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Tag Archives: Kim Jong Un

A Victory for Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula, by Mel Gurtov

North and South Korea are making more diplomatic progress than they have since the Korean War, but their efforts are being denigrated or ignored. From Mel Gurtov at antiwar.com:

On September 18 leaders of North and South Korea signed a September Declaration to advance inter-Korean cooperation and the possibility of the North’s denuclearization. Critics immediately dismissed the agreement for having accomplished nothing on the latter objective while largely ignoring what was accomplished on the former. From my perspective, the critics have it wrong: They have bought into the Trump administration’s narrative about denuclearization and failed to pay attention to the importance of North-South Korean cooperation as a tool for reducing tensions on the peninsula and, potentially, for neutralizing if not eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

Few people outside Washington are likely to read the text of the September Declaration or the accompanying military agreements signed by the two countries’ defense ministers. These documents, far from being mere window dressing, contain substantive tension-reducing steps. And the symbolism is important too: These are agreements by and for Koreans. As the declaration states: “The two leaders reaffirmed the principle of independence and self-determination of the Korean nation, and agreed to consistently and continuously develop inter-Korean relations for national reconciliation and cooperation. . . . ”

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Stirring The Korean Pot, by Eric Margolis

For their own nefarious reasons, many neocons and other purveyors of US war do not want to see peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Springtime in Korea.  Peace and love have erupted all over the mountainous peninsula as the leaders of the two rival nations seek to end the nearly seven decades of hostility between them.

One can’t underestimate the passionate longing felt by most Koreans on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for some form of reunification – or at least reattachment – of the two nations.  Amazingly, the 1950-53 Korean War has never been ended by a peace treaty so a simmering state of war exists between North and South Korea in spite of past attempts to end it.  During the war, 33,686 Americans died and 128,600 were wounded, and the two Koreas suffered over 2 million dead. Chinese casualties were heavy. Continue reading

Korea, Fake News, and What’s Really Going On, by Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo has a different take on the North Korean situation. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The media continues to get the President’s North Korean peace initiative all wrong: in some cases this is due to laziness, Washington-centric group-think, and just plain ignorance. In other cases, it is quite deliberate. Take, for example, the recent “news” that Trump canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s scheduled trip to Pyongyang due to a “belligerent” letter sent by the North Koreans to the White House. What is the source of this alleged development? A single report in the Washington Post put out there by one Josh Rogin, not a reporter but an opinion columnist with strong neoconservative inclinations. Rogin attributes this information to “two senior administration officials” while admitting that “[t]he exact contents of the message are unclear.”

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The Media’s Brazen Dishonesty About North Korean Nuclear Violations, by Gareth Porter

It’s annoying now, this establishment onslaught against negotiations with anybody or peace anywhere, but it’s hard to see how in the long run that’s anything more than a strategy that will backfire. You can’t come out and actually say you’re against negotiations and peace, so have to resort to lies and subterfuge, which the establishment and its media arm are employing with reckless abandon. From Gareth Porter at theamericanconservative.com:

Press irresponsibly relies on single-source report to accuse Kim of breaking an agreement he never made

President Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un shake hands in summit room, June 12, 2018. (Office of the President of the United States/Public Domain)

In late June and early July, NBC News, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal published stories that appeared at first glance to shed a lurid light on Donald Trump’s flirtation with Kim Jong-un. They contained satellite imagery showing that North Korea was making rapid upgrades to its nuclear weapons complex at Yongbyon and expanding its missile production program just as Trump and Kim were getting chummy at their Singapore summit.

In fact, those media outlets were selling journalistic snake oil. By misrepresenting the diplomatic context of the images they were hyping, the press launched a false narrative around the Trump-Kim summit and the negotiations therein.

The headline of the June 27 NBC News story revealed the network’s political agenda on the Trump-Kim negotiations. “If North Korea is denuclearizing,” it asked, “why is it expanding a nuclear research center?” The piece warned that North Korea “continues to make improvements to a major nuclear facility, raising questions about President Donald Trump’s claim that Kim Jong Un has agreed to disarm, independent experts tell NBC News.”

CNN’s coverage of the same story was even more sensationalist, declaring that there were “troubling signs” that North Korea was making “improvements” to its nuclear facilities, some of which it said had been carried out after the Trump-Kim summit. It pointed to a facility that had produced plutonium in the past and recently undergone an upgrade, despite Kim’s alleged promise to Trump to draw down his nuclear arsenal. CNN commentator Max Boot cleverly spelled out the supposed implication: “If you were about to demolish your house, would you be remodeling the kitchen?”

To continue reading: The Media’s Brazen Dishonesty About North Korean Nuclear Violations

From Singapore to Helsinki: The Case for Peace, by Justin Raimondo

The same usual suspects have lined up against Trump and Kim Jong Un’s negotiations and the Helsinki summit. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

North Korea’s opacity is a boon to the War Party: they can seize on any glitch in the ongoing negotiations with the Trump administration as “proof” that Kim Jong-un “will never give up his nuclear weapons,” as former anti-interventionist Daniel Larison tweets 24 hours a day. The contention is that Pyongyang has a different definition of “denuclearization” than the rest of the world: it means US withdrawal from South Korea, we are told. Yet Kim has reportedly agreed to not dispute the presence of US troops in the south, and this is clearly a distortion of what’s really going on.

So what’s the real story?

We don’t know: all the “news” stories about this matter pretend to be omniscient, as if reporters were flies on the wall listening in to the negotiators. This is obviously not the case, and it is especially true in this case: North Korea is a closed society, and access is granted only rarely. This has led to the improbable impression that it is a monolith, that there are no factions or political struggles. This is a) impossible, and b) disproved by history. Indeed, the history of the ruling Korean Workers Party is one of continuous power struggles followed by ruthless purges: there are even reports of actual fighting between rival units of the military.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s most recent trip to Pyongyang is being depicted in the media as a rebuke and a major setback for the peace talks, the major point being that he did not meet with Kim and was treated rather shabbily. Yet we don’t know the reason for this, although the “experts” and the media pretend to know. Of course, I don’t know, either, and yet my own theory is a lot more credible, given the historical context, than the “we got suckered” dogma that the phony “experts” – Trump-haters all – are circulating.

Kim is not just looking for a peace treaty and the elimination of hostilities: as I’ve written previously, he has launched a radical new turn toward the West. Today he rules over a ramshackle country that cannot feed its own people: the “Juche” system of absolute autarchy isn’t working because it cannot work. This failure undermines Kim’s legitimacy, and he is determined to correct it not with piddling little reforms but by transforming his country in much the same way as Mikhail Gorbachev transformed the Soviet Union and put the country on a path to complete de-Sovietization. In short, Kim wants Pyongyang to resemble Singapore rather than Senegal.

To continue reading: From Singapore to Helsinki: The Case for Peace

President Trump: End The Korean War! by Eric Margolis

Did North Korea call Trump’s bluff. If so, what’s next? From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

“I have some pretty severe things we’re thinking about,” Trump said of North Korea at a news conference in Warsaw. “Doesn’t mean we’re going to do them.”

What President Trump really meant is that he has painted the US into a corner with all his threats of war and really does not know what to do next.   North Korea called his ‘or else’ bluff.  Good.  No action on North Korea is better than any conceivable military operation.

Last week the North Korea test fired a new, longer-ranged strategic missile, Hwasong-14, that US experts claimed was capable of hitting Alaska and perhaps even San Francisco.   North Korea is now believed to have mastered a lightweight nuclear warhead that can be carried by the Hwasong and shorter-ranged Taepodong and Nodong missiles.

North Korea can’t today seriously threaten North America with missile strikes, but it probably will by 2019.   Meanwhile, North Korean nuclear and conventionally-armed missiles (and this could include poison gas and biological warheads) today threaten the 80,000 plus US military personnel based in Japan, South Korea and Guam.  They would be immediate targets should the US and South Korea attack the north.

Add tens of millions of South Korean and Japanese civilians who are at risk of North Korean retaliation.   Half of South Korea’s capitol, Seoul, is within range of North Korean heavy artillery and rocket batteries dug into the so-called Demilitarized Zone.

It would take only three nuclear weapons to shatter Japan and just two to cripple South Korea, not to mention polluting the globe with radioactive dust and contaminating North Asia’s water sources.  Nuclear explosions would spread radioactive contamination over northern China and Pacific Russia.

Why are we even talking about nuclear war in North Asia?

Because North Korea has scraped and skimped for decades to build nuclear weapons for the sole reason of deterring a major US attack, including the use by the US of tactical nuclear weapons.  Pakistan ‘ate grass’ for decades to afford nuclear weapons to offset the threat from far more powerful India.  Israel uses the same argument to justify its large nuclear arsenal.

To continue reading: President Trump: End The Korean War!

“Officials” Attempt To Sabotage Further North Korea Talks, by Moon of Alabama

Certainly the last thing official Washington wants is anything constructive to come out of the Trump/Putin summit. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:

Several Congress people and some officials in the CIA and Trump administration try to throw a spanner into the negotiations with North Korea. They “leak” to NBC News about an intelligence assessment on North Korea’s nuclear facilities. The result is a sensationalized piece that includes no surprising facts.

North Korea has increased nuclear production at secret sites, say U.S. officials
“Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles,” said one U.S. official.

One of the NBC authors is Ken Dilanian who is well known for his tight cooperation with the CIA.

Its opening:

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration, U.S. officials told NBC News.

The intelligence assessment, which has not previously been reported, seems to counter the sentiments expressed by President Donald Trump, who tweeted after his historic June 12 summit with Kim that “there was no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

Analysts at the CIA and other intelligence agencies don’t see it that way, according to more than a dozen American officials who are familiar with their assessments and spoke on the condition of anonymity. They see a regime positioning itself to extract every concession it can from the Trump administration — while clinging to nuclear weapons it believes are essential to survival.

The result of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore was a “freeze for freeze” deal. North Korea stopped its nuclear and missile testing while the U.S. stopped the large maneuvers it regularity held with South Korea’s army. Both sides agreed to further talks. North Korea made some aspirational statements about denuclearization which have the same time frame as similar aspirational statements made by the U.S. in Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). There is no time frame to reach a certain state. There is no commitment towards declaring nuclear sites nor is there a commitment to stop the production of nuclear stuff.

To continue reading: “Officials” Attempt To Sabotage Further North Korea Talks

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