Tags: Donald Trump | North Korea | North Korea | Kim Jong Un | Donald Trump | economy

North Korea Defector: Country's Economy Verging on Collapse

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By    |   Tuesday, 17 October 2017 05:01 PM

North Korea's economy may totally collapse in the next year if the United Nations follows through on tough sanctions against the pariah regime, a defector said on Monday.

"I don't know if North Korea will survive a year [under] sanctions. Many people will die," Ri Jong Ho, a former senior North Korean economic official, said in a speech at the Asia Society in New York, according to CNBC.

North Korea this year has threatened to attack the U.S. with a nuclear missile after test-firing rockets and conducting underground bomb tests. U.S. President Donald Trump has responded with his own threats “to totally destroy North Korea,” and the U.S. has staged military drills with allies South Korea and Japan to prepare for an attack.

North Korea last month said American-led international sanctions caused “colossal” damage in the impoverished country, but it remained undeterred from its nuclear weapons programs. The country set up a committee to study how the sanctions would hurt North Korean children, women and the elderly – an obvious sympathy ploy, analysts told the New York Times.

"There is not enough to eat there" and the sanctions have "completely blocked" trade, defector Ri said. The restrictions have forced North Korea to send tens of thousands of laborers overseas. Ordinary households have no electricity, he added, while the capital city only gets three to four hours a day.

Ri was last posted in Dalian, China, where he helped run Office 39, a secret organization responsible for obtaining cash for North Korea's ruling Kim family, according to CNBC. After a series of purges, he defected with his family in late 2014 and now lives near Washington.

While North Korea can’t survive without help from China, the relationship between the communist dictatorships is tense, Ri said. In the past 40 years, China has become an economic powerhouse after embracing market-based reforms and engaging in the global trading community.

China is "very upset" with North Korea for not reforming its economy and instead "begging" its giant neighbor for food, Ri said. On the other hand, Ri said, North Korean leaders met with Russian President Vladimir Putin but diplomacy "was not as easy as it might have been thought," CNBC reported.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who Trump mocked with the nickname “Rocket Man,” was offended that Chinese President Xi Jinping chose to visit democratic republic South Korea before traveling to North Korea.

In the past, the U.S. has backed down from North Korea’s nuclear threats with diplomatic measures that pledged economic benefits if the rogue regime halted weapons development. But North Korea didn’t honor past agreements with U.S. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.

Dictator Un thinks that U.S. help let him solidify his leadership, just as North Koreans generally think alliance with the U.S. helped South Korea prosper, Ri said. "North Korea is very fearful of South Korea."

Nuclear war, said North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador, may break out any moment,  and he warned on Monday that the situation on the Korean peninsula "has reached the touch-and-go point."

Kim In Ryong told the U.N. General Assembly's disarmament committee that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to "such an extreme and direct nuclear threat" from the United States since the 1970s — and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defense, The Associated Press reported.

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North Korea 's economy may totally collapse in the next year if the United Nations follows through on tough sanctions against the pariah regime, a defector said on Monday."I don't know if North Korea will survive a year [under] sanctions. Many people will die," Ri Jong Ho,...
North Korea, Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump, economy
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2017-01-17
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 05:01 PM
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