With Trump back from his trip, and speculation again emerging that Trump may “wag the dog” and launch an attack on the Kim regime to deflect from the domestic media onslaught a la Syria, especially after last night’s report that the US has deployed a third carrier group to the Western Pacific, on Sunday Korea’s state news agency, KCNA reported that after weeks of defiant ballistic missile tests Kim Jong Un supervised the test of a new anti-aircraft weapon system and ordered its mass production and deployment throughout the country.
While KCNA did not report the exact nature of the weapon or the time of the test it said it was organized by the Academy of National Defence Science, a blacklisted agency that is believed to be developing missiles and nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, Kim – taking a page out of his father’s playbook – watched…
According to KCNA, “Kim Jong Un … watched the test of a new type of anti-aircraft guided weapon system organized by the Academy of National Defense Science.”
“This weapon system, whose operation capability has been thoroughly verified, should be mass-produced to deploy all over the country … so as to completely spoil the enemy’s wild dream to command the air, boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty,” the press agency said.
As Reuters adds, the North has been pushing to develop a wide range of weapon systems since early last year at an unprecedented pace including a long-range missile capable of striking the mainland United States and has in recent weeks tested its intermediate-range ballistic missile, making some technical advances. The isolated state rejects U.N. and unilateral sanctions by other states against its weapons program as an infringement of its right to self defense and says the program is “necessary to counter U.S. aggression.”
We doubt it will succeed, especially with the US piling up aircraft in North Korea’s vicinity.
And while the military posturing is set to continue on both sides until some real conflict finally emerges, a potentially more relevant story is that despite assurances by Beijing that it is isolating Pyongyang, on Friday Yonhap reported that North Korea’s grain imports from China showed a more than fivefold surge last month from a year ago.
The North brought in 4,100 tons of grain from China in April, 5.4 times higher than 754 tons a year earlier, according to Kwon Tae-jin, head of South Korean agricultural think tank GS&J Institute’s North Korea and East Asia division. The North’s combined grain imports from China during the January-April period also marked a spike of 4.3 times to 10,619 tons from a year ago, with wheat flour at the top with 3,403 tons, the broadcaster said.
This has prompted the question whether China is promising Trump, and its Asian neighbors, one thing namely that it will pressure North Korea into halting its nuclear tests by limiting commerce with Kim, while in reality it is not only maintaining but expanding trade relations with its feisty neighbor.