Archive for the ‘South Korean responses to North Korean threat’ category

South Korean President: You Know Who Deserves “Big Credit” For Panmunjom Talks, Right?

January 10, 2018

South Korean President: You Know Who Deserves “Big Credit” For Panmunjom Talks, Right? Hot Air, Ed Morrissey, January 10, 2018

Wait — Moon Jae-in can’t mean the man who is going to get us all nuked, can he? Well, yes, that’s precisely what South Korea’s president means. After opening the first talks with North Korea in over two years, Moon told reporters that Donald Trump deserves “big credit” for forcing the Kim regime to the table with a fresh strategy of hardball from the US (via Jake Tapper):

South Korean President Moon Jae-in credited U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday for helping to spark the first inter-Korean talks in more than two years, and warned that Pyongyang would face stronger sanctions if provocations continued. …

Seoul and Pyongyang agreed at Tuesday’s talks, the first since December 2015, to resolve all problems between them through dialogue and also to revive military consultations so that accidental conflict could be averted.

“I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks, I want to show my gratitude,” Moon told reporters at his New Year’s news conference. “It could be a resulting work of the U.S.-led sanctions and pressure.”

Granted, Moon softens this with a conditional in the end, but it doesn’t keep him from providing the credit up front. Previous administrations seemed more content to kick the can down the road, especially the Obama administration, which kept up sanctions but kept trying to downplay the crisis. Thanks to that approach, other players were able to shrug off the North Korean crisis, especially China.

Trump has taken a different tack; he is acting as though the crisis were present, which it is and has been for some time now. Trump has increased the pace and reach of sanctions to the point where North Korea now has very few avenues for trade on critical commodities such as fuel and food. Trump’s belligerence has forced China into action to try to bring its obstreperous client under some form of control. The disruption even forced Moon, who ran as an appeaser looking to dial down tensions, into deploying the THAAD systems he had opposed during his campaign.

Besides the fact that it reflects reality, Moon’s credit sets the table for an eventual US-North Korea negotiations, one expert tells Reuters:

Lee Woo-young, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said it was wise of Moon to praise Trump, his sanctions and pressure campaign.

“By doing that, he can help the U.S. build logic for moving toward negotiations and turning around the state of affairs in the future, so when they were ready to talk to the North, they can say the North came out of isolation because the sanctions were effective.”

At this point, direct negotiations are the only path left to avoid another armed conflict. Trump has said he would consider that option if the conditions were right, although Kim Jong-un has so far balked at the idea until he achieves nuclear parity with the US. This week’s talks could provide a short-cut to a settlement, but don’t expect Trump to take his foot off the gas pedal until those talks become a reality. He’s getting pretty good mileage right now out of his foreign policy toward the Korean Peninsula, and Moon corroborates that.

This makes Andrew Malcolm’s latest column on Trump’s foreign policy and general productivity look prescient:

Trump’s tweets at North Korea’s “little Rocket Man” draw instant media attention, even igniting speculations on the president’s mental health. They reinforce a popular perception that this president is a loose cannon, a perception he sometimes seeks and feeds with unorthodox presidential behavior and statements.

What doesn’t get reported so eagerly nor attributed to Trump’s presidency are puzzling positive developments: Economic growth exceeding three percent by Trump’s seventh month, unemployment falling to longtime lows, 1.84 million new jobs since Trump’s inauguration, confident stock markets soaring to all-time highs, new homebuilding up, dozens of large companies granting bonuses and wage hikes. Even Trump’s job approval was climbing at year’s end.

How can so many things be going so well with an unbalanced usurper in the Oval Office? …

These and other actions demonstrating freshened resolve abroad suggest when it comes to foreign policy, friends and foes alike would do well to note that Trump follows words with action.

They’re beginning to notice that in Pyongyang.

South Korean President: Trump’s ‘Very Strong Speech’ Will ‘Help Contain North Korea’

September 21, 2017

South Korean President: Trump’s ‘Very Strong Speech’ Will ‘Help Contain North Korea’, Washington Free Beacon , September 21, 2017

 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed his support Thursday for President Donald Trump’s stance on North Korea’s nuclear program, indicating it will be effective to help contain its Northern neighbor.

At a meeting in New York City, Trump and Moon focused on responding to the North Korean regime’s development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. During the discussion, the South Korean president said, through an interpreter, that he is satisfied with Trump’s firm approach toward the North Korean regime and leader Kim Jong Un.

“North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people,” Moon said. “But the United States has responded firmly and in a very good way and because of this I also believe that we have very close coordination between Korea and the United States and because of this I am very satisfied.”

Trump joked about the interpreter using “deplorable,” a word Hillary Clinton famously used during the election to describe Trump’s supporters.

Moon specifically praised Trump’s speech at the U.N., saying it will “help contain North Korea.”

“Mr. President, in the U.N. general assembly you made a very strong speech and I believe that the strength of your speech will also help contain North Korea,” Moon said. “Thank you very much.”

Trump’s initial words emphasized his cooperation with Moon and other allies in Asia.

“We are meeting on a constant basis,” Trump said. “We’ll be meeting in a little while also with Prime Minister Abe of Japan and that will be a tri-meeting, so we will see. But, I think we’re making a lot of progress in a lot of different ways. Stay tuned.”

Trump made a point to say North Korea was the more important issue, but also referred to ongoing negotiations regarding the United State’s trade deal with South Korea.

“We are on a very friendly basis working on trade and working on trade agreements and we’ll see how that all comes out,” Trump said. Later he remarked that the current deal has been “so bad for the United States and so good for South Korea.”

“We’re going to try to straighten out the trade deal and make it fair for everybody,” Trump said shortly before going into a meeting with Moon and Abe. “But our real focus will be on the military and our relationship with South Korea, which is excellent, really excellent.”

Moon also emphasized that he has spoken with Trump regularly about the Kim regime situation. He did not address trade deals.

“Mr. President, I have met with you several times and have also had many telephone conversations with you, and because of this I am becoming more and more familiar with you,” Moon said.

Trump also announced an executive order to bring new sanctions against countries who trade with North Korea.

NKorea Seeks ‘Equilibrium’ With US, Says Nuclear Capability Nearly Complete

September 16, 2017

NKorea Seeks ‘Equilibrium’ With US, Says Nuclear Capability Nearly Complete, Newsmax, AP, September 16, 2017

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who initially pushed for talks with North Korea, said its tests currently make dialogue “impossible.”

“If North Korea provokes us or our allies, we have the strength to smash the attempt at an early stage and inflict a level of damage it would be impossible to recover from,” said Moon, who ordered his military to conduct a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North Korean launch.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the United States, as the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the North’s “highly provocative” ballistic missile launch over Japan on Friday.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency carried Kim’s comments on Saturday — a day after U.S. and South Korean militaries detected the missile launch from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

It traveled 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) as it passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. It was the country’s longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile.

The North has confirmed the missile as an intermediate range Hwasong-12, the same model launched over Japan on Aug. 29.

Under Kim’s watch, North Korea has maintained a torrid pace in weapons tests, including its most powerful nuclear test to date on Sept. 3 and two July flight tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

The increasingly frequent and aggressive tests have added to outside fears that the North is closer than ever to building a military arsenal that could viably target the U.S. and its allies in Asia. The tests, which could potentially make launches over Japan an accepted norm, are also seen as North Korea’s attempt to win greater military freedom in the region and raise doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect them.

The KCNA said Kim expressed great satisfaction over the launch, which he said verified the “combat efficiency and reliability” of the missile and the success of efforts to increase its power.

While the English version of the report was less straightforward, the Korean version quoted Kim as declaring the missile as operationally ready. He vowed to complete his nuclear weapons program in the face of strengthening international sanctions, the agency said.

Photos published by North Korea’s state media showed the missile being fired from a truck-mounted launcher and a smiling Kim clapping and raising his fist while celebrating from an observation point. It was the first time North Korea showed the missile being launched directly from a vehicle, which experts said indicated confidence about the mobility and reliability of the system. In previous tests, North Korea used trucks to transport and erect the Hwasong-12s, but moved the missiles on separate firing tables before launching them.

The U.N. Security Council accused North Korea of undermining regional peace and security by launching its latest missile over Japan and said its nuclear and missile tests “have caused grave security concerns around the world” and threaten all 193 U.N. member states.

Kim also said the country, despite “limitless” international sanctions, has nearly completed the building of its nuclear weapons force and called for “all-state efforts” to reach the goal and obtain a “capacity for nuclear counterattack the U.S. cannot cope with.”

“As recognized by the whole world, we have made all these achievements despite the U.N. sanctions that have lasted for decades,” the agency quoted Kim as saying.

Kim said the country’s final goal “is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He indicated that more missile tests would be forthcoming, saying that all future drills should be “meaningful and practical ones for increasing the combat power of the nuclear force” to establish an order in the deployment of nuclear warheads for “actual war.”

Prior to the launches over Japan, North Korea had threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam, the U.S. Pacific island territory and military hub the North has called an “advanced base of invasion.”

The Security Council stressed in a statement after a closed-door emergency meeting that all countries must “fully, comprehensively and immediately” implement all U.N. sanctions.

Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho called the missile launch an “outrageous act” that is not only a threat to Japan’s security but a threat to the whole world.

Bessho and the British, French and Swedish ambassadors demanded that all sanctions be implemented.

Calling the latest launch a “terrible, egregious, illegal, provocative reckless act,” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said North Korea’s largest trading partners and closest links — a clear reference to China — must “demonstrate that they are doing everything in their power to implement the sanctions of the Security Council and to encourage the North Korean regime to change course.”

France’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country is ready to work on tougher U.N. and EU measures to convince Pyongyang that there is no interest in an escalation, and to bring it to the negotiating table.

Friday’s launch followed North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 in what it described as a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental ICBMs.

The Hwasong-12 and the Hwasong-14 were initially fired at highly lofted angles to reduce their range and avoid neighboring countries. The two Hwasong-12 launches over Japan indicate North Korea is moving toward using angles close to operational to evaluate whether its warheads can survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric re-entry and detonate properly.

While some experts believe North Korea would need to conduct more tests to confirm Hwasong-12’s accuracy and reliability, Kim Jong Un’s latest comments indicate the country would soon move toward mass producing the missiles for operational deployment, said Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies. He also said that the North is likely planning similar test launches of its Hwasong-14 ICBM.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who initially pushed for talks with North Korea, said its tests currently make dialogue “impossible.”

“If North Korea provokes us or our allies, we have the strength to smash the attempt at an early stage and inflict a level of damage it would be impossible to recover from,” said Moon, who ordered his military to conduct a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North Korean launch.

UN Security Council passes new sanctions against North Korea

September 12, 2017

UN Security Council passes new sanctions against North Korea, Fox Business News via YouTube, September 11, 2017

As noted in the blurb beneath the video,

Lt. Col. Michael Waltz (Ret.) and Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney on the U.N. implementing new sanctions against North Korea.

China demands “immediate stop” to THAAD deployment

September 6, 2017

China demands “immediate stop” to THAAD deployment, Xinhua Net, September 6, 2017

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang (Photo source: fmprc.gov.cn)

BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — China on Wednesday demanded an immediate stop to deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in the Republic of Korea (ROK).

“China is seriously concerned,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular news briefing, reiterating China’s opposition to the deployment of THAAD by the U.S. and the ROK.

ROK has announced its intention to deploy four more THAAD on Thursday.

THAAD will not help resolve security concerns. Rather, it will undermine the regional strategic balance, harm regional security interests, including China’s, and increase tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Geng said.

“China demands that the U.S. and the ROK respect the security interests and concerns of China and other regional countries, with an immediate stop to the deployment process and removal of the equipment,” the spokesperson said.

SKorea to deploy more THAAD launchers Thursday

September 6, 2017

SKorea to deploy more THAAD launchers Thursday, DEBKAfile, September 6, 2017

South Korea will add four more launchers to its advanced missile defense system on Thursday amid heightening tensions with North Korea, the South’s Defense Ministry said. The step came after Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday. Two launchers from the US-made Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system were deployed in April to counter rising threats from the North.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Vladivostok to discuss the North Korea nuclear issue.

South Korea, U.S. to scrap warhead weight limit on South Korean missiles: Blue House

September 4, 2017

South Korea, U.S. to scrap warhead weight limit on South Korean missiles: Blue House, ReutersChristine Kim, September 4, 2017

South Korea said earlier in the day it was talking to the United States about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula after signs North Korea might launch more missiles.

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SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump agreed on Monday to scrap a warhead weight limit on South Korea’s missiles in the wake of North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, South Korea’s presidential office said.

In a separate phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin also on Monday, Moon said the U.N. Security Council should seek ways to sever North Korea’s foreign currency income, including from its workers employed abroad and oil shipments.

Under the existing missile pact between the United States and South Korea, Seoul’s warheads currently face a cap of 500 kg (1100 lb).

The agreement, last amended in 2012, was in the process of being changed in the wake of a series of missile tests by North Korea this year after Moon took office in May, including two intercontinental ballistic missile launches.

An unlimited warhead weight allowance would enable the South to strike North Korea with greater force in the event of a military conflict.

The missiles would still be bound by a flight range cap of 800 km. No changes to the flight range were mentioned in the Blue House statement.

The two presidents made the decision in a phone call, a statement from the Blue House said. They also agreed to apply the strongest sanctions and pressure on North Korea through the United Nations.

Most analysts and policymakers agree cutting off the oil pipeline to North Korea would hurt its economy. It remains to be seen whether China, the North’s biggest ally and trade partner, would cooperate.

South Korea said earlier in the day it was talking to the United States about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula after signs North Korea might launch more missiles.