North Korea: Update. A South Korean press service reported over the weekend that the North Korean purge continues of all North Koreans associated with the late Chang Sung-taek. The investigation and purge does not reach Chang's wife who is the aunt of Kim Jong Un, Kim Kyo'ng-hu'i. Ms. Kim Kyo'ng-hu'i remains abroad for medical treatment.
The North Korean investigators have divided those associated with Chang into four classes. This is a so-called operation to "liquidate the remaining effect of poison" and uproot the Chang Sung-taek line.
Class A includes the immediate family members and select senior officials under Chang's direct supervision. According to the North Korean Ministry of State Security, Chang is reported to have some 100 immediate family members, including families of his siblings and in-laws. The rumor is that some have been executed and some were sent to political prisons.
People who are distant relatives or were friends of those who were executed were also respectively divided into Class B and Class C and are being investigated. Class D is reported to apply to relatives of relatives.
One South Korean government official said "it appears the number of people being investigated for liquidation of the remaining effect of poison will reach some 10,000 people."
Comment: A regime that engages in the extermination of a family, its friends and associates is a despotism. It is atavistic and parades in the trappings of civilization. Swiss education was wasted on Kim Jong Un.
Negotiations with such a regime are foolhardy because a despotism recognizes no obligations arising from modern contract law or modern diplomacy. This throw-back regime is best left to the Chinese and the South Koreans. The South Koreans, more than Chinese, know how to humble other Koreans. The US needs to support President Park in handling the mess in North Korea.
Pakistan: Former President Musharraf sent his lawyers to court on 7 February, instead of himself. He simply refused to make a personal appearance despite a court order.
Heavy security arrangements were made for the appearance of Musharraf in the court. Some 1,100 security personnel were deployed along the route from the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) to the special court venue. As usual Musharraf was a no-show.
Musharraf's counsel, Anwar Mansoor, pleaded a diversion, alleging personal conflicts of interests for the judges and the prosecutors, and demanding a hearing on his petition that they should be dismissed.