North Korea's Kim Jong-Un under pressure from US

(18 April 2017) What to do about North Korea?  US President Trump is now confronted with the same thorny question that has confounded most of his predecessors.  The hermit kingdom of North Korea has long operated outside the norms of international politics and has frequently resorted to threats of war in order to secure any strategic or economic advantage.  Under the uncertain leadership of Kim Jong-Un, North Korea continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program aimed at providing the ultimate bargaining chip with any hostile foreign powers.  By most accounts, the isolated totalitarian regime only survives through the largesse of its only patron, China, through generous trade and aid agreements.

Recent missile tests have provoked a more assertive reaction from the Trump administration.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and now Vice-President Mike Pence have both argued for a tougher stance again the North Korean regime which may well be approaching a critical moment in its push for nuclear weapons.  For the US, the time for diplomatic talks and negotiations may be coming to an end as military options have now been put back on the table.  This tougher stance and the possibility of a unilateral US strike against weapons installations has, in turn, angered Kim Jong-Un, as tensions have increased to a dangerous and unpredictable level. 

Trump and North Korea

As we know, President Trump's planets are very afflicted in the current period.  Transiting Saturn is still closely aligned with his Mars while Rahu (North Lunar Node) is fast approaching his Ascendant.  It is clearly a difficult and stressful time for him.  He has been fairly quiet recently as ongoing foreign policy troubles in North Korea and Syria may be proving to be way over his head.  He is now allowing surrogates such as Tillerson and Pence to do the heavy lifting, perhaps out of fear of making a bad situation worse from his half-baked tweets and shallow understanding of the complexities of global geopolitics.  

Not surprisingly, Trump's horoscope looks more difficult when it is relocated to North Korea.   When we relocate Trump's chart to Pyongyang, his assertive and powerful Mars on the Ascendant is suddenly sitting on the Descendant on the 7th house cusp.  This is a reversal of his own bullying Mars-nature so that he himself may be more likely to be bullied by others, such as by President Kim Jong-Un. Interestingly, Trump's chart is exactly reversed in North Korea: in his birthplace in New York, 6 Leo rises while in Pyongyang, 6 Aquarius rises.  The chart is a mirror-image.   Could the ego-driven billionaire president from Queens abruptly have the tables turned on him on the other side of the world by an equally megalomaniacal authoritarian?

Kim Jong-Un

Kim Jong-Un has been the unrivaled leader of North Korea since the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il in 2011. President Kim has ruthlessly eliminated all opposition to his rule through an internal policy of censorship, intimidation and murder.  It is unclear how stable his government is given his own unpredictability and its single-minded pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Western media have depicted him as a reckless and dangerous dictator who is capable of anything. 

His horoscope suggests these depictions may not be far from the truth.  While his date of birth is not known with certainty, new information suggests that Kim Jong-Un was born on 8 January 1984.  From a BBC report several years ago, his mother said he was the "Morning Star King", hinting that Venus, often known as the morning and evening star, was visible in the sky before the sun rose on the day he was born.  As astrologer Paul Saunders has noted, this not only confirms the likelihood of the 8 January 1984 birth date but also that he probably has sidereal Scorpio or Sagittarius rising. (Thanks to Barry Rosen for pointing out this out to me.)

Venus was above the horizon between 5 a.m. and about 8 a.m. in Pyongyang just before sunrise.  I tend to think he is likely early Sagittarius rising, if only because that would give him a very powerful stellium of Jupiter-Neptune-Mercury near the Ascendant.  We don't know much about his life so it is difficult to pinpoint his Ascendant against life events.  But we do know his father died on 17 December 2011 and this eventually led to a passing of the mantle of supreme power to him.  This occurred when Saturn (authority, responsibility) was conjunct his MC-Mars conjunction and Jupiter (6 Aries) was stationing direct in an exact 120 degree aspect with his Ascendant-Jupiter-Neptune-Mercury conjunction at 3-8 Sagittarius. 

For the moment, I would consider 7 a.m. to be a plausible time of birth.  This would give him about 8 Sagittarius rising.   The ruler of the 1st house (Jupiter) would be very strong in the 1st house conjunct the ruler of the 10th house of status (Mercury).  Neptune adds further to this yoga for name and fame through its tight conjunction with Mercury and Jupiter.  The Sun is also there in Sagittarius in the 1st house to give a further boost to his social profile, tendency towards egotism and elevated status.

Kim Jong-Un's reputation for unpredictability is clearly warranted through the condition of his Moon.  The Moon is associated with emotions and the inner self.  When it is aligned with difficult planets, it can create a tendency towards emotional problems.  Kim Jong-Un's Moon is closely square Uranus, the planet of rebellion and independence.  When these two planets align in a more favourable aspect such as conjunction or trine, the individual is often creative and independent but not really unstable or troubled at all .  However, the square and opposition alignment can produce a more unstable person who is restless and changeable in a disruptive and damaging way.  

His Mars-Pluto conjunction in Libra in the 11th house is typical of someone who can gain advantage quickly through forceful actions.  Mars in the 11th suggests gains through conflict and violence which is more or less how North Korea operates since it is a totalitarian dictatorship.  Pluto's placement with Mars intensifies Kim's reliance on power and coercion to achieve his ends.  I would not say this placement explains his violent or cruel means but it does contribute to a bottom line, instrumental approach to interpersonal relationships.  A diplomat he is not. 

Pressure from US

Kim's current difficulties are highlighted by the conjunction of transiting Saturn (3 Sagittarius) to his natal Jupiter.  Saturn retrograde station two weeks ago activated his Jupiter and may provide one explanation why the Trump administration is taking a tougher stand against him now.  Saturn's conjunction with his Jupiter is an apt alignment that suggests a 'blocking of progress' or a 'restriction to achievement' or more fundamentally 'a denial of optimism.'   Sunday's failed missile launch may also be seen through this prism of Saturn's negative influence on Kim's Jupiter and 1st house more generally.  Transiting Mars was also exactly casting its 8th house (210 degree) aspect to Jupiter at the time of the failed launch.  Overall, it is often hard to move forward when Saturn is transiting the 1st house close to the Ascendant.

But how could this latest confrontation unfold in the weeks ahead?  Saturn is backing off its conjunction with Jupiter so that could indicate better outcomes for North Korea and perhaps a lessening a tension on Kim Jong-Un personally.  But Jupiter is also under the 120 degree aspect of transiting Rahu for several more weeks.  That can be troublesome as Rahu introduces a disruptive energy into one's life.  Moreover, Ketu (South Lunar Node) closely aspects Mars during this time.  Clearly, the next two months will be characterized by high levels of conflict and an elevated potential for military violence.  And the fact that Uranus is opposite Kim's Mars for the next several months means that military action is much more likely. Uranus (4 Aries) is due to station retrograde exactly opposite his Mars (4 Libra) in August.  The Uranus-Mars combination is often found in situations of sudden and destructive conflict.

As I see it, Kim's chart is more vulnerable to setbacks over the next several weeks at least.  It is possible we could see more troubles appear this week for him as Mars aligns with Rahu but I suspect they will not be decisive.  A more important alignment may occur with the entry of Mars into sidereal Gemini on May 27th as it will create a close opposition to Saturn and this could again activate Kim's Jupiter.  It could mark the beginning of a very negative three-week window for him and his country where a major setback is more likely. 

An attack by the US is one possible scenario that could fulfill this planetary promise.  However, I should also note that North Korea's problems could also take a less dramatic form.  It is also conceivable that the late May and early June period could see China pivot away from its traditional support for the Kim regime.  A removal of aid or the imposition of sanctions by China on Pyongyang would also be a huge strategic setback for Kim Jong-Un.  Overall, 2017 looks bad for North Korea.  I will try to post updates on this ongoing situation with reference to other relevant charts including the horoscopes of China, South Korea and the US. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have moved slightly lower over past two weeks as geopolitical concerns in North Korea and Syria have weighed on sentiment.  The Dow is trading near 20,500 today while India's Sensex has also lost ground this week and is now at 29,300.  The modestly bearish mood is broadly in keeping with my expectations as the Venus-Saturn square remains in effect this week. Square 90-degree angles involving the planet Saturn are often bearish and this one is no exception.  This one is somewhat unusual in that both planets were moving very slowly as they were near their respective stations and hence the square aspect is within range for much longer than normal.  More generally, I had expected the Venus retrograde period (Mar 4 - Apr 15) to be generally negative and it was in the US as stocks experienced modest declines.  Emerging markets such as India's fared somewhat better, however, and posted small gains over that period. 

The proximity of the Venus-Saturn square suggests that markets are unlikely to move much higher this week.  The late week in particular looks more problematic as Mars (6 Taurus) aligns with Mercury (5 Aries) and Rahu (7 Leo).   I would be particularly concerned about Friday the 21st as the Moon conjoins Ketu.  This is a possible astro-signature for unwelcome geopolitical developments.   This alignment also seems to activate President Trump's chart (Asc = 6 Leo) so markets may be put on edge here.  More downside therefore looks likely this week and probably into early next week.  Mars will remain in fairly close alignment with Rahu on Monday.  However, I would think there could be some improvement in sentiment as Mercury approaches its conjunction with Uranus later in the week.  There is still some question about when the upside from this pairing will occur since Mercury will still be retrograde next week.   We may well have to wait for Mercury's direct station on May 3rd to gain more clarity.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.