Criticism of Beijing’s North Korea Policy Comes From Unlikely Place: China
Chris Buckley, THE NEW YORK TIMES
When China’s best-known historian of the Korean War, Shen Zhihua, recently laid out his views on North Korea, astonishment rippled through the audience. China, he said with a bluntness that is rare in the country, had fundamentally botched its policy on the divided Korean Peninsula. China’s bond with North Korea’s Communist leaders formed even before Mao Zedong’s decision in 1950 to send People’s Liberation Army soldiers to fight alongside them in the Korean War. Mao famously said the two sides were “as close as lips and teeth.” But China should abandon the stale myths of fraternity that have propped up its support for North Korea and turn to South Korea, Mr. Shen said at a university lecture last month. The speech was a strikingly bold public challenge to Chinese policy.
Missing Billionaire Has Ties to China’s Military
James T. Areddy, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
A missing Chinese billionaire who did business with the highest echelons of the Communist Party has previously undisclosed ties to China’s military. The military connection casts new light on the business dealings of Mr. Xiao, who disappeared in late January from his residence in a luxury Hong Kong hotel, raising questions in China’s business community about the financier’s potential enemies and his fate. Mr. Xiao, a 45-year-old naturalized Canadian citizen with vast holdings in banks, brokerages and a newspaper, crossed the border into mainland China almost three months ago, according to statements by Hong Kong police and his businesses. He hasn’t been heard from since.
China: Interpol Issued “Red Notice” For Prominent Communist Party Critic
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Interpol issued a “red notice” Wednesday for the arrest of billionaire and Communist Party critic Guo Wengui, but gave no details of his alleged crimes. “What we understand is that Interpol has already issued a ‘red notice’ for criminal suspect Guo Wengui,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters. The comments came as VOA‘s Mandarin service interviewed Guo Wednesday. Guo had previously said he would provide details during the interview about Chinese leaders. He said earlier this week he had received threats from Chinese agents warning him against doing the interview. “You [VOA reporters] mentioned that China’s foreign ministry had talked to you and asked that you not report on this,” Guo told VOA. “The reason is simple: The individual I’m about to expose, he has the power to direct the foreign ministry. He is truly afraid because he is corrupt.”
Kim Jong-un Will Nuke America in a Desperate Last Stand Says North Korean Defector
Jon Lockett, THE SUN
A high-profile North Korean defector claims trigger-happy Kim Jong-un would launch nukes against his enemies in a desperate last stand. Hyeonseo Lee said the tyrant would not hesitate to fire off his deadly arsenal if he feared he was losing a war with Donald Trump’s military. “At the very last minute, when he finds out that he’s going to lose all his power, he’s definitely going to use it,” she told the MailOnline. “There’s a slogan in North Korea which goes: “America dies, we die, we all die together.” North Korea has continued to defy UN sanctions and the pressure of the world’s mightiest nations by continuing with its controversial nuclear weapons program.
ICJ Says It Won’t Impose Measures Against Russia in Case Brought by Kyiv
RADIO FREE EUROPE
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague said on April 19 that it would not impose measures ordering Russia to stop funding and equipping pro-Russia separatists as part of a case brought against Moscow by Ukraine. The United Nation’s highest court said it was refusing the request by Ukraine to issue a provisional measure to block what Kyiv says is Russian monetary and military support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Moscow seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and has supported the separatists in a war that has since killed more than 9,900 people in eastern Ukraine.
Hand of US Leaves North Korea’s Missile Program Shaken
David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, THE NEW YORK TIMES
When a North Korean missile test went awry on Sunday, blowing up seconds after liftoff, there were immediate suspicions that a United States program to sabotage the test flights had struck again. The odds seem highly likely: Eighty-eight percent of the launches of the North’s most threatening missiles have self-destructed since the covert American program was accelerated three years ago. The existence of the American program, and whatever it has contributed to North Korea’s remarkable string of troubles, appears to have shaken Pyongyang and led to an internal spy hunt as well as innovative ways to defeat a wide array of enemy cyber strikes.
“Mother of All Marches” Turn Violent in Venezuela
Clashes between protesters and security forces erupted in Venezuela during marches which took place Wednesday in at least 12 cities across the country. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets to protest the government of President Nicolás Maduro as the country marked its 207th anniversary of the revolution that led to its independence from Spain. A teenager who was shot in the head in Caracas near one of the protests has died in the hospital, according to the Associated Press. Opponents of the government said pro-government militias opened fire on a crowd, but government officials say the boy was assaulted while walking home from a soccer game. Marches started in the early morning; closer to noon, the Venezuelan National Guard started deploying tear gas on people marching on the west side of Caracas.
GM Says Venezuela Has Seized Its Car Plant
Alanna Petroff, CNN
General Motors says it will immediately halt operations in Venezuela after its plant in the country was unexpectedly seized by authorities. GM described the takeover as an “illegal judicial seizure of its assets.” The automaker said the seizure showed a “total disregard” of its legal rights. It said that authorities had removed assets including cars from company facilities. “[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights,” it said in a statement. GM’s subsidiary in the country—General Motors Venezolana—has operated in Venezuela for nearly 70 years. It employs nearly 2,700 workers and has 79 dealers in the country. GM said it would make “separation payments” to its workers.