China steps up to the plate

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North Korea has been a little bit too vocal these last few weeks - maybe their Glorious Leader is eating a few too many magic mushrooms.

China is taking notice - from the excellent StrategyPage:

Korea: Big Brother Gets Very Angry
North Korea is now facing an unexpected financial crises as China not only enforces the new sanctions but also the older ones it ignored and adds some new sanctions. Thus North Korea was shocked when on March 1 st Chinese border guards refused to let shipments of coal or ores enter. These mineral exports are a major source of foreign currency and were not covered by sanctions. China is believed to be making a point; that it is fed up with North Korea ignoring demands to halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs and turn its attention to the internal economic crises. So far North Korean leaders are ignoring this additional sanction and telling subordinates that it is only temporary. But the rumors in China are that the blocking of mineral exports will last for a long time, perhaps indefinitely until the North Korean leaderships shows more respect towards China and heeds the advice from its “big brother.”

One option North Korea has is to increase illegal drug production. The government has long produced opium, heroin and methamphetamine (“meth”) for export to obtain foreign currency. This, like the counterfeiting of American $100 bills, cannot be used too much without offending the countries this stuff shows up in. The drugs can be exported via China as long as none of them show up in China. This is especially true with meth, which is becoming a growing problem in China because of illegal manufacturing in northern Burma and smugglers taking it across the border to China. North Korea can fall back on its busy fleet of cargo ships and transport aircraft but these are under increasing surveillance by foreign intelligence agencies and if the Chinese join in this informal “North Korea Watch” coalition North Korean smuggling efforts will be seriously hurt. There is still Russia, but the Russians demand big bribes and it takes longer to get drugs to global markets via Russia. Plus, if North Korean drugs start showing up a lot in Russia, that smuggling route will be shut down or severely restricted.

The $100's are notorious - our Feds call them super-notes - the quality of printing is that good. This is why, when I want to get a bit of cash, I always get $50's or lower. Much safer.

There is a bit of good news:

To make matters even worse for North Korean leaders the secret police are reporting that public opinion (which is monitored even though it is generally ignored) is blaming the government, not China or the UN for the increased sanctions. This gets worse because the government is starting a new internal propaganda campaign to blame the rest of the world for the sanctions. These major propaganda efforts are widely unpopular inside North Korea because they involve forcing most of the population to attend hours of lectures on the subject by local officials. Attendance is mandatory and that is regularly checked and verified by the secret police.

A lot more at the site - things are grim over there. The good news is that the people are waking up - bit by bit, news about life in the rest of the world is filtering into their nation. I wish the best for their citizens - may they live to enjoy the fruits of free-market capitalism and democracy.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on April 1, 2016 10:49 PM.

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