The Blender in Singapore: Questions President Trump should ask Kim Jong Un

During the five years I lived in Okinawa I became very familiar with diplomatic, informational, military and economic events on the Korean Peninsula. There are several questions I hope President Trump asks Kim Jong Un as they sit across the table.
1. I hope President Trump asks Kim Jong Un what ballistic missile and warhead technology has North Korea shared with Iran? The Iranian Ballistic Missile Test facility is an almost identical copy of the North Korean test facility at Musadan-Ri. North Korea had the technology and Iran had the money. President George W. Bush was correct in identifying the axis of evil in his 29 January 2002 State of the Union address and National Security Strategy and they called him nuts.
About a month before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, sometime in February if I remember right, the Spanish Navy accomplished a ship takedown of a North Korean merchant vessel we knew carried medium-range ballistic missile parts from North Korea. We watched the takedown via a US Navy UAV video in the Combined Air Operations Center where I was working. The operation was being projected on the 40-foot wall screen so all of us on the Operations Center floor watched it. The Spaniards asked to do the mission by the way and did an outstanding job. It took the Spanish Special Ops guys some time to find the missile parts, but they did. It was hidden in boxes marked to cover what was really in them. Imagine that. The parts were headed for Yemen. The Houthi Rebels in Yemen have been launching SCUD missiles into Saudi Arabia using missiles supplied by Iran, and possibly North Korea. 
2. I would ask what nuclear reactor technology has North Korea shared with the Iran Regime. Have they shared it with other countries? The Iranian reactor is south of the city of Bandar Bushehr on the Persian Gulf. North Korea had the technology and Iran had the money. Because of the Obama Administration, the Iranians now have a lot more money to buy missile and nuclear technology too.
3. What was North Korea’s involvement in the construction of the nuclear reactor in the Deir Ez Zor region of Syria? This is the reactor the Israeli Air Force destroyed on the night of 6-7 September 2007 during Operation Outside the Box. Eight IAF fighters (F-15Is and F-16Is) attacked the reactor. The Israeli Defense Force commander recently released targeting pod video of the raid, very unusual for the Israelis. Israeli Mossad and Special Operators confirmed the head of North Korea’s nuclear programs was at the Deir Ez Zor site. They have pictures of him standing around in his tracksuit.
Before and After photos of the Syrian nuclear reactor near Deir Ez Zor courtesy NPR

Kim Jong Un knows he has no military options available to him. The recent Operation Inherent Resolve coalition attacks on the Syrian chemical weapons facilities proved US long range weapons like the AGM-158 Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile or JASSM cannot be tracked or targeted by Russia’s most sophisticated surface-to-air missile system located at their base near Latakia Syria. The B-1s coming from their base in the east launched 19 JASSMs at one facility located on the outskirts of Damascus in the heart of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile engagement footprint. All JASSM missiles made it to their targets.

Russian Pantsir (foreground) and S400 (background) at the Latakia Air Base via Russia DoD
Half of North Korea’s population is involved in their military industrial complex. They have one million men and women in their active duty military and another 20% in the reserves and Red Guards. Restructuring the North Korean economy if peace breaks out may cause it to collapse. It also may rattle South Korea’s because of their military industrial complex is pretty large and includes American defense contractors. If peace comes to the Korean Peninsula, those folks and their military efforts will not be required. We may be calling it catastrophic peace.
We know from the young Army officer who defected from North Korea last year across the DMZ had some real serious physical health issues. If he is indicative of their military population, the men and women who are given the best food and housing, what will be the condition of the rest of the population? The situation in North Korea may keep non-governmental organizations like Doctors without Borders busy for a decade. Five entire provinces in North Korea are without paved roads, running water, electricity, food, and common things we in the States have even in the poorest neighborhoods.
I’ve not seen one news outlet or group mentioning any of this… North Korea’s ties to the Iranian Regime and the conflict in the Middle East, and what the end state of peace on the Korean Peninsula really looks like.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.