Archive | North Korea

If North Korea didn’t exist the US would create it

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There is only one reason why the US is obsessed with North Korea. It allows the US to maintain a massive military presence in East Asia. If not for tensions on the Korean peninsula, the US would lose its rationale for its network of military bases in the region, which are primarily meant to threaten and contain China.

In its latest move early June 2017, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted a resolution drafted by the United States to expand the scope of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) over its latest missile tests.

Prior to this the UNSC had slapped North Korea with six rounds of sanctions, but Washington and its allies have been pushing for more powerful and crippling sanctions in an attempt to halt the increasing wave of missile tests by Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, President Trump said “all options are on the table” (implying a military solution), while his Vice President Pence declared the “end of strategic patience.” Pence added:

“The patience of the United States in this region has run out …………The world has witnessed the strength and resolve of the US in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan.

Pence was alluding to the 59 cruise missiles the US launched at a Syrian military airfield, and the 22,000-pound “mother of all bombs,” the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat by the United States, dropped in Afghanistan.

US war games

Right after striking Syria, President Trump dispatched a giant armada led by an aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, to the Korean peninsula as a show of force. The US also dispatched a nuclear-powered guided missile submarine, the USS Michigan, to the region, capable of launching up to 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of about 1,000 miles. The 6,900-tonne USS Cheyenne arrived in the South Korean port of Busan.

The US also has nearly 80,000 military personnel in South Korea and Japan, as well as military aircraft and other hardware on a high state of alert in South Korea. The USS Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike group are based at the Japanese port of Yokosuka, while the US 7th Fleet, armed with tactical nuclear weapons, patrols the region.

US nukes are also based in South Korea and Guam, while heavy B-1 and B-52 bombers can fly from North America to Korea. In the event of a war with North Korea, the US military takes over the South Korean military with some 625,000 personnel as well as naval, air and anti-missile systems.

To top it all, U.S. performs, twice annually, the largest war games in the world with South Korea, in which it practises an assassination of North Korea’s top leadership, the invasion and occupation of North Korea, and a nuclear first strike against North Korea with imitation armaments.

The Foal Eagle war games include 300,000 South Korean soldiers and 15,000 US troops. This year, the exercises also feature Navy SEAL Team Six, which is best known for assassinating Osama bin Laden on Obama’s orders.

Moreover, an American plan was made public last September proclaiming that “the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map if it shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon”.

THAAD provokes anger

The US also installed an advanced missile system in South Korea, known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). This provoked strong opposition from China and Russia who consider it a provocative move and a threat to their national security. Chinese Foreign Ministry said:

“The THAAD deployment by the US severely disrupts regional strategic balance, undermines the strategic security interests of regional countries, including China, and does no good to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,”

THAAD system has also enraged the people of South Korea. The government there deployed 8,000 riot police to forcibly remove the residents and Buddhist monks protesting near the THAAD site.  Over 900 shaved their heads in protest. They expressed concerns about the electromagnetic waves emitted by the radar and the long-term impact on their health and agriculture

Police evicted the protestors to clear a path for 38 US military vehicles carrying THAAD parts and equipment. A total of 12 protesters sustained injuries and were taken to the hospital.

Under such conditions, any military action, however limited, would trigger a conflict that could draw in neighbouring countries. American administrations have been contemplating the idea of pre-emptive strike against North Korea, but were quickly restrained, knowing that it would prompt a counter-reaction. They couldn’t justify military action that would endanger lives of millions of Koreans, with 28,500 U.S. soldiers and 230,000 Americans living there.

US shreds peace pact 

In 1994 President Clinton entered a framework agreement under which North Korea that would end its efforts to develop nuclear weapons, while the U.S. would cut down its hostile acts.

It worked, as up to 2000 North Korea abandoned its nuclear weapons programs. Enter George W. Bush and he immediately launches an assault on North Korea, with his “axis of evil” mantra and explicit aim of regime change. North Korea in turn reverts to its erstwhile nuclear programme.

Once again, the two countries entered an agreement in 2005 and once again Bush shredded it and reverted to sanctions. North Korea backed off, and resumed its nuclear program. As Noam Chomsky said:

“If you like it, one can say it’s the worst regime in history, whatever you like, but they have been following a pretty rational tit-for-tat policy”.

DPRK not suicidal

Ex-US president Jimmy Carter once spoke about American militarism, saying since World War II, the country has been at war. He added that he “could not think of any place on earth today where the United States is working to promote peace”.

In the early 1990s, Carter met North Korean leader Kim II Sung who expressed the desire for a peace treaty with the United States. The result was a successful treaty that ended the Korean nuclear weapons program and economic embargo, allowing Americans to search for the remains of Korean War veterans.

While Bush dismantled that agreement, Obama intensified war games with South Korea, including a simulated nuclear attack on North Korea, and tightened the economic stranglehold.

In his address Carter said: “I’ve been there two or three times since the 1994 agreement, and I can tell you what the North Koreans want is a peace treaty with the United States and they want the 60-year economic embargo lifted against their people, so they can have an equal chance to trade… They make a lot of mistakes, but if the United States would just talk to the North Koreans…I believe…we could have peace, and the United States would be a lot better off in the long run.”

In fact North Korea has threatened to retaliate only in response to a U.S. pre-emptive military strike. In the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, its leader Kim Jong Un affirmed that his country “would not use nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty was violated.”

Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry, who helped negotiate a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear program during the Clinton administration, agrees: “I believe that the danger of a North Korean ICBM program is not that they would launch an unprovoked attack on the United States. They are not suicidal.”

Lesson from Gaddafi

Perhaps it would be suicidal for them to give up their nuclear arsenal, after what happened to Gaddafi of Libya.

Undoubtedly, Kim Jong Un knows only too well how Gaddafi ended his days, the way he was overthrown and then lynched under US/NATO command. By surrendering his military weaponry, he signed his death warrant. He submitted his weapons and deposited some $200 billion of Libyan national wealth in Western banks. Yet in the end the West took its skin.

In the West it is rarely brought to light that the US has repeatedly turned down North Korea’s offers to end nuclear weapon development. Offers have been put forward by North Korea back to the Clinton administration in the 1990s but were then rejected by the US.

The most recent proposal was made in 2015 when North Korea offered to “halt nuclear testing if the United States would cancel an annual spring military exercise with South Korea”, but Washington rejected the proposal.

War crime

It is hardly surprising that North Koreans want peace, for they remember the war in the fifties when the US Air Force carpet-bombed their country with incendiaries and explosives, dropping 635,000 tons of explosive bombs and up to 40,000 tons of napalm.

They remember the worst atrocities carried out by South Korean police, who took part in prostitution rings, racketeering, blackmail and the execution of thousands of political prisoners, and routine execution of prisoners of war, including old men, women and children. Western reporters who revealed these atrocities had US censorship imposed on them.

North Korea was carpet-bombed for three years by US, destroying every town and village. In the words of Air Force General Curtis LeMay: “We burned down every town in North Korea …. Over a period of three years or so we killed – what – 20 percent of the population”.

To quote Senator John Glenn, a Korea war veteran who ended up as an astronaut, “We did a lot of napalm work …. You could strafe them, bomb them, napalm them, flying in low. Quite a variety of weapons.”

And in the final stages of the war, mass bombing (1,514 sorties) of hydro-electric and irrigation dams was done, flooding and destroying huge areas of farmland and crops. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.

Quoting Professor Charles Armstrong, Director of the Centre for Korean Research (Columbia University):

“The physical destruction and loss of life on both sides was almost beyond comprehension, but the North suffered the greater damage, due to American saturation bombing and the scorched-earth policy of the retreating UN (read US) forces”.

Chief Justice William O. Douglas visited Korea in the summer of 1952 and declared, “I had seen the war-battered cities of Europe; but I had not seen devastation until I had seen Korea.”

One can thus barely blame North Korea if today it is highly militarised, displaying deep antipathy towards the state that rained death and destruction on its people, towns and villages. That mass killing and destruction of civilians was war crimes never brought to any court of justice.

US strategy

Instead, the US carries on with its threats of regime change and gun-boat diplomacy. Dennis Etler of Cabrillo College in California says the US refuses to deescalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula in order to maintain its network of military bases in East Asia and contain China.

“There is only one reason why US seeks to quarantine the DPRK. It allows the US to maintain a military presence in East Asia. If not for tensions on the Korean peninsula, the US would lose its rationale for its network of military bases in the region, which are primarily meant to threaten and contain China” he adds.

James R. Lilley puts it succinctly when he says: “At the end of the Cold War, if North Korea didn’t exist we would have to create it as an excuse to keep the Seventh Fleet in the region.”

He is talking of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 70 to 80 ships and submarines, 300 aircraft and approximately 40,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel

Lilley speaks as an insider, having been member, together with his close friend, George H.W. Bush, of the infamous Yale University Skull & Bones secret society. He served some three decades at the CIA along with Bush. Both Lilley and Bush were US Ambassadors to China.

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US rejects Russo-Chinese proposal to suspend drills in South Korea

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The US rejects a proposal by Russia and China to suspend joint drills with South Korea in exchange for North Korea freezing its nuclear weapons programs, the State Department said, adding that Washington does not see the activities as equivalent.

US drills with South Korea are not the same as North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters Thursday.

“These are all things that have taken place since the 1950s. So that wouldn’t change,” Nauert said, describing the drills as lawful and longstanding.

“We do these kinds of exercises and have relationships like this all over the globe. If China and Russia decide to come out against that, that is not going to change our position,” she added.

Moscow and Beijing have called on Washington and Seoul to freeze large-scale military exercises in an attempt to calm tensions on the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang test-fired a missile it said could reach the US mainland.

The US diplomatic offensive to pressure and isolate North Korea is still in its early stages, according to the State Department spokeswoman.

“We continue to believe that China can do a whole lot more to try to bring additional pressure to North Korea,” Nauert said, adding that China has “unique leverage” with Pyongyang because of the “strong trade relationship” between two countries.

One of the measures the US has proposed to other countries is to drastically scale back the number of North Korean guest-workers, Nauert said.

She also referenced last week’s decision by the US Treasury Department to sanction a Chinese bank that did business with Pyongyang, although she declined to say whether more such sanctions were in the works.

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China warns against escalation of tensions over North Korea

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China has warned against any rhetoric and action that could further escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, two days after Pyongyang test-fired its first ever intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

“We also call on relevant parties to stay calm, exercise restraint, refrain from words and deeds that may heighten tensions, and jointly make effort for the easing of tensions,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in a press conference on Thursday.

North Korea announced on Tuesday that it had successfully tested the ICBM, with the North’s leader Kim Jong-un calling it a gift to the United States on July 4, America’s Independence Day.

Shuang’s comments came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson strongly condemned the launch and described it as a new escalation of the “threat” to Washington, its allies, the region, and the whole world.

On Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley also told the UN Security Council that her country was prepared to exert force if needed to deal with the perceived threat posed by North Korea and singled out China as key to any diplomatic solution.

Meanwhile, Russia accused the US of attempting to negatively affect Moscow’s relations with Pyongyang by leveling false allegations about the purported abuse of North Korean migrant workers in the Russian Federation.

“These allegations are unfounded. They fabricate and publish this nonsense… and then we stand and feel like justifying ourselves after this fake news,” said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, in a press conference in the Russian capital.

She added that North Korean migrant laborers work in Russia according to an entirely legal 2007 intergovernmental agreement. She also said that the agreement was not in violation of any UN Security Council resolutions regarding Pyongyang.

Unsettled by North Korean missile and nuclear programs, the US has adopted a war-like posture against Pyongyang. The US recently deployed an advanced missile system on South Korean soil to counter potential threats from the North, angering Pyongyang.

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Military Action Should Be Excluded as Response to N. Korea

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Military action should not be an option considered in possible responses to North Korea’s recent launch of an ICBM and its continued work on a nuclear program, Russia’s Deputy Envoy to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov said during a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday.

“The possibility of taking military measures to resolve the problems of the Korean peninsula should be excluded,” Safronkov stated.

He also said any attempt to economically strangle North Korea in response to its missile test would be unacceptable.

“Attempts to economically strangle North Korea are equally unacceptable, as millions of people are in humanitarian need,” Safronkov said, after warning the Security Council countries against pursuing any military option.

Instead, the situation around the recent missile launch by North Korea requires close examination, he argued.

“The situation requires a thorough investigation and clarification,” Safronkov said.

He acknowledged that Pyongyang’s most recent missile launch is unacceptable and violated the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

“We find this action from the DPRK to be inadmissible and to be running counter to relevant Security Council resolutions,” Safronkov said. “Russia and China have urged the DPRK to firmly comply with the provisions of set resolutions. We share the concern regarding the evolving situation in the Korean peninsula and escalation of military and political tensions on the peninsula.”

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‘US should end Korean War, sign a peace treaty with North Korea’

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The most sensible path, at this point, is for the US to end the Korean War, sign a peace treaty with North Korea, and withdraw its troops from the Korean peninsula, Hyun Lee, a member of the National Campaign to End the Korean War, told RT.

South Korean and US forces fired missiles into the Sea of Japan in a display of resolve toward North Korea as a part of a joint ballistic missile exercise between Washington and Seoul.

According to officials, the exercise used missiles that can be “easily deployed”.

It all came in response to North Korea’s latest missile test on Tuesday, which the Pentagon said was an intercontinental ballistic missile.

RT: North Korea is clearly aware the US and South Korea possess a wide range of missiles. Was this show of force really necessary?

Hyun Lee: North Korea has been saying from the beginning of this year, from the beginning of the Trump administration, that it will test launch an intercontinental ballistic missile and it has always said it is a form of deterrence against US threats against North Korea. The US and South Korea conduct annual military exercises, including the collapse of the North Korean regime and the simulation of the decapitation of the North Korean leadership. North Korea has always said these are threats to its sovereignty and that is why it is developing an ICBM as a form of deterrence.

RT: China and Russia have been calling on the international community to try and talk to North Korea to avoid provocation. Why did the US and South Korea decide to stage these exercises anyway?

HL: I think what the US and South Korea are doing is basically flexing their muscles to show ‘We are not afraid of North Korea. We also have big bad weapons.’ But what they are doing is answering fire with fire in a region that is a powder keg. We know that the world’s greatest military powers face off in this region: that is the US, China, Japan, South Korea. Former US army generals have warned that even the slightest miscalculation on the Korean peninsula can trigger a conflict that basically mires the entire region in a protracted war that could have catastrophic consequences not only for the region but also for the global economy. And that is not in anyone’s interest.

RT: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said North Korea launching an intercontinental ballistic missile is a new escalation of the threat against the US. Is Pyongyang’s new launch a game changer?

HL: Yes, but not because it will attack the US; Washington doesn’t truly believe that. But more because this changes the US strategic calculus in the region. North Korea now has the capacity to target the heart of the US Pacific Command, which is located in Hawaii, as well as the West Coast of the US continent. This means US policy of basically intimidating countries through military might and collapsing uncooperative regimes as it has done in the Middle East for decades: this is not going to work vis-à-vis North Korea.
And if this encourages other countries around the world to follow the example of North Korea, it threatens the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which is essentially intended to ensure that only the prominent five countries of the UN Security Council, and its allies, like Israel, can have nuclear weapons and no one else. North Korea is obviously not a party to the NPT; it is not a US ally but now appears to have the capability to threaten a nuclear attack on the US. This is why this missile test is a big deal and it makes Washington very nervous. If the US wants North Korea to stop, then the path is very clear – it has to stop its provocations and its military exercises and then resolve the conflict fundamentally by signing a peace treaty to end the ongoing state of war between the US and North Korea.

RT: Is there an end to this vicious circle where opposite sides just fire missiles trying to up the ante on each other?

HL: I think there is a clear path: North Korea, we should note, has repeatedly offered to freeze its own nuclear and missile program in exchange for a freeze of US provocation, including the very provocative military exercises. I think the most sensible path at this point is for the US to end the Korean War, sign a peace treaty with North Korea, finally withdraw its troops from the Korean peninsula. That is the only way to put the nuclear crisis to rest. Washington knows that this is the answer. The only thing that is standing in the way is, not surprisingly, the interest of the military-industrial complex, which feeds off of perpetual war.

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North Korea claims major breakthrough with first ICBM test

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North Korea’s declaration that it had successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile able to reach the US mainland triggered a joint Chinese-Russian appeal for a military freeze to lower the tension between Pyongyang and Washington.

Experts said the device could reach Alaska. The launch came as Americans prepared to mark Independence Day and sparked a Twitter outburst from President Donald Trump who urged China to act to “end this nonsense once and for all”.

The North’s possession of a working ICBM — something that Trump has vowed “won’t happen” — could be a game-changer for countries seeking to thwart the military goals of the isolated state.

China and Russia called for a moratorium on further missile and nuclear tests by Pyongyang after a meeting between leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping in Moscow. They also called for a simultaneous suspension of large-scale US-South Korea military exercises.

“The opposing sides should start negotiations and affirm general principles of their relations including the non-use of force, rejection of aggression and peaceful coexistence,” the joint statement said.

British foreign minister Boris Johnson asked the international community to “redouble its efforts to impose a price on this regime, which strains every nerve and sinew to build nuclear weapons and launch illegal missiles.”

The “landmark” test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by leader Kim Jong-Un, an emotional female announcer said on state Korean Central Television.

The broadcaster showed his handwritten order to carry out the launch, and pictures of him grinning in celebration, clenching his fist.

The rocket was “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world”, the announcer said, and “a major breakthrough in the history of our republic”.

The North’s Academy of Defence Science, which developed the missile, said it reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometres and flew 933 kilometres, calling it the “final gate to rounding off the state nuclear force”.

There are still doubts whether the North can miniaturise a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it onto a missile nose cone, or if it has mastered the technology needed for it to survive the difficult re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

But it has made great progress in its missile capabilities since Kim came to power. He has overseen three nuclear tests and multiple rocket launches.

In response to the launch but before the announcement, Trump asked on Twitter: “Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?”

The United Nations has imposed multiple sets of sanctions on Pyongyang, which retorts that it needs nuclear arms to defend itself against the threat of invasion.

– ‘All of Alaska’ –

US Pacific Command confirmed the test and said it was a land-based, intermediate range missile that flew for 37 minutes before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, adding the launch did not pose a threat to North America.

Moscow’s defence ministry called it medium-range. But Tokyo — in whose exclusive economic zone it came down — estimated the maximum altitude to have “greatly exceeded” 2,500 kilometres, prompting arms control specialist Jeffrey Lewis to respond on Twitter: “That’s it. It’s an ICBM. An ICBM that can hit Anchorage not San Francisco, but still.”

David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote on the organisation’s allthingsnuclear blog that the available figures implied the missile had “a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory”.

“That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters: “This launch clearly shows that the threat has grown.”

The US, Japan and South Korea will hold a summit on the issue on the sidelines of this week’s G20 meeting, he added. “Also I will encourage President Xi Jinping and President Putin to take more constructive measures.”

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In warned the North against crossing “the bridge of no return.”

– ‘Not wise’ –

Washington, South Korea’s security guarantor, has more than 28,000 troops in the country to defend it from its communist neighbour. Fears of conflict reached a peak earlier this year as the Trump administration suggested military action was an option under consideration.

There has also been anger in the United States over the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student detained in North Korea for around 18 months before he was returned home in a coma in June.

Trump has been pinning his hopes on China — North Korea’s main diplomatic ally — to pressure Pyongyang.

Last week he declared that Beijing’s efforts had failed, but returned to the idea on Twitter following the launch: “Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”

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Was Otto Warmbier an American Student or an Israeli Spy? 

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For a few days we have been perplexed by the story of Otto Warmbier and his tragic death.

Warmbier, 22, was traveling on a tour of North Korea last year when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster.  Following international outrage, North Korea agreed to release him admitting that he had suffered a severe neurological injury. Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center reported that Warmbier was unresponsive and has suffered extensive brain damage.

Today, pretty much, out of the blue, the Jewish press announced that Warmbier was a Jewish boy, active with Hillel at the University of Virginia. In addition,  Warmbier visited Israel at least once.

In 2014, Warmbier went on a Birthright mission to Israel, where he received a Hebrew name. Following the trip, he became involved with Hillel and the Jewish community on campus~#.

Rabbi Jake Rubin described Warmbier as “a beloved member of our Hillel community.”

“He was a regular at Bagels on Lawn, celebrated Shabbat and holidays at Hillel, and even led a seder for other students that focused on issues of environmentalism and sustainability,” Rabbi Rubin wrote.

And now the six million dollar question. Was Warmbier an Israeli spy? Who knows, but it is likely that someone in North Korea thought he was.

We know that Israel and North Korea are extremely hostile towards each other. North Korea has never recognised the Jewish State and in 1988 it recognised the State of Palestine as including all of Israel.  Israel often accuses North Korea of trading arms with Hamas and Syria.

Peculiarly, not a single MSM outlet has referred to Warmbier’s ties with Israel.  Until his last hours, Israel and the Jewish community kept silent about Warmbier’s Jewish identity, his Zionist affiliation and his visit to Israel. Maybe this silence is more revealing than anything else.

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DPRK: ‘Too Late’ For United Korean Team at 2018 Winter Olympics

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    South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chang Ung, North Korea’s IOC member at the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, South Korea June 24, 2017. | Photo: Reuters
“The Olympics should not be used for a political aim,” North Korea’s top Olympic official said.

A leading North Korean sports official believes it is too late to consider South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s proposal to form a unified team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, saying that political tension must be resolved first.

RELATED: On Korean War Anniversary, DPRK Urges South Korea to Dialogue

“It took us 22 rounds of talks to set up that joint (table tennis) team for the 1991 games. It took us five months,” North Korean International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Chang Ung, told the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper.

At the opening of the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju on Saturday, Moon said he wanted the Koreas to compete as one team next year and highlighted the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships as an example of a previous merger.

Chang, who is leading the North Korea delegation at the Taekwondo event in a city two hours south of Seoul, also ruled out the possibility of using venues in the North to co-host the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games and dismissed the notion that a unified team would help improve ties by saying: “The Olympics should not be used for a political aim.”

“As an expert of the Olympics, it is a little late to be talking about co-hosting. It’s easy to talk about co-hosting, but it is never easy to solve practical problems for that. It’s the same for forming a joint team for ice hockey,” Chang added.

Moon, who was a senior official in the liberal former South Korean government of Roh Moo-hyun in the 2000s, took office on May 10, winning an election on a more moderate approach to North Korea and a promise to engage Pyongyang in dialogue. He has also said that North Korea must be pressured in order them to abandon their nuclear program.

South Korea’s sports officials said they remained receptive to the idea of competing together, however.

“We are still open to possibilities about forming a joint team,” said Chun Byong-keuk, director general of Sports Corporation of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

South Korean Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan said last week that he would hold talks with the IOC about forming a joint female ice hockey team for the 2018 Olympics.

South Korea and its northern neighbor, officially called as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK, where separated as states in the fallout of World War II, when the occupying U.S. forces pressured the Soviet Union to cede control below the 38th parallel. To prevent the peninsula from falling to leftist forces, the South was put under U.S. control and consolidated as a separate republic.

A brutal conflict to reunify the peninsula ensued and U.S.-backed forces have remained officially at war with the DPRK since an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.

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Syria, Iran and N. Korea: Will Trump Attempt to Finish the Neocon Hitlist?

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By Steven MacMillan – New Eastern Outlook 

In Donald Trump’s short time in office, he has already shown his propensity to use military force. From dropping the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used on Afghanistan, to launching 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraq (oh wait, Syria), there is no doubt that the Trump administration has a prominent militaristic streak. 

But is this just for starters? If Trump stays in power for the duration of his term, is there a major war, or even multiple wars, on the horizon? Judging by the rhetoric and actions already taken by the Trump administration, it will be a miracle if the US does not start a major war in the near future. Coincidentally, the main countries in the sights of the Trump administration just happen to be the three countries that the neoconservatives pinpointed for regime change 17 years ago, but have not yet been dealt with.

1997 marked the birth of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neoconservative think tank of catastrophic proportions. It was founded by William Kristol, the longtime editor of the Weekly Standard, who also served as the chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle, and Robert Kagan, a former State Department official who is now a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute. A long list of neocons belonged to the group, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.

PNAC’s stated objectives included the desire to “shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests,” “increase defense spending significantly,” and challenge “regimes hostile to US interests and values.” In September 2000, the PNAC group released a report titled: Rebuilding America’s Defenses – Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century.’ The introduction to the report clearly expressed PNAC’s desire to maintain US supremacy in the world:

At present, the United States faces no global rival.  America’s grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possiblePreserving the desirable strategic situation in which the United States now finds itself requires a globally preeminent military capability both today and in the future.” 

In order to maintain this supremacy, the report called for the Defense Department to be at the forefront of experimenting with transformative technologies, a move that would require a dramatic increase in defense spending.

Curiously, the report – published one year prior to 9/11 – argued that this transformation would likely be a “long one” unless an event on the scale of “Pearl Harbor” occurred:

“To preserve American military preeminence in the coming decades, the Department of Defense must move more aggressively to experiment with new technologies and operational concepts, and seek to exploit the emerging revolution in military affairs… The effects of this military transformation will have profound implications for how wars are fought, what kinds of weapons will dominate the battlefield and, inevitably, which nations enjoy military preeminence…

The Pentagon [however], constrained by limited budgets and pressing current missions, has seen funding for experimentation and transformation crowded out in recent years.  Spending on military research and development has been reduced dramatically over the past decade… Any serious effort at transformation must occur within the larger framework of U.S. national security strategy, military missions and defense budgets… The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor” (p.50-p.51).

Under the guise of missile capability, the report then pinpointed five countries that the neocons, in conjunction with the CIA, considered “deeply hostile” to the US:

“Ever since the Persian Gulf War of 1991… the value of the ballistic missile has been clear to America’s adversaries. When their missiles are tipped with warheads carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, even weak regional powers have a credible deterrent, regardless of the balance of conventional forces.  That is why, according to the CIA, a number of regimes deeply hostile to America – North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria – ‘already have or are developing ballistic missiles’ that could threaten U.S allies and forces abroad. And one, North Korea, is on the verge of deploying missiles that can hit the American homeland.  Such capabilities pose a grave challenge to the American peace and the military power that preserves that peace” (p.51-p.52).

This report was published approximately three years prior to the invasion of Iraq, and approximately 11 years prior to both the war in Libya and the start of the proxy war in Syria. The central point I am getting at here is that the wars we have seen unfold, and the wars to come, are not just short-term actions taken by the administration who happens to be in power at that particular time. They are planned years and sometimes decades prior to the first shot being fired. Regardless of which party the President belongs to – George Bush invaded Iraq with a blue tie on, whilst Barack Obama bombed Libya with a red one on – the same regime-change-agenda continues.

Two Down, Three to Go

Although there were other reports that marked more countries that the neocons considered ‘hostile’ to the US, or more accurately, hostile to US (Western) imperial ambitions, the September 2000 report focused on five countries. With Iraq and Libya already ‘liberated,’ three countries are still on the hitlist: Syria, Iran and North Korea. Coincidentally (or not), these are some of the main countries that the Trump administration is targeting, and we are only a few months into Trump’s reign.

 Syria: Trump has already bombed Syrian government forces – or forces fighting on the side of the Syrian government – on multiple occasions since being elected. After Trump bombed Syria back in April, both Kagan and Kristol praised him, yet demanded more blood. Even though they claimed not to be major supporters of Trump during the campaign, many Bush-era hawks were – including Rumsfeld, the former Defense Secretary. The Trump administration has also admitted sending hundreds of US troops – which includes Marines – into Syria, officially in order to fight against ISIS (through training and advising rebel forces), yet it’s clear the move has as much to do with the Syrian and Iranian governments than anything else.  

Iran: Throughout Trump’s campaign for the White House, he repeatedly criticized both Iran and North Korea. Trump has always been a severe critic of the Iranian nuclear deal, and a loyal supporter of the state of Israel, meaning war with Iran seems more probable that not. In fact, Iran has claimed that Trump and Saudi Arabia are behind the recent terror attacks in Tehran, which ISIS has claimed responsibility for.

During his trip to Saudi Arabia last month, Trump took the opportunity to take another jab at Iran. In February, the US Defence Secretary, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, called Iran the “biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world,” completely ignoring the role Saudi Arabia plays in exporting terrorism. It appears as though the Trump administration is in the process of deciding which path to Persia it thinks is going to be the most effective.

North Korea: In relation to North Korea, the Trump administration has essentially backed the country into a corner, producing the obvious response from North Korea: an (attempted) show of strength. A country that the US carpet bombed during the Korean war – which included using napalm – it hardly seems likely that North Korea is just going to give in to US threats, considering the resentment many in the country still feel towards America.

This is not a defense of North Korea, but the Trump administration making one provocative statement after another has hardly reduced tensions in the region.  In March, Mattissaid that “reckless” North Korea has “got to be stopped.” The following month, Trump said North Korea is a problem that “will be taken care of.” Although Mattis has acknowledged that a conflict with North Korea would be “catastrophic,” the Trump administration appears to be willing to ratchet up tensions regardless.

In contrast, both Russia and China have emphasised that dialogue and diplomacy trump threats. Speaking in May, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said that “we have to stop intimidating North Korea” and “return to dialogue” with them, after affirming that Russia “is against expanding the pool of nuclear powers, including North Korea.” Also in May, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called for the US and North Korea to “stop irritating each other,” and advocated “dialogue and negotiation.”

It also important to note that the North Korean issue is really about a lot more than just North Korea. As Paul Craig Roberts has highlighted, the North Korean ‘crisis’ has everything to do with Russia and China. Similar to how the US used the Iranian ‘threat’ to put anti-ballistic missile systems close to Russia’s borders, the North Korean crisis can be used to deploy anti-ballistic missiles systems next to the eastern borders of Russia and China. In a positive development however, the South Korean government has just announced (at the time of writing anyway) that it will halt the deployment of the US anti-ballistic missile system – known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) – on its territory for potentially up to a year, citing environmental concerns.

If the Trump administration and the neocons are actually reckless enough to try and force regime change in all three countries in the near future, this brings the US into direct confrontation with both Russia and China. And if a hot war between these three nuclear powers erupts, this would mark the end of human civilization as we know it.

Posted in USA, Iran, North Korea, SyriaComments Off on Syria, Iran and N. Korea: Will Trump Attempt to Finish the Neocon Hitlist?

The beautiful side to North Korea

NOVANEWS

Image result for North Korea LEADER PHOTO

The beautiful side to North Korea: Photographer claims Kim’s communist enclave is ‘extremely clean’ and an ‘exotic destination’ we should all visit

As tensions between North Korea and the United States continue to escalate, a Malaysian photographer has encouraged others to visit by releasing photos he took while traveling to the country.

In the images, North Korean residents can be seen going about their daily business in town squares and train stations while children listen to street performers.

Other pictures show the capital Pyongyang illuminated at night with skyscrapers stretched across the city, as well as temples and countryside landscapes.

Photographer Reuben Teo, 31, from Sarawak, Malaysia, took the photos on a trip to the country last month.

Mr Teo was only told not to photograph military, military checkpoints and construction while in the country, and believes his pictures show a different side to North Korea than how it is usually portrayed in the media.

‘The country is also extremely clean and I can honestly tell you that it sits next just to Japan in terms of cleanliness. Put North Korea in your list of exotic destinations to visit,’ Mr Teo said.

North Korea, meanwhile, says it is continuing to test new missiles that could attack enemy warships.

The country has tested four missile systems year alone, sending a defiant message to its enemies that it will continue to pursue a weapons program that has rattled its neighbors and Washington.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed the launches, according to the official Korean Central News Agency, which said the missiles ‘accurately detected and hit’ floating targets at sea after making ‘circular flights’.

Posted in North KoreaComments Off on The beautiful side to North Korea

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