World War 3: North Korea Makes Arrests
After claiming last week that the CIA planned to assassinate their beloved leader, North korea has been busy arresting Americans.
US Citizen Kim Hak Song was arrested Saturday for reasons not yet fully disclosed. Song’s arrest follows the detention of US national Kim Sang Dok last month on charges of “criminal acts of hostility”. Dok, who is in his 50s, was reportedly arrested at Pyongyang International Airport while trying to leave North Korea.
The professor had been in North Korea to teach at the same university as Kim Hak Song.
A total of four US citizens are now thought to be in custody in North Korea.
The latest arrest comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and North Korea, with each flexing their military muscles in recent weeks.
Pyongyang is allegedly running “an international web” that stretches from Angola to Malaysia and the Caribbean, also involving “a large network of North Korean diplomats, entrepreneurs, smugglers, and foreign facilitators.”
On Thursday, the US House voted 419-1 to impose new sanctions on North Korea amid rising concerns over its ballistic missile program. Notably, the bill authorizes monitoring numerous ports in China, Iran, Syria and Russia, including Nakhodka, Vanino, and Vladivostok – all located in Russia’s Far East.
The document sparked outrage in Moscow, with some influential senators telling RIA Novosti that controlling Russian ports would amount to a “declaration of war.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has pressed Southeast Asian states to prevent North Korea’s embassies from pursuing alleged commercial activities that go beyond “diplomatic needs” and may aid its “nuclear aspirations.”
Seeking to enforce sanctions against North Korea, Tillerson urged foreign ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to curb diplomatic ties with Pyongyang “so that North Korea does not gain benefit from its diplomatic channels for its nuclear and missile aspirations,” senior State Department official Patrick Murphy said on Thursday, as cited by AP.
“North Korea in many countries has a diplomatic presence that clearly exceeds their diplomatic needs,” Murphy said. The State Department official added, without elaborating, that “considerable common ground was identified” between the US and ASEAN on North Korea.
Last week, Tillerson suggested that all countries suspend or minimize diplomatic ties with North Korea, claiming that Pyongyang abuses the immunity of its diplomatic missions to help fund its weapons programs.
The secretary of state also threatened that Washington will impose restrictions on foreign companies and individuals doing business with North Korea if the respective countries did not act. All ASEAN members have diplomatic relations with North Korea and five have embassies there.
“The realization of this [US] bill includes a proposed force scenario in which the US Navy would conduct compulsory inspections of all ships. Such a scenario is simply unthinkable because it means a declaration of war,” RIA Novosti quoted upper house Committee for International Relations head Konstantin Kosachev as saying.
The bill also expands the powers of the president of the United States to impose sanctions against individuals who violate certain UN Security Council resolutions.
The bill has to be passed by the US Senate and signed by the US president himself to come into force, and Kosachev expressed hope that this would never happen.
Last week, Russia expressed support for a Chinese initiative at the UN Security Council aimed at resolving the ongoing crisis on the Korean Peninsula. The draft resolution proposes that North Korea refrain from missile and nuclear testing, and that the United States and South Korea undertake not to hold any military exercises in the region.
In addition, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov has urged Washington and Seoul to reconsider their decision to put the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on the Korean Peninsula, warning that it will serve as a “destabilizing factor” in the region.
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