Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Encircling China: Korean Ground Offensive

First you have to do the reconnaissance:

"North Korea arrests US student, cites ‘hostile act’" by Hyung-Jin Kim Associated Press  January 22, 2016

SEOUL — North Korea on Friday announced the arrest of a university student from Ohio for what it called a ‘‘hostile act’’ orchestrated by the American government to undermine the authoritarian nation.

In language that mirrors past North Korean claims of outside conspiracies, Pyongyang’s state media said the University of Virginia student, entered the country under the guise of a tourist with a China-based tour company and plotted to destroy North Korean unity with ‘‘the tacit connivance of the US government and under its manipulation.’’

The spy's, er, student's name is Warmbier, Otto Frederick, and his cover is that of a 2013 high school graduate. 

Also see: "Warmbier is an honors student from Cincinnati who is studying economics and global sustainability. “He seemed like a normal college kid looking to see the world,” said one member of the tour group who asked not to be named because of the delicacy of the case. “Like the rest of us he had this curiosity about North Korea. I never heard him talk about religion. I never heard him speak ill of the North Korean government.” 

Strange, huh?

Social media accounts for Warmbier show interests in finance, travel, and rap music; he was on the University of Virginia dean’s list. Warmbier was a top student at his high school and was described as a skilled soccer player. Wyoming City Schools spokeswoman Susanna Max said Warmbier was the salutatorian of his graduating class. The US State Department said in a statement that it was ‘‘aware of media reports that a US citizen was detained in North Korea,’’ but had ‘‘no further information to share due to privacy considerations.’’

See: North Korea puts tearful detained American before cameras

That's the best the propaganda pre$$ machine can come up with? 

A glass of Warmbier?

North Korea’s announcement Friday comes amid a diplomatic push by Washington, Seoul, and their allies to slap Pyongyang with tough sanctions for its recent nuclear test. In the past, North Korea has occasionally announced the arrests of foreign detainees in times of tension with the outside world in an apparent attempt to wrest concessions or diplomatic maneuvering room.

‘‘They [North Korea] kind of trickle information out, but what’s actually going on can be very different,’’



"North Korea regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending spies in an attempt to overthrow its government. Outsiders say North Korea seeks to use its US detainees to wring concessions from Washington. When Kim Dong Chul was paraded before the media in Pyongyang last month, he said he had collaborated with and spied for South Korean intelligence authorities. Some previously arrested foreigners have read declarations of guilt that they later said were coerced."

You know, like the terrorist that confessed to doing 9/11.

Problem is even if you apologize the North Koreans still kill you in the most ghastly way so your best bet is to defect (yes, I know that is a different guy but John Kasich tried to use the situation to bolster his campaign, and you know how that went).

Reminds me of another long-ago campaign for the presidency:

"In Asia, Kerry to focus on maritime disputes, North Korea nuclear program" by Matthew Lee Associated Press   January 25, 2016

VIENTIANE, Laos — Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Laotian capital Sunday, as part of an Asian journey that will include stops in Cambodia and China.

He had to watch where he stepped or he could have gotten lost.

The trip is an extension of an around-the-world diplomatic mission that began with a heavy emphasis on the Middle East, particularly Iran and efforts to end Syria’s civil war.

Laos is the current head of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose members are becoming more vocal in complaints about China’s growing assertiveness over competing claims in the South China Sea.

Next month, President Obama will host the ASEAN leaders in California. Before that summit, US officials say, Kerry will make the case to the leader of the 10-nation bloc to present a unified stance in dealing with China on the disputes.

They rejected that.

ASEAN unity has not always been possible because China wields great influence among some of its smaller neighbors, such as Cambodia. Cambodia held the ASEAN leadership spot in 2012, blocked the group from reaching consensus on the South China Sea issue, and frequently sided with China on the matter.

A senior State Department official accompanying Kerry in Asia revealed that regional leaders had said problems related to Cambodia’s chairmanship ‘‘left a black mark on ASEAN and are not to be repeated.’’

Recent developments, including China’s movement of an oil rig into a disputed zone, have raised levels of concern to a point where it would be very difficult for China to manipulate individual ASEAN countries and paralyze the broader group, the official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the details of Kerry’s visit publicly.

Kerry is only the third secretary of state to visit Laos, with John Foster Dulles stopping there in 1955 and Hillary Clinton in 2012.

Oh, look, the third of three crooks to visit.

Obama will become the first US president to visit the landlocked nation later this year.

I'd like for him to be locked up.

In Cambodia, Kerry is expected to note the country’s strong economic growth but also raise concerns with longtime authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen about human rights and political freedoms.

He got lost in the jungle is what he did!


He is "pressing for peaceful resolutions," yup.

"U.S. says it’ll step up defenses if China fails to act against North Korea" by Jane Perlez New York Times  January 27, 2016

BEIJING — Secretary of State John Kerry warned Wednesday that if China failed to do more to curb North Korea’s enhanced nuclear capacity, Washington would take steps that China has strongly opposed, including deploying defense systems to protect U.S. allies in Asia.

“This is a threat the United States must take extremely seriously,” Kerry said of North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal at a news conference with the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi. “The United States will take all necessary steps to protect our people and allies. We don’t want to heighten security tensions. But we won’t walk away from any options.”

Kerry adopted the tough tone after nearly five hours of talks with Wang that were dominated by North Korea and what the United States and China, a treaty ally of the North, should do in the aftermath of its fourth nuclear test.

The secretary was referring to the deployment of a missile defense system to South Korea that has been under discussion for some time but that the South, a U.S. ally, has resisted because of China’s opposition.

But after the North Korean test on Jan. 6, the South’s president, Park Geun-hye, said she would consider accepting the missile system — called THAAD, for Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense — to better cope with the North’s growing nuclear and missile threats.

China agreed during the talks Wednesday to new U.N. sanctions against the North, and negotiations on their content will proceed in the coming days, Wang said. But these new sanctions “must not provoke new tensions,” he said.

A draft of new sanctions was sent to China about 10 days ago, but by the time Kerry arrived in Beijing, China had not responded in substance, U.S. officials said.

Suggesting that the Obama administration was evincing a little too much concern about the North Korean nuclear test, and that Washington’s attention would soon drift away, Wang said that China “will not be swayed by specific events or the temporary mood of the moment. Sanctions are not an end in themselves.”

Kerry made clear that the United States’ position was that China, North Korea’s biggest trading partner, needed to use its leverage and what he called its “connections” with the country to pressure it to give up its nuclear arsenal.

I would say back to the Americans "You first."

Washington would like China to curb exports of oil, including aviation fuel, that help keep the bare-bones North Korean economy afloat. It has also asked China to crack down on its banks and businesses that give the North access to foreign exchange.

A bill calling for sanctions against Chinese entities that help North Korea in its military programs, criminal activities and money laundering recently passed with strong support in the House of Representatives.

As part of his attempt to persuade Beijing, Kerry used the example of the recent Iran deal: Kerry used the news conference to publicly call on China to take similar actions against North Korea and to create another “united front.”

“With all due respect, more significant and impactful sanctions were put against Iran, which did not have nuclear weapons, than against North Korea, which does,” Kerry said.

What's strange is the guys who have nukes don't get invaded.

China was helping Iran get a bomb, but the U.S put an end to that.

The secretary faces a tough sell. President Xi Jinping of China made a decision last year that it was better for China to have a friendly nuclear-armed North Korea on its border than a hostile nuclear-armed North Korea, Chinese analysts have said. 

Or an utterly failed state with refugees pouring across the Yalu.

“For China, the worst-case scenario is you push North Korea over to become an enemy with nuclear weapons,” said Zhang Baohui, director of the Center for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. “I think China has decided to tolerate North Korea as a nuclear state.”

As we all should. I can only think of one nation that ever officially used them. More silent littering thanks to depleted uranium munitions (never mentioned in pre$$).

Xi sent a top lieutenant, Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, in October to attend a military parade and to deliver a personal letter from Xi to the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

Nevertheless, Zhang said, China has urged North Korea to denuclearize. And the North’s detonation of a nuclear device on Jan. 6 was a way of telling Beijing that it could not dictate the country’s foreign policy, Zhang said.

Chinese officials have told their U.S. counterparts that they were not informed of the timing of the test and that it came as a surprise.

China has accused Washington of using the North Korean nuclear tests as an excuse to deploy the missile defense system in South Korea.

“The THAAD has nothing to do with North Korea. It is simply the U.S. technically trying to deter China and Russia with these missiles and strategically alienating South Korea from China,” said Wang Junsheng, a research fellow on Northeast Asia at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


U.S. would never do that!


Responding to the pressure, N. Korea says it plans to launch rocket as soon as next week.

They followed through on the threat:

"UN condemns N. Korea missile launch, pledges sanctions" by Foster Klug and Edith M. Lederer Associated Press  February 08, 2016

SEOUL — North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, went ahead with the launch after he ignored an appeal from China, its neighbor and important ally, not to proceed and in another slap to Beijing, he chose the eve of the Chinese New Year, the country’s most important holiday.

Is that what caused the earthquake down there?

Since its Jan. 6 nuclear test, which the North claimed was a powerful hydrogen bomb but experts believe was not, China and the United States have been negotiating the text of a new UN Security Council sanctions resolution.

The United States, backed by its Western allies, Japan and South Korea, wants tough sanctions reflecting Kim’s defiance of the Security Council. But diplomats say China, the North’s key protector in the council, is reluctant to impose economic measures that could cause North Korea’s economy to collapse.

US Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters that “it cannot be business as usual” after two successive North Korean acts that are “hostile and illegal.”

“What’s important is that the Security Council unites,” Power said. ‘‘China is a critical player. . . . We are hopeful that China, like all council members, will see the grave threat to regional and international peace and security, see the importance of adopting tough, unprecedented measures, breaking new ground here, exceeding the expectations of Kim Jong Un.”

Oh, we all do. Take a look in the mirror, Sam.

However, China’s UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, made clear that unprecedented sanctions aren’t Beijing’s priority.

He said a new resolution should “do the work of reducing tension, of working toward denuclearization (of the Korean peninsula), of maintaining peace and stability, and of encouraging a negotiated solution.”

“I believe the council needs to work together for a new resolution,” Liu added, indicating that China might want negotiations with the United States to be widened.

Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, whose country is also a North Korean ally, said: “It has to be a weighty resolution, but it also has to be a reasonable resolution” that doesn’t lead to North Korea’s economic or humanitarian collapse, or further heighten tensions.

Yeah, I'm starting to really get cold feet regarding the all-out WWIII scenario. 

Taking on Russia and China? 

You crazy?

Russia’s goal is to see six-party talks aimed at denuclearization resume, he said, but in the current atmosphere that’s unlikely because the North Koreans “have been very unreasonable” and are challenging the entire international community.

“We think this is wrong for their national interests . . . for the Korean peninsula . . . for the region,” Churkin said.

I'll second and third that motion over here.

North Korea, which calls its launches part of a peaceful space program, said it had successfully put a new Earth observation satellite, the Kwangmyongsong 4, or Shining Star 4, into orbit less than 10 minutes after liftoff, and vowed more such launches. A US official said it might take days to assess whether the launch was a success.

Japan’s UN ambassador, Motohide Yoshikawa, told reporters the missile went over Japan and landed near the Philippines, “a clear threat to the lives of many people.”

At least it didn't hit any planes like U.S.-led war games.

North Korean rocket and nuclear tests are seen as steps toward the North’s ultimate goal of a nuclear-armed missile that could hit the US mainland. North Korea under Kim Jong Un has pledged to bolster its nuclear arsenal unless Washington scraps what Pyongyang calls a hostile policy meant to collapse Kim’s government.

Is it, because I don't get that feeling at all. I get the feeling that the North Koreans are scared shitless after a review of decades of U.S. foreign policy. 

In another development, a senior South Korean Defense Ministry official, Yoo Jeh Seung, told reporters that Seoul and Washington have agreed to begin talks on a possible deployment of the THAAD missile-defense system in South Korea. 

Is that why the North Koreans fired a shot from their pop gun?

North Korea has long decried the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea, and Beijing would see a South Korean deployment of THAAD, which is one of the world’s most advanced missile-defense systems, as a threat to its interests in the region. 

As noted above, it's really there for them and Russia as the U.S. war-planners prepare for the future.

In a statement, North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration, in typical propaganda-laden language, praised “the fascinating vapor of Juche satellite trailing in the clear and blue sky in spring of February on the threshold of the Day of the Shining Star.”

Juche is a North Korean philosophy focusing on self-reliance; the Day of the Shining Star refers to the Feb. 16 birthday of Kim Jong Un’s father, former dictator Kim Jong Il.

You know, the last thing I like is a hypocritical pot hollering kettle. I wonder how Asians view such nonsense. 

President Park Geun-hye of South Korea called the North Korean launch an “intolerable provocation,” saying the North’s efforts to advance its missile capabilities were “all about maintaining the regime” in Pyongyang and ignored the hardships of ordinary North Koreans.

The same could be said of my own government and its myth-promoting pre$$.

And how will the shutting down of the factories help the starvation situation (the only media meal I've been given regarding an issue that is foremost on my policy agenda. Let's give 'em a plate of food rather than a bomb)?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to “take action to totally protect the safety and well-being of our people.” US National Security Adviser Susan Rice called the North’s missile and nuclear weapons programs “serious threats to our interests — including the security of some of our closest allies.”

Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed the United States’ “ironclad commitment to the security and defense” of its allies, the State Department said.

All this treaty responsibility crap reminds of the way the world was sucked into WWI.


"New US missile shield may alter North Asian geopolitics" by Sam Kim Bloomberg News  February 08, 2016

SEOUL — The United States has opened the door to parking a high-altitude missile defense system on North Korea’s doorstep, a move that could reshape North Asia’s security landscape.

President Obama confirmed in an interview Monday that the United States is consulting with South Korea about more missile defenses.

After the weekend launch of a long-range rocket by the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea now says it will consider allowing the deployment on its soil of a US Army system known as Thaad.

For years, South Korea has been reluctant to allow deployment of Thaad, which targets ballistic missiles at high altitudes and would complement lower-altitude defenses already in the country. That’s mainly because such a move would irritate China, which has warned against Thaad being deployed on the Korean peninsula.

Deployment of the system in South Korea could also prompt Japan to consider using it.

In an interview on CBS, Obama said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping a few days before the launch “about the need to really tighten the noose” on North Korea and bring about a verifiable denuclearization of the peninsula.

Oh, politically incorrect and coming from him of all people!

After the Sunday launch, a senior South Korean Defense Ministry official, Yoo Jeh Seung, said Seoul and Washington have agreed to begin talks on a possible deployment of Thaad, short for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.

Yoo said the talks are aimed at bolstering South Korea and US defenses defense in the face of escalating North Korean threats.

That's one way of looking at it.

While Thaad could be a deterrent against Kim’s regime, it would also raise the stakes for security in a region where suspicions already run high over Japan’s military aggression during World War II and a later conflict that split the Korean peninsula between an isolated, unpredictable regime in the north and what is now a democracy in the south. 

Honestly, keeping the waters churning in that part of the world benefits the U.S. argument of a continued presence. Otherwise, we are kind of out of there.

“The Chinese are doing anything possible to head off what they think might be a potential weapon that could be used against them,” said Richard Bitzinger, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “You can say everything you want, that this is not directed against the Chinese, but the fact of the matter is, it potentially could be.”


Same thing with the alleged shield against missiles from Iran (before the "deal") they want to erect in Eastern Europe.

But Park Chang-kwon, a senior research fellow at the state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul, said South Korea would draw ridicule for not beefing up its defense in the face of an increasing threat. ‘‘Thaad helps deter North Korea from seeking nuclear arms because it sends a strong message South Korea is and will keep responding with tough actions,’’ he said.

I'd rather be ridiculed than embroiled in war because of having to send some message!

Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said in November that Japan was considering the deployment of Thaad to counter any potential strike from North Korea. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday that the country had no plan at the moment to introduce the system.

But, you know, it would help out some U.S. war contractors, wouldn't it?



"Pentagon officials outlining a proposed $583 billion defense budget on Tuesday emphasized that North Korea now looms as the prime nuclear threat to the U.S., Raytheon builds the hit-to-kill warhead at the center of the U.S.’s $34 billion ground-based missile defense network, which is managed by Boeing. The system successfully intercepted a dummy warhead in June 2014 after two high-profile failures in 2010. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, said in his latest annual assessment of major weapons that despite past setbacks, the missile defense system has demonstrated a ‘‘limited capability to defend the U.S. homeland from small numbers of intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea or Iran.’’

Did that hit the target or what?

Now you apply sanctions:

"The House sent legislation to President Barack Obama on Friday authorizing new sanctions against North Korea."

That was after the Senate voted 96-0 for it. 

So much for partisanship when it comes to war.

"US and China agree to toughen North Korea sanctions" by Somini Sengupta New York Times  February 25, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — The United States and China have agreed to stiffen international financial sanctions against North Korea in a major shift for Beijing, which has long been unwilling to further isolate its intransigent ally.

Now if only the U.S. would take the same approach to a small Middle Eastern state of apartheid.

Whether the development, confirmed Thursday by diplomats at the UN Security Council, means that China will take steps to prevent North Korean ships from bringing coal and iron ore to Chinese ports remains unclear. The United States had pushed for a partial ban on permitting North Korean ships to enter ports around the world.

China is Pyongyang’s main economic trading partner — and its principal diplomatic backer. The draft resolution, which US officials said they intended to circulate Thursday among the 15 members of the Security Council, marks a diplomatic pivot for the Chinese.

The proposal is likely to come up for a vote in the coming days.

The agreement follows a meeting this week between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Washington. On Wednesday, President Obama joined a meeting between Wang and Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser....

Any minutes from that meaning?


"U.N. Toughens Sanctions on North Korea in Response to Its Nuclear Program" by SOMINI SENGUPTA and CHOE SANG-HUN, MARCH 2, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — The 15-member Council approved a draft resolution that called for inspecting all cargo going in and out of the country.

Honestly, that is a declaration of war against the North. No nation would stand for that, or no government worth its salt anyway. You couldn't without losing total respect of the population. It would be political suicide.

Much depends, however, on whether China — North Korea’s leading trade partner and diplomatic shield — will enforce it.

Related: "Few are ever inspected by the Chinese authorities. China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea’s trade. Half of that business is estimated to flow through Dandong, a boom-and-bust city whose fortunes are tied to trade with North Korea. Virtually everything that keeps the North Korean economy afloat passes through here: Coal and iron ore come in, violating the sanctions, and crude oil flows out, exempted from them. Smuggling is rampant. The export of North Korean rare earth minerals and gold, banned under the new rule, is one of the more lucrative revenue sources for the North Korean government, traders said. That business continues on privately owned 200-ton ships belonging to Chinese smugglers based here, they said. The U.N. rules put the onus on customs inspectors here to judge."

It's Chinese lip $ervice, ha-ha!

The list of banned goods was expanded by the resolution to include luxury watches, Jet Skis and snowmobiles worth more than $2,000. While that may seem inconsequential for such a poor country, Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s ruler, has been known to use such items to curry favor with his fellow elites. 

I'm not going to get into attacking North Korean elites when there are so many $cum here.

The resolution also requires countries to expel North Korean diplomats accused of illicit activities. It prohibits North Korea from sending martial arts experts to train police officers in foreign countries, as a United Nations panel recently accused Pyongyang of doing in Uganda.

Loopholes remain, however. North Korea can still buy oil and sell its coal and iron ore, as long as such transactions are not used for its nuclear weapons program; compliance would be difficult to prove.

The Obama administration welcomed passage of the resolution, with the spokesman Josh Earnest calling it “a strong message to Pyongyang.”

The Security Council measure is a narrow, diplomatic convergence between the United States and China. Beijing has been loath to draw attention to Pyongyang’s human rights abuses, which the United Nations has documented and Washington has emphasized. The new resolution is not explicitly aimed at human rights violations, though Samantha Power, the American ambassador to the United Nations,  made that link in her remarks to the Council.

She ought to be careful given the government's recent history of torture.

Referring to widespread malnutrition, Ms. Power accused North Korea on Wednesday of caring more about expanding its nuclear weapons program than “growing its children.”

She needs to turn and look home. 

Food stamps get caught while the war machine is fed.

The Chinese ambassador, Liu Jieyi, expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of sanctions, and used the occasion to criticize an American proposal to deploy a missile shield in South Korea.

“Sanctions are not an end to themselves, and the Security Council cannot fundamentally resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Liu said. “Today’s resolution should be a new starting point and a paving stone for the political settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.”

Chomping at the bit for war, aren't those Chinese?


Of course, there is always the hypocritical old whipping boy of human rights:

"North Korea slams UN rights body for criticism of its record" Assocaited Press  March 01, 2016

GENEVA — North Korea will ‘‘never, ever be bound’’ by international resolutions that criticize its human rights record, its foreign minister declared Tuesday, ripping into deadly gun violence in the United States and highlighting alleged rights violations against refugees who are pouring into Europe to flee violence at home. 

Israel claims the same and no one hassles them.

Ri Su Yong took a strong message from a country known for powerful state propaganda to the U.N.-sponsored Human Rights Council on Tuesday, saying that any resolutions against North Korea will only be ‘‘proof of partiality and double standards.’’

I read a Globe every day between 6 and 8 a.m.

Over the years, North Korea has blown hot and cold with the HRC. U.N. human rights expert on North Korea, Marzuki Darusman, said in a report last month he wanted supreme leader Kim Jong Un to know he and other top North Korean officials could be held accountable if they are found responsible for crimes against humanity committed under their leadership.

Let's put Bush and Bliar at the top of the list!

Darusman was on a U.N. Commission of Inquiry on North Korea that in 2014 published a key report that laid out widespread abuses like a harsh system of political prison camps holding up to 120,000 people. The commission urged the Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court over its human rights record.

Like the, you know.... that's the imagery that is meant to be drawn up in your mind. 

In AmeriKa they are known as correctional facilities.

Ri said the council has not given enough attention — or none at all — to ‘‘systematic racial discrimination’’ in the United States, and cited ‘‘deplorable human rights violations’’ linked to gun violence in the U.S. He also cited refugees who had been ‘‘drowned in the sea or choked to death in a sealed lorry as in the case of Europe.’’

Kind of has a point, and one does come around to seeing the U.N. for the tool that it is and not the altruistic new world order that was dreamed of in 1945.

Separately, the United States has asked the Security Council to schedule a vote on a resolution that would impose tough new sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test and rocket launch.

Oh, yeah, back to those.


SeeNorth Korea fires short-range projectiles after UN sanctions

Good thing they didn't hit the nearby war games drills:

"In drills, US, South Korea practice striking North’s nuclear plants" by Anna Fifield Washington Post  March 08, 2016

TOKYO — The United States and South Korea started huge military exercises Monday, kicking off drills that will include rehearsing surgical strikes on North Korea’s main nuclear and missile facilities and sending in special forces to carry out ‘‘decapitation raids’’ on the North Korean leadership.

The exercises always elicit an angry response from Pyongyang but Monday’s statement was particularly ferocious.

Yeah. Imagine if some nation were doing war games to surgically strike AmeriKa and decapitate leadership in Washington D.C. What kind of reaction would that draw?

The drills come amid a particularly tense time.

United States Forces Korea said in a statement that it had informed the North’s Korean People’s Army — through the United Nations Command, which controls the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas — about the exercise dates and ‘‘the nonprovocative nature of this training.’’

But North Korea did not see it this way.

That's where I was going to end the print.

North Korea is particularly sensitive to suggestions of attacks on Kim — as the case of the 2014 Hollywood film ‘‘The Interview’’ showed — and it also has a habit of making threats on which it cannot follow through.

Actually, it was later proven that it was disgruntled Sony employees behind that, but that was quickly hushed up and the conventional myths live on.

Last week, Kim ordered his military to be ready to use its nuclear weapons at any time, saying they were needed, given the ‘‘ferocious hostility’’ of new ‘‘gangster-like’’ sanctions leveled against Pyongyang. 

Reminds me of another nation....

Monday’s threats were ‘‘absolutely not credible,’’ said Daniel Pinkston, a former Korean linguist with the United States Air Force who now teaches at Troy University’s campus in Seoul. 


‘‘They would trigger everything North Korea wants to avoid, which is their absolute destruction in retaliatory attacks,’’ Pinkston said. ‘‘Second, if you are going to launch an attack against a much stronger adversary, why would you telegraph that? You’d want the element of surprise.’’

Much of North Korea’s rhetoric is for domestic consumption, as Kim tries to burnish his leadership credentials ahead of a much-anticipated Workers’ Party congress in May, the first in 36 years.

They call it a newspaper over here.


The war plan is called OPLAN 5015.

"North Korean image purportedly shows nuclear warhead mock-up" Associated Press  March 09, 2016

My print copy headline claims "N. Korea brags about tiny warhead."

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea caused a new stir Wednesday by publicizing a purported mock-up of a key part of a nuclear warhead, with leader Kim Jong Un saying his country has developed miniaturized atomic bombs that can be placed on missiles.

U.S. is working on them (in case you missed it).

The North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried photos on its front page showing Kim and nuclear scientists standing beside what outside analysts say appears to be a model warhead part — a small, silverish globe with a ballistic missile or a model ballistic missile in the background.

The newspaper said Kim met his nuclear scientists for a briefing on the status of their work and declared he was greatly pleased that warheads had been standardized and miniaturized for use on ballistic missiles.

Information from secretive, authoritarian North Korea is often impossible to confirm and the country’s state media have a history of photo manipulations. But it was the first time the North has publicly displayed its purported nuclear designs, though it remains unclear whether the country has functioning warheads of that size or is simply trying to develop one.

Look who is frikkin' talking!!!

South Korea’s Defense Ministry quickly disputed the North’s claim that it possesses miniaturized warheads. It called the photos and miniaturization claim an ‘‘intolerable direct challenge’’ to the international community.

The photos come amid heightened tensions after the United Nations imposed harsh sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier this year. North Korea warned Monday of pre-emptive nuclear strikes after the United States and South Korea began their biggest-ever war games, which are to continue until the end of April.

North Korea has previously said it has nuclear warheads small enough to put on long-range missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland, but experts have questioned those claims.

The round object shown in the photos appears to be a model of a warhead trigger device which would contain uranium or plutonium, according to nuclear expert Whang Joo-ho of Kyung Hee University in South Korea. He said it was obviously a model because Kim and others would not stand near an actual device because of concerns about radioactivity. 

It could all be a bluff, and one can understand why. 

Karl Dewey, a senior analyst for IHS Jane’s, a defense and aerospace publishing company, said the sphere could be a simple implosion weapon, possibly with hydrogen isotopes added to make it more efficient.

‘‘It is unlikely that the object in the photo is a thermonuclear bomb (also referred to as a hydrogen bomb),’’ he said in a statement. ‘‘Thermonuclear weapons are multistage devices and in modern weapons the need to place two separate stages together would result in a more oblong-like structure.’’ 

And spy satellites and such would have seen such preparations, right?

Also shown in the photos is a KN-08 ballistic missile or its model, which reportedly has an estimated range of 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles), according to South Korean analysts. The KN-08, which North Korea showed off in 2012, is said to be capable of being launched from a road-mobile vehicle, which would make it difficult to monitor via satellite. The South Korean Defense Ministry said it believes the missile hasn’t been proven functional.

North Korea says it tested its first H-bomb on Jan. 6, followed last month by the launch of a rocket that put a satellite into orbit but which violated U.N. resolutions because it employs dual-use technology that could also be applied to long-range ballistic missiles.

North Korea’s development of smaller nuclear weapons and long-range missiles has long been a matter of concern and could shake up the security balance in Asia.

Or could be used as an excuse by someone else to do such a thing -- if they wanted to pivot to Asia say.


SeeNorth Korea angrily fires missile into sea

The moves are the latest in an escalating standoff.

"North Korea Threatens Nuclear Test, Defying U.N."  By CHOE SANG-HUN New York Times  March 15, 2016

SEOUL — Since the sanctions resolution, North Korea has issued a series of threats and claims about its nuclear ability. It threatened to launch “pre-emptive” nuclear strikes at the United States.

Where would they have ever gotten such an idea about war, huh?

It also said that it has “standardized” miniaturized nuclear warheads to be fitted on its missiles. Last Friday, the North said Kim had ordered more nuclear tests, though it did not give a time frame.

On Sunday, a North Korean website quoted a nuclear scientist as saying that the country had a hydrogen bomb, and that if it were dropped on Manhattan, “all its residents will die instantly and the whole city will turn into piles of ashes.” The North has said a hydrogen bomb was tested on Jan. 6, though U.S. officials dismissed that claim, given the blast’s relatively small explosive power.

Well, if there is a mushroom could over a U.S. city in the coming months we already know what the false flag script handed to the pre$$ will read. It was either North Korea or Iran giving the bomb they don't have to ISIS, blah, blah, blah.

It is often difficult to tell propaganda from a genuine threat in North Korean statements.

Try reading a Globe every morning.

The country tends to sound more bellicose and bombastic when the United States and South Korea conduct joint annual war games, as they are doing now."

That must account for the angry fire:

North Korea fires 5 short-range projectiles
North Korea fires ballistic missile into sea, South Korea says
North Korea claims more progress in missile development
North Korea is able to mount nuclear warhead on missile, South says

North Korea threatens to attack Seoul; video shows nuclear strike on Washington....

Will the crowds cheer like in "Independence Day?"

It was the latest in a barrage of threats against Washington and Seoul over joint military drills now underway that the North sees as a rehearsal for invasion. The joint military exercises are held annually, but tensions are particularly high this year because the drills are bigger than ever and follow North Korea’s recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

Under Kim’s regime, North Korea also has been clamping down on the use of smuggled-in mobile phones, which North Koreans use to gain access to China’s mobile networks. The China phone links have been an important bridge between the North and the outside world. They connect North Koreans to relatives who have defected abroad, mostly to South Korea."

That's how they know North Korea is readying nuclear test.

And then, amidst the barking of war....

"North Korea readies for its biggest political show in years" by Eric Talmadge Associated Press  May 05, 2016

A presidential election? 


PYONGYANG, North Korea — One thing is sure: The congress is shaping up to be a major opportunity for North Korea’s young and still largely enigmatic leader to step out of the shadows of his father and grandfather and move more toward setting his own tone of leadership.

North Korea has allowed in droves of foreign media to make sure it gets a global audience for what the government clearly intends to be a showcase of national unity and stability under Kim.

To put its best face in front of the cameras, residents of the capital, Pyongyang, have been busy for months painting walls, fixing roads, and rehearsing for mass rallies in mandatory demonstrations of loyalty.

‘‘We volunteer to take part in these big events to show that we, the people, are united in support of our respected marshal, and to demonstrate our political commitment,’’ said Ryu Jin Song, a university student taking part in a practice for congress celebrations.

That's Congre$$ with a small c.

On paper, the congress is the party’s highest-level decision-making body, though the real decisions are made by Kim Jong Un and his inner circle. The delegates at the congress — who will probably number in the thousands — will be there more to endorse than to debate.

But along with a heavy dose of North Korean-style pomp and theater, the gathering is likely to provide some insights into what Kim’s priorities are and who he wants to promote into the positions he needs to carry them out.

It's a party convention.

‘‘The significance of the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea is that it will be a turning point in our revolution,’’ professor Song Dong Won of North Korea’s Academy of Social Sciences told an Associated Press television crew in Pyongyang. He said the congress would present ‘‘the successes of the last 30 years’’ and a ‘‘brilliant plan for the ultimate success of our revolution.’’

The decision to hold a congress itself is telling — Kim Jong Un has patterned himself more closely after his charismatic grandfather than his notoriously reticent father, who almost never spoke in public.

In content, the congress is likely to be filled with praises of Kim Jong Un and his dual policy of developing North Korea’s nuclear weapons while also building its domestic economy, a sort of guns-and-butter strategy he has championed but many outside economists believe is untenable because of the heavy price the nuclear program brings in international sanctions. The country is now facing the toughest United Nations sanctions in 20 years.

Strange how some things apply to others but not onto themselves, 'eh? 

Here we are over here creaking under the weight of debt and empire and it's that little country over there.... sigh.

Another important feature of the congress may be who is appointed to, or dismissed from, key positions. Many analysts expect Kim to replace the party’s old guard with younger elites loyal to him. He may also formally elevate his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to a position that would essentially make her his second in command.

Women really are taking hold of the reigns of power these days, huh? Got May and Merkel in Europe, maybe Clinton here, and Lagarde and Yellen heading the banks.

Believed to be in her late twenties, she is currently a vice department director at the party’s Central Committee and frequently appears at her brother’s public events, standing out amid elderly male officials.

There is also speculation that Kim Yong Nam, an 88-year-old member of the party’s powerful five-man politburo Presidium, may be dismissed because of his age.

If so, he could also later lose his position as president of the Presidium of North Korea’s parliament, which makes him the country’s nominal head of state.


Here is a preview of the inside:

"Inside the ornate April 25 House of Culture, draped in red party banners and flags, the congress provides a major opportunity for Kim Jong Un, who is still largely a mystery to the outside world and has yet to travel abroad or meet any world leaders, to step out of the shadows of his grandfather and father, Kim Jong Il."

They are calling it a coronation:

"North Korea congress shapes up as coronation for Kim" by Eric Talmadge Associated Press  May 07, 2016

PYONGYANG, North Korea — In something like a formal coronation for Kim, the ruling Workers’ Party congress was also expected to officially elect him to its top post, equivalent of general secretary of the party, in a tightly choreographed event intended to demonstrate Kim is firmly in control despite his country’s deepening international isolation.

North Korea is under increasing pressure over its nuclear weapons program and recent ballistic missile tests conducted in violation of international resolutions.

In a separate development, three Nobel laureates in science and economics who visited North Korea last week for an educational exchange said Saturday they had met university students who were eager to learn but who were hampered by the North’s tight Internet controls and by rudimentary, decades-old equipment, The New York Times reported. The weeklong visit was organized by the Vienna-based International Peace Foundation and by the National Peace Committee of Korea, an organ of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party.

The North Korean congress is being held in a lavishly decorated hall decked out with bright red banners and flags bearing the party’s hammer, sickle, and pen symbol. Along with high political theater, the gathering is a major milestone for the young North Korean leader....

I'm told another nuclear test “in the near future,” even though "Kim said North Korea would not use its nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty was violated." 

And no sooner were the words out of his mouth....

The analysis said overall activity at the site is low, but that vehicles have been spotted at what is believed to be the Command Center, located approximately 4 miles south of the test site.

On Saturday morning, thousands of people continued practicing their moves in open areas around Pyongyang for the kind of mass celebrations that North Korea typically puts on for big events.

Since assuming power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011, Kim has pushed a “byongjin” guns-and-butter policy of developing North Korea’s nuclear weapons while also building its domestic economy.

Though the dual strategy is his trademark policy, many outside economists believe it is unlikely to succeed because of the heavy price the nuclear program brings in international sanctions that keep the country’s economy from achieving sustainable growth. 

Yeah, I saw something like that.

All of the previous six congresses were convened by Kim’s grandfather, national founder Kim Il Sung. The previous one was used to formally announce Kim Jong Il as the second heir to power in the North’s Kim family dynasty.

Kim Il Sung died in 1994, and Kim Jong Il — who rarely spoke in public — never called for the convening of a congress, though they were on paper supposed to be held every five years.

As George W once said, it's just a goddamned piece of paper.


Well, the party's over.....

Kang Sok Ju, 76, North Korea nuclear negotiator

A coincidence that he turns up dead at this critical time, and who benefits?

North Korea threatens South’s ships after sea border chase

The Chinese Navy was lurking in the background.

North Korea’s latest missile test shows signs of progress, analysts say

They credit hard work, but some have their doubts if it helps.

"South Korea will deploy US antimissile system" New York Times  July 09, 2016

SEOUL — South Korea and the United States announced Friday that they had decided to deploy an advanced US missile defense system in the South, despite strong protests from China, which sees it as a threat to its own security.

It's called putting the pieces in place for future war.

The two allies agreed to the deployment of the so-called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, to better protect South Korea and the US military in the region from North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, said Ryu Jae-seung, a senior Defense Ministry official.

The growing capabilities in doubt, but.... that conflicts with narrative needed.

Seoul and Washington have been in talks for months about implementing the system.

China’s foreign ministry promptly denounced the plan, saying the system would harm China’s security and would not contribute to peace on the Korean Peninsula, Reuters reported.

North Korea had no immediate comment on the announcement.


Meanwhile, the war at sea continued:

North Korea test-fires submarine-launched ballistic missile

Unfortunately, "the US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier isn’t ready for warfare. The $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford — the most expensive warship ever built — may struggle to launch and recover aircraft, mount a defense, and move munitions, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester. On-board systems for those tasks have poor or unknown reliability issues, according to a June 28 memo obtained by Bloomberg News."

What a way to raise anchor, 'eh? 

That means the air war has been lost!

"N. Korea says it’s been practicing to blow up S. Korean airports" The Washington Post News Service  July 21, 2016

TOKYO — North Korea said Wednesday that it had been practicing to blow up South Korean ports and airports with nuclear warheads during its most recent ballistic missile launches, the latest sign of Pyongyang’s anger over attempts to contain it.

It was part of a drill overseen by Kim Jong Un, the third-generation leader, because he feels under threat! 

The drill rehearsed ‘‘making preemptive strikes at ports and airfields in the operational theater in south Korea, where the US imperialists nuclear war hardware is to be hurled,’’ North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency reported on Wednesday.

I keep wondering where in the world they ever got such an idea!

In response to North Korea’s provocations this year — January’s nuclear test and the steady stream of missiles that has followed it — South Korea has agreed to host a sophisticated antimissile system, despite the strong objections of China, a key trading partner.

The United States and South Korea this month finalized the details for deploying a terminal high-altitude area defense (THAAD) battery to South Korea that would be operated by US forces stationed there. It is designed to intercept incoming missiles.

Ah! Another excuse to keep 'em there.

Han Min-koo, the South’s defense minister, told lawmakers in an emergency session held Tuesday afternoon that North Korea’s missiles constituted a ‘‘sort of protest’’ against the planned THAAD deployment.

As long as that is all it is, I'm cool with that.

The decision has also been controversial in South Korea, particularly in the rural area of Seongju, about 130 miles southeast of Seoul, which has been chosen as the site for the battery.


Residents pelted the South Korean prime minister with eggs when he visited last week to try to alleviate their concerns that they would become a target for North Korea....


Somehow people aren't all that happy when war comes to town -- de$pite the obviou$ benefits!


Also seeTop South Korean prosecutor arrested on bribery charges

It's a case that the country’s media have portrayed as the epitome of corruption among its elite at a time when public grievances run deep over growing income inequality and the way justice is pursued here. Local media have reported it as the latest example of how some of the country’s business and government elites promote one another’s interests through collusive ties.

That's what comes with being an AmeriKan ally, 'eh?

And when one can't be bribed by any price?

US sanctions North Korean leader Kim Jong Un  

They are unusual but not unprecedented, and my question is why did Obama stir the hornet's nest on his way out?

"North Korean diplomat accuses US of crossing a red line" by Eric Talmadge Associated Press  July 28, 2016

Well, he's certainly put enough of them down. Gets to be like a web whereby he boxes himself in.

PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea’s top diplomat for US affairs said Thursday that Washington ‘‘crossed the red line’’ and effectively declared war by putting leader Kim Jong Un on its list of sanctioned individuals, adding that a vicious showdown could erupt if the United States and South Korea hold annual war games as planned next month.

More war games? 

They just finished up a set! 

How much is all this costing the overstretched American taxpayer anyway?

Han Song Ryol, director general of the US affairs department at the North’s Foreign Ministry, said in an interview that recent US actions have put the situation on the Korean Peninsula on a war footing.

The United States and South Korea regularly conduct joint military exercises south of the Demilitarized Zone, and Pyongyang typically responds to them with tough talk and threats of retaliation.

Han said North Korea believes the nature of the maneuvers has become openly aggressive because they reportedly now include training designed to prepare troops for the invasion of the North’s capital and ‘‘decapitation strikes’’ aimed at killing its top leadership.

Han says designating Kim himself for sanctions was the final straw.

‘‘The Obama administration went so far to have the impudence to challenge the supreme dignity of the DPRK in order to get rid of its unfavorable position during the political and military showdown with the DPRK,’’ Han said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

‘‘The United States has crossed the red line in our showdown,’’ he said. ‘‘We regard this thrice-cursed crime as a declaration of war.’’

Technically, legally, they are right.

Although North Korea had already been heavily sanctioned internationally for its nuclear weapons and long-range missile development programs, Washington’s announcement on July 6 was the first time Kim Jong Un has been personally sanctioned. 

I don't like that. No global disagreement should be personalized. The fates of billions hang in the balance.

Less than a week later, Pyongyang cut off its final official means of communications with Washington — known as the New York channel. Han said Pyongyang has made it clear that everything between the two must now be dealt with under ‘‘war law.’’

They vowed they would, and it's a good thing my pre$$ told me they don't carry things through or keep their word. Wish I had a government that kept its.

Katina Adams, State Department spokeswoman for East Asia and the Pacific, said the United States continues to call on North Korea ‘‘to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further destabilize the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations.’’

She will get to Israel later. That's not to excuse North Korea, per se, it is simply to recognize U.S. selectivity.

She said the US-South Korea joint military exercises are ‘‘defense-orientated’’ and have been carried out regularly and openly for roughly 40 years, and are designed to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula. ‘‘These exercises are a clear demonstration of the US commitment to the alliance,’’ she said.

South Korea’s unification, defense, and foreign ministries did not immediately comment.

Kim and 10 others were put on the list of sanctioned individuals in connection with alleged human rights abuses, documented by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, that include a network of political prisons and harsh treatment of any kind of political dissent in the authoritarian state. State Department officials said the sanctions were intended in part to highlight those responsible for the abuses and to pressure lower-ranking officials to think twice before carrying them out.

So when are the sanctions going to be applied to western war criminals?

Pyongyang denies abuse claims and says the UN report was based on fabrications gleaned from disgruntled defectors. Pointing to such things as police shootings of black Americans and poverty in even the richest democracies, it says the West has no moral high ground from which to criticize the North’s domestic political situation. It also says US allies with questionable human-rights records receive less criticism. 

They got some good points there, and they didn't even mention torture that has been admitted.

That's why I'm not waving women, children, and human rights presented to me by a war promoting paper that ignores its own transgressions.

Han took strong issue with the assertion that it not the United States but Pyongyang’s continued development of nuclear weapons and missiles that is provoking tensions.

‘‘Day by day, the US military blackmail against the DPRK and the isolation and pressure is becoming more open,’’ Han said. ‘‘It is not us, it is the United States that first developed nuclear weapons, who first deployed them, and who first used them against humankind. And on the issue of missiles and rockets, which are to deliver nuclear warheads and conventional weapons warheads, it is none other than the United States who first developed it and who first used it.’’

(Blog editor can not argue with that, and the fact that they didn't have to be used makes the crimes more monstrous)


RelatedKim Jong Un has no monopoly on nuclear crazy

And he hasn't even used one yet!

It's become "a Cold War-style standoff. Leaflets discovered at a South Korean border town contained cartoon images showing South Korean President Park Geun-hye wearing a bikini and falling headfirst into a slop bucket. The leaflets referred to her as “human filth.” It is not the first time North Korea has lashed out at Park, the South’s first female president, in a sexist or derogatory manner. It has previously referred to her as a prostitute. Many foreign governments and analysts remain highly skeptical about the H-bomb claim, but whatever the North detonated underground will probably push the country closer toward a fully functional nuclear arsenal, which it is still not thought to have. The North previously conducted atomic bomb tests in 2006, 2009, and 2013."

I'll take pieces of paper rather than real bombs anytime!

"Though parts of the world’s most fortified border can seem like a tourist trap, drawing throngs of camera-happy visitors on both sides every year, to the military-trained eye the Cold War-style standoff along the 160-mile DMZ — established when the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty — is an incident waiting to happen."

Yeah, ‘‘something could happen at any time.’’

Are you up for one last battle before I send you off to war?


N. Korea fires mid-range missile toward waters near Japan