Posted tagged ‘North Korea – military options’

U.S. moves ships, bombers toward Korea ahead of Winter Olympics

January 15, 2018

U.S. moves ships, bombers toward Korea ahead of Winter Olympics, CBS News, January 15, 2018

Aircraft carriers, virtually impervious to any attack the North could mount, are floating platforms for sustained air assaults, while the F-35 fighters could be a key part of any potential strike on Kim Jong Un himself.

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TOKYO — The U.S. is beefing up its presence around the Korean Peninsula ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics by deploying stealth bombers, at least one extra aircraft carrier and a new amphibious assault ship to the region. Coming after Washington agreed to postpone massive annual military maneuvers with South Korea until after the Games, North Korea says the U.S. is trying to put a chill on its renewed talks with Seoul.

“Such moves are an unpardonable military provocation chilling the atmosphere for improved inter-Korean relations,” the North’s ruling party said in a commentary published over the weekend.

Representatives of both Koreas held a second round of talks Monday near the Demilitarized Zone to try to pave the way for a North Korean delegation to join the Pyeongchang Games.

The U.S. has officially welcomed the talks and the moves represent routine training and scheduled upgrades, according to U.S. military officials. Tensions remain high and the military deployments are significant.

(Video at the link. –DM)

CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reported that the meetings were a fairly stunning turn of events; the South has been trying to engage North Korea for months, but Kim Jong Un’s regime wasn’t interested in talking.

Last week, the Pacific Air Forces announced three B-2 “Spirit” stealth bombers with approximately 200 personnel have been deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Pacific island of Guam.

The statement said the deployment is intended to provide leaders with “deterrent options to maintain regional stability.”

But the Guam deployment hits an especially sore nerve and plays on a key vulnerability for Pyongyang, which is probably the message Washington had in mind as it seeks to make sure nothing happens during the Olympics and also let Pyongyang know its decision to postpone the exercises is not a sign of weakness.

Last year, flights by B-1B bombers from Guam to the airspace around Korea were a major flashpoint, prompting a warning from North Korea that it had drawn up a plan to target the waters around the island with a missile strike that it could carry out anytime Kim gave the order. The B-2 is more threatening.

It’s the most advanced bomber in the Air Force and, unlike the B-1B, can carry nuclear weapons. It’s also the only known aircraft that can drop the Air Force’s biggest bomb, the 14,000-kilogram, about 30,000-pound, FGBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

The “MOP,” capable of penetrating deep into the ground to destroy reinforced tunnels and bunkers, was explicitly designed with North Korea in mind.

(Video at the link — DM)

The B-2 deployment came just days after the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier departed for the western Pacific in what the Navy called a regularly scheduled deployment. South Korean media reports say the carrier and its strike group will reach waters near the Korean Peninsula ahead of the start of the Games on Feb. 9.

The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, whose home port is just south of Tokyo in Yokosuka, is also in the region, and North Korea has accused the U.S. of planning to send another carrier, the USS John Stennis from Bremerton, Washington.

The Marines announced on Sunday the arrival in southern Japan of the USS Wasp, an upgraded amphibious assault ship that can carry troops and launch the corps’ new F-35B stealth fighters. It can carry 30-plus aircraft, including the F-35s, which are designed for vertical takeoffs and landings.

The ships and bombers could figure largely in a U.S. response to any military emergencies during the Games. North Korea may view them as a greater and more imminent threat.

Aircraft carriers, virtually impervious to any attack the North could mount, are floating platforms for sustained air assaults, while the F-35 fighters could be a key part of any potential strike on Kim Jong Un himself.

U.S., South Korea begin massive military drill in wake of North Korea missile launch

December 5, 2017

U.S., South Korea begin massive military drill in wake of North Korea missile launch, Washington TimesCarlo Muñoz, December 4, 2017

(China and Russia, not to mention Kim Jong-un, will not like it. Good.

— DM)

A U.S. Air Force EA-18G Growler fighter jet prepares to land at the Osan U.S. Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. Hundreds of aircrafts including two dozen stealth jets began training Monday

Among the various combat scenarios both forces are expected to play out during the weeklong drill, several will focus on “enemy infiltration and precision strike drills with South Korean jets,” Air Force officials told the Military Times.

Ahead of Monday’s kickoff of the U.S.-South Korea wargames, National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster warned that Pyongyang’s continued aggression on the peninsula was inching the region closer to war.

“I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem,” Gen. McMaster said Sunday during a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.

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Over 200 American and South Korean warplanes took to the skies above the Korean peninsula on Monday in one of the largest military drills between the two allies in recent history and a massive show of force against the North Korean regime.

The annual exercise, dubbed Vigilant Ace, comes less than a week after Pyongyang carried out a successful test launch of its newest intercontinental ballistic missile. The test launch of the new Hwasong-15 weapon traveled longer and farther than any North Korean intercontinental missile to date.

The launch, carried out from a North Korean weapons facility in Sain Ni, forced Japanese officials to put the country’s northern provinces located along the missile’s trajectory on high alert.

The Nov. 6 missile test was further proof that the North Korean regime remains committed to the “effort to build a ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace and threatens the United States,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said shortly after the missile test.

The Pentagon says the large-scale wargames between Washington and Seoul over the weekend were part of annual military drills routinely conducted between the allied nations. That said, the exercise featured several pieces of U.S. military hardware — such as the stealth-capable F-22A Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as long-range B-1 bombers — that could be used in potential strikes against North Korean targets should war break out on the peninsula.

Among the various combat scenarios both forces are expected to play out during the weeklong drill, several will focus on “enemy infiltration and precision strike drills with South Korean jets,” Air Force officials told the Military Times.

Ahead of Monday’s kickoff of the U.S.-South Korea wargames, National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster warned that Pyongyang’s continued aggression on the peninsula was inching the region closer to war.

“I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem,” Gen. McMaster said Sunday during a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.

Will There Ever be an Accounting on North Korea?

November 29, 2017

Will There Ever be an Accounting on North Korea? Power Line,  John Hinderaker, November 28, 2017

(Someday perhaps, but first we need to deal with matters of real importance — who grabbed whose what, when, where and why? Will he, she or an entity who/which self-identifies as a cow be punished or will Antifa members and other social justice warriors prevail?

Here’s one of my favorite poems by Robert Burns. It has nothing to do with North Korea, its missiles or nukes. Instead, it focuses on matters of apparently more substantial contemporary importance.

Address to the Unco Guid,
Or the Rigidly Righteous.

My son, these maxims make a rule,
An’ lump them ay thegither:
The Rigid Righteous is a fool,
The Rigid Wise anither;
The cleanest corn that e’er was dight
May hae some pyles o’ caff in;
So ne’er a fellow-creature slight
For random fits o’ daffin.
Solomon. (Ecclesiastes vii. 16)
1.
O ye, wha are sae guid yoursel,
Sae pious and sae holy,
Ye’ve nought to do but mark and tell
Your neebours’ fauts and folly,
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
Supplied wi’ store o’ water,
The heapet happer’s ebbing still,
An’ still the clap plays clatter!
2.
Hear me, ye venerable core,
As counsel for poor mortals
That frequent pass douce Wisdom’s door
For glaikit Folly’s portals:
I for their thoughtless, careless sakes
Would here propone defences —
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
Their failings and mischances.
3.
Ye see your state wi’ theirs compared,
And shudder at the niffer;
But cast a moment’s fair regard,
What makes the mighty differ?
Discount what scant occasion gave;
That purity ye pride in;
And (what’s aft mair than a’ the lave)
Your better art o’ hidin.
4.
Think, when your castigated pulse
Gies now and then a wallop,
What ragings must his veins convulse,
That still eternal gallop!
Wi’ wind and tide fair i’ your tail,
Right on ye scud your sea-way;
But in the teeth o’ baith to sail,
It makes an unco lee-way.
5.
See Social-life and Glee sit down
All joyous and unthinking,
Till, quite transmugrify’d, they’re grown
Debauchery and Drinking:
O, would they stay to calculate,
Th’ eternal consequences,
Or – your more dreaded hell to state –
Damnation of expenses!
6.
Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames,
Tied up in godly laces,
Before ye gie poor Frailty names,
Suppose a change o’ cases:
A dear-lov’d lad, convenience snug,
A treach’rous inclination–
But, let me whisper i’ your lug,
Ye’re aiblins nae temptation.
7.
Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman;
Tho’ they may gang a kennin wrang,
To step aside is human:
One point must still be greatly dark,
The moving why they do it;
And just as lamely can ye mark
How far perhaps they rue it.
8.
Who made the heart, ’tis He alone
Decidedly can try us:
He knows each chord, its various tone,
Each spring, its various bias:
Then at the balance let’s be mute,
We never can adjust it;
What’s done we partly may compute,
But know not what’s resisted.

— DM)

Today North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that stayed airborne for close to an hour and flew farther than any previously tested by that country. Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters that the Kim regime now has the ability to hit “everywhere in the world basically.” And, of course, the regime has nuclear weapons.

Further:

The US believes Pyongyang may be able to put a miniaturized warhead on a missile sometime in 2018 — giving it the theoretical capability to launch a missile with a warhead atop that could attack the US.

President Trump inherited the North Korea mess. He told reporters today that North Korea “is a situation that we will handle.” I sincerely hope so, but I have no idea how. Is there any practical way to threaten Kim’s nuclear capability without endangering the 10 million people who live in Seoul, just 35 miles from the border with North Korea? Again, I have no idea.

The North Korea problem has been brewing for a long time. In 1994, the Clinton administration agreed to provide two nuclear reactors and deliver heavy fuel oil to North Korea in exchange for the country giving up its nuclear weapons program. The reactors were never built, but Kim nevertheless snookered Clinton, as North Korea accelerated rather than giving up its nuclear program.

Subsequently, American administrations have kicked the Korean can down the road. Most blameworthy was Barack Obama. Just a few months into Obama’s administration, the North Koreans detonated a series of nuclear devices. President Obama responded with a policy of “strategic patience,” a euphemism for doing nothing and hoping that disaster wouldn’t strike until he was out of office. This was classic Obama: as the increasingly insane North Korean regime drew ever closer to an offensive nuclear capability, he did nothing. Now President Trump is stuck holding the bag.

Millions of lives could be lost because of this feckless history. Meanwhile, our news media have mostly ignored the North Korea issue, preferring to obsess on Roy Moore’s purported 40-year-old failings, whether Press Secretary Sarah Sanders baked a Thanksgiving pie, Al Franken’s tortured meditations on how easy it is to grasp a woman’s bottom by accident, and so on. Will our inept reporters and editors ever bestir themselves to report on how Barack Obama and, to a lesser extent, his predecessors allowed the Kim regime to become such a threat to millions of human lives?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course. They certainly won’t do so if it would reflect badly on their party. Which it would. So don’t hold your breath, and pray that President Trump and his aides will find a way out of the mess that his predecessors helped to create.

Mattis Vists Korean DMZ: ‘Our Goal Is Not War’

October 27, 2017

Mattis Vists Korean DMZ: ‘Our Goal Is Not War’, Washington Free Beacon , October 27, 2017

“When generals and secretary of defenses and ministries of defense are done talking, it relies on your young shoulders to make this alliance work,” Mattis said to South Korean soldiers.

“We’re doing everything we can to solve this diplomatically,” he added. “But ultimately our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers.”

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Defense Secretary James Mattis addressed North Korea’s threat to the world on Thursday during a visit to the Demilitarized Zone, calling for “verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” in the region.

Mattis addressed South Korean troops and the media, reiterating Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s message by saying “our goal is not war,” CNN reported.

“As the U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson has made clear, our goal is not war, yet rather the complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Mattis said.

The defense secretary’ trip to the region comes ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia next month and as tension grows between North Korea and the United States and its allies. The United Nations has repeatedly condemned North Korea’s illicit nuclear program and defiance of international calls to stand down.

“North Korean provocations continue to threaten regional and world peace, and despite unanimous condemnation by the United Nations’ Security Council, they still proceed,” Mattis said.

 

“When generals and secretary of defenses and ministries of defense are done talking, it relies on your young shoulders to make this alliance work,” Mattis said to South Korean soldiers.

“We’re doing everything we can to solve this diplomatically,” he added. “But ultimately our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers.”

How Trump’s tweets and three fleets can help move the North Korea needle

October 26, 2017

How Trump’s tweets and three fleets can help move the North Korea needle, Washington ExaminerTom Rogan, October 25, 2017

OPINION

The Nimitz transit route will translated in Beijing as: “if you don’t help us with North Korea, we are going to escalate against your interests.”

President Trump’s public skepticism about diplomacy lends threat credibility to this CSG posture. Under Trump’s authority, the international community cannot assume these CSGs are just for show. At the strategic level, Trump’s potential to move the diplomatic needle rests in external perceptions that he will use military force absent that movement. Again, this is especially important in Beijing, which is reflexively predisposed against making concessions to the United States.

I recognize that sending three CSGs into potential conflict zones isn’t without risk. Still, considering that we only have a few months to reach a diplomatic agreement with North Korea, a show of muscle with these deployments is the right call.

Put simply, Trump must roll the dice, and CSGs roll well.

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In a rare occurrence, three U.S. Navy carrier strike groups (CSGs) are now in the Indian Ocean or western Pacific Ocean. While the Navy claims these deployments were pre-planned, its heavy publicity of this news suggests it was told to make a show of its presence.

As such, I suspect the Trump administration is attempting to raise Chinese and North Korean concerns that the U.S. is preparing to use force against the latter.

In specific terms, Trump wants China to put additional economic pressure on North Korea. While President Xi of China has made some limited efforts in this regard, he could do much more to restrict the financial intermediaries that deliver Kim Jong Un his foreign capital. And whether coincidental or not, these three arrivals align well with the news that diplomats are struggling to make headway. The timing and contrast between diplomats and carriers allows the U.S. to present a binary choice between the carrot of diplomacy and the stick of military power.

Still, the pressure on China is also extended by basic geography. After all, unless it takes a big detour, the Nimitz CSG will navigate past China’s artificial islands in the East and South China Seas in order to get to the Korean Peninsula. We know this because the Navy’s press release makes clear the Nimitz is sailing from the Middle East and asserts that the CSG “will be ready to support operations throughout the [Western Pacific area of operations].” Seeing as North Korea is the primary threat contingency in that area, we should assume the Nimitz will head towards the peninsula.

The Nimitz transit route will translated in Beijing as: “if you don’t help us with North Korea, we are going to escalate against your interests.”

Yet Trump himself is also crucial here.

That’s because President Trump’s public skepticism about diplomacy lends threat credibility to this CSG posture. Under Trump’s authority, the international community cannot assume these CSGs are just for show. At the strategic level, Trump’s potential to move the diplomatic needle rests in external perceptions that he will use military force absent that movement. Again, this is especially important in Beijing, which is reflexively predisposed against making concessions to the United States.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that sending three CSGs into potential conflict zones isn’t without risk. Still, considering that we only have a few months to reach a diplomatic agreement with North Korea, a show of muscle with these deployments is the right call.

Put simply, Trump must roll the dice, and CSGs roll well.

Military options strengthening Trump’s diplomatic hand with North Korea?

October 9, 2017

Military options strengthening Trump’s diplomatic hand with North Korea? Fox News via YouTube, October 9, 2017

(Please see also, Britain leaks battle planning for war North Korea. — DM)

 

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.

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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.