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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un apologizes for killing of South Korean official

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un apologizes for killing of South Korean official

Japan’s new PM offers to meet the North Korean leader. Dam near North Korea’s nuclear complex breached.

Last week, I noted that South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for the declaration of an end to the Korean War, saying it would pave the way for complete denuclearization.

There has been another interesting development between the two Koreas. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has issued a rare personal apology for the killing of a South Korean official.

President Moon Jae-in’s office said it received a letter from Kim in which he expressed “immense regret” over the “unexpected and unfortunate incident.”

It is unusual for North Korea to admit wrongdoing or express remorse toward South Korea, its archrival with which it remains technically at war.

A day earlier, South Korea condemned the North for its treatment of the fisheries official, who disappeared from a patrol boat near the disputed maritime frontier earlier this week in what authorities described as an ill-fated attempt to defect. The 47-year-old was killed by North Korean troops and his body burned, the Defense Ministry said, an act that Seoul labeled an “atrocity.”

Interestingly, Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says he’s ready to meet Kim Jong-un without any conditions in a move that may thaw relations between those two countries.

In his debut address to the UN General Assembly, Japan’s newly-elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that he was willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “without any conditions”.

“Establishing constructive relations between Japan and North Korea will not only serve the interests of both sides but will also greatly contribute to regional peace and stability,” The Japan Times quoted Suga as saying in a recorded speech on Friday at the annual gathering of world leaders in New York.

“I will miss no opportunity to take actions with all my dedication,” he added.

There may be many reasons that North Korea may be more receptive to these moves. In addition to a likely coronavirus problem and ongoing food shortages, it looks like North Korea may be poised to denuclearize itself…accidentally.

A reservoir dam near North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear complex has been breached, a U.S. think tank has said, citing recent satellite imagery.

The reduced water level has left the two pump houses servicing the reactors “high and dry,” with the water level above the dam down significantly and the intake cisterns exposed, said 38 North, which specializes in North Korea.

“The inability to maintain a stable reservoir level … poses a potential problem for continuous reactor operations” if the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor is restarted or the Experimental Light Water Reactor is brought online, 38 North said, citing satellite imagery of Yongbyon complex on Sept. 21.

The complex is home to the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor that was the source of weapons-grade plutonium for North Korea. Pyongyang can harvest one nuclear bomb worth of plutonium by reprocessing spent fuel rods from the reactor.

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Comments

Anything that moves Pyongyang away from Beijing is progress, if it can be sustained.

    DSHornet in reply to Dusty Pitts. | September 27, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Yes, but …

    This could easily be a ploy by Kim to relieve the pressure on North Korea due to the Wuhan virus (if there’s anything good about the virus from China, this may be it!) and continuing food shortages. NK has little ability to pull itself out of a crisis without outside help.

    If your enemy is forced into acts of desperation, don’t stand in his way.
    .

    An unpleasant truth about the nuclear race for North Korea, Iran, and other such countries who are the last people in the world we should trust with The Bomb: The end result of the Cold War left hundreds if not thousands of PU ‘pits’ (the core of a bomb) leftover in the hands of Russia and China. The US has recycled many of the Russian pits, and God only knows what the Chinese have done with theirs, but each one is only about twenty pounds at best, and has a lifespan of a century or more

    All it would take is one cargo plane, or even a passenger flight with a few hundred pounds of hidden baggage, and either of those regimes could have dozens of nuclear bomb ‘starter kits’ at their disposal. Thankfully, enough sane people exist in Russia and China that it has not happened yet.

Subotai Bahadur | September 27, 2020 at 4:19 pm

Far be it for me to be upset at such an occurrence at the Yongbyon nuclear complex. Chuckling would be my normal response, since I am not a nice person and the consequences of such could/would be catastrophic to both the Nork nuclear weapons program, and anyone downstream/wind in North Korea.

However, when I followed the link in the LI piece it took me to a Korea Times article that while it is dated today is illustrated with a picture from 2008. And the KT article is vague as to confirmable details.

The killing of the ROK official was not unusual. The apology was. The loss of the nuclear complex’s ability to operate, and the concurrent possibility of a mini-Chernobyl could change the balance of power inside the Nork government and in Asia.

Any confirming details anywhere else?

Subotai Bahadur

The Norks need/want something. Other countries will hang onto any chance, slim as it is, to have “progress”. The slave masters of the North will settle for some salt for the tree bark soup.

Does this mean he’s not dead?

I can’t think of a better place for the China Syndrome to take place. They won’t get much plutonium from those reactors after a meltdown that leaves the guts far underground, still reacting.

China runs North Korea. Period.

Un could try and to the ‘independent’ route, but he’ll find himself on a slab while trying.

Oops, sorry, didn’t really mean it

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