China, urged to rein in North Korea, actually has little sway, diplomats say | The Japan Times

Here’s an insightful Reuters article from Beijing, published in the Japan Times. When Kim Jong Un inherited power in North Korea in late 2011, then-Chinese President Hu Jintao was outwardly supportive of the untested young leader, predicting that “traditional friendly cooperation” between the countries would strengthen. But it cautions that two years later, Kim ordered the execution of his uncle Jang Song Thaek, the country’s chief interlocutor with China and a relatively reform-minded official in the hermetic state.

Source: China, urged to rein in North Korea, actually has little sway, diplomats say | The Japan Times

For the moment, China seems reluctant to intervene too strongly with Korea, especially in relation to oil sanctions. China is North Korea’s main trading partner but there’s speculation that Iran is helping North Korea with it’s nuclear weapon development. 

Both the US and North Korea have leaders with large egos. Let’s hope that others can offer ‘carrot’ solutions.



Opinion – How a Putin Fan Overseas Pushed Pro-Trump Propaganda to America – Mike McIntire – NYT

The NYT leads with an alarming story about the UK’s Patriot News Agency, run by James Dowson, a far-right political activist. The article reports that ‘With the explicit aim of getting Donald J. Trump elected, a website run by a far-right activist pumped out anti-Hillary Clinton hoaxes and drew tens of thousands of views’.

With more and more young people turning to social media as their primary source of news and false news on Facebook now at critical levels, the NYT’s story is deeply worrying.

Whilst propaganda and disinformation is not new, the weakness and biased positions of the mainstream media plus the growth of social media is a strategic threat to mature democracies. Just like the far-left, the far-right suppress the truth and underlying evidence, claiming that ‘the end justifies the means‘. But history reminds us that populism is ultimately a tool of corrupt dictators, who prefer totalitarian regimes depriving widely accepted democratic freedoms.