“President Moon Jae-in has called an emergency National Security Council meeting in response to the launch, the presidential Blue House said.”
By Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; Reuters:
North Korea fired on Sunday a ballistic missile from a region near its west coast that flew 700 kilometers (430 miles), South Korea’s military said, days after a new leader took office in the South pledging to engage in dialogue with Pyongyang.
The missile was fired early on Sunday from a region named Kusong located northwest of Pyongyang, where the North previously test-launched an intermediate-range missile it is believed to be developing, the last time in February.
Japan said the missile flew for 30 minutes and dropped in the sea between the North’s east coast and Japan.
Sunday’s launch is the first in two weeks since the last attempt to fire a missile ended in a failure just minutes into flight.
Japan swiftly issued a protest. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile was a violation of U.N. resolutions and that Japan strongly protested the action. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeated the protest in comments to reporters.
“North Korea’s repeated missile launches are a grave threat to our country and a clear violation of UN resolutions,” Abe told reporters, adding Japan will stay in close touch with the United States and South Korea.
The launch is the first since a new liberal president took office in South Korea on Wednesday saying dialogue as well as pressure must be used to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and stop the North’s weapons pursuit.
President Moon Jae-in has called an emergency National Security Council meeting in response to the launch, the presidential Blue House said.
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Shutting Down North Korea’s Economy
By Jon Harris; OpsLens:
The House voted Thursday for new sanctions on North Korea. Shutting down the North Korean economy is part of the strategy to bring Kim Jong-un in line with UN sanctions. Currently, North Korea circumvents UN sanctions by shipping workers to other countries using ships that are erroneously flagged as other nation’s vessels and dealing with countries not in compliance with the UN and the rest of the world.
The vote, which came in at 419-1, targets North Korea’s shipping industry, slave labor, and product export. It also requires that the Trump administration report to Congress within 90 days on whether North Korea should be reinstated on the government’s state sponsors of terror list. Such a designation would trigger more sanctions, including a restriction on US foreign assistance.
GOP Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina was the sole member to vote against the measure. The bill now goes to the Senate.
The bipartisan legislation is aimed at shutting down the flow of currency to North Korea by cutting off access to the cash the regime needs to continue on their path to nuclearization.
The measure is sponsored by Rep. Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the committee’s senior Democrat.
The bill bars ships owned by North Korea—or by countries that refuse to comply with UN resolutions against North Korea—from operating in American waters or docking at US ports. Products produced by North Korean forced labor would be prohibited from entering the United States, according to the legislation.
Anyone who uses the slave labor that North Korea exports to other countries would be subject to sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the bill states.
Rep. Royce said companies from Senegal to Qatar to Angola import North Korean workers, who send their salary back to Pyongyang, earning the regime billions of dollars in hard currency each year.
“This is money that Kim Jong-un uses to advance his nuclear and missile program and also pay his generals, buying their loyalty to his brutal regime,” Royce said. “That is what the high-level defectors that I meet with say. So let’s squeeze his purse.”
President Trump and regional allies are pressuring the Kim regime to halt the development of nuclear weapons through strong showings of military force, alignments with allies, and economic pressure.
China, one of North Korea’s only allies, is also showing a strong desire to halt the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula and has added pressure of its own on the Kim regime after Chinese President Xi met with President Trump to discuss the North Korea situation.
More and more, North Korea is isolated. The economic actions by the allied nations, the Chinese, and now this added restriction placed by the US are a siege on the economy. Like a siege in castle warfare from ages ago, the goal is to starve North Korea into compliance.