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Russia and China May Be Allying Against North Korea : A Well Thought Out Scream by James Riordan

They both may embrace Communism as their form of government, but there have always been vast differences between Russia and China.  The brutal purist form of communism adopted by Mao Te Sung, the leader of the Chinese Revolution in the forties resulted in tens of millions of deaths.  The people were expendable in Mao’s view and it has only been since his death in 1079 that the government’s vise-like grip on the lives of its people has eased somewhat.  But such changes are virtually nothing when compared with the new Russia, where outright Capitalism has produced great wealth where there was much poverty.  And with the ease of tight government control also came vice and organized crime and Russian gangsters are now some of the most powerful in the world.  So what would it take today for such divergent countries to come together — the same thing that always brings such countries together – mutual threat or in this case the nuclear dangers boasted loudly by North Korea’s madman ruler, Kim Jong-un. Last week, Russia and China conducted computer-generated air defense drills in a move that Moscow claims has made the relationship between the two nations even stronger.  The five day drill drafted servicemen from both militaries and was headed by the deputy chief of the Russian air force, Pavel Kurchenko, and the Chinese air force’s top commander, Ma Zhenjun.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense issued a statement commending the drill, which officially finished Saturday, but did not reveal any details of the scenario it addressed. “The leaders of the exercises stressed that all the tasks assigned to the military specialists of both countries were fully met, and a completely new level of interaction between all levels of command and control from headquarters to unit commanders was achieved,” the statement from Russia’s ministry to state news agency Itar-Tass reported.



Like China, Russia is a nuclear power, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a neighbour of North Korea with established lines of communication to Pyongyang. During World War II, Kim Il-sung (Kim Jong-un’s grandfather) served as a captain in the Red Army; Kim Jong-il (Kim Jong-un’s father) travelled to Russia several times in the early 2000s. President Vladimir Putin of Russia himself went to Pyongyang in 2000.


Although he failed to work out a deal to limit North Korea’s missile program at the time, his visit helped restore links with Pyongyang, which had been neglected after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Russia is not among the countries most directly or most intimately affected by North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, such as the United States, South Korea or China. And unlike China, Russia never was an imperial overlord on the Korean Peninsula. Moscow may have less direct influence with Pyongyang than does Beijing, but it evokes far less nationalistic resentment and suspicion among North Koreans.

The bombing exercise was carried out in response to the launch of a missile over Japan by Kim Jong-un’s regime. Russia is usually seen as relatively unimportant to most discussions about the North Korea nuclear crisis, yet it is in a unique position to help de-escalate it.

In any discussion of how to handle the increasing belligerence of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, attention usually turns to China. Beijing and Pyongyang have long been allies, and China is North Korea’s main trade partner. But for a host of strategic reasons, there are inherent limits to what Beijing will do. It is wary of the fallout it would suffer if North Korea imploded, and it wants to preserve a buffer between itself and the United States forces based in South Korea.

Despite rising tensions between Moscow and Washington – over Russia’s interventions in Crimea and Syria, and the very principles of the world order – Russia has voted twice in recent weeks at the United Nations to impose sanctions on North Korea. In the summer of 2015, in the midst of the crisis over Ukraine, Moscow was careful not to do anything that might derail the Obama administration’s efforts to cinch a nuclear deal with Iran.

Russia, in other words, is not simply the spoiler it has often been described as in recent years. It plays its hand with Washington much more subtly than that — often adopting an adversarial pose, especially of late, but sometimes a cooperative one. And it has good reason to help with North Korea.




Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China’s Central Military Commission Vice Chairman Zhang Youxia at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia December 7, 2017. Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters.



Russia also has a clear and immediate interest in helping de-escalate the current crisis. Vladivostok, its gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, the headquarters of its Pacific Fleet and a hub for its energy trade, is just a couple hundred miles away from several of North Korea’s nuclear and missile sites. Any malfunction or other mishap with North Korea’s nuclear tests or missile launches could mean contamination in Russia itself. The Russian government is also eager to curb the further deployment of American missile-defence systems in South Korea and Japan, which both those countries are pursuing to protect themselves against North Korea.

North Korea will not denuclearise; it’s too late for that. Neither will it ever formally be recognised as a nuclear power. But it will eventually have crude nuclear weapons with which to strike United States territory.

Sanctions, no matter how strict, will not stop Pyongyang from pursuing its program, which it sees as the key to its very survival; as Putin said recently, North Koreans will “eat grass” before they give up nuclear weapons. Pyongyang’s latest missile launch on Friday was a direct rebuke to the new sanctions, notably on oil imports, that the UN Security Council passed last Monday.

This is not to say that sanctions are a mistake. They remain a valuable expression of collective condemnation and reassert the goal of nuclear non-proliferation. But they will not halt North Korea’s nuclearisation.

A total blockade of the country might, but it is too risky to even attempt. It could push North Korea to start a war or cause the country’s collapse, a prospect that China, for one, cannot tolerate.

And so the only viable strategy left is to convince the North Korean leadership that it already has the deterrent it needs, and that going beyond that — by developing more nuclear weapons and longer-range missiles — would only be counterproductive.

This is where Russia comes it: it can help nudge Pyongyang toward strategic restraint, and help defuse tensions in the meantime, by offering it new economic prospects.

One project that has been discussed in the past involves building gas pipelines from Russia to South Korea through North Korea. Another would be to restore an old rail link that used to connect South Korea to the Tran-Siberian. Both would generate transit fees, in foreign currency, for Pyongyang. As another expression of good will, the Russian government could also authorise more North Koreans to work in its eastern provinces: an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 already do, many as construction workers and labourers.

The North Korean economy is doing better than is commonly thought. Its gross domestic product has grown recently — by 3.9 per cent between 2016 and 2017 — and market forces are emerging, for the trade of food and real estate, for example. That means not only that North Korea may be better able to withstand sanctions today than it was in the past, but also that economic overtures could hurry its transformation along — and perhaps in time soften its stance internationally.

Washington and Pyongyang will eventually need to resume direct talks. With neither party ready for that yet, at first secret contacts will have to be organised in third countries. In the meantime, de-escalation is the order of the day, and Russia one of its unlikely brokers.



North Korea has released a photo it claims is of the pariah nation’s latest ballistic missile test. Released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the photos show an intermediate range Hwasong-12, the same type of missile launched over Japan this week. The photo could not be independently verified.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country’s “final goal” was “to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option.” He added that sanctions would not stop his country from achieving that goal. “We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attains the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade.”

Russian forces in the country’s far east have had a busy year, with official figures released by the military earlier this month showing that the Pacific fleet has spent four times longer at sea than planned.  Moscow gave no reason for this, but noted that the single busiest region where it was taking place was Primorye, Russia’s only territory bordering North Korea.

The North Korean regime has carried out a series of missile tests this year, stoking fears that its deteriorating relationship with the U.S. and its nearby allies could descend into war.  Russia and China have presented a united front on North Korea so far, claiming that they object to Pyongyang’s nuclear military program but refusing to sever ties with the state. Both have called for the U.S. to pledge that it will also scale back its military presence in the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top security adviser, Nikolai Patrushev, said at the start of the month that Moscow is “preparing” should war erupt around North Korea but stressed: “We must not allow this.” Commentary from North Korea’s official news agency has said in the past that only the country’s missiles are intended to specifically deter the U.S., not Europe or any country, even if they are in range.





Mr Kim was shown beaming as he watched the missile fly from a moving launcher in photos released by the agency, surrounded by several officials.   North Korean leader Kim Jong-un celebrates what was said to be the test launch of an intermediate range Hwasong-12 missile (AP)




“The combat efficiency and reliability of Hwasong-12 were thoroughly verified,” said Kim as quoted by KCNA. The North’s goal of completing its nuclear force had “nearly reached the terminal”, he added.

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under Kim’s leadership as it accelerates a weapons program designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.  After the latest missile launch this week, White House National Security Adviser HR McMaster said the United States was fast running out of patience with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.


The Author

James Riordan

James Riordan

Rare is it that any author will have one of his books described as the definitive work on a particular subject, but such a distinction has been bestowed by critics on no less than four books written by James Riordan. The New York Times Bestseller Break on Through, Riordan’s biography of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, has not only been called “the most objective, thorough and professional Morrison biography” by the Times Book Review but also named as one of the Ten All Time Best Rock Biographies by Amazon.com. Riordan’s The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco) was called “One of the best how-to books ever written” by the Los Angeles Daily News and “The ultimate career book on the music industry” by Recording, Engineer & Producer. Critics described Riordan’s The Bishop of Rwanda as “one of the most important books you’ll ever read.” and The Coming of the Walrus, Riordan’s novel about the 60s as “the definitive book on the era” and “a hilarious tale of a harrowing search for the greatest truth of all”. With the release of A Well Thought Out Scream and Madman in the Gate, Riordan pushed the boundaries again with poetry/song lyric books that contain hundreds of stunning, beautiful and poignant images from artists and photographers from all over the world. In the summer of 2013 a new edition of The Coming of the Walrus was released to rave reviews followed by The Kill Switch. The author of thirty-three books, James Riordan’s career began in the music industry where as a songwriter, manager, producer and concert promoter he worked with several well known artists. In 1976 he began writing a newspaper column, Rock-Pop, which he later syndicated. Riordan soon became one of America’s premier rock journalists with articles reaching millions of readers including those of Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, Circus, Musician, and newspapers like The Chicago Daily News and The Kansas City Star. His reputation for relating on a one-to-one level soon led to interviews with George Harri-son, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Zappa, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Mandrell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and countless others. His first book, The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco in 1980) became the largest selling book ever written about the music business. The guide to “succeeding in the music business without selling your soul” was praised by Variety ,The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Las Vegas Sun, The Minneapolis Tribune, Billboard, Record World and many more. The Platinum Rainbow became an industry-wide phenomenon and interviews with James Riordan were aired on over 1200 radio stations and numerous television talk shows. Next Riordan collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winner Jason Miller on a mini-series for network television (The Irish) and a movie of the week for CBS (Bless Me Father). In June 1991, William Morrow & Co. published Break On Through to outstanding sales and reviews. Riordan worked as a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film of Morrison’s life, The Doors, which led to his writing Stone’s biography. Published by Hyperion /Disney in December 1995, Entertainment Weekly called STONE “an unflinching biography... enough spectacle to fill a month of daytime-TV talk shows.” The New York Post said reading the book was like “the sensory overload of watching all of Oliver Stone’s movies back to back.” Riordan was interviewed by Inside Edition, People Magazine, The Tom Snyder Show, and many others. From 1997-2000, Riordan created and co-starred in a local television program, Kankakee Valley Prime Time, which won six Crystal Communicators, three Tellys, and earned Riordan a Chicago/ Midwest Emmy Nomination for Writing the program. In the summer of 1999, James Riordan wrote, directed and starred in Maddance, an hour long dramatic project which won Crystal Communicators for Drama, Writing, Acting and Directing. On April 9, 2000, James’ 16 year old son, Jeremiah, was killed as a passenger in an accident that involved three drunk drivers. Shortly after this, James founded Make it Stick which works to warn teens of the dangers of substance abuse and publishes a magazine distributed to high school students. In 2001, he founded Jeremiah’s – A Place to be Yourself to give teens a place to hang out away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Force to close by its incredible growth rate, Jeremiah’s was recognized as one of the fastest growing and most successful teen centers in the United States. In 2004, Toastmasters International named Riordan Communicator of the Year for Central Illinois, the YMCA gave him their Service to Youth Award and the United Way named him the Outstanding Volunteer of Kankakee County. Returning to writing, Riordan went to Africa to write The Bishop of Rwanda, (with an intro by Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren). In November of 2006, Harper Collins released a new edition of Break On Through followed by The Coming of the Walrus (Image Workshop) in December and The Bishop of Rwanda (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) to rave reviews (“Powerful …plumbs the depths of God’s forgiveness and finds no bottom – Publisher’s Weekly). In 2011, he won the Pledge For Life Harold Award for his work with area youth. In the summer of 2012, Lee and Shane Stanley (Gridiron Gang) optioned Maddance as a feature film followed by Apothecary Films optioning The Kill Switch in 2013 and Omni Films optioning Final Service to film in May. Riordan joined the staff of the Mancow Syndicated Television and Radio show in January of 2014 and is now seen and heard across America on a weekly basis. His biography is included in Who’s Who in Entertainment , Who’s Who in Poetry and Contemporary Authors of America. James Riordan – Works Books The Kill Switch, novel with Andrew Dahlmaine, Stonegate Ink, 2013 The Coming of the Walrus, Trade Paperback Editn, Image Workshop 2012 Springboard To Heaven ( Jojo Sayson Adventure), Image Workshop, 2012 The Elijah Collection, novel collection with Bill Myers, Zondervan, 2011 The Well Thought Out Scream (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 Madman in the Gate (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 The Deadly Loyalty Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Ancient Forces Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Enemy Strikes with Bill Myers (Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 Deception with Bill Myers (Book 2 Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 The Bishop of Rwanda (Finding Forgiveness) Thomas Nelson, March 2007 Paperback Edition May, 2012 The Coming of the Walrus (What Really Happened in the '60s) IW, 2006 Break on Through (The Life & Death of Jim Morrison), Morrow, 1991. (New York Times Bestseller, Published in 5 languages, Hardcover, 5 Paperback Editions, Harper Trade Paperback November, 2006) Stone (The Controversies, Excesses & Exploits of a Radical Filmmaker), Disney/Hyperion,1995. (Published in 3 languages, Hardcover, Paperback Edition). Making It in the New Music Business, Writers Digest Books, 1987, (Second Edition, Revised and Updated 1991, Two Hardcover Editions) The Platinum Rainbow (How to Succeed in the Music Business Without Selling Your Soul) 250,000 copies with Bob Monaco, Swordsman Press, 1980, Twenty-Three Editions, Revised 1988) 25 Year Anniversary Edition, 2005 Capture the Wind (Microphones) w.Tom Lubin, Literary Mouse Press,1989 Private Biography of Russ Kalvin, founder of Kalvin Corp., 1990 Private Biography of Steve Stefano, founder of Joico Hair Products, 1993. Mystery of the Invisible Knight (Book 2 in the BloodHounds Series) with Bill Myers, Bethany House,1997. Matters of the Heart (The Life & Times of Edgar Cullman), Culbro, 1997. The Curse (Book 7 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1997. The Undead (Book 8 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1996. The Scream (Book 9 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1998 The Ancients (Book 10 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1999. The Cards (Book 11 Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale,2000 Films Final Service, co-written with Gary Moore and based on his book, Omni Productions, to be filmed in May, 2014. Maddance, Writer/Director/Lead Actor, Search Engine Films, Simmcomm, 1999. (Winner of 4 Crystal Communicators including Best Drama, Screenplay, Director, Male Actor – Austin, TX.1999) Performance (The Life of Ingrid Bergman), Screenplay, Lancit Productions 1998. Returned to Author when film division closed)Rewritten2009 Shadowdancers, Story & Screenplay, Story with Bill Myers, 1997 Dr. Babylon, Story 1996. Air Guitar, Story & Screenplay, 1994 The Platinum Rainbow, Story & Screenplay, 1993 Television/Video Kankakee Valley Prime Time, Writer, Director, Producer, 1997-2000. (Nominated for Midwest/Chicago Emmy for Writing, 1998, 3 Telly Awards, 4 Crystal Communicators 1998-2000). Angels Among Us (The Amtrak City of New Orleans Train Disaster, Co- Producer, (Telly Award, 2000). River Valley Sports Authority, Producer, 1999-2003. I Hate The World (Hypnoises Music Video), Writer/Director/Producer, Crystal Communicator for Best Music Video Concept, 1998). The United Way (Video) Crystal Communicator for Best Video for a Charitable Organization, 1998.

If it isn't money and it isn't fame and it isn't sex... then what... God?

— James Riordan, 2000

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