28 November 2019   Leave a comment

North Korea, for the 13th time this year, has tested two nuclear-capable missiles. The launches come on the second anniversary of the launch of its Hwasong-13 intercontinental ballistic missile. The tests are viewed by many analysts as warnings to US President Trump to restart the denuclearization talks that have been stalled for months. North Korea has given Mr. Trump a deadline of the end of this year, but it is unclear what the consequences of inaction might be. But at the same time, North Korea has started military exercises along the North-South maritime border. The Washington Post gives one interpretation of the tests:

“Kim has called for relief from the international sanctions that hobble his economy, but the United States says North Korea has not taken sufficient disarmament steps to justify easing the pressure.

“’The deadlock in nuclear talks with the United States is pushing North Korea to ramp up the level of provocation,’ said Shin Beomchul, a researcher at Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

“North Korea has previously used U.S. holidays to send messages to Washington. It launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, 2017.”

There is no indication from Washington that these provocations are being taken seriously.

Protesters in Hong Kong gave thanks to the US for the passage of two laws passed to protect human rights in Hong Kong. The Chinese government, however, vigorously protested the US actions:

“The Chinese Foreign Ministry threatened to take ‘firm counter measures’ in response to the move and said the U.S. should consider the consequences of China’s retaliation if it continued to ‘act arbitrarily.’

“Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng also summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to demand that Washington stop meddling in Beijing’s domestic affairs.

“‘The Chinese government and people firmly oppose such stark hegemonic acts. We have made stern representations and strong protests to the US side,’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a press conference.

“The foreign ministry spokesman called the move ‘a severe interference in Hong Kong affairs’ and ‘in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.'”

The Chinese government was likely not pleased to see the pro-US sentiments expressed by the protesters after the passage of the bills. Al Jazeera produced a video that shows the feelings of the protesters.

Posted November 28, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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