Beijing Orders All North Korean Businesses To Close

China is getting worried that North Korea is dragging them into war by its actions.  But the point has been made already – they are a nuclear power now, and can defend themselves against the US.  Even if their ICBMs can’t reach the US in practice, they can certainly reach South Korea and Japan and Guam.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-28/beijing-orders-all-north-korean-businesses-close

Beijing Orders All North Korean Businesses To Close

In the latest sign that China is moving to dramatically limit its exposure to its restive neighbor and long-time economic dependent, Chinese authorities on Thursday ordered all North Korean firms to stop doing business in the world’s second-largest economy, fulfilling Beijing’s obligations according to the latest round of UN Security Council sanctions, which were passed two weeks ago.

The order comes just days after President Donald Trump revealed that the People’s Bank of China had asked the country’s banks to sever their business ties with North Korea.

Specifically, they were ordered to stop providing financial services to North Korean customers and to wind down existing loans, severing one of North Korea’s most reliable connections to the global financial system. It was reported that the banks were warned that continuing to transact with North Korean business could result in embarrassment and economic losses, according to Russia Today.

After the UN Security Council passed new sanctions two weeks ago, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said North Korean firms and joint ventures in China would be closed within 120 days.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the US announced sanctions against eight North Korean banks and 26 individuals. The new punitive measures followed President Trump’s executive order targeting North Korea’s access to the international banking system.

Perhaps the intensifying economic desperation in the isolated country has helped push more young men and women to volunteer for the country’s army. According to official propaganda, nearly 5 million North Koreans have volunteered for the army over the past week. That’s a staggering success rate for the country’s recruiters, considering the North has a population of about 25 million people.

China’s President Xi Jinping has sought to sooth Trump’s doubts about Beijing’s commitment to denuclearizing North Korea, though the Chinese government has continued to advocate for talks between the two countries that could eventually lead to a peaceful settlement.

Pyongyang has accused the US of “declaring war” on the North, claiming that Trump’s violent rhetoric and repeated promises to “destroy” North Korea and topple the Kim regime constituted a declaration of war. Of course, the US has denied this, and both sides have continued to trade increasingly detailed threats. The North, for example, recently threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, Trump responded that the US has devised “four or five” military options for dealing with North Korea.

US officials have expressed hope that the economic sanctions will force North Korea to the negotiating table. However, their economy has proven resilient so far. But will China’s decision to sever ties with the North make a difference? We should know soon. 

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South Korea wants to transfer wartime army command from US

If South Korea needed to “build its core military capabilities” in 2014, then presumably the SK generals were not as good as the US generals.  They must have improved a lot in 3 years, because now they want to take over from US generals in war time, which would make North Korea “fear us more” – more than they fear being “totally destroyed” by Trump.

That obviously doesn’t stack up, so what is really going on here?  I suspect that this is an attempt  to rein in US control as they are too gung-ho about a war on the Korean peninsular, and making further provocations that could spiral into  that war.  This is a weakening of South Korea-US relations.

This is echoed by the second article below, that says 61% of US citizens polled think that diplomacy would work better than threats – a point made repeatedly by Russia and China.

https://www.rt.com/news/404931-south-korea-army-command/

‘Pyongyang will fear us more’: South Korea wants to transfer wartime army command from US

‘Pyongyang will fear us more’: South Korea wants to transfer wartime army command from US
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called for the long-delayed transfer of its wartime operational control (OPCON) from the Pentagon to be speeded up, and says the country must develop its own military capacity to “punish” North Korea’s “provocations.”

“North Korea will fear us more and the people will have more faith in our military when we have wartime operational control of our military. The transfer of the wartime operational control based on our strong defense capabilities will lead to a great development of our military’s structure and capabilities,”said Moon during a speech to mark the 69th Korean Armed Forces Day at a navy base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul.

Between 1950, when General Douglas McArthur took charge of the South Korean army, and 1994, a US general served as its commander. Since then, Seoul has taken back peacetime control of its armed forces, but would delegate command to the US in case of a conflict, though Korean politicians do formally have a veto.

The handover of OPCON to Korean generals has been discussed, touted and negotiated for decades, but in 2014 Seoul asked Washington to postpone it indefinitely, to give the Asian country a chance to build its “core military capabilities.”

Moon, elected in May this year, now believes that South Korea has to be more proactive in strengthening its army, in the wake of a series of missile and nuclear tests by the North.


https://www.rt.com/usa/404924-north-korea-poll-americans-disapprove-trump-rhetoric/

70% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s rhetoric towards North Korea – poll

70% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s rhetoric towards North Korea - poll
Over two-thirds of US voters find President Donald Trump’s remarks on North Korea unhelpful in getting Pyongyang to stop its nuclear weapons program, according to a Fox News opinion poll.

Only 23 percent of Americans said otherwise, the survey found.

61 percent of the respondents said they see diplomacy as the best way to halt North Korea’s weapons programs, while 27 percent said that threatening military action is Trump’s best bet.

Overall, voter disapproval of the US president’s handling of North Korea is on the rise, from 45 percent in July to 50 percent in August and 55 percent in September, according to the poll.

Trump and the North Korean leadership have exchanged numerous threats recently, as the North continued its testing of ballistic missiles, including one of a reported hydrogen bomb.

Last Saturday, Trump tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whom he called Rocket Man, “won’t be around much longer.” North Koreans took it as a declaration of war, saying Pyongyang could shoot down US bombers “even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”

The White House later denied that the US had declared war on North Korea.

At the UN General Assembly last week, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North, if it attacked the US or its allies. Pyongyang responded with more threats.

Two permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia and China – insist on the US dialing down belligerent rhetoric toward the North and pursuing negotiations.

In the last few months, the UN Security Council passed resolutions for a series of biting economic sanctions against the North following its repeated testing of ballistic missiles.

The UN sanctions targeted shipments of oil and other fuel used in missile testing, as well as the assets of the government and its leaders.

The most recent UN resolution also banned all textile exports from the North and prohibited any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers – two key sources of hard currency for the country.

“This resolution also provides for political measures that must also be carried out. This is why we called upon our American and other partners to fulfill political and diplomatic solutions, which are stipulated in the resolution,” Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said following the adoption of the UN’s latest measures earlier in September.

Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov condemned both the reckless tests of Pyongyang and aggressive rhetoric of the US, urging all parties to stick to a diplomatic approach to resolve the Korean Peninsula crisis.

“We have to calm down the hotheads and understand that we need pauses, we need contacts,” Lavrov said, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

N. Korea says it has right to shoot down strategic bombers

The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country,” – they won’t, you know. Big mistake if Kim thinks that. Despite the utter cynicism of US actions, technically they haven’t attacked if they stay outside of North Korea’s airspace. This extends to their international borders, 12 Km out from the coast line.

This kind of incident plays out regularly on the borders with Russia and China, when the defending power scrambles war planes to see off the attacking planes. This occasionally goes wrong leaving both sides arguing about exactly where the incident happened. That won’t happen here as North Korea’s planes aren’t fast enough to catch a B-1B, and a missile would be an act of aggression.  I’m sure China will advise North Korea privately that they will not defend them if they do this.

https://www.rt.com/news/404534-north-korea-us-bombers/

‘US declared war first’: N. Korea says it has right to shoot down strategic bombers

‘US declared war first’: N. Korea says it has right to shoot down strategic bombers
The North Korean foreign minister says Pyongyang has every right to take countermeasures against US aggression, including shooting down warplanes, even if they are not in North Korean airspace.

Speaking to reporters in New York on Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said that US President Donald Trump has effectively declared war on Pyongyang, meaning all options were on the table for his country’s leadership.

The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”

READ MORE: Pentagon urges N. Korea to stop provocative actions, will provide options to deal with Pyongyang

Pyongyang’s accusations that Washington has declared war have been dismissed by the US as “absurd.”

“We’ve not declared war on North Korea. Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday.

Earlier, an open letter from North Korea to several international parliaments said that President Trump’s remarks in his UN General Assembly speech last week amounted to an “intolerable insult to the Korean people, a declaration of war against North Korea and grave threats to the global peace,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report.

Speaking before the UN General Assembly last week, Trump said that while the “United States has great strength and patience,” it may have “no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if the US or its allies are threatened.

Tensions have been running high on the Korean Peninsula, with bellicose rhetoric and provocative military activities coming from both the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on one side, and the United States and South Korea on the other. Pyongyang has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of rulings by the UN Security Council, while the US has continued to carry out joint exercises with South Korea and Japan while ramping up its own war of words against Pyongyang.

Russia and China have repeatedly called for a ‘double-freeze’ solution to the crisis, in which the United States ceases its drills with South Korea in exchange for the North suspending its weapons programs. However, Washington has not accepted the proposal, saying it has every right to carry out exercises with its allies.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of North Koreans held a rally on Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang to denounce President Trump, in which students marched, chanting slogans and holding banners, proclaiming their willingness to stand behind leader Kim Jong-un.

 

The Emerging EMP Threat to the United States

This report to the statutory Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack by Dr. Mark Schneider, National Institute for Public Policy, (2007) is available at http://www.nipp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/EMP-Paper-Final-November07.pdf .  It has a special chapter on the North Korean threat, which given the direct threats made by the North Koreans in recent weeks should be taken very seriously.  Whilst we have no way of knowing whether NK’s “thermonuclear bomb” has been optimised for enhanced EMP (as opposed to explosive output) there are clear indications that it could have been designed that way from the beginning, given that much of China’s nuclear arsenal has gone that way.

Above all, as deterrent devices, nukes are not strictly intended to be used, but they get their defensive value from the catastrophic nature of their results.  Since improving the ICBMs accuracy is unimportant for EMP threat, that relieves NK of the necessity of doing all  that complex work.

Citing an August 2005 article that appeared in a South Korean Defense Ministry journal, the report says (Page 11):

What North Korea’s Kim Jong Il would do is to first explode nuclear weapons at a
high altitude . . . while destroying electronic devices and computers and paralyzing
the functions of military strongpoints, logistics plants, and cities . . . [If] it is exploded
at a high altitude of 100km or so . . . all kinds of electrical machinery and, in
particular, electronic devices are damaged. More seriously, many of the artificial
satellites orbiting from 400 to 800km above the earth get demolished. Then, neither
satellite telephone nor GPS could be used, so while the US military, which depends
on satellites, immediately falls into a panic and becomes combat incapable, other
nations around the world that used these satellites would also be greatly affected.

Aides warned Trump not to attack North Korea’s leader personally before his fiery U.N. address

Considering all the problems with White House leaks, this leak aiming to undermine Trump must mean someone is very angry.  The naming of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster as one of those warning it could cause a backfire implies it was him who was the leaker (would you leak against someone so senior?)

Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov is obviously disgusted at their kindergarten antics too.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-fg-trump-northkorea-20170922-story.html

Aides warned Trump not to attack North Korea’s leader personally before his fiery U.N. address

22 Sept 2017

'Dotard' rockets from obscurity to light up the Trump-Kim exchange, sparking a partisan war of words in U.S.

Senior aides to President Trump repeatedly warned him not to deliver a personal attack on North Korea’s leader at the United Nations this week, saying insulting the young despot in such a prominent venue could irreparably escalate tensions and shut off any chance for negotiations to defuse the nuclear crisis.

Trump’s derisive description of Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man” on “a suicide mission” and his threat to “totally destroy” North Korea were not in a speech draft that several senior officials reviewed and vetted Monday, the day before Trump gave his first address to the U.N. General Assembly, two U.S. officials said.

Some of Trump’s top aides, including national security advisor H.R. McMaster, had argued for months against making the attacks on North Korea’s leader personal, warning it could backfire.

But Trump, who relishes belittling his rivals and enemies with crude nicknames, felt compelled to make a dramatic splash in the global forum.

Some advisors now worry that the escalating war of words has pushed the impasse with North Korea into a new and dangerous phase that threatens to derail the months-long effort to squeeze Pyongyang’s economy through sanctions to force Kim to the negotiating table.

A detailed CIA psychological profile of Kim, who is in his early 30s and took power in late 2011, assesses that Kim has a massive ego and reacts harshly and sometimes lethally to insults and perceived slights.

It also says that the dynastic leader — Kim is the grandson of the communist country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, and son of its next leader, Kim Jong Il — views himself as inseparable from the North Korean state.

As predicted, Kim took Trump’s jibes personally and especially chafed at the fact that Trump mocked him in front of 200 presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and diplomats at the U.N.

Kim volleyed insults back at Trump in an unprecedented personal statement Thursday, calling Trump “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and a “gangster” who had to be tamed “with fire.”

Kim’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, threatened to respond with “the most powerful detonation,” a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Trump lobbed another broadside Friday, tweeting that Kim “is obviously a madman” who starves and kills his own people and “will be tested like never before.”

The clash may undermine Trump’s other efforts on the sidelines of the General Assembly meetings.

He spent much of Thursday meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in an effort to carve out new ways to pressure Kim to freeze or roll back his nuclear program.

On Thursday, Trump announced new U.S. sanctions against other countries, foreign businesses and individuals that do business with North Korea, a move likely to chiefly affect China, Pyongyang’s largest trading partner.

John Park, a specialist on Northeast Asia at Harvard’s Kennedy School, said the tit-for-tat insults have created a “new reality” and probably have shut off any chance of starting talks to curb North Korea’s fast-growing nuclear arms program.

“If the belief centers around sanctions being the last hope to averting war and getting North Korea back to the negotiating table, it’s too late,” Park said.

Since taking office, Kim has pushed the nuclear and missile programs far faster than U.S. experts had expected, sharply accelerating the pace of development and tests. Kim has conducted four of the country’s six nuclear tests.

U.S. officials now believe that North Korea has fully one-third of its economy invested in its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump and his senior aides say Kim has used foreign assistance, including trading subsidies from China, to offset such massive spending. They believe the latest U.S. sanctions, on top of the U.N. sanctions, will help choke off some of that income.

In recent months, Pyongyang has tested its first two intercontinental ballistic missiles, conducted an underground test of what it claimed was a powerful hydrogen bomb, and fired midrange ballistic missiles over northern Japan.

U.S. experts assess that North Korea is six to eight months away from building a small nuclear warhead robust enough to survive the intense heat and vibrations of an intercontinental ballistic missile crossing the Pacific and reaching the continental United States.

Given Kim’s record of putting political rivals and dissenters to death, including members of his own family, his public statement blasting Trump makes it highly unlikely that other North Korean officials would participate in talks about ending the country’s nuclear program, Park said.

“There is no one on the North Korean side who is going to entertain or pursue discussion about a diplomatic off-ramp, because that individual would be contradicting the leader, which is lethal,” Park said.

Trump has returned to rhetoric he’d used during the campaign, when he called Kim a “madman playing around with nukes” and a “total nut job.”

But Trump also praised Kim at the time, saying during a Fox News interview last year that Kim’s “gotta have something going for him, because he kept control, which is amazing for a young person to do.”

The president has been fixated on the threat from Pyongyang since taking office.

Trump “rarely lets me escape the Oval Office without a question about North Korea,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in July at a national security forum in Aspen, Colo. “It is at the front of his mind.”

But Trump also has expressed frustration at the failure of previous administrations to block North Korea’s advances in ballistic missile and nuclear technology despite negotiations, sanctions, export controls, sabotage and other efforts.

President Clinton, and then President George W. Bush, engaged in two major diplomatic initiatives to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons efforts in return for aid. Both initiatives ultimately collapsed. President Obama reportedly tried cyber-sabotage.

Obama warned Trump before he took office that North Korea would be his most pressing international concern, and the new president was alarmed to learn how close Kim was to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead to U.S. soil.

Despite all of that, Trump rarely derided Kim by name after he entered the White House.

In May, he said he’d be “honored” to meet Kim under the right circumstances.

In August, after U.S. intelligence analysts became convinced Pyongyang had miniaturized a nuclear warhead, Trump said the country would face “fire and fury” if it made more threats against the United States. But he stopped short of hurling personal insults.

Matthew Kroenig, a political scientist at Georgetown University and expert on nuclear deterrence, said Trump’s threat this week to “totally destroy” North Korea comes out of the U.S. playbook for preventing a nuclear attack.

“The point is to deter a North Korean attack, and the art of deterrence hasn’t changed,” he said in a phone interview Friday. “It is to convince your adversary that the benefit of committing an attack would be outweighed by the costs.”

“That’s what Trump was making clear — it is not in Kim Jong Un’s interest to attack the U.S.,” Kroenig said.


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41369329

Russia: Trump and Kim are like ‘children in a kindergarten’

  • 22 September 2017

     

Russia’s foreign minister has likened the war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un to a kindergarten fight between children.

The North Korean leader earlier labelled Mr Trump “mentally deranged” and a

“dotard” after Mr Trump threatened to destroy his country.

Mr Trump responded with a tweet calling Kim Jong-un “a madman” who “will be tested like never before!”

Moscow’s Sergei Lavrov said a pause was needed, “to calm down the hotheads”.

“Yes, it’s unacceptable to silently watch North Korea’s nuclear military adventures but it is also unacceptable to unleash war on the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

He called for a political process, which he said was a key part of the United Nations Security Council process.

“Together with China we’ll continue to strive for a reasonable approach and not an emotional one like when children in a kindergarten start fighting and no-one can stop them,” he said.

US flew B-1B bombers just off coast of North Korea

The US is trying to coax the North Koreans into attacking first, and then claim they weren’t doing anything provocative – only flying in international airspace (with what we can presume were nuclear-armed bombers).

The problem with this strategy is that the North Koreans, South Koreans, Russians, Chinese and Japanese all have to be ready for these bombers to actually make a strike, and so all missiles on land, sea and submarines will be on a hair trigger.

How will they know whether a nuclear attack is under way? – they will be monitoring for any seismic  shock, and  in the midst all of this there WAS a seismic shock registered from what everyone is now calling an magnitude 3.4 earthquake at ground level close to the Punggye-ri nuclear site.  Was it in fact a North Korean nuclear test? – probably not, as it would be VERY unusual to test a nuclear bomb in the open air in your own country.  Then was it a first strike by the US? – probably not, as it wasn’t a big enough quake.  Was anyone fooled by this quake into doing something rash? – not this time, phew!

At the same time, 38north.org is reporting that North Korea’s YouTube channel (and others) has been shut down by Google for violating their Terms of Service, how? – they won’t say.  This takes a whole batch of historical videos off-line and makes it harder for analysts to do ‘before and after’ comparisons.  This is Google’s right, of course, they can host whatever they like on their own site, but shows how censorship like this from Google is totally unaccountable.  The solution is to not use Google’s “free” services – switch to https://vimeo.com or one of the others offering streaming services.  Google is poison and their stranglehold on the internet should be avoided at all costs.

 

https://www.rt.com/usa/404322-us-flew-nuclear-capable-bombers-north-korea/

US flew B-1B bombers just off coast of North Korea

US flew B-1B bombers just off coast of North Korea (PHOTOS)
The US has flown B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by F-15 fighters off North Korea’s coast venturing the “farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone,” separating the two Koreas, in the 21st century, the Pentagon’s spokesperson said.

The planes took off from Okinawa, Japan and flew over the waters east of the Korean Peninsula.

This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take (North Korea’s) reckless behavior,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.

The DMZ is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula near the 38th Parallel, separating North Korea from South Korea. It was created in 1953, following the armistice which ended the Korean War.

The B-1B Lancer strategic bombers entered service in the mid-1980s. The plane was designed specifically as a bomber for nuclear capabilities, thus having a limited capability to carry conventional bombs. Following the demise of the Soviet Union, the role of a bomber for purely nuclear war became questionable, and the Lancer fleet was grounded. The planes eventually underwent a series of modifications, which bolstered their conventional bombing capacity, but deprived them of their nuclear load.

The patrol followed a 3.4 earthquake registered in North Korea earlier on Saturday, which prompted fears of a new nuclear test. The seismic event, however, turned out to be a natural occurrence and “unlikely man-made,” according to geology and nuclear weaponry experts.

The show of force reinforced the recent threats voiced by US President Donald Trump, who vowed on Friday that Kim Jong-un “will be tested like never before,” branding the North Korean leader a “madman.”

N. Korea threatens H-bomb test

The level of childishness being displayed by Trump is getting him bad press around the world.  This sort of damage is lasting.  One can only imagine the level of bullying going on behind closed doors.

https://www.rt.com/news/404237-us-japan-drills-korea-threat/

US nuclear carrier conducts naval drills with Japan as N. Korea threatens H-bomb test

US nuclear carrier conducts naval drills with Japan as N. Korea threatens H-bomb test
The 100,000-ton US Navy supercarrier ‘Ronald Reagan’ has conducted drills with Japanese warships south of the Korean Peninsula, Japan’s military said. Pyongyang, meanwhile, has threatened a further “hydrogen bomb test” over the Pacific.

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force said in a statement on Friday that the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier ‘Ronald Reagan,’ based in the Japanese town of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, and its escort ships have been holding drills with Japanese Navy vessels in waters south and west of Japan’s main islands since September 11. The strike group is also set to stage a separate drill with the South Korean Navy in October, the Defense Ministry added.

The large-scale drill will involve three Japanese warships, including two destroyers and one of the country’s two biggest helicopter carriers, and will run until the end of the month.

On Friday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said that Pyongyang is considering testing a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. The move is said to be in response to Washington stepping up economic sanctions against North Korea.

“It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific,” Ri said, as quoted by South Korean agency Yonhap.

The suggestion came as Ri was asked to clarify the latest statement by Kim Jong-un, in which the North Korean leader vowed revenge against US President Donald Trump for insulting him and his country “in front of the eyes of the world” by threatening “to destroy” North Korea.

In a statement issued by North Korean state-run agency KCNA on Friday, Kim said he “will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding highest level of hardline countermeasure in history,” while promising that the US will “pay dearly” for Trump’s remarks at the UN General Assembly.

Kim then said that “whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.” 

In his remarks at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend the US or its allies. Trump added fuel to the fire by calling Kim a “rocket man” on a “suicide mission for himself.” 

Pyongyang slammed Trump’s remarks, likening his threat to “the sound of a dog barking.”

Trump’s statement also came under fire from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“I’m against such threats,” Merkel said on Wednesday, urging the US leader to focus on diplomatic ways of resolving the unraveling crisis while describing a military solution as “totally inappropriate.”

German criticism apparently fell on deaf ears, with Trump taking to Twitter on Friday again to say that Kim Jong-un is “obviously a madman.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday that while tensions with North Korea were mounting, diplomatic efforts would nonetheless continue.

“We are quite challenged but our diplomatic efforts continue unabated,” Tillerson said in an interview with ABC. “We have put in place the strongest economic sanctions ever to have been assembled against Kim Jong-un,” he added. “So, he is being tested with the sanctions, voices from every corner of the world,” Tillerson concluded.

Russia has meanwhile insisted that diplomatic negotiations may be the only way to resolve the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Any other scenario could lead to “very undesirable and even catastrophic consequences,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted on Friday. “Moscow is still calling all concerned parties for restraint,” Peskov added.

On September 3, Pyongyang claimed to have carried out its first H-bomb test, hailing it as a “perfect success” and a “meaningful” step further into the development of the nuclear program. State media reported at the time that it allegedly could be mounted on an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), although this capability has been disputed outside North Korea.

Korea Solution Needs US to Sign a Peace Treaty

I couldn’t have put it better myself.  With Russia and China saying that the US needs to stop its provocative “exercises”, and Germany saying that a P5+1 deal is the way to go, it is clear that there is a lot of diplomacy as yet unexplored.  There is no rush needed about this.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47837.htm

Korea Solution Needs US to Sign a Peace Treaty

By Finian Cunninham

September 19, 2017

Germany and France have backed the stance of Russia and China for negotiations to avert the Korea crisis. South Korea and Japan also seem to be amenable to recent calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin for exclusively diplomatic efforts. Any other option in the alarming standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program portends disaster.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has endorsed the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran as a model for possible negotiations.

That puts the United States on the margin of international consensus, with its repeated threats to use military force as an option against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Last week, following another North Korean ballistic missile test that overflew Japan, US President Donald Trump’s top national security adviser reiterated Washington’s self-declared right to use pre-emptive military force, tacitly including the deployment of nuclear weapons.

«For those who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option», said General HR McMaster to reporters in Washington.

While McMaster and President Trump, as well as Pentagon chief James Mattis, have said on other occasions that the US would prefer to seek a diplomatic solution to the Korea crisis, such purported preferences do not inspire confidence.

For a start, the whole doctrine of «pre-emptive» or «preventive» war is a violation of international law, if not outrightly criminal. The concept was earlier formulated by Nazi Germany as a pretext for aggression, and was duly criminalized at the Nuremberg Trials. Today, the United States stands alone as the only nation to invoke the self-declared prerogative to use military violence in «self-defense».

Also, when Washington talks about a «diplomatic solution» what it is referring to is a unilateral «denuclearization» by North Korea. There is absolutely no indication from the US that it reciprocates a responsibility to stand down its «overwhelming» military power aimed at the Korean Peninsula. Thus, what Washington means by «peace» is a one-sided surrender by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

For this reason, international calls for diplomacy and negotiations have to be underpinned by a proper foundational premise.

The proper starting point is for the US to finally sign a full peace treaty with North Korea to mark the definitive end of the Korean War. It seems almost bizarre that 64 years after the end of that war (1950-53), the US refuses to commit to a peace treaty. The matter is hardly permitted into public discourse by the US government and Western news media. Even though the issue is key to finding a peaceful solution.

The absence of a binding peace settlement means that, technically, the US and North Korea still view each other at being in a state of war. This gives profound substance to North Korea’s existential fears over the US continually conducting «war games» around the peninsula.

Former US President Jimmy Carter and former US ambassador to South Korea James Laney have both recognized the fundamental onus on Washington of now, at last, having to abide by international norms towards Korea.

The US-based Campaign to End the Korean War quotes ambassador Laney as saying: «One of the things that have bedeviled all talks until now is the unresolved status of the Korean War. A peace treaty would provide a baseline for relationships, eliminating the question of the other’s legitimacy and its right to exist. Absent such a peace treaty, every dispute presents afresh the question of the other side’s legitimacy. Only with a treaty in place will both sides be relieved of the political demand to see each move as conferring approval or not.»

Nevertheless, despite these reasonable voices from within the US, the dominant position of Washington is one of strong-arming North Korea  to capitulate to American demands – or face the threat of catastrophic military force.

Such an American position is totally unacceptable to international norms. Russia, China and Europe must take a firm stand and let Washington know in no uncertain terms that its unilateralism is unacceptable, and at worst, a reckless collision course for a nuclear war.

Diplomats from Russia and China last week both condemned US threats of violence against North Korea, as well as censuring Pyongyang for its missile tests.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, pointed out that the latest UN resolution 2375 voted on September 11 explicitly calls on all parties, including the United States, to re-engage in multilateral talks. Those talks involving North Korea were abandoned during the GW Bush administration more than a decade ago. How is that dereliction of diplomacy by Washington even remotely acceptable?

But, again, the push for diplomacy and negotiations must be founded on a proper and viable premise.

This is where German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal to pursue a P5+1 formula comes unstuck. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in July 2015 between the US, Russia, China, Europe and Iran has been continually undermined by the Trump administration.

Iran committed to stringent limits on its nuclear energy program in return for sanctions relief. The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has filed seven reports since January 2016 confirming Iran’s full compliance with the JCPOA.

Yet, the Trump administration is threatening to scrap its participation in the internationally binding nuclear accord with Iran. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made the wholly irrational claim that Iran’s «technical compliance» with the JCPOA is not enough. He and US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, have said that Iran «is not living up to the spirit of the deal». Absurdly, Washington is claiming that Iran’s support for the Syrian state in its war to defeat US-backed terror groups is grounds for resiling from the JCPOA.

President Trump has called it the «worst deal ever». He said that a White House review due next month may finally signal the US walking away from it. If that happens, Washington will be able to reimpose sanctions on Iran, and extend those sanctions to Europe, Russia and China for doing legitimate business with the Islamic Republic.

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Clearly, the US rulers cannot be trusted. If they cannot comply with obligations under an international legal agreement, which has been ratified by the UN Security Council, then any residual trust in US diplomacy is completely shattered.

North Korea has no doubt taken note of the US bad faith over Iran. Pyongyang has already pointed to the grim fate of Iraq and Libya which were invaded and destroyed by the US when it became evident neither possessed chemical or nuclear weapons.

Western corporate news media tend to portray North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as «crazy». The reality is that Kim would be crazy if he were to somehow surrender the country’s nuclear weapons under prevailing conditions.

Washington’s hints at diplomacy are threadbare and have no credibility. Any proposed negotiations to genuinely resolve the Korean crisis must start with the US signing a peace treaty with North Korea and foreswearing the use of any military force. Any other format is bereft of confidence building, as the Iranian nuclear deal is unfortunately showing.

A declaration by the US that the Korean War is over is a bare minimum requirement in order to begin peace and security talks. Even then it still not failsafe given Washington’s perfidy.

However, anything less than a peace treaty signed by the US is not feasible to end the spiral of conflict over Korea.

Incredible as it seems, the demand on the US is to simply abide by international law and to stop using aggression as a foreign policy. How damning is that.

S. Korea threatens to ‘destroy North beyond recovery’ if provoked

Even I don’t think the South will “destroy North beyond recovery”, so I don’t suppose Kim will.

https://www.rt.com/news/403399-south-korea-north-destruction/

S. Korea threatens to ‘destroy North beyond recovery’ if provoked

South Korea has been angered by Pyongyang’s latest missile launch, with president Moon Jae-in warning that further provocations could result in complete destruction. He also ruled out the possibility of opening a dialogue with the belligerent North.

“In case North Korea undertakes provocations against us or our ally, we have the power to destroy (the North) beyond recovery,”the South Korean leader said on Friday as cited by Yonhap news agency.

READ MORE: Pyongyang fires missile through Japan’s airspace into Pacific Ocean

Moon was speaking after North Korea launched a missile earlier in the day that flew through Japanese airspace and landed in the Pacific Ocean some 2,000 km east of Japan. Seoul immediately convened a National Security Council (NSC) meeting, where Moon condemned the launch, saying the North had once again breached United Nations Security Council resolutions and “poses a grave challenge to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the global community,” according to RT’s Ruptly news agency.

READ MORE: N. Korean IRBM put millions of Japanese into ‘duck and cover’ – Mattis

“I sternly condemn and express anger at this series of provocations by the North,” Moon is quoted as saying by Yonhap.

The South Korean president also said that dialogue between the South and the North is currently impossible and called for greater pressure on the North.

“Dialogue is impossible in a situation like this,” Moon said.

“International sanctions and pressure will further tighten to force North Korea to choose no other option but to step forward on the path to genuine dialogue.”

Another missile launch

This launch seems to be more or less a repeat of the last one, passing over Japan at an altitude of 770 Km (well into “space”) so no threat to Japan.

The range chosen is precisely enough  to reach Guam, which cannot be a coincidence.  The next step will be to fire four missiles at Guam’s general area, missing Guam by 30 -40 Km. so outside Guam’s international waters.  The US would then be forced to try and shoot them down.

https://www.rt.com/news/403380-north-korea-pyongyang-missile/

Pyongyang fires missile through Japan’s airspace into Pacific Ocean

missile range.jpg
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile, which reportedly passed through Japan’s airspace near Hokkaido, triggering a public alert. It’s believed to have fallen in the Pacific Ocean some 2,000 km east of the island.

“North Korea fired an unidentified missile eastward from the vicinity of Pyongyang this morning,” the JCS said. The missile reached an altitude of 770 km and covered a distance of 3,700 km before falling into the ocean, according to South Korea’s military.

The South Korean and US militaries are analyzing details of the launch, Reuters reports.

NHK Television urged residents in Hokkaido and Tohoku regions to take shelter as the projectile passed over Japanese airspace near Hokkaido at around 7.06am local time.

The Japanese government will hold an emergency national security council session in response to Pyongyang’s latest launch.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary told reporters the missile was likely “the same as before,” referring to the August 29 launch over Japan. Yoshihide Suga condemned Pyongyang’s missile test “in the strongest words,” saying the missile passed over Hokkaido and fell into the Pacific Ocean, roughly 2,000 kilometers east of Arimori Cape.

The Japanese government did not try to destroy the missile, according to reports. There’s been no news of damage to aircraft and sailing vessels, or falling objects onto Japanese territory.

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, however, issued instructions to prepare for unforeseen circumstances by communicating prompt and accurate information to citizens.

The North Korean launch comes shortly after South Korea staged a ballistic missile training drill in the Sea of Japan. The South Korean president has been notified and has immediately convened a National Security Council meeting.

Just prior to the launch, Pyongyang warned that it was time to “annihilate” the US, to “sink” Japan and to “wipe out” South Korea following the adoption of a new UN Security Council sanctions resolution this week, in response to the regime’s recent nuclear test.

The 15-member United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously approved a new round of sanctions Monday, targeting North Korea’s textile exports and its oil imports.

On August 29, North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Northern Japan. The Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile is believed to have flown about 1,700 miles (2,735km) and reached a height of 341 miles (548km) before falling into the Pacific Ocean.

After a number of last minute compromises, China and Russia supported the latest round of sanctions against Pyongyang Monday. While strongly condemning North Korea’s actions, Moscow and Beijing continue to insist on the implementation of the so-called “double-freeze” proposal, which calls for Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile tests in exchange for a halt to joint US-South Korea military drills.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are rapidly mounting with North Korea defiantly continuing its missile and nuclear tests and the US, South Korean and Japanese militaries regularly holding drills in the region, accompanied by strong rhetoric by Washington. Pyongyang says the boosting of its missile and nuclear program is justified as its only means of defense should these military maneuvers escalate into a direct confrontation.