This article from the Weekly Standard made a bell go off about something I had seen earlier today. Reuben F. Johnson writes that there are some indications that the North Korean government may be imploding.
Intelligence sources and other observers both here in the capital of the PRC and elsewhere in Asia are stating that they project a possible collapse of the North Korean regime within six months time.
Although there have been similar dire predictions made in the past, those analyzing the current situation point to several factors that indicate that the regime may finally be unraveling.
Recent activity by both Kim Jong-Il and other DPRK officials suggest that the Dear Leader is in the process of moving around the financial resources of Pyongyang’s international banking empire in order to make sure he is taken care of should he have to go into exile. This includes a recent visit to the United States by North Korean finance officials who were visiting to learn about the international financial circulation network.
Ostensibly, this visit was preparatory work that would allow the country to re-join the international financial system. This is the next, anticipated step for Pyongyang once the regime has negotiated its removal from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. The DPRK are also seeking an end to their being subject to the U.S. Trading with the Enemy Act first imposed during the Korean War by President Harry Truman.
But, there are others who suggest that this is also part of a contingency plan in order to make Kim’s assets “portable.”
While the Dear Leader is engaged in financial matters, other reports state that there are movements of U.S. and South Korean military units and equipment to the DMZ in what appears to be a pre-positioning exercise in anticipation of some internal upheavals in the north.
Johnson says that the key indicator is the number of people who are getting out of North Korea by bribing border guards. The number has risen steadily in recent years and may indicate that more guards are less fearful of the regime. But what made the bells ring is this information, coming from Pravda of all sources. It seems that the government has recently begun public executions of officials:
Public executions had declined since 2000 amid international criticism but have been increasing, targeting officials accused of drug trafficking, embezzlement and other wrongdoing, the Good Friends aid agency said in a report on the North's human rights.
In October, the North executed the head of a factory in South Pyongan province for making international calls on 13 phones he installed in a factory basement, the aid group said. He was executed by a firing squad in a stadium before a crowd of 150,000 people.
Six people were also crushed to death and 34 others injured in an apparent stampede as they left after the execution, said the aid group.
Most North Koreans are banned from communicating with the outside world, part of the regime's authoritarian policies seeking to prevent any challenge to the iron-fisted rule of Kim Jong Il.
The North has carried out four other similar public executions by firing squad against regional officials and heads of factories in recent months, said the aid group.
If Kim's government is having to off officials in a public way, the system may, indeed, be unraveling. Very interesting, isn't it? And if the North Korean government does implode, how much information that the United Nations Development Program is not providing will come out?
What’s happened to the trove of documents that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) promised to hand over to prove—or disprove— its innocence in funneling millions of dollars in hard currency to the North Korean dictatorship of Kim Jong Il?
Are they under UNDP safekeeping in North Korea? Or are they being picked over in a UNDP safe house in Beijing, before a sanitized version is offered up for inspection? And is that just part of a wider destruction of evidence?
Those questions became the subject of a storm of Internet accusations over the past week, as an anonymous blog associated with UNDP dissidents charged coverup, and then offered up photos of UNDP documents that it claimed were proof.
To see the accusations, go to undpwatch.blogspot.com.
For its part, UNDP has flatly denied the accusations.
The documents lie at the heart of a controversy that has reached boiling point several times since last January, when a U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Mark Wallace, used the conclusions of a series of UNDP audits to charge that the U.N.’s flagship development agency had funneled the hard currency to Kim regime officials in March in violation of its own rules, along with a variety of other major infractions. UNDP subsequently announced it had closed its office in March. A preliminary audit by the U.N. panel, without benefit of the documents, validated many of the U.S. charges last June.
This could be very educational. Mark Malloch Brown, former head of UNDP and current member of the British Labor government (and good buddy to George Soros) might have a bit of 'splaining to do. Popcorn, anyone?