US-North Korean relations are tense as Kim Jong-un remains committed to developing his country’s nuclear weapons program, resisting sanctions levied by the America-led international community.
A startling new discovery sheds light on how Pyongyang remains economically afloat despite ever-increasing economic pressure. According to the Daily Mail, UN officials raided a vessel sent from North Korea to Egypt. On board, they found over 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades worth $23 million.
It is not yet known whether the weapons cache, captured near the Suez Canal, was intended for the Egyptian government, a terrorist organization, or one of Egypt’s neighbors. If Egypt or another nation intended to purchase weapons from the Kim regime, it could result in significant consequences.
The grenades were hidden underneath large piles of raw iron. The ship, which made an 8,000 mile trip from North Korea to Egypt, was on its last voyage. The rusted, worn-out vessel was in pitiful condition and would likely have been scrapped immediately after reaching its destination.
UN officials made the discovery after receiving a tip from authorities in the United States who observed the suspicious ship leave a North Korean port on July 23 last year with a 23-man crew. The vessel, christened the Jie Shun, was registered in Cambodia to evade detection.
The UN called the raid the “largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” This is a major economic strike at a rogue state that subsists, in part, through illicit under-the-table deals.
As the Heritage Foundation notes, North Korea makes more in exports from illegal dealings than it does from legitimate businesses. The Kim regime’s biggest cash cows are opium, missiles, and money counterfeiting.
North Korea is also highly dependent on trade with China, which has been slow to enforce sanctions against the Kim regime. Nevertheless, China recently acquiesced to American demands for action against Pyongyang, forcing its banks to cease operations with North Korea, as reported by CNBC.
But some observers believe China is only complying with sanctions temporarily in order to gain good grace with the Trump administration. In July, the Washington Free Beacon reported on billionaire Chinese dissident Guo Wengui’s claims that China has 40,000 spies in the US. According to Guo, who is the subject of Chinese extradition demands, this figure includes up to 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and over 15,000 Americans recruited by the Chinese government.
UN officials raided a vessel sent from North Korea to Egypt and found over 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades worth $23 million. Do you suspect this is how the economy is fueled?
Guo has called America’s reliance on China to deal with North Korea “madness,” and asserts China has no interest in reigning in Kim Jong-un. According to the billionaire dissident, China aims to weaken the US and is using North Korea as an asset to do so. In the face of opposition from many fronts, President Trump has taken a hard-line stance against the Kim regime, vowing to “totally destroy” North Korea if they do not cease their aggression, as reported by Christian News Alerts.
Although the Left has criticized what it considers to be Trump’s “provocative” North Korea rhetoric, some experts believe the threat of force has been effective. As Breitbart reports, UN Ambassador John Bolton said, “I think [Trump has] impressed Beijing in a way the prior three presidents have not.”
Bolton went on to say “I think Trump’s got their attention because I do think his threat of possible military force against the North Korean nuclear program is credible. Whether we can sustain that or not, I don’t know, but I do think there’s a shift here. I think it’s undeniable that it’s attributable to Trump’s hard line on it.”