World View: China Will Impose Trade Sanctions on North Korea

World View: China Will Impose Trade Sanctions on North Korea

This morning’s key headlines from

  • French troops in Mali close to recapturing Timbuktu from jihadists
  • Kim Jong-un may be about to order the North Korean nuclear test
  • China will impose trade sanctions on North Korea
  • Egypt’s President Morsi declares emergency in three cities
  • Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi defends the ‘good’ Mussolini

French troops in Mali close to recapturing Timbuktu from jihadists

A French soldier in Mali (EPA)
A French soldier in Mali (EPA)

Thousands of residents of the city of northern Mali’s city of Gao,under jihadist control since last April, turned out to celebrate theinvading French and Malian troops, shouting “Liberté!” and “Vive laFrance!” At he same time, French troops on Sunday captured Timbuktuairport and prepared to recapture Timbuktu as well. As littleresistance is expected there as there was in Gao, because thejihadists simply left town when they learned the French were coming.They’re hiding out in nearby villages or in their networks of tunnels.The expectation is that the jihadists will be back as soon as theFrench troops leave. In order to prevent that outcome, the AfricanUnion is calling on France, as well as Mali’s neighboring Africancountries, to provide a lot more troops to station in these towns tokeep the jihadists out. Guardian and AFP

Kim Jong-un may be about to order the North Korean nuclear test

According to South Korean military sources, North Korean president KimJong-un is expected imminently to travel to the planned site of anannounced nuclear weapon test, and personally deliver a written orderto go ahead with the test. According to a military source,

“Kim Jong Un will likely give an order approving anuclear test to propagate his political and military achievementsas the country’s supreme military commander and use it toconsolidate his regime.”

Intelligence officials are closely tracking the movements of seniorNorth Korean officials to see if they visit the test site, as thiswould probably signal that the test is near. Dong-a Ilbo (Seoul)

China will impose trade sanctions on North Korea

As we reported two days ago, aneditorial in the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times threatens tothe announced nuclear weapon test. A new editorial threatensto cut foreign trade and investment from China:

“If North Korea does proceed with a third nucleartest, they will pay a large price economically.

They have made improving the economy a top priority this year andhave made public commitments domestically about improving thelivelihood of ordinary people.

But North Korea will not be able to make any meaningfulimprovements in the economy without foreign trade andinvestment. This now comes largely from China.

It is hard to imagine that foreign investors will be willing tocome to North Korea anytime soon if there is a third nuclear test,and especially if the Chinese government supports adding even moresanctions in a new UN Security Council resolution, as would beinevitable in the case of such a provocative action.”

The editorial claims that North Korea’s middle class has experiencedgains would be lost after a nuclear test. Global Times

Egypt’s President Morsi declares emergency in three cities

Mohamed Morsi (Al-Ahram)
Mohamed Morsi (Al-Ahram)

With seven more deaths on Sunday in clashes between protestersand police, Egypt’s president Mohamed Morsi went on nationwidetelevision to declare a state of emergency in three coastalcities, Port Said, Suez, and Ismailia, scenes of major protestsand deaths in the last three days.

“If I see the state with its people, institutions andpublic and private property in danger, I will be forced to do morethan this for the interests of Egypt. This is my duty and I willnot hesitate when it comes to it.”

There will be a curfew in effect from 9 pm to 6 am in all three citiesfor the next 30 days, starting on Monday.

However, there’s a question whether the curfew will be honored in PortSaid, where a court sentenced 21 people to death on Saturday for afootball (soccer) riot last year. ( “27-Jan-13 World View — Egypt in crisis after two days of violent clashes”) The residents are furious because of thedisproportionately high sentences, and because many people believethat the police were complicit in the deaths that resulting from therioting. On Saturday, Port Said protesters chanted, “Down, downMorsi, down down the regime that killed and tortured us!” And onSunday, protesters in Port Said reacted with mockery and skepticism tothe emergency declaration. According to one protester:

“The people [in Port Said] feel that there was acomplete state of collapse especially after riots today,particularly with tear gas being fired into thefunerals.”

Clashes in several cities are still continuing, as of this writing onSunday evening ET. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Al-Jazeera

Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi defends the ‘good’ Mussolini

Left-wing rioters praised Benito Mussolini in the 1930s, claiming thatHowever, since he allied himself and Germany with Hitler in World WarII, he’s been condemned by history as a fascist evil. But now, SilvioBerlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister, has triggered outrage withcomments defending Mussolini at, of all places, a ceremonycommemorating victims of the Nazi Holocaust:

“It’s difficult now to put yourself in the shoes ofpeople who were making decisions at that time.

Obviously the government of that time, out of fear that Germanpower might lead to complete victory, preferred to ally itselfwith Hitler’s Germany rather than opposing it. As part of thisalliance, there were impositions, including combatting andexterminating Jews. The racial laws were the worst fault ofMussolini as a leader, who in so many other ways didwell.”

Berlusconi is campaigning for next month’s election at the head of acoalition that includes far-right politicians whose roots go back toItaly’s old fascist party. After his remarks, a left-wing politiciancalled Berlusconi “a disgrace to Italy.” Al-Jazeera

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