Archive | North Korea

The Situation in North Korea is Terrifying: US-ROK Military Threats Are Provocations for Nuclear War

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The DPRK Emergency Letter to the U.N. Secretary-General

The situation with North Korea is terrifying – I see the stealthy build-up of pressure on the Security Council, similar to that preceding the Iraq and Libya invasions.  The Russian-China veto prevented an attack by the UN on Syria, but Russia and China are not vetoing these vicious sanctions on North Korea, and permitting this incredibly provocative US-ROK military surrounding the DPRK.  What deals are being made?

On November 13, the DPRK sent another emergency letter to United Nations Secretary-General Guterres; this was the third letter sent to the UN since November 20, three letters in 23 days attempting to alert the United Nations to the crisis situation in Northeast Asia jeopardizing International Peace and Security, a crisis that could precipitate nuclear war at any moment. All three letters have been ignored, raising alarming questions about the UN’s commitment to “save humanity from the scourge of war.

Any attempt to accuse the DPRK of “provocation”is flagrant prevarication, as the provocations, and threats to the survival of North Korea described in this appeal to the Secretary-General reveal the US-south Korean  preparation for imminent attack and obliteration of North Korea.

Ambassador Ja Song Nam stated:

“I write to you with respect to the worst ever situation prevailing in and around the Korean peninsula, which is making it impossible to predict when nuclear war breaks out due to the US nuclear war equipment of unprecedentedly large scale being massively deployed taking up a strike posture. The United States, based on the deployment of three nuclear powered aircraft carrier strike groups in the sub-region, is holding another joint military exercise with south Korea, involving different types of destroyers and submarines, beginning from November 11, 2017. The U.S. is reactivating….. nuclear capable strategic bomber B-52….and is maintaining a surprise strike posture with frequent flight of B-1B and B-2 formations to the air space of south Korea….The US flung the words of “total destruction”of a sovereign state at the UN General Assembly, the world largest official forum of diplomacy and is now running amok for war exercises by introducing nuclear war equipment in and around the Korean peninsula, thereby proving that the US itself is the major offender of the escalation of tension and undermining of the peace…..Despite this fact, the UN Security Council, whose mission is to ensure the world peace and security, keeps turning a blind eye to the nuclear war exercises of the United States who is hell bent on bringing a catastrophic disaster to humanity, thereby giving rise to a serious concern on the double standard of the UN Security Council.”

It defies logic and sanity that the DPRK, which, between 1950-1953, suffered the slaughter of more than 3 million of its citizens by US and ROK soldiers guilty of crimes against humanity, and which is attempting to protect itself from another comparable or worse slaughter, is being viciously subjected to collective punishment by UN Security Council sanctions, condemning the people of the DPRK to agonizing deaths from starvation and disease, while forced to endure the psychological torture of an encirclement by US-ROK nuclear weapons poised to exterminate their entire people.

The perpetrator of this threatened genocide is a nuclear power which has violated articles 1 and 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and should be held accountable for these violations, and itself sanctioned. But at the United Nations the de facto law is “might is right,” and “money talks.”

The United Nations has lost its moral authority, and is accurately condemned for almost complete lack of impartiality, deserving of its pejorative designation as an annex of the US Pentagon. It is now also fair to question whether the UN will survive this ignominy, and uphold its purpose: to save humanity from the scourge of war.” Nicholas Kristof’s excellent November 4 article “Slouching toward war in North Korea” tells a grim picture of the deadly price of complacency and double standards. Unless the UN Secretary-General has the courage to restore the UN’s impartiality, the people of North Korea may be annihilated, along with all of humanity.

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N.Korea: Trump ‘Begged for a Nuclear War’ During Visit to Korean Peninsula

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Members of "No Trump Coalition" hurl salt at a banner showing images of the U.S. President Donald Trump during a rally against his visit in front of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 8, 2017. (AP/Ahn Young-joon)

While Trump is greeted by protesters across the continent, North Korea says he has “laid bare his true nature as destroyer of world peace and stability”

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US-ROK Alliance Commit to Continuing Military Exercises

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US-ROK Alliance Commit to Continuing Military Exercises; U.S. Lawmakers Push to Prevent First Strike on North Korea

US and South Korean Defense Chiefs Agree to Increase Scale of Military Exercises and US Strategic Assets in Korea

The U.S. and South Korean defense chiefs agreed last week to bolster their joint military capabilities against North Korea. At the 49th annual US-ROK Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) held on October 28 at the Defense Ministry in Seoul, Secretary James Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo released a joint statement committing both countries to increase the scale of future joint military exercises. The statement also included plans to expand the presence of U.S. strategic assets in and near the Korean Peninsula in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The defense chiefs praised past joint naval exercises, including the most recent exercise in October, which featured U.S. nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. The two countries plan to enhance naval exercises near the Northern Limit Line — the contested maritime demarcation boundary separating North and South Korea.

Donald Trump’s summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul on November 7-8 will likely include discussions on further intensifying pressure to isolate North Korea and increasing South Korea’s share of the alliance’s defense cost.

South Korean peace groups plan to protest Trump before and during his stop in Seoul on November 7. The protests are organized by a broad-based coalition, which includes the Korean Alliance For Progressive Movements (KAPM), Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), Korean Peasants League (KPL), Korean Women Peasants Association (KWPA), and Korean Youth Solidarity. Koreans in the U.S. and Japan will also organize solidarity actions starting Friday November 3.

The following is a schedule of solidarity actions in the United States:

New York | When: Friday, November 3rd @ 6 p.m. | Where: Koreatown, Broadway & 32nd St., Manhattan

Washington DC | When: Saturday, November 4th @ 2 p.m. | Where: Pennsylvania Ave NW in front of the White House

Los Angeles | When: Saturday, November 4th @ 4 p.m. | Where: Wilshire + Western Ave

 

U.S. Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Prevent First Strike on North Korea

U.S. House representatives John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) seek to prevent the Trump administration from taking rash military action against North Korea. The two lawmakers introduced H.R.4140, the No Unconstitutional Strike against North Korea Act, on October 26. The bill had the support of 60 co-sponsors at the time of its introduction.

A similar bill was introduced in the senate by Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) with the support of five other senators. These bills aim to ensure that Trump will not pull the preemptive trigger on North Korea without approval from congress.

Technically, the Constitution and the War Powers Act prevent the administration from ordering a military action without the approval of Congress. Trump, however, bypassed Congress when he ordered missile strikes in Syria in April of this year, just four months after his inauguration. The Conyers-Massie bill is meant to remind the Trump administration that a unilateral preemptive strike against North Korea would be unconstitutional and undemocratic. H.R.4140 also calls on the Trump administration to seek talks with North Korea with the goal of freezing its nuclear weapons program.

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Invented “Enemies of America”: The Myth of a North Korean Threat

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America’s only enemies are invented ones – justifying unjustifiable global militarism, belligerence, and out-of-control defense spending, intended for offense against sovereign independent countries threatening no one.

On Trump’s Asia-Pacific trip to five countries, North Korea is his prime focus, earlier during his Saudi Arabia visit, it was Iran.

Neither country threatens anyone. Throughout its post-WW II history, North Korea never attacked another country. Iran hasn’t done it for centuries.

Both countries are wrongfully vilified – for their sovereign independence, free from US imperial control, their militaries able to hit back hard if attacked.

The threat of US aggression against both nations remains unacceptably high, unthinkable nuclear war possible.

Trump’s Asia-Pacific trip is largely about selling war and weapons, peace and stability off his agenda, ranting about nonexistent threats his main tactic, along with pressuring allies to support US imperial policies.

It’s also about containing China, the region’s economic powerhouse, heading toward becoming the world’s leading economy, overtaking US dominance regardless of how Washington tries curbing its rise, treating Beijing as a rival, not an ally, Cold War strategy, the same hostility confronting Russia.

America seeks global dominance, not mutual cooperation. Trump wants increased congressional funding to challenge North Korea.

In a November 6 letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, he requested

“an additional $4.0 billion to support urgent missile defeat and defense enhancements to counter the threat from North Korea, $0.7 billion to repair damage to U.S. Navy ships, and $1.2 billion in support of my Administration’s South Asia strategy,”

adding:

“This request supports additional efforts to detect, defeat, and defend against any North Korean use of ballistic missiles against the United States, its deployed forces, allies, or partners.”

Claims of possible DPRK use of ballistic missiles or any other weapons against America, its regional forces or US allies are fabricated.

North Korea wants regional peace, not war. It wants respect for its sovereignty, normal relations with all countries, hostile sanctions lifted, and a peace treaty, formally ending the 1950s war – objectives Washington rejects, maintaining the myth of a DPRK threat.

En route to Tokyo on Air Force One, Trump told reporters America’s military budget is “going up” – despite no threats facing the nation or its allies.

He falsely blamed Iran for involvement in a Houthi missile fired from Yemen on Saudi Arabia, claiming the Islamic Republic supplies its fighters with these and other weapons.

An air, sea and land blockade prevents most everything from getting in, including essentials to life.

Trump’s accusation against Iran was a bald-faced lie, his extreme hostility toward the country worrisome, disturbing rhetoric perhaps prelude to something more sinister.

His Asia-Pacific trip is more about selling war than preventing it. Unthinkable US aggression against North Korea is ominously possible, including use of nuclear weapons, a nightmarish scenario if happens.

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Will North Korea test a nuclear weapon while Trump is in Asia?

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The big question looms over Trump’s first Presidential visit to Asia.

While the substance of Donald Trump’s first Presidential trip to Asia will be largely predictable, one issue surrounding the trip carries an element of surprise: Sill North Korea test a nuclear weapon or ballistic missile while Trump is in the region?

The DPRK has a history of conducting powerful weapons tests during, after or just before prominent regional events. Most recently, this came to fruition when Pyongyang successfully tested its first hydrogen bomb hours before the BRICS summit commenced in Xiamen, China.

With the US once again flying nuclear capable B-1B Lancers near North Korea in what can only be described as a simulated bomb drop exercise, shortly before Donald Trump takes off for his trip to Asia which includes a visit to South Korea, it is fair to say that provocation is in the air.

North Korea already authored a kind of “greeting card” for Trump, which said that the US President is a “nuclear war maniac” who is “incurably mentally deranged”.

The question now is, will North Korea do for Trump’s visit what it did for the BRICS summit? The following items must be considered when speculating on such an event:

1. China’s anger 

It is no secret that ever since Kim Jong-un assumed power after the death of his father, China’s relations with the DPRK have plummeted. While unlike the US, China continues to respect North Korea’s sovereignty, China incrasingly considers the DPRK to be a regional headache, at a time when regional stability is Beijing’s paramount consideration, not least to insure the smooth construction of the One Belt–One Road trading and infrastructure mega-project.

At the same time, China is deeply offended by the Trump administration’s patronising rhetoric which not so subtly indicates that the DPRK is a uniquely Chinese responsibility, something which is objectively untrue, especially in 2017 when the DPRK continues to become increasingly self-sufficient and with China less and less interested in good relations with the government in Pyongyang.

Nevertheless, were North Korea to test a weapon or missile during or surrounding Trump’s visit to the region, China would be angered by the DPRK’s breaking of the regional equanimity that China has invested a great deal of political capital in. Such a weapons test would equally inure Chinese wrath for feeding the mythical narrative from the Trump White House that China is some how impotent when it comes to “controlling” the DPRK.

From Pyongyang’s perspective, there are pros and cons to angering China. The obvious cons involve further alienating a powerful neighbour and a possible vital partner, one which could be an economic lifeline should the economic situation in the DPRK deteriorate.

Geopolitical expert Andrew Korbyko describes this mentality in the following way:

“North Korea acutely understands this state of affairs, hence why it assumed that it could do whatever it wanted in terms of weapons tests and the like while taking the aforesaid Chinese aid for granted, but that appears to be changing now because of just how much he’s embarrassed China, which admittedly seems to have been on purpose.

It can never be known with any certain degree of accuracy what Kim Jong-Un or his junta backers are thinking, but observations about North Korea’s behavior suggest that it’s intentionally trying to irk China a bit because it might have gotten too paranoid about the prospects of Beijing cutting a deal with Washington against Pyongyang. Ironically, however, North Korea appears to be making this fear a self-fulfilling prophecy through its short-term actions of always trying to upstage China in the international arena.

Instead of resulting in more aid, which for all intents and purposes serves the role of bribes for the North Korean “deep state” (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies), Kim Jong-Un risks forcing China to downscale the said assistance in order to save face in front of the international community and consequently endanger the stability of his country”.

Because of this, Pyongyang will likely factor these considerations into its wider “cost benefit analysis” over a weapons test during the Trump visit.

2. The Russia Factor 

In many ways, the Soviet Union was a far closer ally to the DPRK during the Cold War than China was, both during the Mao era or the reformist Deng era.

Russia maintains better contacts with Pyongyang than most international powers and unlike China, is less offended when the DPRK does something to disturb the would be placidity of East Asia.

Unlike China, Russia, including its President Vladimir Putin, has been very frank about the fact that North Korea has legitimate fears from a US regime which toppled countries that did not have nuclear weapons. In this sense, while Russia condemns all of North Korea’s nuclear and missile testes with the same sincerity as China, Russia also accepts that the DPRK has a legitimate need for a deterrent.

In this sense, a DPRK weapons test during a Trump visit would expose the limitations of US treats as well as the limitations of Chinese economic carrots and stick tactics. This would have the effect of enhancing Russia’s role as a preferred mediator in any future agreement, such as the tripartite economic cooperation scheme between Moscow, Pyongyang and Seoul, that President Putin presented during September’s Eastern Economic Forum, an event attended by a North Korean delegation and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

In this sense, North Korea may determine that angering China and exposing the weakness behind US threats to the DPRK, may pay off in the medium term as Russia’s stoicism in the face of such things appears to be more enduring than that of any other nation.

Russia itself would prefer the DPRK not to conduct any tests, but even if they do, Russia will not respond vengefully nor hysterically, something which works in the favour of all concerned regional players, including the DPRK.

3. The Trump Factor 

If one is to take Donald Trump’s ‘reality tv’ style threats against North Korea at face value, there is nothing more that Trump would love, than to launch a cowboy crazy attack on North Korea, ordered while he is in Asia.

The issue here is that for all of Trump’s bluster and threats, he has yet to make good on them outside of the area on continued sanctions. Furthermore, Trump’s embattled but still standing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is careful to counter Trump and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s hysterical threats with a far more measured and generally anti-war approach. It is also widely believed that Generals Kelly, Mattis and McMaster who are thought to hold the real power in the Trump White House, are ultimately less trigger happy than their Dr. Stranglove stereotypes would suggest.

With China stating that it will not allow a US attack on North Korea, unless North Korea strikes first (a nucleartest is not considered a strike in this scenario), Trump’s Asia visit could actually ignite a wider war in the region.

Because of the unpredictability of the Trump administration, there is an element of a ‘game of chicken’ to this scenario. Ultimately however, while Trump would scream and shout if North Korea did test a weapon during or surrounding his visit, conventional wisdom still dictates that the US would bark but not bite as a result.

Conclusion: 

The state of US relations with Asia have become so lacklustre and so predictable, that it is something of an irony that the most ‘exciting’ thing about Donald Trump’s first visit to Asia is playing the guessing game about North Korea’s possible nuclear or missile tests. This is a comment both on the state of America’s increased irrelevance in Asia, as well as the fact that for all the rhetoric and bluster on all sides, North Korea is capable of deterring military action from major superpowers.

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N.Korea Nuclear Testing Tunnel Collapse, Fears of Radiation Leaks, Will Trump Resort to “Fire and Fury” Insanity?

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Trump’s Sudden Change of Plans, International Double Standards

Urgent warnings of a radiation leak have been issued after the collapse of a tunnel under North Korea’s 7,200 foot high Mount Mantap, under which the country tests their weapons systems.

The accident, believed to have happened on 10th October – though it only came to light on 31st October – is a disaster which is reported to have killed two hundred people. Were it anywhere else on earth it would surely be a headline tragedy, with Heads of State sending their condolences and offering assistance.

Apparently, however, the parents, sons, daughters which are the workforce of The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are children of a lesser God and the ‘phone lines, emails are seemingly silent; the Eiffel Tower and Brandenburg Gate have not been lit with the nation’s colours in memory of those lost and mourned.

Dangers of radiation are the only headlines, assistance to attempt to assess and curtail it by the world’s expert bodies and institutions; hands held out in the light of a major disaster, have not been forthcoming.

Initially, a tunnel collapsed on 100 workers, and an additional 100 went in to rescue them, only to die themselves under the unstable mountain,” Business Insider reports. (Photo: TV Asahi/Screengrab)

Business Insider’s Alex Lockie reports that according to North Korean sources, the tunnel initially “collapsed on 100 workers, and an additional 100 went in to rescue them, only to die themselves under the unstable mountain.” (1)

Not only is there no help from the “international community”, but: “If the debris from the test reaches China, Beijing would see that as an attack on its country, Jenny Town, the Assistant Director of the U.S.-Korea Institute and a Managing Editor at 38 North, previously told Business Insider.”

Conveniently forgotten is America’s fecklessness testing in Nevada, where the mushroom clouds could be seen a hundred miles away and: “Las Vegas experienced noticeable seismic effects” (“Nevada Test Site”, Wikipedia) and the fate of the called “down-winders” who suffered radiation related diseases from the nuclear fallout.

“No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea …” Donald Trump told the UN General Assembly in September.

He is clearly ignorant of the feckless nuclear history of his own country.

Also forgotten are the US and UK atomic testing in the Pacific (1946-1962) for which servicemen – unwarned of the dangers – who survived, fought for compensation for cancers and deformities of their children until the end of their lives. A few, now very elderly, still fight on.

The population of Bikini Island of course, was evacuated and still remains so radioactive that families or descendants have not been able to return. More of America’s disposable populations.

Whilst it is still not certain whether North Korea has developed nuclear weapons, they have been testing the possibilities in response to over sixty years of US threats. However, unlike the US, their tests have been undertaken under a vast mountain and: “Successive tests have so far not caused any radiation leaks in nearby regions, analysts said.” (2)

Exercise Desert Rock I (Buster-Jangle Dog) 002.jpg

November 1951 nuclear test at Nevada Test Site. Test is shot “Dog” from Operation Buster, with a yield of 21 kilotons of TNT (88 TJ). It was the first U.S. nuclear field exercise conducted with live troops maneuvering on land. Troops shown are 6 mi (9.7 km) from the blast. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

However, in the week of the collapse there was a stark warning that:

“Continued nuclear testing by North Korea could trigger a radioactive leak, South Korea’s chief meteorologist warned this week. Nam Jae-Cheol, the head of the Korea Meteorological Administration, said the hollow space in the bottom of the mountain where the tests are conducted could implode, leading to radioactive material seeping through.”

Moreover:

“Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geology and Geophysics last month also warned about the possibility of a catastrophic implosion in the mountains …”

Meanwhile the same report states that North Korea, surely in the light of Trump’s apocalyptic threats to the nation of just 25.4 million, “was reportedly conducting mass evacuation drills and blackout exercises in recent days amid increased threats of nuclear war.” Poignant and shaming.

But if there is, rightly, such fear of radiation leakage, what, as he has threatened, if Donald Trump unleashes his threat of “fire and fury like the world has never seen”?

On 22nd October, Trump decided that he was preparing to put the US fleet of B-52 fully nuclear capable bombers on 24-hour alert.

“This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared”, Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force Chief of Staff, told Defense One.

The first targets, as Trump has made clear, would be the DPRK’s weapons facilities, which would make the horror of the current leak fears pale in to insignificance. And as said before, the region, indeed the planet could be rendered incinerated history.

The US President, now in a tight corner, with impeachment an approaching possibility and with seemingly increasingly fading grasp reality, might just resort to such insanity as a diversionary tactic.

Time for neighbouring countries and US allies to use this disaster to put out the hand of friendship, offer help, diplomacy and normality to a country which has literally built itself up from the ashes, of every town, city and village destroyed by America little over sixty years ago.

And the time to act is now. Next week might be too late.

Incidentally Donald Trump is to leave for the region and for South Korea on Sunday. He was to visit the border area, a must-do photo-op for visiting warmongers. The day the possible radiation leak was announced, he cancelled the visit.

Trump has a phobia. In his 1997 book “The Art of the Comeback”, he wrote about how he hated shaking hands because of the risk of germs:

“One of the curses of American society is the simple act of shaking hands, and the more successful and famous one becomes the worse this terrible custom seems to get.

“I happen to be a clean hands freak. I feel much better after I thoroughly wash my hands, which I do as much as possible.”

There are other reports alleging that he prefers to drink with a straw in case the vessel he drinks out of carries the germs of others.

When Theresa May visited him a week after his taking office, there was speculation that the reason he held her hand so tightly ascending stairs was because of  his fear of germs on handrails grasped by others before him.

For all his “fire and fury” perhaps he has just realized that no amount of washing can flush off radiation. Any chance that is why he has so suddenly cancelled his visit to the border? Just wondering.

Notes

1. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/10/31/fears-radiation-leak-soar-after-north-korea-nuclear-site-collapse-kills-200

2. http://www.ibtimes.com/south-korean-scientists-warn-north-koreas-nuclear-tests-could-trigger-radioactive-2608031?utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=right&utm_medium=related1

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N.Korea and the Danger of Fake History

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John Adams once said, “facts are stubborn things.” If the Massachusetts founding father were alive today pondering the challenge of North Korea, he might have revised his famous quote to, “myths are stubborn things.”

Perhaps no problem has been the victim of more egregious myths than North Korea. The constant stream of articles about the “hermit kingdom” when, in fact, North Korea isn’t an isolated outpost on Mars, the incessant narrative that Kim Jong Un is crazy (the same was said about his father) and recurring claims that Pyongyang is on the brink of collapse (since the early 1990s) have made it hard to have a reasoned policy debate. But perhaps the most insidious myths have to do with the history of US policy towards North Korea.

Many of us here at 38 North have spent our professional lives studying North Korea—some have spent decades in the US government trying to deal with the growing threat from Pyongyang. Since we have lived through that history, the constant misrepresentation of what happened in the past by government officials, experts, academics and the media is more than disappointing, particularly since there are shelves of books on that history that most people haven’t bothered to read. It is also dangerous. This failure (or refusal) to understand history has led the US down the wrong path more than once in trying to cope with the North and still could, in the future, with potentially disastrous consequences for the US as well as our close allies, South Korea and Japan.

Cases in point are two recent articles in the New York Times, which, on balance, has done great reporting on the unfolding crisis. The first, How Trump’s Predecessors Dealt with the North Korean Threat by Russell Goldman, has a clear theme that they have been snookering us all along. Well, that may have been true for part of the time, but it wasn’t true for all of the time. The article completely misrepresents what happened under the Clinton administration, asserting that North Korea accepted the carrots offered by the administration in the 1994 US-North Korea Agreed Framework—two multi-billion dollar reactors and heavy fuel oil shipments—then cheated when it was supposed to be denuclearizing and learned the lesson that it could profit by provoking the West.

Sounds pretty straightforward, but unfortunately, it is fake history. If the author had bothered to do more research, he would have learned that in 1993, US intelligence estimated that North Korea could have enough nuclear material to build about 75 bombs by the beginning of the next decade. The Agreed Framework ended that threat. In 2002 when the agreement collapsed, the North only had enough material to build less than 5 nuclear weapons. Moreover, Pyongyang had made the mistake of allowing key nuclear facilities to deteriorate into piles of junk. So it couldn’t restart them. In effect, a plutonium production program that had cost tens, maybe hundreds, of billions of dollars to build had been trashed because of the agreement. True, Pyongyang had started to cheat by exploring a uranium enrichment program that could also produce bomb-making material, but that program was nowhere near as advanced and wouldn’t reach fruition for years. Sounds like a good deal to us. But none of this is mentioned in the article.

A second example is an excellent article by Motoko Rich a few days ago on the upcoming US-South Korean joint exercises and whether they should be cancelled in return for North Korea halting its missile tests. Reporters often rely on pundits to provide information. But in this case, the pundit was completely wrong on a critical historical issue relevant to the current policy debate. He stated that when the United States and South Korea previously agreed to cancel military maneuvers, the Team Spirit exercise, in the early 1990s in exchange for the North allowing international inspections of its secret nuclear installations, “the North quickly reneged and continued to develop its nuclear program.”

Once again, fake history. In fact, the suspension of Team Spirit in 1992 led the North to sign an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) allowing inspections of its main nuclear facility. That in turn, led to the discovery by international inspectors that the North may have been secretly producing a small amount of nuclear material that could be used to build the bomb. That never would have happened without the temporary suspension of the exercise. Moreover, as the North started to dig in its heels and resist moving forward with more inspections, the US and South Korea simply restarted Team Spirit. And finally, even before the suspension, senior US military officers had questioned the exercise’s value, arguing that they could accomplish the same military objectives at far lower cost and less political clamor from the North. Sound familiar? Today, many experts are arguing the same thing about the current large US-South Korean joint exercises.

Reasonable people can disagree about how to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat. But history matters, so let’s get our facts straight. That’s the only way to have an informed policy debate.

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US Reps Pass “Harshest Sanctions Ever” Against North Korea

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  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave field guidance to the machine plant managed by Jon Tong Ryol in this undated photo released by North Korea
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave field guidance to the machine plant managed by Jon Tong Ryol in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang April 1, 2015. | Photo: Reuters
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a crippling sanctions act against North Korea over its nuclear program that would also heavily target China.

The United States House of Representatives have passed a bill titled the ‘The Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act’ that would level the “harshest sanctions ever” against North Korea.

RELATED:  Russia ‘Opposes’ Latest Massive US-Led War Games in Waters off Korea, Japan

The bill’s name comes from Otto Warmbier, a U.S. college student that died shortly after his custody in North Korea.

Warmbier, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, was arrested for stealing a political poster from a staff-only area of his Pyongyang hotel, which is a major crime in North Korea. He was charged with committing hostile acts against the state and sentenced to 15 years hard labor. In June, Warmbier was released with severe neurological damage of an unknown cause. He was taken to University of Cincinnati hospital where he died shortly after arrival.

The bill was put forward to “impose the most far-reaching sanctions ever directed at North Korea,” according to Andy Barr, a Republican Congressman who introduced the bill to the House floor.

Not only do the new round of sanctions target North Korean ventures, but it would also ban any company that does business with North Korea from doing business with U.S. companies.

“In short, foreign financial institutions that deal with anyone involved in these areas will face a clear choice: They can either do business that will ultimately benefit North Korea or they can do business with the United States,” Barr said during the hearing. “They cannot do both. The goal is to incentivize foreign banks to sever ties to anyone involved in the North’s economic activity and ultimately cut off Pyongyang’s access to the resource it needs in pursuit of its nuclear ambitions.”

China is the main target of the hefty sanctions, as China is the primary business patron of North Korea.

The sanctions will focus especially on North Korea’s main exports, oil and textiles.

The bill also allows U.S. President Donald Trump the ability to lift the sanctions based on certain contingents.

RELATED: UK’s Boris Johnson: Trump ‘Duty’ Is to Prepare for War with North Korea

“Renaming this legislation the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act won’t bring him back. But it will remind the world that there is nothing to be gained and everything to lose by working with such an evil regime,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy after the bill was passed.

The bill will now have to be passed in the Senate and signed into law by President Trump to take effect.

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Russia ‘Opposes’ Latest Massive US-Led War Games in Waters Off Korea, Japan

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The drills involve 40 warships from the U.S., Japan and South Korea, as well as three nuclear submarines and a nuclear-powered carrier strike group.

 

The United States and its Japanese and South Korean junior partners have begun holding massive military drills off the Asian nations’ coasts in a show of force meant to convey to North Korea the allies’ military capabilities while also practicing the neutralization of alleged “threats” from Pyongyang.

The practices, which involve over 40 warships, three nuclear submarines, and a nuclear-powered carrier strike group deployed in a line stretching from the Yellow Sea west of the peninsula into the Sea of Japan, have drawn a swift rebuke from Russia.

“We decisively condemn North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests. At the same time, we oppose the excessive military activity of several countries of the region that provoke such tests,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers’ Meeting, noting that the moves simply inflame tensions with Pyongyang.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the drills are intended to practice the interoperability of the three countries’ fleets and their ability to detect and track any alleged missile threats from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as North Korea is officially called.

The USS Ronald Reagan – a 100,000-ton, 333-meter nuclear-powered supercarrier – is among the strategic vessels taking part in the drills. The U.S. Navy’s biggest warship in Asia, with a crew of 5,000 sailors, sailed around 160.93 km (100 miles), launching almost 90 F-18 Super Hornet sorties from its deck, in sight of South Korean islands.

The provocative drills also involved American Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem, Japanese Kongo-class guided missile destroyer JDS Kirishima and a South Korean Sejong Great-class destroyer – all of which are equipped with the Aegis combat systems capable of long-range ballistic missile defense.

The exercises come ahead of President Donald Trump‘s first official visit to Asia, set to start in Japan on Nov. 5, with South Korea to follow.

North Korea has slammed the warship gathering as a “rehearsal for war.” On Monday, North Korea´s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Kim In Ryong warned a U.N. General Assembly committee that the Korean peninsula is in the midst of an acutely tense situation especially in light of Trump’s threats to annihilate the North.

In his comments to the ASEAN defense gathering, Shoigu once again raised the proposal that the U.S. and its junior partners suspend military drills in the region in exchange for North Korea ending its nuclear and missile programs. Throughout the year, both Russia and China have raised the so-called “double freeze” as a solution to spiraling tensions.

“We are confident that a roadmap based on the Russian and Chinese initiatives should become the foundation for the use of political and diplomatic mechanisms aimed at resolving the North Korea issue,” Shoigu added.

While Washington has not ruled out the eventual possibility of direct talks with the North to resolve the stand-off, Pyongyang says it won’t hold talks until the White House drops its hostile stance and threats of potential nuclear attack.

“Our nuclear weapons will never be a subject matter of negotiations as long as the United States’ policy of pressure on the DPRK has not been uprooted once and for all,” North Korea´s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho told TASS in an interview earlier this month.

Posted in USA, North Korea, Russia0 Comments

Korean War: 600,000 Tons of American Bombs on the North. Every City was Destroyed ‘Video’ 

NOVANEWS

Part 22

This episode details the UN bombing campaign over North Korea and the results for the people on the ground.

The majority of civilians killed in the Korean War were killed in North Korea by air attack. (This segment on the bombing of North Korea was censored from the US version of this documentary.).

Extensive war crimes committed by the United States. 

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Posted in North Korea, South Korea0 Comments

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