Thursday, October 19, 2006

North Korean Weapons Ship at Sea

AP/Breitbart reports that a North Korean ship suspected of carrying contraband military material has taken to the high seas. Update: Kim has apologized for the nuclear test and hopes we can all be friends now.

U.S. intelligence has detected the departure from a North Korean port of a North Korean ship suspected of carrying military equipment banned under a U.N. sanctions resolution against Pyongyang's Oct. 9 nuclear test, CBS News reported Thursday.

The United States is tracking the ship, CBS said, noting that it remains uncertain exactly what the ship is carrying and where it is headed.

Should the ship be confirmed to be loaded with nuclear, missile or other related materials, it could be subject to the first maritime inspection under the sanctions resolution adopted unanimously Saturday by the U.N. Security Council. The resolution, which imposes economic and diplomatic sanctions, rules out military options, which are strongly opposed by China and Russia.

The news report came a day after U.S. President George W. Bush vowed to deal with ships and airplanes and take all necessary measures to stop North Korea's transfer of nuclear weapons to other nations and non-state entities such as terrorists.


It's practically certain that an interception, if it takes place, will be undertaken not by one of those peace-loving nations so adamantly opposed to the bomb as much as the United States Navy. Funny how it always works out that way. But the problem with blockades is that they are expensive and ceaseless. Sanctions are often ways the international community pretends to do something while really offloading the whole mess onto the lap of the US taxpayer. And the US can subsequently be blamed for doing something or not doing anything. The international community loves sanctions.

At any rate, look to see any interception as yet another proof of "US imperialism". Pajamas Media notices that the sympathetic portrayal of North Korea has already begun.

The "Human Face" of North Korea: Diane Sawyer interviews a senior North Korean general who asks President Bush to stop humiliating his nation. Former Spook says the message is “They want nothing more than a better life for their children, and to live in peace, yada, yada, yada.”


Blogger desert rat said...

Seems the USA loves the UN Sanctions as well. It's the first card played, out of a well stacked hand.

The first stop for US is Turtle Bay. The NorKs are itching for a fight, how many dead civilians in Seoul will wag the dog for Mr Kim?

Or does the NorK stand down after their ship is siezed on the high seas?

How willing will the SouKs be to take civilian caualties in the effort to blockade the NorK.

10/19/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Massive retaliation by the Israeli Air Force did not deter HB rocket launchers.
Why would NorK artillery be different?

10/19/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Why would NorK artillery be different?

Because Israel was "shaping the battlefield" for an invasion. All the US Air Force and Navy has to do is break everything it sees, which is something they are very, very good at. And if just one shell hitting Seoul has sarin gas, bye bye Pyongyong and good riddance.

10/19/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Da Man said...

If NK attacked SK with artillery, it would be end of the Kim harem.

10/19/2006 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Moment of truth for us!

The freakin' commie boat ought to just disappear...

10/19/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

It seems to me that there is a pattern of "escalation" in the diplomatic game now, a series of steps that must be widely viewed as a failure.

The south Koreans are in a tight clinch now. The North Koreans will attempt to leverage our concern for them as a means to continue their high stakes game of chicken. If I were a resident of seoul I'd be calling my dear old auntie in the country side to see if she wanted some company for a few weeks.

I would like to think that we'll take the steps necessary, but I have my doubts.

the stakes are high right now. It seems that the interests of the US might not be seen as completely congruent with the interests of south korea.

Of one thing I am certain. No matter what happens next, the peace weenies will be pissed.

10/19/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Dennis Franz said...

I dont see the check mate re: Seoul.

If NK did that, there'd be no incentive for restraint in US attacking the north.

10/19/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

If NK did that, there'd be no incentive for restraint in US attacking the north.

Generally, with the lack of incentives the US can find other, PC reasons for restraint. The First battle of Fallujia comes to mind here.

10/19/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Ros said...

A comment from the Editor at Complexity Digest re an article on North Korea siad about the 1 kiliton bomb test that it may be the North Koreans responding to thier market. That a 1 kiloton could be fitted into a SUV.

The world community has to meet the challenge of this ship and stop it, or NK will have set up a precedent to continue exporting at will, and the thought of SUV's fitted out with a nuclear bomb is horrifying

10/19/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

If Kim were really clever, this ship would be a ruse, an occasion for a showdown between a little country and a bully power that intercepts and forces its way onto proud little country's boat, only for the stormtroopers to find no contraband at all. This would play as an instant PR coup for the NorKs and humiliation for Bush in the run-up to the election, as well as feed international doubts and dismay over US methods of addressing proliferation and nuclearization.

Even better would be cowering widows and children on board who are frightened by the Yankee pirates.

Question for the experts: why can't the regime transport and receive banned items by air, instead of by sea, to avoid naval intercepts?

10/19/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Patton-at-Bastogne said...


Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld DELIBERATELY leaked the story themselves.

They just want to publicize to the world ... China, Russia, North Korea ... what our intelligence is ...

And that Bush is warning that this "Chinese-Korean Ship" (a geopolitical pawn WILL be taken down ...

Never fear. Rice and Rumsfeld "war-gamed" this scenario probably a year ago ... and the assest have been in place for three months to deal with this situation/scenario.


10/19/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

The human face of North Korea, eh? I wonder of the excellent Ms. Sawyer was aware of the following incident reported inThe Sunday Times of London's 8 October 2006 edition. (Austin Bay linked to it; the first five pghs of the story appear below). The reporter is Michael Sheridan, reporting from the North Korean/Chinese border.

THE North Korean refugee had one request for her captors before the young Chinese soldiers led her back across the steel-girdered bridge on the Yalu River that divides two “socialist allies”.
“She asked for a comb and some water because she said that if she was going to die she could not face going to heaven looking as dirty and dishevelled as this,” recounted a relative of one soldier who was there.

What happened next is testimony to the rising disgust in Chinese military ranks as Beijing posts more troops to the border amid a crisis with North Korea over its regime’s plan to stage a nuclear test.

The soldiers, who later told family members of the incident, marched the woman, who was about 30, to the mid-point of the bridge. North Korean guards were waiting. They signed papers for receipt of the woman, who kept her dignity until that moment. Then, in front of the Chinese troops, one seized her and another speared her hand — the soft part between thumb and forefinger — with the point of a sharpened steel cable, which he twisted into a leash.

“She screamed just like a pig when we kill it at home in the village,” the soldier later told his relative. “Then they dragged her away.”

Such stories are circulating widely among Chinese on the border, where wild rumours of an American attack on nuclear test sites have spread fears of a Chernobyl-type cloud of radiation and sparked indignation at the North Koreans. “I’ve heard it a hundred times over that when we send back a group they stab each one with steel cable, loop it under the collarbone and out again, and yoke them together like animals,” said an army veteran with relatives in service.

10/19/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Teresita, This would never happen” bye bye Pyongyong” there might (a slim chance) be a nuke cloud over a dense NORKOR artillery position possibly close to a major city but no US prez has the fortitude to incinerate hundreds of thousands of people. Americans need to quite gulping down the “We are (lone) Super Power” and all fear us, This is very far from the truth, NORKOR is playing us like a fiddle and so is Iran. Pakistan along with many others are learning that the US Threatens more then it will ever do.

10/20/2006 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Abu Nudnik said...

Here's my weapon of choice

10/20/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

"If NK did that, there'd be no incentive for restraint in US attacking the north. "

The metaphirical 'shooting of the hostage' was carried by Hezbollah with regards to firing rockets into Haifa.

Even so, Israel restrained itself. Certainly there are differences, but it does show that restraint can still exist 'after the hostage has been shot'. I suspect Israel is far less prone to restraint than the USA is.

"If Kim were really clever, this ship would be a ruse, an occasion for a showdown between a little country and a bully power that intercepts and forces its way onto proud little country's boat, only for the stormtroopers to find no contraband at all. "

I'm not sure how this would be a significant 'coup' if the ship was allowed to go on its merry way when nothing was found. It would actually prove out the positions we've stated publicly.

10/20/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

Don't give up on Seoul. They've had decades to target every hole within range of the capitol and every possible mortar emplacement. This may be the last great artillery duel, and over be over in hours, if not minutes. Fixed mount computer targeted artillery has long been as accurate as GPS guided smart bombs.

For more on NK, I recommend The Aquariums of Pyongyang, a devastating and terribly sad personal story edited by the same French team that documented 100 million early deaths (and billions of utterly wasted lives) due to the false god of communism in the Black Book of Communism."

10/20/2006 03:03:00 PM  

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