The Takeaways: Execution of North Korea's #2
Ostensibly unrelated ...
05 December 2013, WASHINGTON – Chinese warship nearly collided with USS Cowpens
A Chinese navy vessel tried this month to force a US warship to a halt in international waters have senior US officials and longtime Asia analysts asking what, precisely, China was trying to prove by the maneuver.
China is out “to make sure that the US shows respect to China – that they acknowledge a sphere of influence,” says Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.13 December 2013 - Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) – Jang Sung-taek, Vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea, has been executed.
Some Public Background (all highly suspicious)
- China, whose senior officials were considered to have close ties to Jang, described the recent developments as North Korea's "internal affairs."1 - CNN
- Chinese experts say the upheaval is particularly alarming 2 because North Korea has nuclear weapons and a fragile economy. - LA Times
- Jang was convicted under Article 60 of the criminal code, which bars acts against national sovereignty. Jang was accused of selling national resources at low prices, presumably to the Chinese. - LA Times, [Ibid]
- Despite the turmoil, former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who has built a friendship with Kim Jong Un, a basketball fan, is set to visit the nation next week. Rodman is organizing a friendship exhibition game between North Korea and a team of mainly former NBA players on Jan. 8, Kim's birthday. - LA Times, [Ibid]
What We Should Certainly Suspect
- If Dennis Rodman has been spying for the U.S. already, he would certainly make next week's visit to North Korea.
- Suh Sang-ki, a lawmaker in South Korea's governing Saenuri Party who sits on a parliamentary intelligence committee, said the decision to kill Jang suggests Kim's power is weaker than that of his father.
- A provocative encounter between a U.S. Navy vessel and a North Korean ship in China's territorial waters.
What We May Expect
- There will be many more executions of Jang's allies and confidants," said Park Syung-je, a North Korea expert and chairman of South Korea's Asia Strategy Institute.
- "I think there's going to be a clear amount of brinksmanship," said Philip Yun, executive director of the Ploughshares Fund, a nuclear nonproliferation group. "I think if we continue to wait for him to do things, he's going to continue to shoot missiles, and he'll probably at some point decide to test a nuclear weapon."
Prediction: Expect a coup in North Korea leadership before Kim Jong-un's birthday in 2017. - M.E.
Submarines are always silent and strange.