Archive for the ‘South Korea’ category

What if South Korea acted like North Korea?

September 14, 2017

What if South Korea acted like North Korea? Washinton Times, Victor Davis Hanson, September 13, 2017

(One of VDH’s best articles, a thought experiment. — DM)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Visitors watch the North side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. South Korea said Wednesday it conducted its first live-fire drill for an advanced air-launched cruise missile it says will strengthen its pre-emptive strike.

[I]f China were in America’s position, we would have likely witnessed a tragically destructive war a long time ago.

China should make the necessary corrections now, before things get even worse.

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Think of the Korean Peninsula turned upside down.

Imagine if there were a South Korean dictatorship that had been in power, as a client of the United States since 1953.

Imagine also that contemporary South Korea was not the rich, democratic home of Kia and Samsung. Instead, envision it as an unfree, pre-industrialized and impoverished failed state, much like North Korea.

Further envision that the U.S. had delivered financial aid and military assistance to this outlaw regime, which led to Seoul possessing several nuclear weapons and a fleet of long-range missiles.

Next, picture this rogue South Korean dictatorship serially threatening to incinerate its neighbor, North Korea — and imagine that North Korea was ruled not by the Kim dynasty, but by a benign government without nuclear weapons.

Also assume that the South Korean dictatorship would periodically promise to wipe out Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. The implicit message to the Chinese would be that the impoverished South Koreans were so crazy that they didn’t care whether they, too, went up in smoke — as long a dozen of their nuclear-tipped missiles could blow up Chinese cities and paralyze the second-largest economy in the world. Assume that these South Korean threats had been going on without consequences for over a decade.

Finally, in such a fantasy scenario, what if the United States falsely claimed ignorance of much of its South Korean client’s nuclear capability and threats. America instead would plead that it regretted the growing tension and the reckless reactions of China to the nuclear threats against it. Washington would lecture China that the crisis was due in part to its support for its North Korean ally.

For effect, the United States would occasionally issue declarations of regret and concern over the situation — even as it warned China not to do anything to provoke America’s provocateur ally.

In such a fantasy, American security experts and military planners would gleefully factor a roguish nuclear South Korea into U.S. deterrent strategy. The Pentagon would privately collude with the South Korean dictatorship to keep the Chinese occupied and rattled, while the U.S. upped shipments of military weaponry to Seoul and overlooked its thermonuclear upgrades.

The American military would be delighted that China would be tied down by having an unhinged nuclear dictatorship on its borders, one that periodically threatened to kill millions of Chinese. South Korea would up the ante of its bluster by occasionally test-launching missiles in the direction of its neighbor.

Question: How long would China tolerate having weapons of mass destruction pointed at its major cities by an unbalanced tyrannical regime?

In response, would Beijing threaten a nuclear Seoul with a preemptory military strike, even though the Chinese would know that Seoul could first do a lot of nuclear damage?

Would China conclude that the United States was the real guilty party because it tacitly sanctioned South Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons?

Would China then warn the U.S. to pressure Seoul to disarm?

Would Beijing cease all trade with America?

Would China boycott, embargo or blockade South Korea?

Would China be furious that after ensuring that its own client, North Korea, remained non-nuclear and played by the rules, America had deliberately done exactly the opposite: empowering its dictatorial client, South Korea, to become a nuclear power in order to threaten China?

In other words, if China and North Korea found themselves in the same respective positions of current America and South Korea, the world may well have already seen a preemptive Chinese attack on Seoul to remove its nuclear capability.

The international community would already have seen China expel the conniving Americans from Chinese embassies, cut trade with the U.S., disrupt American banks and threaten the use of force against the U.S. mainland.

The truth of the North Korea missile crisis is not the boilerplate assumption that China is the key to the solution, but rather that China is by design the root of the problem.

China did not fail to realize that North Korea was developing a nuclear arsenal. Rather, it calculated that North Koreawould do exactly what it is now doing, and that such nuclear roguery would serve China’s strategic interests both on the Korean peninsula and in its rivalries with the United States and with America’s allies in Asia.

In other words, if China were in America’s position, we would have likely witnessed a tragically destructive war a long time ago.

China should make the necessary corrections now, before things get even worse.

• Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

FULL MEASURE: September 10, 2017 – Korean Conflict

September 11, 2017

FULL MEASURE: September 10, 2017 – Korean Conflict via YouTube, September 10, 2017

 

North Korea’s Ultimatum to America

September 5, 2017

North Korea’s Ultimatum to America, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, September 5, 2017

(We should strike North Korea and eliminate it as a nuclear threat. We have first-strike capability which, if used can eliminate the danger to South Korea and Japan as well as to America. Perhaps we should wait — but not long — until North Korea “tests” a missile directed toward Guam. Then we should act immediately and without warning. We can even do it successfully without using our own nukes. On the other hand, we have a new option. Please see also, How to neutralize the North Korea threat. It might, or might not, work. If it works as advertised, great. If it fails, we will have lost very little. –DM)

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

If the US strikes North Korea in a credible manner and successfully diminishes its capacity to physically threaten the US, America will have taken the first step towards rebuilding its alliances in Asia.

On the other hand, if the current round of hostilities does not end with a significant reduction of North Korea’s offensive capabilities, either against the US or its allies, then the US will be hard pressed to maintain its posture as a Pacific power. So long as Pyongyang has the ability to directly threaten the US and its allies, US strategic credibility in East Asia will be shattered.

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The nuclear confrontation between the US and North Korea entered a critical phase Sunday with North Korea’s conduct of an underground test of a thermonuclear bomb.

If the previous round of this confrontation earlier this summer revolved around Pyongyang’s threat to attack the US territory of Guam, Sunday’s test, together with North Korea’s recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the continental US, was a direct threat to US cities.

In other words, the current confrontation isn’t about US superpower status in Asia, and the credibility of US deterrence or the capabilities of US military forces in the Pacific. The confrontation is now about the US’s ability to protect the lives of its citizens.

The distinction tells us a number of important things. All of them are alarming.

First, because this is about the lives of Americans, rather than allied populations like Japan and South Korea, the US cannot be diffident in its response to North Korea’s provocation. While attenuated during the Obama administration, the US’s position has always been that US military forces alone are responsible for guaranteeing the collective security of the American people.

Pyongyang is now directly threatening that security with hydrogen bombs. So if the Trump administration punts North Korea’s direct threat to attack US population centers with nuclear weapons to the UN Security Council, it will communicate profound weakness to its allies and adversaries alike.

Obviously, this limits the options that the Trump administration has. But it also clarifies the challenge it faces.

The second implication of North Korea’s test of their plutonium-based bomb is that the US’s security guarantees, which form the basis of its global power and its alliance system are on the verge of becoming completely discredited.

In an interview Sunday with Fox News’s Trish Regan, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton was asked about the possible repercussions of a US military assault against North Korea for the security of South Korea.

Regan asked, “What are we risking though if we say we’re going to go in with strategic military strength?… Are we going to end up with so many people’s lives gone in South Korea, in Seoul because we make that move?” Bolton responded with brutal honesty.

“Let me ask you this: how do you feel about dead Americans?” In other words, Bolton said that under prevailing conditions, the US faces the painful choice between imperiling its own citizens and imperiling the citizens of an allied nation. And things will only get worse. Bolton warned that if North Korea’s nuclear threat is left unaddressed, US options will only become more problematic and limited in the years to come.

This then brings us to the third lesson of the current round of confrontation between the US and North Korea.

If you appease an enemy on behalf of an ally then you aren’t an ally.

And eventually your alliance become empty of all meaning.

For 25 years, three successive US administrations opted to turn a blind eye to North Korea’s nuclear program in large part out of concern for South Korea.

Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all sought to appease North Korea’s aggressive nuclear adventurism because they didn’t believe they had a credible military option to deal with it.

In the 1980s, North Korea developed and deployed a conventional arsenal of bombs and artillery along the demilitarized zone capable of vaporizing Seoul.

Any US military strike against North Korea’s nuclear installation it was and continues to be argued, would cause the destruction of Seoul and the murder of millions of South Koreans.

So US efforts to appease Pyongyang on behalf of Seoul emptied the US-South Korean alliance of meaning. The US can only serve as the protector of its allies, and so assert its great power status in the Pacific and worldwide, if it prevents its allies from being held hostage by its enemies.

And now, not only does the US lack a clear means of defending South Korea, and Japan, America itself is threatened by the criminal regime it demurred from effectively confronting.

Regardless of the means US President Donald Trump decides to use to respond to North Korea’s provocative actions and threats to America’s national security, given the nature of the situation, it is clear that the balance of forces on the ground cannot and will not remain as they have been.

If the US strikes North Korea in a credible manner and successfully diminishes its capacity to physically threaten the US, America will have taken the first step towards rebuilding its alliances in Asia.

On the other hand, if the current round of hostilities does not end with a significant reduction of North Korea’s offensive capabilities, either against the US or its allies, then the US will be hard pressed to maintain its posture as a Pacific power. So long as Pyongyang has the ability to directly threaten the US and its allies, US strategic credibility in East Asia will be shattered.

This then brings us to China.

China has been the main beneficiary of North Korea’s conventional and nuclear aggression and brinksmanship.

This state of affairs was laid bare in a critical way last month.

In mid-August, Trump’s then chief strategist Steve Bannon was preparing a speech Trump was set to deliver that would have effectively declared a trade war against China in retaliation for its predatory trade practices against US companies and technology. The speech was placed in the deep freeze – and Bannon was forced to resign his position – when North Korea threatened to attack the US territory of Guam with nuclear weapons. The US, Trump’s other senior advisers argued, couldn’t declare a trade war against China when it needed China’s help to restrain North Korea.

So by enabling North Korea’s aggression against the US and its allies, China has created a situation where the US has become neutralized as a strategic competitor.

Rather than advance its bilateral interests – like curbing China’s naval aggression in the South China Sea – in its contacts with China, the US is forced into the position of supplicant, begging China to restrain North Korea in order to avert war.

If the US does not act to significantly downgrade North Korea’s offensive capabilities now, when its own territory is being threatened, it is difficult to see how the US will be able to develop an effective strategy for coping with China’s rise as an economic and strategic rival in Asia and beyond. That is, the US’s actions now in response to North Korea’s threat to its national security will determine whether or not the US will be in a position to develop and implement a wider strategy for maintaining its capacity to project its economic and military power in the Pacific in the near and long term.

Finally, part of the considerations that need to inform US action now involve what North Korea’s success in developing a nuclear arsenal under the noses of successive US administrations means for the future of nuclear proliferation.

In all likelihood, unless the North Korean nuclear arsenal is obliterated, Pyongyang’s nuclear triumphalism will precipitate a spasm of nuclear proliferation in Asia and in the Middle East. The implications of this for the US and its allies will be far reaching.

Not only can Japan and South Korea be reasonably expected to develop nuclear arsenals. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other inherently unstable Arab states can be expected to develop or purchase nuclear arsenals in response to concerns over North Korea and its ally Iran with its nuclear weapons program linked to Pyongyang’s.

In other words, if the US does not respond in a strategically profound way to Pyongyang now, it will not only lose its alliance system in Asia, it will see the rapid collapse of its alliance system and superpower status in the Middle East.

Israel, for one, will be imperiled by the sudden diffusion of nuclear power.

Monday morning, North Korea followed up its thermonuclear bomb test with a spate of threats to destroy the United States. These threats are deadly even if North Korea doesn’t attack the US with its nuclear weapons. If the US does not directly defeat North Korea in a clear-cut way now, its position as a superpower in Asia and worldwide will be destroyed and its ability to defend its own citizens will be called into question with increasing frequency and lethality.

North Korea’s latest test: More diplomacy will only make matters worse, says Amb. Bolton

September 3, 2017

North Korea’s latest test: More diplomacy will only make matters worse, says Amb. Bolton, Fox Business, September 3, 2017

(Please see also, Powers may end up with Iranian model for NKorea. — DM)

Bolton said the U.S. has “fooled around” with North Korea for 25 years, and if that continues, the current situation will only worsen.

“It would be a lesson to every nuclear state in the world that if you just have patience enough you can wear the United States down. The notion that we can accept North Korea or Iran with any kind of nuclear capability just means that we will forever be at their mercy,” he said.

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Following North Korea’s announcement that it successfully tested a thermonuclear device on Sunday, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said more diplomacy will only make matters worse regarding the Hermit Kingdom’s nuclear threat to surrounding countries and America.

“I think the only diplomatic option left is to end the regime in North Korea by effectively having the South take it over,” Bolton told “Sunday Morning Futures.” “Anybody who thinks that more diplomacy with North Korea or sanctions, whether against North Korea or an effort to apply sanctions against China, is just giving North Korea more time to increase its nuclear arsenal, increase its ballistic missile capability, increase the accuracy of its guidance systems and put us, South Korea and Japan in more jeopardy.”

The artificial earthquake caused by the test was “five to six times stronger” than tremors created by previous tests; South Korean officials put the magnitude at 5.7 and the U.S. Geological Survey said it was a magnitude 6.3 Opens a New Window., according to The Associated Press.

In addition to the threat of the country launching a thermonuclear weapon, Bolton explained that the willingness of Kim Jong Un to sell anything for money is also quite worrisome.

“They could sell these weapons, ballistic missiles and the nuclear devices themselves to Iran in a heartbeat. North Korea can sell these devices to terrorist groups around the world; they could be used as electromagnetic pulse weapons (EMPs), not necessarily hitting targets, but destroying our electric grid’s capabilities,” the former ambassador said, adding that they could also be used for nuclear blackmail.

President Trump reacted to the news of the alleged test on Twitter saying, “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”

..North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.

He also criticized South Korea for not taking a tougher stand against the communist country.

South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!

 

Bolton said the U.S. has “fooled around” with North Korea for 25 years, and if that continues, the current situation will only worsen.

“It would be a lesson to every nuclear state in the world that if you just have patience enough you can wear the United States down. The notion that we can accept North Korea or Iran with any kind of nuclear capability just means that we will forever be at their mercy,” he said.

Haley Says ‘No Value’ in Another UN Resolution Against North Korea: ‘The Time for Talk Is Over’

July 31, 2017

Haley Says ‘No Value’ in Another UN Resolution Against North Korea: ‘The Time for Talk Is Over’ Washington Free Beacon , July 31, 2017

( Sounds like serious shit… – JW )

Nikki Haley / Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday that she is ready to take action and not just hold more talks following North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.

Haley released a statement denying that the U.S. was seeking to form an emergency session at the U.N. She said that it would be useless and even counterproductive to further sanction the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un without action.

“There is no point in having an emergency session if it produces nothing of consequence,” she said. “North Korea is already subject to numerous Security Council resolutions that they violate with impunity and that are not complied with by all U.N. Member States.”

“An additional security council resolution that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value,” Haley said. “In fact, it is worse than nothing, because it sends the message to the North Korean dictator that the international community is unwilling to seriously challenge him.”

She directly addressed China, the regime’s closest ally, and said that Beijing must intervene. China has insisted that it is not responsible for North Korea, even as the U.S. has accused the Chinese leadership of propping up Pyongyang.

“China must decide whether it is finally willing to take this vital step. The time for talk is over,” Haley said. “The danger the North Korean regime poses to international peace is now clear to all.”

President Donald Trump also focused his Twitter fire on China. He said on Saturday that China does nothing on North Korea despite having “easy” options to “solve this problem.”

I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet…

…they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!

China hit back on Monday after Trump’s tweets. The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in a statement sent to Reuters, said the international community needs to work together to address the North Korean nuclear issue and that China is not responsible for Pyongyang’s aggression.

South Korea announced Saturday that it will begin talking with the Trump administration about expanding the country’s nuclear capabilities. The Chinese have opposed any actions that would put Seoul in control of nuclear weapons.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also told reporters that the Trump administration promised to “take all necessary measures to protect” Japan.

North Korea launched its latest test missile into Japanese waters on Friday.

Top Armed Services Dem: Russia, China ‘Spectacularly Disingenuous’ on North Korea

July 5, 2017

Top Armed Services Dem: Russia, China ‘Spectacularly Disingenuous’ on North Korea, PJ MediaBridget Johnson, July 5, 2017

(Please see also, North Korean Missiles Reaching USA. President Trump seems to have decided that joint action with China and Russia won’t work and that unilateral action by America will be needed. — DM)

South Korean army K-1 tanks move during the annual exercise in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, on July 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

China and Russia issued a joint statement calling Pyongyang’s ICBM test “unacceptable.”

“The two sides propose that the DPRK (North Korea) as a voluntary political decision declares a moratorium on testing nuclear explosive devices and ballistic rocket launches, and the US and South Korea refrain from carrying out large-scale joint exercises,” the statement said. “Parallel to this, the opposing sides should start negotiations and affirm general principles of their relations including the non-use of force, rejection of aggression and peaceful co-existence.”

“Neither one of them is doing a darn thing to stop North Korea. And they want to use it as an excuse to push us out of the region,” he added. “What we have to make clear to them is it’s going to have the exact opposite effect. Once North Korea is able to threaten us and even now, as they threaten our allies, we have to be in there to protect our own interests. 

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The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee declared this morning that the “threat from North Korea, regrettably, is not going to be removed” by the “global action” proposed by the Trump administration to curb Kim Jong-un’s behavior.

Pyongyang said Tuesday that it successfully test-fired Hwasong-14, a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile. According to Chosun Ilbo in South Korea, state TV in the North declared the regime “a full-fledged nuclear power… possessed of the most powerful intercontinental-ballistic rocket capable of hitting any part of the world.”

Kim reportedly watched the launch at the scene. The missile, said to be capable of reaching Alaska or Hawaii, flew for 39 minutes before hitting open waters.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a statement Tuesday evening condemning the July Fourth launch. “Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world,” he said. “Global action is required to stop a global threat.”

“Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime. All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons. We intend to bring North Korea’s provocative action before the UN Security Council and enact stronger measures to hold the DPRK accountable,” Tillerson continued.

“The United States seeks only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the end of threatening actions by North Korea. As we, along with others, have made clear, we will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.”

President Trump and his national security team “are continuing to assess the situation in close coordination with our allies and partners,” he added.

Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) doubted that Tillerson’s vow would put pressure on North Korea.

“If there is an idea floating around out there for how we can remove that threat, I’m open to it. But we have been circling around this discussion of what we want China to do and what we want sanctions to do and all these other different pieces,” Smith said. “The bottom line is, what we need against North Korea, we need to put the best economic sanctions we can. I think it’s perfectly appropriate for the secretary of state to try to put pressure on other nations to do the same. But the most important thing we need is a credible military deterrent, so that whatever North Korea does in terms of building a missile, they know that if they act against South Korea or against Japan or against us, we will obliterate them.”

“That’s why THAAD [missile defense system] is important. That is why our alliance with South Korea and Japan is important, to have that credible military force, because what’s been proven — and all of the options have been discussed with your previous guests — is that North Korea is going to do it. They want to build nuclear weapons. They want to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile. And short of an all-out war on the Korean Peninsula, we don’t really have an option for stopping them.”

China and Russia issued a joint statement calling Pyongyang’s ICBM test “unacceptable.”

“The two sides propose that the DPRK (North Korea) as a voluntary political decision declares a moratorium on testing nuclear explosive devices and ballistic rocket launches, and the US and South Korea refrain from carrying out large-scale joint exercises,” the statement said. “Parallel to this, the opposing sides should start negotiations and affirm general principles of their relations including the non-use of force, rejection of aggression and peaceful co-existence.”

Smith slammed the statement as “spectacularly disingenuous.”

“Neither one of them is doing a darn thing to stop North Korea. And they want to use it as an excuse to push us out of the region,” he added. “What we have to make clear to them is it’s going to have the exact opposite effect. Once North Korea is able to threaten us and even now, as they threaten our allies, we have to be in there to protect our own interests. China’s not acting against North Korea. And the reason they’re not acting against North Korea is, they don’t want to cut off North Korea’s economic aid. They don’t want North Korea to collapse because they don’t want millions of North Korean refugees pouring across their border. They’re not happy that North Korea is causing such instability in the region, but the alternative of them trying to crush the regime somehow is something they’re not willing to do, and they haven’t been willing to do it through four administrations. So, we need a credible military deterrent, and that is our only option.”

Smith noted that Kim’s actions have been “all about ensuring regime survival,” as he’s “looked at Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, and they feel that unless they have a nuclear weapon and a credible deterrent of their own, that their regime is in jeopardy.”

“So, all the economic sanctions, all that needs to be done. But understand what I’m saying here. As you have discussed, there is not a good military option,” he said. “Thinking that we can preemptively go in there and somehow take out their capabilities, whatever we do leads to a massive war in the Korean Peninsula… we need our THAAD system in the region. We need a system to give us a shot at shooting down that missile if they decide to launch it. And then we also need a clear diplomatic policy that we will destroy them.”

After the THAAD system was installed in South Korea, Trump said Seoul should fork over a billion dollars for the missile defense. New South Korean President Moon Jae-in recently suspended further THAAD deployment pending a review of the program.

Smith stressed that Russia and China must “stop screwing around.”

“If you guys really want us to be less involved in the region, then you have got to figure out a way to control North Korea,” he said. “Now, I don’t think they’re going to do that. But that means that we have to stay active in the region.”

Krauthammer: U.S. does have cards to play against North Korea

April 21, 2017

Krauthammer: U.S. does have cards to play against North Korea, Mercury News, April 20, 2017

(Mr. Krauthammer offers a reasonable alternative to the reunification of North and South Korea.

Do present-day South Koreans really want reunification? Nearly half a century ago, when I was an Army JAG officer and spent two tours of duty in South Korea, I travelled widely and got to know many Koreans. They were generally enthusiastic about reunification. Now? Not so much, I think.

German reunification was widely embraced and cost the West about $1.9 trillion. South and North Korea have been separated about twenty years longer than East and West Germany had been. Now, younger working South Koreans — with fewer close relatives in the north than their parents and grandparents had half a century ago — would bear much of the cost of Korean reunification. Reunification gave former West Germany Frau Merkel. Korean reunification, providing a wave of unskilled, perhaps hopelessly brainwashed, North Koreans with very little to offer South Korea and needing much adaptation to South Korean democracy, would be about as useful to South Korea as a North Korean version of Frau Merkel. — DM)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Because Beijing has such a strong interest in the current regime, we could sweeten the latter offer by abjuring Korean reunification. This would not be Germany, where the communist state was absorbed into the West. We would accept an independent, but Finlandized, North.

During the Cold War, Finland was, by agreement, independent but always pro-Russian in foreign policy. Here we would guarantee that a new North Korea would be independent but always oriented toward China. For example, the new regime would forswear ever joining any hostile alliance.

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WASHINGTON — The crisis with North Korea may appear trumped up. It’s not.

Given that Pyongyang has had nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for more than a decade, why the panic now? Because North Korea is headed for a nuclear breakout. The regime has openly declared that it is racing to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States — and thus destroy an American city at a Kim Jong Un push of a button.

The North Koreans are not bluffing. They’ve made significant progress with solid-fuel rockets, which are more quickly deployable and thus more easily hidden and less subject to detection and pre-emption.

At the same time, Pyongyang has been steadily adding to its supply of nuclear weapons. Today it has an estimated 10 to 16. By 2020, it could very well have a hundred. (For context: the British are thought to have about 200.)

Hence the crisis. We simply cannot concede to Kim Jong Un the capacity to annihilate American cities.

Some will argue for deterrence. If it held off the Russians and the Chinese for all these years, why not the North Koreans? First, because deterrence, even with a rational adversary like the old Soviet Union, is never a sure thing. We came pretty close to nuclear war in October 1962.

And second, because North Korea’s regime is bizarre in the extreme, a hermit kingdom run by a weird, utterly ruthless and highly erratic god-king. You can’t count on Caligula. The regime is savage and cult-like; its people, robotic. Karen Elliott House once noted that while Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a prison, North Korea was an ant colony.

Ant colonies do not have good checks and balances.

If not deterrence, then prevention. But how? The best hope is for China to exercise its influence and induce North Korea to give up its programs.

For years, the Chinese made gestures, but never did anything remotely decisive. They have their reasons. It’s not just that they fear a massive influx of refugees if the Kim regime disintegrates. It’s also that Pyongyang is a perpetual thorn in the side of the Americans, whereas regime collapse brings South Korea (and thus America) right up to the Yalu River.

So why would the Chinese do our bidding now?

For a variety of reasons.

• They don’t mind tension but they don’t want war. And the risk of war is rising. They know that the ICBM threat is totally unacceptable to the Americans. And that the current administration appears particularly committed to enforcing this undeclared red line.

• Chinese interests are being significantly damaged by the erection of regional missile defenses to counteract North Korea’s nukes. South Korea is racing to install a THAAD anti-missile system. Japan may follow. THAAD’s mission is to track and shoot down incoming rockets from North Korea but, like any missile shield, it necessarily reduces the power and penetration of the Chinese nuclear arsenal.

•  For China to do nothing risks the return of the American tactical nukes in South Korea, withdrawn in 1991.

• If the crisis deepens, the possibility arises of South Korea and, most importantly, Japan going nuclear themselves. The latter is the ultimate Chinese nightmare.

These are major cards America can play. Our objective should be clear. At a minimum, a testing freeze. At the maximum, regime change.

Because Beijing has such a strong interest in the current regime, we could sweeten the latter offer by abjuring Korean reunification. This would not be Germany, where the communist state was absorbed into the West. We would accept an independent, but Finlandized, North.

During the Cold War, Finland was, by agreement, independent but always pro-Russian in foreign policy. Here we would guarantee that a new North Korea would be independent but always oriented toward China. For example, the new regime would forswear ever joining any hostile alliance.

There are deals to be made. They may have to be underpinned by demonstrations of American resolve. A pre-emptive attack on North Korea’s nuclear facilities and missile sites would be too dangerous, as it would almost surely precipitate an invasion of South Korea with untold millions of casualties. We might, however, try to shoot down a North Korean missile in mid-flight to demonstrate both our capacity to defend ourselves and the futility of a North Korean missile force that can be neutralized technologically.

The Korea crisis is real and growing. But we are not helpless. We have choices. We have assets. It’s time to deploy them.

‘Strategic Patience’ Is Over: Tillerson Floats Military Action in North Korea

March 17, 2017

‘Strategic Patience’ Is Over: Tillerson Floats Military Action in North Korea, Breitbart, Frances Martel, March 17, 2017

(Might Secretary Tillerson also have intended to give a “hint” to The Islamic Republic of Iran? — DM)

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – MARCH 17: (L to R) U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se during a press conference on March 17, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Song Kyung-Seok-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Seoul on Friday that the Trump administration is open to military action against North Korea as a last resort, and that the Obama-era policy of “strategic patience has ended.”

“The policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson told reporters at a press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. “If North Korea takes actions that threaten South Korean forces or our own forces, that will be met with an appropriate response.”

“If they elevate the threats of their weapons program to the level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson added. He emphasized that the United States would attempt to avoid to the extent possible any military actions against North Korea, particularly those that may put North Korean civilian lives in danger. “We hope that that will persuade North Korea to take a different course of action. That’s our desire,” Tillerson concluded.

Tillerson also took the opportunity to once again call for China to take on a larger role in containing North Korea’s escalating belligerence and objected to China cutting economic ties with South Korea over the deployment of the America Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system. “While we acknowledge Chinese opposition, its economic retaliation against South Korea is inappropriate and troubling. We ask China to refrain from such actions. Instead, we urge China to address the threat that makes that necessary,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson is currently in the middle of a three-nation trip to Asia, having left Japan on Thursday and scheduled to meet with leaders in China on Saturday.

The Secretary of State’s remarks regarding potential military action against North Korea follow remarks in Japan that emphasized a “different approach” to the rogue government in Pyongyang. “Part of the purpose of my visit to the region is to exchange views on a new approach,” Tillerson noted on Friday in a press conference with his Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

The Trump administration has hinted at a change in America’s approach towards Pyongyang in other venues, as well. Earlier this month, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters in New York that the White House is “not ruling anything out” to keep North Korea from developing and using nuclear weapons. Haley described the THAAD system as a necessary response to Pyongyang’s insistence on violating UN sanctions with missile launches that could threaten Japan and South Korea. “We are not going to leave South Korea standing there with the threat of North Korea facing them and not help. The reason for THAAD is because of the actions of North Korea,” she said in response to Chinese and Russian opposition.

Following Tillerson’s remarks Friday, President Trump himself issued a warning to North Korea on Twitter:

Tillerson’s message towards China was also similar in Japan: as its largest trading partner, take a more prominent role in containing North Korea. “We look to China to fulfill its obligations and fully implement the sanctions called for,” he said. Anticipating Tillerson’s visit, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told reporters Wednesday he was “optimistic about the future of China-US relations” and anticipated a positive outcome from Tillerson’s visit. President Donald Trump is reportedly working with Chinese officials to plan a U.S. visit by President Xi Jinping next month.

These statements represent a nearly complete shift away from what former Secretary of State and twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton described as “strategic patience“: a policy of waiting for the North Korean economy to implode and Pyongyang finding itself no longer able to afford to ignore UN sanctions and the rejection of the international community. This policy largely failed because China continued to trade with North Korea, providing the fellow communist regime a vital lifeline.

The response in Seoul to the new, robust U.S. policy is largely divided along partisan lines, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap. Conservative leaders have expressed gratitude for Tillerson’s strong support for their country. “We highly appreciate his comments as he expressed a strong willingness to respond to North Korea’s reckless behavior,” Liberty Korea Party spokesman Rep. Choung Tae-ok told Yonhap.

One left-wing leader, in contrast, told Yonhap: “We are supporting the U.S.’s move to strengthen the effectiveness of sanctions against the North through cooperation with relevant countries, but we cannot help expressing concerns about the U.S. stance that there will be no dialogue until North Korea gives up (nuclear weapons).”

North Korea appears to have responded to Tillerson’s presence in the region with the publication of a “human rights white paper” condemning the United States as a serial violator of human rights, condemning the presidential election itself as a human rights violation against the American people and labeling the nation a “human rights desert.”

Not Satire | Impeached President’s attorney claims protests against her “led by N.Korea”

January 7, 2017

Impeached President’s attorney claims protests against her “led by N.Korea” NK News, JH Ahn, January 6, 2017

(Maybe Park’s claim that Kim Jong-un is responsible for her downfall will work as well as Clinton’s claim that Putin is responsible for hers. — DM)

kimchiun

South Korea’s ongoing Park Geun-hye scandal took another strange turn on Thursday, with a member of the impeached President’s legal representation claiming that followers of Juche ideology were behind the protests against her.

Comparing President Park to Socrates and Jesus, who were, like Park, “falsely driven by the people to execution,” the attorney said that the protests were “not the representation of the South Koreans’ popular will.”

“The candlelight vigils were organized by those who follow Kim Il Sung’s Juche ideology, and was a de facto (the North’s) declaration of war against the Republic of Korea,” Seo Seok-gu, President Park’s attorney said during impeachment hearings at the Constitutional Court.

“North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun has said that South Koreans are raising their torchlight following Kim Jong Un’s order,” Seo said. It’s unclear which article he was referring to, as no such report was found in a search of KCNA Watch.

“South Korean reports (about the protests)… are being highly complimented by the North Korean media…and should not be used as evidence against Park.”

On the following day of impeachment hearings, Seo repeated the claim during an interview with a local radio channel.

“(Haven’t the protesters) marched through the center of the city, walking with the giant sculpture of Lee Seok-ki, who have said to plot the armed protests should the North declare war against us?,” Seo asked the CBS anchor.

Seo’s eccentric arguments continued: he claimed that Pentagon had used its intelligence satellites to count the number of protestors in Seoul.

“On the day of the protest, when so-called ‘one million’ gathered at Gwanghwamun Plaza, Pentagon has used its satellite to take the imagery and announced that it was 113,373,” Seo said.

No article or statement by the Pentagon has mentioned this, while a defense expert said it would be “technically impossible”.

“The U.S. satellites are known to be capable of identifying objects that are only a few centimeters wide,” Kim Min-seok, a senior researcher at the Korea Defense and Security Forum, told NK News.

“But that does not mean that the intelligence satellites can identify people, track their movements and count numbers,” Kim said.

China to Obama: America Forced Norks to get Nukes and Must Negotiate a Deal

September 20, 2016

China to Obama: America Forced Norks to get Nukes and Must Negotiate a Deal, Dan Miller’s Blog, September 20, 2016

(The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

In an article titled North Korean Nukes, South Korea, Japan, China and Obama, posted the day after North Korea’s most recent nuke test, September 9th, I contended that China would not honor Obama’s request to make North Korea stop developing and testing nukes. China has remained a faithful ally of North Korea since the end stage of the Korean Conflict and “sees Obama, not as the representative of the world’s greatest power, but as a joke. He has no clout internationally and is a national embarrassment.”  NB: I had hoped to publish this article more than a week ago, but my internet was down or at best intermittent from September 13th until September 19th.)

I was right, but it’s a bit worse than I had thought.

On September 12th, an article was published by Xinhua titled China urges U.S. to take responsibility on Korean Peninsula nuclear issueXinhua is

the official press agency of the People’s Republic of China. Xinhua is the biggest and most influential media organization in China. Xinhua is a ministry-level institution subordinate to the Chinese central government. Its president is a member of theCentral Committee of China’s Communist Party.

According to Xinhua,

U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter reportedly called for further pressure on the DPRK last Friday after the country carried out a new nuclear test and said China bears “responsibility” for tackling the problem. [Emphasis added.]

The essence of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is the conflict between the DPRK and the United States, spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference. [Emphasis added.]

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a close neighbor of the DPRK, China has made unremitting efforts to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, Hua said.

A statement released by the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK Sunday said the United States compelled the DPRK to develop nuclear warheads, and the nuclear threat it has constantly posed to the DPRK for decades is the engine that has pushed the DPRK to this point. [Emphasis added.]

Blindly increasing the pressure and the resulting bounce-back will only make the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula “a firm knot,” Hua said, calling for responsibility from all relevant parties.

Hua reiterated that China will remain committed to resolving issues concerning the Peninsula through dialogue to realize long-term peace and stability.

China strongly urges all parties to speak and act cautiously with the larger picture in mind, avoid provoking each other and make genuine efforts to achieve denuclearization, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, Hua said.

. . . .

“We have seen the twists and turns in the situation on the Korean Peninsula since the six-party talks have stalled,” Hua said, noting that it proves that simple sanctions cannot solve the issue. [Emphasis added.]

Hua said the security concerns of parties on the Korean Peninsula must and can only be resolved in a way that serves the interests of all parties.

Any unilateral action based on one’s self-interest will lead to a dead end, and it will not help resolve one’s security concerns but will only aggravate the tension, complicate the issue, and make it more difficult to achieve relevant goals, Hua said. [Emphasis added.]

The six-party talks, involving China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan, were a multilateral mechanism aimed at solving the Korean Peninusla nuclear issue. The talks began in 2003 and stalled in December 2008. The DPRK quit the talks in April 2009.

“Resuming the six-party talks is difficult, but we cannot give up easily ,” Hua said.

China will continue to keep close communication with relevant parties and call on them to return to the right track of solving issues related to the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and negotiation, the spokesperson said.

China clearly appears to be following the line of Kim Jong-un on why North Korea needs nukes:

The Obama administration cannot engage in successful negotiations with North Korea, for several reasons. They are, in no particular order: Obama will be gone in about four months; Kerry is Obama’s Secretary of State; The Obama-Clinton-Kerry Iran Scam gave the Islamic Republic everything it sought and, at best, left Iran on the highway to nukes. North Korea and Iran are different in at least one major respect: Iran claimed that it did not have nukes and had not tried to develop them; Supreme Leader Khamenei was claimed to have issued a fatwa against the acquisition, development and use of nukes — despite propaganda videos showing how Iran will use nukes against the “great and little Satan.” North Korea has and has tested five nukes. Kim brags about them and threatens to use them.

The nuke threat

38 North is a think tank largely devoted to obtaining and publishing reliable information about North Korea’s nuke and missile programs. An article there by , published on September 12th, concludes:

What are the greatest threats from the rapidly expanding North Korean nuclear program? Left unchecked, Pyongyang will likely develop the capability to reach the continental United States with a nuclear tipped missile in a decade or so. Much more troubling for now is that its recent nuclear and missile successes may give Pyongyang a false sense of confidence and dramatically change regional security dynamics. The likely ability of the DPRK to put nuclear weapons on target anywhere in South Korea and Japan and even on some US assets in the Pacific greatly complicates the regional military picture. That situation would be exacerbated if Pyongyang decides to field tactical nuclear weapons as its arsenal expands and its confidence in its nuclear arsenal grows.

More bombs and better bombs also increase the potential of accidents and miscalculations with greater consequences as the number and sophistication of bombs increase. Rendering the nuclear enterprise safe and secure in case of internal turmoil or a chaotic transition in the North becomes more difficult. We also cannot rule out that a financially desperate leadership may risk the sale of fissile materials or other nuclear assets, perhaps to non-state actors. [Emphasis added.]

So, what to do? The latest nuclear test demonstrates conclusively that attempting to sanction the DPRK into submission and waiting for China to exert leverage over Pyongyang’s nuclear program do not work. Increasing sanctions and adding missile defenses in South Korea to that mix will also not suffice and make China even less likely to cooperate. What’s missing is diplomacy as much as Washington may find it repugnant to deal with the Kim regime.

On September 20th, North Korea announced that it had tested a new long-range rocket engine, suggesting that it “can be used for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which is capable, in theory, of hitting targets on the U.S. mainland.” The September 9th nuke test is claimed to have involved “a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a ballistic missile.” How close in North Korea to being able to nuke the U.S. mainland? I don’t know and don’t want to find out by having it happen.

Can diplomacy, even if undertaken by a new administration after Obama leaves office, be successful? Continued sanctions got Iran to engage in negotiations; both Iran and Obama’s America very much wanted the sanctions lifted so that Iran would become an honorable member of the community of nations. There are few if any significant sanctions to lift on North Korea and China will not impose or enforce any; China’s role has been to help North Korea evade sanctions.

In China Won’t Stop Kim Jong-un. The U.S. Must Stand Up to Both of Them, published by Slate Magazine on September 13,  had some perhaps useful suggestions:

[T]he United States should rally the same sort of campaign that revved up the pressure against Iran before those nuclear talks got underway. In other words, the international community should apply sanctions not only against North Korea but also against all institutions that do business with North Korea—an action that would affect some major Chinese banks, which provide it with energy supplies, other goods, and hard currency. [Emphasis added.]

Yes, this would stir tensions in U.S.-China relations; but so do a lot of other actions, many of them instigated by China (for instance, the dodgy territorial claims in the South China Sea), and in this case, any perceptions of American aggression would be offset, to some degree, by a realization—at least by some Chinese officials—that it’s time for Beijing to face up to its problem and reassess its strategic priorities accordingly. (Longtime China-watchers say that some of Xi’s senior comrades have been advocating tougher action against Kim.)

He also suggests that if an end is put to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and work, America should agree to terminate its no longer necessary THAAD deployments in South Korea and Japan. Further, the next president

should take steps, especially with China, to prevent Pyongyang from deploying a nuclear missile; but if that proves fruitless, he or she should make very clear that North Korea’s use of nuclear weapons—or even a conventional invasion of South Korea (which might be accompanied by a brandishing of nukes to deter anyone from coming to Seoul’s aid)—will be regarded as an attack on the United States and will be dealt with accordingly. There should be no ambiguity about this. Kim Jong-un may be crazy, but his eccentricities have always been in the service of his survival—and he should understand that he’s putting his survival on the line. Daniel Sneider, associate director of Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, thinks we should deploy more nuclear-capable aircraft on U.S. bases in Asia to drive this point home fiercely.

It seems worth noting that among the reasons to expect that a Russian-assisted attack on South Korea would be successful, which Kim Il-sung suggested to Stalin in 1950, was that Secretary of State Dean Atcheson had delivered an important address in which he listed the nations to the defense of which America would come if attacked. South Korea was not on the list. As I observed here in November of 2010,

When Kim il-Sung secretly visited Moscow between March 30 and April 25, he assured Stalin that his attack would succeed in three days: there would be an uprising by some two hundred thousand party members and he was convinced that the United States would not intervene. Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s January 12, 1950 speech was persuasive evidence. There, Secretary Acheson had omitted South Korea from a list of nations which the United States would defend if attacked. Stalin gave the go-ahead.

Conclusions

China has encouraged North Korean nuclearization and wants America and her allies, principally South Korea, to cease their “provocations” against the Kim regime. Yet Kim thrives on, and encourages his supporters by, engaging in provocations far more serious and dramatic than anything thus far done by America and South Korea. It seems likely that the North Korean nuke – missile problem will continue until Kim is (a) taken out and (b) replaced with someone less narcissistic and more interested in feeding his people than his ego. Whether such a replacement will emerge is unknown. However, if a Kim clone emerges instead, he seems likely to be more concerned than Kim about his prospects for a long and happy life, even with protection from China.