North Korea’s Kim will not be intimidated, To get a read on North Korea, watch the US, not China, Why Pope Francis didn’t say ‘Rohingya,’ Can Zimbabwe’s new president be ‘born again’?, Don’t ignore the EU’s role in Libyan migrant slavery

A roundup of global commentary for the Dec. 11, 2017 weekly magazine.

Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, visits a local tire factory in Chagang Province, North Korea, in a photo provided by the North Korean government, Dec. 3, 2017. Kim thanked workers at a factory that built the tires for a huge vehicle used to transport a new intercontinental ballistic missile that was test-launched this week.

The Japan Times / Tokyo

North Korea’s Kim will not be intimidated

“North Korea continued its defiance of the international community with the test of yet another ballistic missile [Nov. 29],” states an editorial. “In response to this latest outrage, concerned governments continue to try to muster a concerted effort to constrain North Korean behavior.... Still, flaws in the strategy to do so remain unfixed and must be remedied.... The challenge is for the U.S. and partners like Japan to articulate a diplomatic settlement that Pyongyang can support. Thus far, sticks are far more prominent than carrots. That may be emotionally gratifying but is unlikely to produce a deal that endures.”

Korea JoongAng Daily / Seoul, South Korea

To get a read on North Korea, watch the US, not China

“After the Communist Party Congress on Oct. 24 [Chinese President Xi Jinping] announced a plan to send a special envoy to North Korea...,” writes Kim Hyun-ki. “North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was furious that the envoy to Pyongyang was used as an ‘ingredient’ for the U.S.-China relationship and refused to meet with the envoy.... The first response from the United States after learning this was redesignating North Korea as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism.’... It is also delusional to think that North Korea and the United States will somehow compromise. Washington’s will to denuclearize the North is stronger than we think. While every player is keeping quiet and studying China’s next move, what we really need to focus on is the next move of the United States after it half-gave up on China.”

The Guardian / London

Why Pope Francis didn’t say ‘Rohingya’

“White is the colour of peace, and no one on the world stage wears it bigger than the pope...,” writes Joanna Moorhead. “It underlines his role in the global spotlight, so it’s understandable that many people ... are disappointed that he failed ... in Myanmar, to use the politically and emotionally charged word ‘Rohingya’ to stress his criticism of the crackdown on the Muslim community.... The truth is ... the primary role of the pope is as the leader of the Roman Catholic community. The first people he must protect are his own.... So when his representative in Myanmar ... warned him that ... he might compromise the situation of the country’s tiny Catholic minority, Francis felt he had no option but to back down.”

The Monitor / Gaborone, Botswana

Can Zimbabwe’s new president be ‘born again’?

“Sworn in as the new [Zimbabwean] President, [Emmerson Mnangagwa] made pledges that resonated with the mood of everybody...,” writes Michael Dingake. “Zimbabwe politics was poisoned and polarised; jobs, jobs, jobs would be the fashion; investors would be attracted to invest in the country; though the land redistribution wouldn’t be reversed, the expropriated farmers would be compensated; government had to change how it operated; time for yap-yap was over, time for action was here! Who can believe him? Can [Robert Mugabe’s] right-hand man, complicit in all his blunders be born again, to undo the past lunacy displayed by his puppeteer?... His litmus test will come with the general elections scheduled for 2018. I want to side with the optimists.”

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

Don’t ignore the EU’s role in Libyan migrant slavery

“Migrants and refugees being sold into slavery in Libya is not really new information...,” writes Joey Ayoub. “But following CNN’s release of footage showing men being sold by an auctioneer for the equivalent of $800, there was finally international outrage.... But while the outrage has focused on the Libyan authorities, it has very much ignored the role the European Union has played.... The EU has pushed to curb migration and tighten its borders, but it has not provided alternative safe and legal paths for migrants and refugees. This has inevitably led to more dangerous conditions for people already in transit countries such as Libya. Slavery, unfortunately, has been a direct consequence of that.” 

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