Posted tagged ‘Japan and North Korea’

Abe cruises to ‘super-majority’ win in Japan vote

October 22, 2017

Abe cruises to ‘super-majority’ win in Japan vote, BreitbartAFP, October 22, 2017

AFP

Tokyo (AFP) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swept to a resounding victory in a snap election Sunday and immediately vowed to “deal firmly” with threats from North Korea that dominated the campaign.

Abe’s ruling conservative coalition was on track to win more than 310 seats in the 465-seat parliament, according to a projection from public broadcaster NHK, handing the premier a two-thirds “super-majority.”

This allows nationalist Abe to propose changes to pacifist Japan’s US-imposed constitution, which forces it to renounce war and effectively limits its military to a self-defence role.

Abe said the comfortable election win had stiffened his resolve to tackle North Korea’s nuclear threat, as the key US regional ally seeks to step up pressure on Pyongyang after it fired two missiles over Japan in the space of a month.

“As I promised in the election, my imminent task is to firmly deal with North Korea,” said Abe, who is now on course to become the country’s longest-serving leader.

“For that, strong diplomacy is required,” stressed the 63 year-old, who has courted both US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abe said he would “deepen” debate on the divisive constitution issue in parliament but stressed: “I don’t plan to propose (changes) via the ruling bloc alone. We’ll make efforts to gain support from as many people as possible.”

As results came in, television images showed jubilant victorious lawmakers bowing deeply before punching the air with cries of “Banzai”, the Japanese equivalent of three cheers.

– ‘Very severe result’ –

Millions of Japanese braved torrential rain and driving winds to vote as a typhoon lashed the country, with many heeding warnings to cast their ballots early.

“I support Abe’s stance not to give in to North Korea’s pressure,” said Yoshihisa Iemori as he cast his ballot in a rainswept Tokyo.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) benefited from a weak and splintered opposition, with the two main parties facing him created only a matter of weeks ago.

Support for the Party of Hope founded by popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike fizzled after an initial blaze of publicity and was on track to win around 50 seats, according to the NHK projection with a handful still to call.

Speaking from Paris where she was attending an event in her capacity as leader of the world’s biggest city, a sullen-faced Koike said it was a “very severe result.”

“As the person who launched the party, I will take responsibility,” pledged Koike.

The new centre-left Constitutional Democratic Party fared slightly better than expected but still trailed far behind Abe with a projected 50 seats.

“The LDP’s victory is simply because the opposition couldn’t form a united front,” political scientist Mikitaka Masuyama from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, told AFP.

– ‘Sink’ Japan –

The short 12-day campaign was dominated by the economy and the global crisis over North Korea, which has threatened to “sink” Japan into the sea and engaged in a war of words with Trump.

Hawkish Abe stuck to a hardline stance throughout, stressing that Japan “would not waver” in the face of an increasingly belligerent regime in Pyongyang.

But many voters said reviving the once-mighty Japanese economy was the top priority, with Abe’s trademark “Abenomics” growth policy failing to trickle down to the general public.

“Neither pensions nor wages are getting better… I don’t feel the economy is recovering at all,” said 67-year-old pensioner Hideki Kawasaki.

Although voters turned out in their millions to back Abe, he enjoys only lukewarm support and surveys showed his decision to call a snap election a year earlier than expected was unpopular.

“I totally oppose the current government. Morals collapsed. I’m afraid this country will be broken,” said 84-year-old voter Etsuko Nakajima.

– ‘I’m quite disappointed’ –

Koike briefly promised to shake up Japan’s sleepy political scene with her new party but she declined to run herself for a seat, sparking confusion over who would be prime minister if she won.

In the end the 65-year-old former TV presenter was not even in Japan on election day.

“I thought that I would vote for the Party of Hope if it’s strong enough to beat the Abe administration. But the party has been in confusion … I’m quite disappointed,” said 80-year-old pensioner Kumiko Fujimori.

The campaign was marked by a near-constant drizzle in large parts of the country and rallies frequently took place under shelter and a sea of umbrellas.

But this did not dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of doughty, sash-wearing parliamentary hopefuls, who have driven around in minibuses pleading for votes via loudspeaker and bowing deeply to every potential voter.

Britain leaks battle planning for war North Korea

October 9, 2017

Britain leaks battle planning for war North Korea, American ThinkerThomas Lifson, October 9, 2017

No doubt, the few North Korean allowed to read the outside world’s media are aware that many of his political opponents, foreign and domestic, consider President Trump mean, irrational, and dangerous. This all works to his psychological advantage.

What makes this leak so important is that it indicates to Kim that Trump is not being abandoned by his allies. On the contrary, they are lining up.

I expect there to be more leaks, some of them from Japanese sources.

President Trump has ditched the old ways of dealing with Kim, all of which have failed. This horrifies the diplomatic establishment. As far as I am concerned, that is not a point against him.

********************************

Great Britain is leaking to the media that it is planning for war with North Korea, signaling Kim Jong-un that President Trump and our allies are serious about the demands to end the nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The UK Daily Mail reports:

The Armed Forces are preparing for a potential war with North Korea, sources have revealed.

Officials have been instructed to draw up plans for how Britain would respond if war broke out with Pyongyang amid heightening tensions between the West and dictator Kim Jong-Un.

One option involves deploying Britain’s new aircraft carrier – due to be handed over to the Navy later this year – to the region before she has undergone flight trials.

Details of the secret operation plan have emerged after Donald Trump warned that ‘only one thing will work’ when it comes to dealing with North Korea, which has continued nuclear and rocket tests despite widespread condemnation.

I am reasonably certain that the leaks are intentional, and that the first purpose is to ratchet the pressure up on Kim Jong-un. He knows that the US could defeat and destroy his regime if it comes to war. Should he manage to land a nuclear strike on US forces or territory, the retaliation would be devastating, a lesson to the world on the perils of using nuclear bombs against the US.

No doubt, the few North Korean allowed to read the outside world’s media are aware that many of his political opponents, foreign and domestic, consider President Trump mean, irrational, and dangerous. This all works to his psychological advantage.

What makes this leak so important is that it indicates to Kim that Trump is not being abandoned by his allies. On the contrary, they are lining up.

In the background for us, but ever-present in the mind of Koreans, north and south, is the specter of Japan arming-up with nukes and ditching its “peace constitution.”

I expect there to be more leaks, some of them from Japanese sources.

President Trump has ditched the old ways of dealing with Kim, all of which have failed. This horrifies the diplomatic establishment. As far as I am concerned, that is not a point against him.

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.

Korean Peninsula Draws Range of Military Drills in Show of Force Against North Korea

September 18, 2017

Korean Peninsula Draws Range of Military Drills in Show of Force Against North Korea, Washington Free Beacon, Ben Blanchard and Hyonhee Shin, September 18, 2017

BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) – The U.S. military staged bombing drills with South Korea over the Korean peninsula and Russia and China began naval exercises ahead of a U.N. General Assembly meeting on Tuesday where North Korea’s nuclear threat is likely to loom large.

The flurry of military drills came after Pyongyang fired another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday and the reclusive North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 in defiance of United Nations sanctions and other international pressure.

A pair of U.S. B-1B bombers and four F-35 jets flew from Guam and Japan and joined four South Korean F-15K fighters in the latest drill, South Korea’s defense ministry said.

The joint drills were being conducted “two to three times a month these days”, Defence Minister Song Young-moo told a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

In Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said China and Russia began naval drills off the Russian far eastern port of Vladivostok, not far from the Russia-North Korea border.

Those drills were being conducted between Peter the Great Bay, near Vladivostok, and the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, to the north of Japan, it said.

The drills are the second part of China-Russian naval exercises this year, the first part of which was staged in the Baltic in July. Xinhua did not directly link the drills to current tension over North Korea.

China and Russia have repeatedly called for a peaceful solution and talks to resolve the issue.

On Sunday, however, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the U.N. Security Council had run out of options on containing North Korea’s nuclear program and the United States might have to turn the matter over to the Pentagon.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the most pressing task was for all parties to enforce the latest U.N. resolutions on North Korea fully, rather than “deliberately complicating the issue”.

Military threats from various parties have not promoted a resolution to the issue, he said.

“This is not beneficial to a final resolution to the peninsula nuclear issue,” Lu told a daily news briefing.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed that North Korea will never be able to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile.

Asked about Trump’s warning last month that the North Korean threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury”, Haley said: “It was not an empty threat.”

Washington has also asked China to do more to rein in its neighbor and ally, while Beijing has urged the United States to refrain from making threats against the North.

FUEL PRICES SURGE

The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a U.S.-drafted resolution a week ago mandating tougher new sanctions against Pyongyang that included banning textile imports and capping crude and petrol supply.

North Korea on Monday called the resolution “the most vicious, unethical and inhumane act of hostility to physically exterminate” its people, system and government.

“The increased moves of the U.S. and its vassal forces to impose sanctions and pressure… will only increase our pace toward the ultimate completion of the state nuclear force,” the North’s foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by its official KCNA news agency.

Gasoline and diesel prices in the North have surged since the latest nuclear test in anticipation of a possible oil ban, according to market data analyzed by Reuters on Monday.

The international community must remain united and enforce sanctions against North Korea after its repeated launch of ballistic missiles, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an editorial in the New York Times on Sunday.

Such tests were in violation of Security Council resolutions and showed that North Korea could now target the United States or Europe, he wrote.

Abe also said diplomacy and dialogue would not work with North Korea and concerted pressure by the entire international community was essential to tackle the threats posed by the north and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

However, the official China Daily argued on Monday that sanctions should be given time to bite and that the door must be left open to talks.

“With its Friday missile launch, Pyongyang wanted to give the impression that sanctions will not work,” it said in an editorial. “Some people have fallen for that and immediately echoed the suggestion, pointing to the failure of past sanctions to achieve their purpose.

“But that past sanctions did not work does not mean they will not. It is too early to claim failure because the latest sanctions have hardly begun to take effect. Giving the sanctions time to bite is the best way to make Pyongyang reconsider,” the newspaper said.

Pyongyang has launched dozens of missiles as it accelerates a weapons program designed to provide the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.

It says such programs are needed as a deterrent against invasion by the United States, which has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea. On Saturday, it said it aimed to reach an “equilibrium” of military force with the United States.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING, Hyonhee Shin and Soyoung Kim in SEOUL; Editing by Paul Tait and Simon Cameron-Moore)

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.

Japan vows ‘specific action’ with US to deter N. Korea

May 29, 2017

Japan vows ‘specific action’ with US to deter N. Korea, The HillKyle Balluck, May 29, 2017

(Please don’t tell us until after it’s done. — DM)

© Getty

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is vowing “specific action” with the U.S. to deter North Korea in the wake of Pyongyang’s latest missile test.

“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” Abe told reporters on Monday, according to Reuters. “Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”

The news service added that Japan protested the test.

U.S. Pacific Command said it detected the launch of a short-range ballistic missile from a site near Wonsan Airfield on Sunday. It tracked the missile for approximately six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan.

“We are working with our Interagency partners on a more detailed assessment. We continue to monitor North Korea’s actions closely,” U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement, adding that it “stands behind our ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan.”

A National Security Council spokesman said President Trump was briefed on the latest North Korean test.

Pyongyang said last week that it was ready to deploy a new medium-range missile as part of an “answer” to Trump’s policies. The North also fired a missile hours before Trump delivered a major speech in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.