US, May 15, 2017: Nikki Haley said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that North Korea could face stronger sanctions and other measures after the reclusive country conducted its seventh missile test this year, the first since South Korea elected a new president.
North Korea’s new strategic ballistic missile, called Hwasong-12, was fired on Sunday and flew 489 miles on a trajectory reaching an altitude of 1,312 miles, North Korean official news agency KCNA said, according to Reuters.
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The missile blast comes less than a week after new South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office.
“Well, I think you first have to get into Kim Jong-un’s head, you know, which is he’s in a state of paranoia,” Haley, the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, said on “This Week,” about the North Korean leader. “He’s incredibly concerned about anything and everything around him. I think this was a message to South Korea after the election.
“And so what we’re going to do is continue to tighten the screws. He feels it. He absolutely feels it. And we’re going to continue, whether it’s sanctions, whether it’s press statements, anything that we have to do,” she continued.
While Moon did not back off of possible talks with North Korea, he added that he was not pleased with the missile launch, according to The Korea Herald.
“The possibility of dialogue is open, but provocations must be met with stern responses to prevent North Korea from making misjudgments,” Moon said at a National Security Council meeting, according to The Korea Herald. “(Seoul) must show that dialogue is possible only when North Korea changes its behavior.”
Haley said Sunday that cooperation with China has been better “than we ever have,” and she expects it will produce dividends for the U.S.
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“We are determined to take care of South Korea, which is why we have our mission there, working and that, as well,” Haley said on “This Week.” “And then we’re going to continue to take care of Japan.
“What we do know is the international community is concern. It’s not just us against them anymore. Now you’re going to see the entire international community isolate North Korea and let them know that this is not acceptable,” Haley continued.
Haley said while President Donald Trump is still open to talk with Kim, “Having a missile test is not the way to sit down with the president, because he’s absolutely not going to do it.”
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Following the breakdown of talks at the most recent U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi, North Korean authorities are reportedly ramping up the levels of strictness at weekly life appraisal sessions.
Known as saenghwal chonghwa, the sessions are self-criticism meetings in which every citizen must individually confess their shortcomings on the political loyalty front.
The confessor must then hear additional criticism from other citizens, then form an action plan to compensate for those shortcomings.
Since the failed late-February Hanoi Summit, in which U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could not come to an agreement on denuclearization for sanctions removal, authorities in the repressive country are becoming increasingly rigid during these weekly meetings.
“These days, there is an air of tension at life appraisal sessions that can’t even be compared with how they were previously. Attendees can’t even cough out loud,” said a Pyongyang resident who recently traveled to China in an interview with RFA’s Korean Service.
The resident explained how the level of seriousness during saenghwal chonghwa ebbs and flows depending on how optimistic the regime feels on the current social climate.
“When there’s a positive social mood, [the sessions] were just perfunctory, but it’s not like that at all [right now],” said the source.
“[The sessions] usually take about an hour, but now it’s getting to be close to two hours,” the source said.
Simply going through the motions as usual is no longer enough, according to the source.
“If they are only moderately critical about themselves, or if their peers hold back, [the authorities] make them stand in front of everyone so that all in attendance can be more direct and more intensely criticize them,” the source said.
“It must feel just as miserable to give out such harsh criticism to colleagues and neighbors as it is to receive it,” said the source.
According to the source, the affair is normally planned out between attendees. Prior to the meetings they mutually agree on what to criticize each other about—usually trivial things.
“But it doesn’t work that way now. They have to harshly criticize each other. Now people are starting to make enemies even with their close neighbors during these life-appraisal sessions,” the source said.
North Korea experts have suggested that the purpose of these sessions is to instill fear into the public, making them easier for authorities to control.
In a recent report by the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, author Robert Collins detailed saenghwal chonghwa as one means by which the North Korean government uses the people to deny rights to each other, as a strategy of social control that extends even to the private lives of citizens.
A second source, from North Pyongan province, implied that being stricter at saenghwal chonghwa, is a means of diverting attention from the failed summit by keeping people on their toes.
“As talk about the collapse [of the summit] is spreading, the authorities seem to be intentionally creating tension by being stricter,” the source said.
The source recalled other gossip-worthy events that authorities wanted to silence discussion about.
“Whenever there are huge issues [to talk about], such as the execution of Jang Song-thaek [Kim Jong Un’s uncle, who experts believe was a legitimate challenge to Kim’s power,] the authorities tried to cover the mouths and ears of the public through strict life-appraisal sessions,” the source said.
“[They] are really emphasizing self-reliance more often during the sessions these days,” said the source, adding, “North Korean citizens are becoming concerned about their future because [they think] this could mean that international sanctions will be even heavier.”
The practice of saenghwal chonghwa began in March 1962. Usually 10 to 15 people from the workplace or neighborhood attend the sessions to collectively determine ways for each individual to become better citizens.
Every Saturday a weekly appraisal session is held, with a monthly session on the month’s final Saturday. There are also quarterly and yearly appraisals. The sessions are facilitated by low-level local inminban(neighborhood watch units) and detailed records are kept.
None are spared from self-criticism, as even elites are subject to the weekly sessions.
Thae Yong-ho, a high-profile defector who once served as North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom, described the sessions in his memoir as “the most fundamental principle of the North Korean slave state.” (RFA)