Kim Jong Un keeps his nukes. His people keep starving

Mar 07, 2019

AFTER HE LEFT Hanoi last week without a deal, Donald Trump, America’s president, was quick to claim that his meeting with Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, had not been entirely in vain. Mr Kim, he reassured the world, had promised to stick to the moratorium on tests of missiles and nuclear bombs that has held since November 2017. And North Korea’s economic potential, Mr Trump noted, was still “tremendous”.

Reports this week bolster doubts about both claims. According to South Korea’s spy agency, Mr Kim may well be changing his mind on testing. Satellite images of Dongchang-ri, a site which has been used both to launch satellites and test engines for long-range missiles, but which Mr Kim had begun to dismantle last year, suggest the North is restoring the facility. The refurbishment is likely to have begun before the summit in Hanoi. Analysts are taking the move as a signal that North Korea’s “patience” with America is beginning to run out, just as Mr Kim had threatened it might in a speech to mark the new year.

Mr Kim has promised his people economic development as well as nuclear glory. But the economy seems as backward as ever. Around 11m North Koreans, more than two-fifths of the population, are malnourished. Roughly as many have no access to clean drinking water. (In rural areas the percentage is much higher.)...

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