Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Korean Peninsula


North Korea claimed that its test of a new medium long-range ballistic missile, on 2/12/17 was a success.  China voiced its opposition to the launch and joined other members of the UN Security Council in condemning Pyongyang's action.

Reportedly, China will halt all coal imports from North Korea for the rest of 2017, amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula following Pyongyang's most recent missile test last week.

China's Ministry of Commerce announced the decision was made to comply with a UN Security Council resolution that China helped draft and pass last November.  UN resolution 2321 imposed some of the toughest sanctions yet against the North Korean regime, after it disregarded an earlier UN ban to test what it said was a nuclear warhead in September 2016.
Coal is North Korea's main export and an important source of foreign currencies for its fragile economy.  Most of North Korea's coal is shipped to China.  

However, North Korean economist Ri Gi Song, a researcher at the Academy of Social Sciences suggests that exporting coal isn’t that important.  He insists the export of other raw materials, such as magnesite and graphite, used in smartphone production is much more important for major world economies.  He also claimed that North Korea has more than half of the world's deposit of those two raw materials.

Bilateral relations have become strained, since North Korea's current leader, Kim Jong Un, came to power after his father's death in 2011.  China remains North Korea's largest trade partner, providing an economic and political lifeline to the increasingly isolated regime.  China views North Korea as a strategic buffer between itself and South Korea, which has a sizable US military presence.  It also fears a potential refugee crisis on its doorstep if the Kim Jong Un regime suddenly collapses. 

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