한국정치 노트 Notes on the Politics of Korea

탈북자들을 정권도구로 악용한 이명박 박근혜 정권, 그리고 이들과 동조세력이 된 일부 탈북자들이 만들어낸 정치적 범죄와 비극.



범죄 및 국민 세금 포탈 논란 주인공 - " NK지식인연대 김흥광 대표와 그의 가족, 그리고 회원들이 여론 조작 활동을 하면서 1년여 동안 매달 수천만 원의 돈을 챙긴 사실"



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지난 2016년 10월 KBS는 “북한 김정은 국무위원장이 ‘500억을 보상 받으면 핵을 포기할 수 있다’는 발언을 했다”고 보도했다. KBS는 김 위원장이 북한 노동당 중앙군사위원회 비공개 확대회의에서 한 발언을 평양의 고위 소식통을 통해 NK지식인연대가 입수했다며 이같이 전했다.


KBS는 “김정은 위원장이 핵무기를 매개로 대규모 지원을 받아낼 속셈”이라는 해설을 덧붙여 마치 김 위원장의 발언이 실제로 있었던 것처럼 보도했다.


MBC는 같은해 9월 대북 소식통을 인용해 “북한이 평안북도 박천군에 있는 108연구소에서 핵 어뢰와 핵 기뢰를 개발하고 있다”는 뉴스를 내보냈다. 이 정보의 출처 역시 NK지식인연대.


뉴스타파는 비영리민간단체에 지원된 정부 보조금의 사용 내역을 살펴보다, 언론에서 보도된 이 같은 북한 관련 정보의 실체 중 일부를 확인했다. NK지식인연대가 행정안전부에 제출한 회계자료를 보면 탈북자 김연란 씨가 3차례에 나눠 모두 19건의 북한 정보를 NK지식인연대에 전달한 것으로 돼 있다. 여기에는 주한미군이 철수하고 500억을 보상해주면 핵을 포기할 수 있다고 한 김 위원장의 발언 정보도 포함돼 있었다. NK지식인연대에 따르면 김 씨는 북한 노동당 중앙군사위원회 비공개 회의에서 나온 김 위원장의 발언 내용을 입수할 정도로 대단한 정보 수집 능력을 갖췄다.


그러나 김 씨의 실체는 탈북 후 7년 넘게 장사만 해 왔다는 보통 탈북자였다. 김 씨는 뉴스타파와의 전화통화에서 “북한과 관련된 글을 쓴 적도 없고, 북한 정보에 대해 잘 알지도 못한다”며 “김정은이 핵을 포기할지 말지에 대해 아예 관심조차 없다”고 말했다.


하지만 NK지식인연대는 김연란 씨에게 북한 정보 입수비 명목으로 300만 원씩 3차례 모두 900만 원을 송금했다. 이 돈은 모두 정부 보조금에서 나왔다. 이에 대해 김 씨는 “NK지식인연대에서 일하는 친구의 부탁을 받고, 돈을 자신의 계좌로 입금 받은 후 전액을 다시 NK지식인연대 측에 되돌려줬으며 자신은 단 한푼도 받지 않았다”고 해명했다. 김 씨의 주장에 따르면 NK지식인연대가 정보 입수비라는 명목으로 북한 정보와는 아무 관련 없는 탈북자에게 돈을 송금한 뒤 이를 되돌려받는 방법으로 정부 보조금을 빼돌렸을 가능성이 높다. NK지식인연대가 북한 정보 입수비와 동영상 구입비 명목으로 사용한 정부 보조금은 모두 2400만 원이다.


탈북자 오상국 씨는 북한이 핵 어뢰를 개발한다는 등의 정보를 제공한 대가로 600만 원을 받았다. 오 씨의 전화기는 꺼져 있었고, 집에 찾아갔지만 만날 수 없었다. 뉴스타파 취재진은 북한의 최신 휴대폰과 태블릿 PC 동영상을 NK지식인연대에 전달했다는 대가로 600만 원을 받은 김형일 씨를 만났다. 하지만 그는 기자의 질문에 아무 말도 하지 않았다.


취재진은 NK지식인연대 사무실을 찾아아 김흥광 대표를 만났으나, 그는 취재를 거칠게 거부하며, 보조금 횡령 의혹에 대해 아무 해명을 하지 않았다. 사무실에는 자신을 신변보호 경찰관이라고 밝힌 한 남자가 김 대표를 지키고 있었다. 정부 보조금을 빼돌린 관변 탈북자 단체를 국민의 세금으로 지켜주고 있는 셈이다.


한편 NK지식인연대는 지난 2009년 말 전쟁터를 뜻하는 ‘전야’라는 조직을 만들어 이명박 정부를 홍보하고, 정부와 한나라당을 비판하는 사람들을 종북으로 매도하는 글 4만여 개를 포털사이트에 올리는 등 여론 조작 활동을 벌였던 단체다.


뉴스타파는 NK지식인연대 김흥광 대표와 그의 가족, 그리고 회원들이 여론 조작 활동을 하면서 1년여 동안 매달 수천만 원의 돈을 챙긴 사실을 보도한 바 있다.  이들 단체는 이명박, 박근혜 정부 기간에 대대적으로 정부 지원을 받았다. 특히 행정안전부는 NK지식인연대의 여론조작 활동이 본격화 된 2010년부터 정부 보조금을 지원하기 시작해 2016년까지 모두 2억8000만 원을 제공했다.


취재 : 황일송

촬영 : 오준식

편집 : 정지성

CG : 정동우


뉴스타파는 권력과 자본의 간섭을 받지 않고 진실만을 보도하기 위해,

광고나 협찬 없이 오직 후원 회원들의 회비로만 제작됩니다.

월 1만원 후원으로 더 나은 세상을 만들어주세요.































































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영화 <비열한 거리>가 따로없다. 삼성과 경총은 비열한 '번 아웃 '작전을 폐기하라. 삼성과 경총은 노조 탄압하는 헛돈 쓰지 마라.


 삼성 미래 전략실은 이제 노동자들의 기본권인 노동 3권을 탄압하지 말아야 한다. 경총 (한국 경영자 총협회)은 비열한 방식으로 삼성 노조를 와해시키는 정치공작을 즉시 중단해야 한다. 경총은 노동자들, 당신들 용어로 직원들이 경영의 한 주체라는 것을 인정해야 하고, 그런 시대가 도래했음을 간과하지 말고,인정해야 한다.


 삼성 이재용 부회장이 이번 삼성 노조 와해 공작으로 다시 조사를 받을 것 같다.경총과 삼성이 공모해 삼성전자 노조들을 와해시키기 위해 '번 아웃 (소진) 정책'을 사용했기 때문이다. mbc 뉴스데스크 보도를 보면, 삼성전자의 노조 파괴 주체는 삼성그룹 미래전략실이라는 것을 짐작할 수 있다.


삼성 미래 전략실은 노동자의 경영 참여와 노동 3권에 기반한 노조활동을 이제 더 이상 비열한 방식으로,그 수많은 돈을 써가면서 탄압하지 말아야 한다. 이재용 부회장은 정치적 법적 책임을 질 필요가 있다. 이건희 후임 이재용 부회장이 그 삼성 미래전략실 수장이기 때문에, 이재용은 다시 검찰 수사를 받아야 한다.


글로벌 기업, 반도체 수출로 16조 수익 잔치를 벌이는 삼성전자는 이제 노동조합 관점을 수정해야 한다. 삼성도 대한민국 헌법과 노동 3권을 준수해야 한다.


---- 아래는 MBC 뉴스데스크 이지선 기자 보도 


[단독] 삼성, 노조 파괴 위해 경총 수족으로 부려


이지선 기사입력 2018-04-29 20:32  최종수정 2018-04-29 20:40


삼성 노조 한국경영자총협회 압수수색 소진 정책 Burn out Policy


◀ 앵커 ▶ 


삼성의 조직적인 노조 파괴 공작에 한국경영자총협회, 즉 경총이 깊숙이 개입하고, 삼성의 수족 노릇을 한 사실이 새롭게 드러났습니다. 


검찰은 이번 주 경총 핵심 관계자와 삼성그룹 임원들을 소환 조사할 계획입니다. 


이지선 기자가 단독 취재했습니다. 


◀ 리포트 ▶ 


지난 26일 한국경영자총협회에 대한 압수수색에서 검찰은 뜻밖의 성과물을 대거 확보했습니다. 


검찰이 경총 사무실에서 확보한 한 박스 분량의 외장 하드에서 삼성 측의 의뢰를 받은 경총이 삼성그룹과 마치 한 몸처럼 움직이며, 노조 파괴를 위한 공작을 실행해 왔음을 보여주는 증거가 대거 쏟아져나온 겁니다. 


검찰은 특히 경총이 노조와의 교섭이 시작되기도 전부터 , 이른바 '소진 정책'을 확립하고 실행해나간 배경에 주목하고 있습니다.· 


이 정책은 갖가지 이유를 들어 노조와의 교섭을 최대한 지연시켜, 노조원을 지치게 하고 이후 노조 자체를 와해시킨다는 전략으로 삼성전자 압수수색에서 발견된 노조 파괴 <마스터 플랜>과 똑같은 내용입니다. 


실제 경총은 지난 2013년 각 지역 서비스센터 노조와의 교섭을 대행하는 과정에서 툭하면 결렬을 선언하며 이 전략을 실행에 옮겼습니다. 


검찰은 또 경총 간부가 삼성그룹이 노조 활동을 저지하기 위해 만든 본사 특별대응팀 회의에 수시로 참여한 정황도 확보했습니다. 


삼성전자 상무가 팀장으로 주관했던 고용노동부 수시 근로감독 대응 TF 와 노조 파업 대응 TF 정기회의에 삼성전자서비스 사장은 물론 경총 간부도 매번 빠짐없이 참석했다는 겁니다. 


경총 압수수색을 통해 삼성전자가 삼성전자서비스와 경총을 앞세워 노조파괴를 자행한 증거들이 대거 확보됨에 따라 검찰은 내일부터 삼성전자 실무 책임자와 임원 소환 조사에 본격 착수할 계획입니다. 


이 과정에서 삼성전자가 자행한 노조 파괴가 삼성그룹 미래전략실의 조직적 개입에 의해 이뤄진 정황이 확인될 경우 이건희 회장이 쓰러진 뒤 삼성그룹을 이끌어온 이재용 부회장이 또다시 검찰의 수사 대상으로 떠오르는 건 불가피해 보입니다. 


MBC 뉴스 이지선입니다.














































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Despot meets democrat

Can the euphoria of the Korean summit last?


Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un seem to have got on like a house on fire



Asia

Apr 27th 2018 | GOYANG


IT WAS easy to forget that this was a man who has threatened the world with nuclear war, used summary executions and foreign hit jobs to eliminate his rivals and presided over some of the worst human-rights abuses in recent history. Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, was all smiles as he walked towards the line that separates the northern and southern halves of the demilitarised zone dividing the two Koreas on the morning of April 27th. Mr Kim literally stretched a hand across the frontier, shaking that of Moon Jae-in, the South’s president, before stepping into the South. In a winningly unscripted move, he persuaded Mr Moon to re-cross the line into the North with him, before heading south again.


The meeting marked the first time a North Korean leader has travelled to the South since the end of the Korean war in 1953. (South Korean presidents have twice visited Pyongyang for summits, in 2000 and 2007.) There were Kodak moments galore: the first handshake, an inspection of a South Korean honour guard dressed in an assortment of primary-coloured nineteenth-century uniforms, the planting of a “peace tree”, a private afternoon chat on a bench, during which observers could see the two leaders but hear only birdsong.



The continuous display of bonhomie meant that the two leaders achieved their first objective: to show that their countries could set aside their traditional enmity to conduct a good-natured conversation. In South Korea, the moment prompted an outpouring of emotion. Social media exploded with amazed comments. Commuters stopped in subway stations to watch it on live TV. Children were given time off school to do the same. Even hardened hacks whooped and applauded as the two leaders shook hands. Some fought back tears.


The initial encounter set the mood for the rest of the day. Mr Kim displayed a warmth that was notably at odds with his record of threats and provocations. During a moment of playful banter before the doors closed on the press, the dictator joked about the difficulty of bringing North Korean noodles with him for the evening banquet and complimented Mr Moon on the high quality of the South’s roads.


This charm offensive certainly resonated with South Koreans. The noodles to which Mr Kim referred began trending on social media and became a lunchtime hit in many of Seoul’s restaurants. On the streets of Goyang, a suburb north of Seoul, the mood was jubilant. “I used to call President Moon a filthy commie but I don’t really know why anymore,” said Mrs Kim (presumably, no relation), a middle-aged resident. “He’s clearly doing great things—and he’s even quite good-looking!”


For all the pomp and skilful choreography, however, the results of the summit were insubstantial. The joint statement the two leaders signed before sharing a hug and a banquet of symbolic dishes was full of lofty sentiments, but short on detail: “The two leaders solemnly declared before the 80m Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean peninsula.” They also expressed a desire to bring about a formal end to the Korean war by the end of this year, by transforming the existing armistice into a peace treaty with the help of America and China. And after rushing to perfect a nuclear bomb, and celebrating volubly at each successful test, Mr Kim declared that in fact he wanted a “nuclear-free Korean peninsula”.


The declaration signed at the previous inter-Korean summit, in 2007, contained similar language on the nuclear issue. Needless to say, it has not been fulfilled. Mr Kim’s father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, had a habit of cheating on nuclear commitments before the ink was dry. And both Kims saw nuclear weapons as essential to the survival of their regime, and their regime’s survival as essential to their own.


The wording of the new statement does not preclude Northern demands that might derail talks again, such as an insistence that all American troops be withdrawn from the South. Mr Moon has claimed that Mr Kim is willing to drop that idea, but if so, there was no sign of it in the declaration. Indeed, there were no tangible concessions from the North (or, for that matter, the South).


Still, there was never any chance that a deal on nuclear disarmament would be agreed without American input. The administration of Donald Trump welcomed the outcome of the summit; the president himself tweeted “KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!” The warmth of the proceedings, and Mr Trump’s even warmer response to it, suggests that his mooted summit with Mr Kim, which is supposed to take place in late May or early June, will indeed go ahead. But what the outcome of that meeting will be, or even what the two sides will offer, remains as opaque as ever. And next time around, the measure of success will be more than warm smiles and shiny photographs. 

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1. 러시아 철도, 가스, 전력을 한국과 북한으로 공급하고 싶어하는 러시아의 이해관계

2. 한국-북한-러시아 경제 협력 체제 만들어야 한다.

냉전시대 북한-중국-러시아 대 한미일 삼각동맹 체제를 깨부수어, 다자간 경제협력 체제와 상호 평화 공존 체제를 만들어야 한다.

특히, 러시아와 북한 나진-하싼 복합 물류 산업을 발전시키고자 한다.  북한과 러시아 경제 협력 체제를 만들어 실질적인 성과를 내야 한다. 


3. 러시아 "북한 핵실험 중단은 러시아와 중국의 로드맵에 부합하는 정책이다" 환영 발표 


4. 철도 연결 사업 필요,

부산에서 북한을 거쳐 블라디보스톡에 도착하면, 시베리아 횡단 철도를 타고 모스크바까지 직접 갈 수 있다.


5. 러시아는 냉전구도를 깰 수 있는 집단 상호 안보 체제는 6자 회담, 한국 북한 일본 미국 중국 러시아 회담에서 결정하자고 제안했다.



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대한민국 청와대

28 mins · 

[문재인 대통령과 푸틴 대통령 전화 통화]


문재인 대통령은 29일 오후 5시부터 5시35분까지 35분 동안 푸틴 러시아 대통령과 전화 통화를 하며 남북정상회담 결과를 설명하고 의견을 나눴습니다.


문재인 대통령은 남북정상회담의 성공은 러시아가 일관되게 보내준 적극적 지지와 성원 덕이라고 평가했습니다. 문 대통령은 앞으로도 러시아와 긴밀히 소통하고 협력해 나가자며 푸틴 대통령의 각별한 관심과 지원을 요청했습니다.


푸틴 대통령은 남북정상회담의 결과가 앞으로 한반도에서 확고한 평화를 구축하는 데 튼튼한 기반이 될 것이라고 평가했습니다. 푸틴 대통령은 이런 남북정상회담 결과는 자주 생기는 게 아니라며 한반도라는 아주 복잡한 상황에서 이뤄내기 어려운 일을 해냈다고 말했습니다.


푸틴 대통령은 이어 남북정상회담의 성과가 남북러 3각 협력 사업으로 이어질 필요성을 제기했습니다. 그는 러시아의 철도, 가스, 전력 등이 한반도를 거쳐 시베리아로 연결될 경우 한반도의 안정과 번영에 기여할 것이라는 뜻을 나타냈습니다.


문재인 대통령은 공감을 표시한 뒤 남북러 3각 협력 사업에 대한 공동연구를 남북러 3자가 함께 착수했으면 좋겠다고 말했습니다. 두 정상은 이런 3각 협력이 동북아 평화안보체제 구축에 도움이 되고, 다자 안보체제로까지 발전할 필요가 있다는 데 공감대를 형성했습니다.


푸틴 대통령은 이어 오는 6월 문재인 대통령이 국빈 자격으로 러시아를 방문해 줄 것을 요청했습니다. 푸틴 대통령은 문 대통령이 러시아를 방문할 경우 한국과 멕시코 월드컵 축구경기를 볼 수 있을 것이라며 대통령과의 만남을 기다리겠다고 말했습니다.


2018년 4월 29일

청와대 대변인 김의겸


























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Summit trivia






On a day this historic, everything gets noticed. Here are some of the more unusual aspects picked up by BBC Monitoring.

Jogging bodyguards

When Mr Kim headed back into North Korea for lunch following his first, brief talks with President Moon, 12 bodyguards flanked his Mercedes Benz, jogging alongside in formation.

Height

As Mr Kim smiled and greeted Mr Moon with a symbolic handshake, many wondered why the two leaders looked to be similar in height. Mr Kim's exact height is unknown but he is estimated to be 167 to 168cm tall. Mr Moon, on the other hand, is known to be 172cm, according to South Korean newspaper Herald Economy

Salute or nod?

While the North's top military officials saluted Moon Jae-in, their South Korean counterparts only exchanged a nod or a handshake with Mr Kim, South Korean news agency Yonhap notes. The omission of formal salutes was a reminder that the two countries are technically still at war

Mightier than the sword?

The fountain pen used by Kim Jong-un to sign a guestbook was used to sign the German unification treaty, Herald Economy reports. The pen given by Mr Kim's sister Kim Yo-jong is a Swiss brand Montblanc used by Helmut Kohl of West Germany and Lothar de Maizière of East Germany on 3 October 1990, the paper says


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Sunshine and shadow

As some observers question how new today's developments really are, here's a quick reminder of what previous summits achieved:


2000


In 1998, Kim Dae-jung started his "sunshine" policy of engagement with the North which led to the 2000 summit.

That first inter-Korean summit resulted in humanitarian and economic co-operation, and reunions of families separated by the border.


It also led to the Kaseong economic zone in 2004, which produced South Korean factories staffed by North Korean workers at the border.


In 2000, Kim Dae-jung received the Nobel Peace Prize for his policy of reconciliation.


2007


Roh Moo-hyun's continuation of the "sunshine" policy led to a second meeting with Kim Jong-il in 2007.


The meeting took place as six-party talks on denuclearisation where under way with the US, China, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas to get Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme in return for aid.


The summit ended in an agreement to resolve nuclear issues, end military hostilities and sign a permanent peace treaty but all that fell through after the North resorted to nuclear and missile tests and the South elected more conservative presidents, opposed to the "sunshine".




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How 2018 deal compares with 2007

Friday’s meeting was the third Inter-Korean summit to be held between the leaders of North and South Korea.

The first, in 2000, did not set any time frames and had very broad commitments. But here are the main differences between the 2007 and 2018 agreements:

Peace

2007: Recognised need to end 1953 armistice and “establish a permanent peace regime”

2018: Declaration to end Korean War. Agreement to “actively pursue” meetings with either the US or the US and China

Economic Cooperation

2007: Outlined a number of economic initiatives, including opening freight rail services between Munsan and Bongdong, and finalising related issues such as customs clearance

2018: Implementing the 2007 projects

Military

2007: The two countries “agreed not to antagonize each other, reduce military tension and resolve issues in dispute through dialogue and negotiation”. Planned talks between defence ministers to establish military guarantees for the agreement

2018: Both countries “agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea”. Frequent meetings between military authorities

Peace zone

2007: Joint fishing zone

2018: Converting the demilitarised zone into a peace zone by completely ending propaganda broadcasts at the border. Practical measures to create the maritime peace zone/ joint fishing zone

Sport

2007: Joint cheering squad to 2008 Olympics

2018: Joint participation in international sports events, including 2018 Asian Games

Family reunification

2007: Expand reunions of relatives and promote video messages

2018: Continue with reunions, including planned programme for National Liberation Day in August


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Why has Kim Jong-un halted North Korean tests now?

\Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Kim Jong-un's announcement that North Korea is to halt nuclear and missile tests immediately comes as he prepares for two major diplomatic events. Analyst Ankit Panda asks what the North Korean leader hopes to gain with his latest move.



North Korea's declaration will no doubt lead to effusive headlines touting an end to nuclear and long-range missile testing, but a look at the country's historical record and the context of its nuclear and missiles programme suggests that we might temper our expectations.

First, regarding nuclear testing, the statement released on Saturday makes clear that the reason Kim Jong-un is submitting voluntarily to a testing freeze and to the closing of the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site - the scene of all six of North Korea's nuclear tests since 2006 - is because he feels that his country has mastered the design of nuclear weapons.

Although difficult to verify, this claim is not obviously an exaggeration or unbelievable.

Consider that India and Pakistan, by 1998, had each conducted six nuclear tests and are now counted among the pantheon of nuclear weapons possessors, without conducting further tests.

North Korea, with an additional eight years of access to knowledge available in open source material concerning nuclear weapons design, can feel similarly comfortable with its six nuclear tests.

'City-busting yields'

On a more granular level, North Korea's fifth and sixth nuclear tests - in September 2016 and 2017 respectively - marked important benchmarks. The September 2016 test, according to North Korean state media, involved a standardized and compact nuclear device, one that could be mounted on any of its various short, medium, intermediate, and intercontinental-range missiles (ICBMs).

Kim Jong-un at the test of a Hwasong-12 missile, undated KCNA photo released on 16 September 2017Image copyrightKCNA VIA REUTERS
Image captionKim Jong-un has taken a close personal interest in the North Korean missile programme

The expected yield - or explosive power - of those weapons might be of the order of two-to-three times the weapon that the United States used against Nagasaki in the final days of the World War Two - but that's quite powerful enough for North Korea's purposes.

More seriously, North Korea's most recent nuclear test demonstrated that it had the capability to generate seriously powerful nuclear yields.

While independent experts and various national intelligence agencies haven't reached a consensus on whether North Korea had truly mastered a thermonuclear bomb design, as it claimed to have done, the seismic data recorded on 3 September 2017 gave the world enough information to conclude that North Korea had a nuclear device capable of "city-busting" explosive yields.

The bottom line is that just as Kim Jong-un's recent trip to Beijing was a show of strength - a signal that he felt comfortable enough in his consolidated domestic power to leave North Korea - so too is the declaration of a nuclear test ban a sign that he feels renewed confidence.

Limited costs to halting missile tests

Regarding his missiles, Kim has said that he will no longer test ICBMs.

On the one hand, that's surprising.

North Korea has conducted just three tests in total of missiles that could deliver nuclear weapons to the contiguous United States. None of these tests have involved a missile flying on a trajectory similar to what might be necessary for a nuclear strike, leaving further flight-testing something of a necessity for North Korea to become sufficiently confident in its ability to strike the US homeland.

But North Korea may have other plans. For instance, while it has mastered most of what is necessary on a technical level to threaten the United States, its missile forces continue to be limited by a small number of launchers. Currently, North Korea has probably only six launch vehicles for its ICBMs.

Even though Kim Jong-un, during his 2018 New Year's address, declared his nuclear forces "complete," there is good reason to believe that he would want to increase his ICBM launchers and even work on components of North Korea's nuclear command and control systems.

North Korean photo of what the country's news agency says is a long-range missile, 30 November 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionNorth Korea may now want to concentrate on developing launch vehicles, not missiles themselves

Tactically, then, submitting to a self-imposed ICBM flight-testing ban would have limited costs.

Easy to break ban

Ultimately, these test bans are restricted in their extent.

The nuclear test ban could be made credible by a bona fide gesture at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. North Korea, for instance, could demolish its test tunnels; the statement released on Saturday notes only that the site will be "dismantled".

But as long as North Korea hangs on to its missiles, it can break its self-imposed ban with little warning. In 1999, North Korea submitted to a missile testing moratorium, but that eventually broke down in 2006, a few years after the collapse of the 1994 Agreed Framework.

Beyond the bans, Mr Kim used the latest Central Committee meeting to tout the success of his fundamental national strategic project, which is summarized in what he has called the byungjin line. This concept refers to the simultaneous development of a powerful state nuclear force alongside a more prosperous economy.

On Saturday, Kim Jng-un clearly indicated that with the cessation of nuclear testing, he will "concentrate all the efforts on building a powerful socialist economy and markedly improving the standard of people's living."

That should be taken seriously. North Korea will seek relief from international sanctions at the forthcoming summits to realise this objective.

The summit is the prize

The concessions from North Korea have come before the two anticipated summits with the United States and South Korea.

People watch a television news report showing pictures of US President Donald Trump (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a railway station in Seoul on March 9, 2018Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Kim comes just months after the pair exchanged deeply personal insults

One may wonder why Mr Kim should give up so much in advance instead of hanging on to a nuclear test-ban and an ICBM moratorium as aces up his sleeve to give up when he meets US President Donald Trump.

The answer is simple: a summit with a US president is enough of a prize in itself. For Mr Kim, it's something that neither his grandfather nor his father could attain.

In the end, what North Korea loses by demolishing its nuclear test site and submitting to a unilateral moratorium on ICBM launches is entirely tolerable compared to what Mr Kim gains by sitting alongside President Trump.

Reading KCNA's announcements on Saturday, there is also absolutely no hint of the "denuclearization" intent that South Korean officials have been eager to tout on North Korea's behalf.

On the contrary, North Korea's announcement sounds like the declamations of a nuclear weapons state - one that has no intention of giving up those weapons which give the country its ultimate guarantee of survival.

Even though President Trump has lauded Mr Kim's move as "big progress," the sooner he recognises Kim's ultimate objectives, the better.

Ankit Panda is an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists and a senior editor at The Diplomat.


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Korean summit sparks cold noodle craze

Image copyrightNEWS 1

Kim Jong-un may have made history by crossing the military line into South Korea, but it was a throwaway quip about cold noodles that began the most unexpected of crazes.


Once the handshake was done and dusted, the North and South Korean leaders were not averse to making jokes and Kim Jong-un's contribution to the jollity was a remark about how he had brought some of North Korea's famous cold noodles for the summit.

According to media reports, he said: "I've been checking news and people are talking about food a lot. So I brought some Pyongyang cold noodles for President Moon to enjoy. Pres Moon, please feel easy and have some delicious Pyongyang noodles that we brought."

Another translation suggested he also joked that the noodles had been brought "a long way... ah, we probably shouldn't say it is far".

On the face of it, not a momentous statement of diplomacy - but his comments lit up South Korea and sparked a craze for Pyongyang cold noodles.

Long queues have formed in the South outside cold noodle shops - and, on social media, the term is even trending higher than the North Korea-South Korea summit.

People wait in a long queue to enter a restaurant famous for Pyongyang-style cold noodles, or "naengmyeon" in Korean, in Seoul, South Korea, 27 April 2018Image copyrightEPA
Image captionThere are queues outside cold noodle shops - and at least one has run out of parking space

A call to noodle

Pyongyang Naengmyeon is the cold buckwheat noodle dish that Mr Kim was referring to. According to the Korea Herald, it shot to the top trending keywords on Twitter.

But it wasn't just online that the mania was evident. South Koreans have seized the moment and gone out to eat it with lines forming outside Seoul restaurants that serve it.

Sungjoo Han shared a selfie on Instagram saying: "I ate the cold noodles for lunch to celebrate two Korea summit."

"There was a long line when I arrived there. No seats available in the restaurant so I had to wait to eat the noodle. I believe everybody came to the restaurant for the same reason," he told BBC Korean.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting at the Peace HouseImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA light quip about noodles

The Yonhap news agency quotes one Pyongyang cold noodles restaurant in eastern Seoul say it had run out of parking because of the demand.

It also says that at one restaurant, Jeongin Myunok in Yeuido, Seoul, people shouted with joy when they were called by the staff for their turn.

"Wow, let's try Pyongyang Naengmyeon," one of them said out loud. "Let's eat them with Kim Jong-un".

What's the dish actually like?

One tour operator that offer tours of Pyongyang refers to the dish as one of the most "iconic noodle dishes", and one you'll find in every major Pyongyang restaurant.

Picture showing Pyongyang noodles being served in a restaurantImage copyrightNEWS1
Image captionPyongyang noodles are served with a cold soup

For the uninitiated, they are handmade buckwheat noodles served cold in a flavoured broth of beef, pork and chicken and topped with kimchi, cucumber and pickles or meat.

In North Korea, the noodles are known as Raengmyun.


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North Korea nuclear test site to close in May, South Korea says





North Korea's nuclear test site will close in May, the South Korean president's office has said.

A spokesman said the closure of the Punggye-ri site would be done in public and foreign experts from South Korea and the US would be invited to watch.

Scientists have said the site may have partially collapsed in September.

On Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in agreed to work to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Their summit came after months of warlike rhetoric from the North.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump he would likely hold talks with the North Korean leadership "over the next three or four weeks" about the denuclearisation of the peninsula.

What did South Korea say?

Presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said that Mr Kim had stated he "would carry out the closing of the nuclear test site in May".

Mr Yoon added that the North Korean leader had also said he "would soon invite experts of South Korea and the US to disclose the process to the international community with transparency".

The office also said North Korea would change its time zone - currently half an hour different - to match that of the South.

North Korea has so far made no public comments on the issue.

What is known about the test site?

Situated in mountainous terrain in the north-east, it is thought to be the North's main nuclear facility.

map

The nuclear tests have taken place in a system of tunnels dug below Mount Mantap, near the Punggye-ri site.

Six nuclear tests have been carried out there since 2006.

After the last, in September 2017, a series of aftershocks hit the site, which seismologists believe collapsed part of the mountain's interior.

Mr Kim made an apparent reference to these reports, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

"Some say that we are terminating facilities that are not functioning, but you will see that they are in good condition," the North Korean leader was quoted as saying by Mr Yoon on Sunday.

The information about the nuclear site has been gathered mainly from satellite imagery and tracking the movement of equipment at the location.

Presentational grey line

Building trust

Analysis by the BBC's Korea correspondent Laura Bicker

This is another significant and symbolic step by Kim Jong-un.

He had already announced he'd be closing the Punggye-ri test site, but now he has told officials in South Korea that he's prepared to make it public and invite experts and media from Seoul and the US to inspect it.

Mr Kim also told President Moon that he hoped trust could be built with the US and reiterated that there would be no need for him to have nuclear weapons if they formally ended the war on the Korean peninsula.

Mr Kim said once Washington spoke to him North Korea would know he was not an aggressor.

He added that his heart was broken when he saw the two clocks with different Korean time zones hanging on the wall of the peace house at the border between the two countries.

He will now match the time zone in the North with that of the South.


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