weapons programme under Kim Il-Sung, current dictator Kim Jong-un’s father, but it never went beyond pathogens like smallpox and anthrax and even now there is no hard evidence to prove it.

But the way North Korea is moving these days, sending its scientists abroad to study advanced microbiology and acquiring machinery that can be used to produce biological weapons at large scale, analysts says “North Korea could quickly surge into industrial-scale production of biological pathogens if it chooses to do so.”

And the most horrible part of it, the intelligence agencies spying on North Korea may not find if North Korea actually has started producing biological weapons at military scale as they suspect North Korea is using civilian factories to conceal its programme. “If it started tomorrow we might not know it, unless we’re lucky enough to have an informant who happens to be in just the right place,” the Post story writes quoting an official.

Experts say genetic engineering to produce even more virulent strains of microbes or germs is another scientific breakthrough that North Korea might have been trying. According to a study, North Korea’s Biological Weapons Program, released in October by Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, North Korean and Chinese scientists jointly published a research paper in 2016 on producing new species of bacteria through genetic engineering.

Though the research paper writes that it is “it is highly unlikely that the typing of these genomes will provide know-how for biological weapons development effort,” the Post story says it is evidence of North Korea’s ambition to acquire cutting edge genetic and microbiological sciences. The ambition raises a valid doubt that it may be used to create even more potent germs, especially when North Korea’s proven ability and credentials to carry out such advanced scientific research have been limited so far. Attempts to produce such super-germs is not new and met with mixed success during the cold war era.

An analysis by Amplyfi, an artificial intelligence company, on North Korean efforts to acquire advanced genetic and biotech capabilities, in fact, has shown that search on topics like “gene expression” and “nucleic acid sequence” from North Korea has gone up voluminously in the last two years.

The Post report writes quoting Amplyfi co-founder Chris Ganje “There are worrying indicators of unintended support and it is obvious that the international community and larger institutions need to be cautious in providing seemingly benign academic scientific education and training to North Korea,” as to circumvent international monitoring, North Korea is trying to gain technological insights from academic institutions, NGOs and private organizations.

South Korea has warned in past that it may launch biological attack thorough its special operations forces (SOF), a Rand Corporation paper, The Challenge of North Korean Biological Weapons, says.

The paper that details submission before the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities of the United States House of Representatives in October 2013 writes, “Indeed, North Korea special forces are a likely means for delivering North Korean biological weapons. North Korea has some 200,000 special forces, a small fraction of which could deliver devastating biological attacks against South Korea, Japan, and even the United States.”

©SantoshChaubey