Tag Archives: South Korea

Little Rocket Man Wins the Round, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Has the world underestimated Kim Jong un? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

After a year in which he tested a hydrogen bomb and an ICBM, threatened to destroy the United States, and called President Trump “a dotard,” Kim Jong Un, at the gracious invitation of the president of South Korea, will be sending a skating team to the “Peace Olympics.”

An impressive year for Little Rocket Man.

Thus the most serious nuclear crisis since Nikita Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba appears to have abated. Welcome news, even if the confrontation with Pyongyang has probably only been postponed.

Still, we have been given an opportunity to reassess the 65-year-old Cold War treaty that obligates us to go to war if the North attacks Seoul, and drove us to the brink of war today.

2017 demonstrated that we need a reassessment. For the potential cost of carrying out our commitment is rising exponentially.

Two decades ago, a war on the Korean Peninsula, given the massed Northern artillery on the DMZ, meant thousands of U.S. dead.

Today, with Pyongyang’s growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, American cities could face Hiroshima-sized strikes, if war breaks out.

What vital U.S. interest is there on the Korean Peninsula that justifies accepting in perpetuity such a risk to our homeland?

We are told that Kim’s diplomacy is designed to split South Korea off from the Americans. And this is undeniably true.

For South Korean President Moon Jae-in is first and foremost responsible for his own people, half of whom are in artillery range of the DMZ. In any new Korean war, his country would suffer most.

And while he surely welcomes the U.S. commitment to fight the North on his country’s behalf as an insurance policy, Moon does not want a second Korean war, and he does not want President Trump making the decision as to whether there shall be one.

Understandably so. He is looking out for South Korea first.

To continue reading: Little Rocket Man Wins the Round

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Korea: Peace Breaks Out, by Justin Raimondo

The two countries with the most at stake on the Korean Peninsula are talking together. Who knows what might happen! From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech did get some coverage here in the US, but mostly the part about how he boasted that he has a “nuclear button” on his desk and that his newly-created nuclear deterrent force is within range of the United States. This provoked the expected expressions of belligerent panic from all the usual suspects, including Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Beverly Hills), who seems to spend most of his time tweeting about how President Trump is about to blow up the world (or else hand it over to Vladimir Putin).

Lieu is convinced – or wants us to think he’s convinced – that Trump is about to attack North Korea, a conflict that would end with millions dead and Korea a smoking ruin. What nearly all accounts of the speech left out was Kim’s amazingly conciliatory proposal to send a delegation to the South during the upcoming Olympics: “We sincerely hope that the South will successfully host the Olympics,” Kim said:

“Above all, we must ease the acute military tensions between the North and the South. The North and the South should no longer do anything that would aggravate the situation, and must exert efforts to ease military tensions and create a peaceful environment.”

Even as Trump and Kim were exchanging escalating insults over the past few months, the lines of communication were opening up between North and South Korea – and reaching Washington. Around mid-December South Korean President Moon Jae-in requested that the regularly scheduled military provocations exercises by joint US-South Korean forces, designed to simulate an invasion of the North, be postponed until after the Olympics: Trump, for all his alleged testosterone-driven aggression (imagine all that “toxic masculinity”!), readily agreed. That led to the Panmunjun “peace village” meeting in the demilitarized zone and the start of talks where the North agreed to send athletes and an entire delegation to the Olympic games and to continue ongoing talks with the South on lessening tensions.

To continue reading: Korea: Peace Breaks Out

 

North Korea Is Walking Back War – And Pundits Are Strangely Disappointed, by John Feffer

A friendship with the US, in which no wedges can be driven, involves doing what the US wants without question or complaint. From John Feffer at antiwar.com:

Pundits seem more concerned about the North driving a “wedge” between the U.S. and the South than about preventing nuclear war

In talks this week at the DMZ, South Korea welcomed the participation of North Korea in the upcoming Winter Olympics. The two countries also discussed restarting reunions of divided families and reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula. Earlier, both sides reestablished their hotline.

All of this adult conversation is a welcome change from the war of epithets between the “dotard” president of the United States and the “little rocket man” in Pyongyang.

Strange, then, that a politically diverse set of pundits in the United States has been worried only about how North Korea could use these talks to drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States.

Scott Snyder, from the Council on Foreign Relations, speculates that Kim Jong Un’s overture is a ploy to trap South Korean President Moon Jae-in “into concessions that might weaken South Korea’s alliance with the United States.” According to Danny Russel, the top Asia policy person in the Obama administration, “This is a classic united we stand, divided we fall situation. It’s always easier to maintain five party solidarity when North Korea is behaving badly.”

And from the American Enterprise Institute on the right, Nicholas Eberstadt warns that “Pyongyang regards South Korea as the weakest link in the gathering global campaign to pressure North Korea to denuclearize” and urges Seoul not to “get played.”

Then there’s the Wilson Center’s Robert Litwak, writing a piece in The New York Times entitled “A United Front Against North Korea.” Here’s the core of his argument:

We should be wary of Mr. Kim’s intentions. His gambit may be a ploy to buy time for the additional testing needed to acquire the capability to strike the continental United States. He may simply be trying to extract economic relief. Or his overture may be purely strategic, an attempt to drive a wedge between South Korea and its superpower patron, the United States.

To continue reading: North Korea Is Walking Back War – And Pundits Are Strangely Disappointed

Why the Korean ‘Crisis’ Is Completely Phony, by Justin Raimondo

The US may not have much of a say in what eventually happens on the Korean Peninsula. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

I’ve been busy these days, and my shoulders hurt from all that digging, so I’m taking a break and I figured, hey, what the heck, why not write a column: because, you see, I’m digging a bomb shelter. Oh yes I am! After all, I’ve heard – on the internet, where else?! – that the Orange-Haired Monster is about to start World War III, and I’m not about to be taken by surprise, no sirree! Of course, the locale and cause of this impending disaster shifts about quite considerably, depending on what’s on CNN’s “Trump-is-a-monster” agenda that day: sometimes it’s Iran, when Iran is in the news. Other times it’s a generic fear, attached to no particular geography: it’s just that the Orange-Haired Monster is a mad monster, and so it could happen at any time, anywhere.

Yikes! Gotta keep digging!

In recent weeks, the focus of the carefully sustained panic has been on the Korean peninsula, where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been launching increasingly sophisticated missiles and displaying his crude-but-seemingly-effective nuclear technology in order to show that he won’t be Gaddaffied.

Ah, but now it seems the panic-mongers just might’ve been wrong: despite the fiery rhetoric coming from both Washington and Pyongyang: the theatrics both Kim and Trump are so fond of succeeded in obscuring the objective reality beneath the brouhaha: the fact that neither the North Koreans nor the Americans have any interest in taking the “crisis” to the melting point. That’s why the Demilitarized Zone has stood there every since the armistice, with only a few brave defectors crossing every once in a while. The North Koreans fought us to a standstill, and the conflict has remained frozen to this day – because neither side has any interest in resuming it.

To continue reading: Why the Korean ‘Crisis’ Is Completely Phony

 

Peace Progress: North Korea Will Send Team To Winter Games As Seoul Prepares To Lift Some Sanctions, by Tyler Durden

Making yakety-yak is generally better than making war. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

A day after the Wall Street Journal reported that the US officials are debating whether it’d be possible to mount a limited military strike against the North without provoking a nuclear response (maybe but who’d want to risk finding out?), the North said on Tuesday that, following a session of talks with its South Korean neighbors, the isolated country would be sending a delegation of athletes, dignitaries and journalists to the Winter Games in Pyeongchang next month.

While the US has yet to issue a response, such a move will probably infuriate South Korea’s American allies. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have been engaged in an escalating war of words since the former took office a year ago.

According to Reuters, South Korea had unilaterally banned several North Korean officials from entering the country in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests, Seoul said if it needs to take “prior steps” to help the North Koreans visit for the Olympics, it would consider it, together with the United Nations Security Council and other relevant countries, foreign ministry spokesman Roh Kyu-deok said during a press briefing.

North Korea

The agreement comes after North Korea and South Korea last week agreed to reopen a cross-border hotline that had been shuttered for two years.

As the Guardian  pointed out, the agreement represents a cautious diplomatic breakthrough after months of rising tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

The five-member North Korean delegation traveled to the border in a motorcade and then walked across the military demarcation line into the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom at around 9.30 am local time, the Guardian reported. The village straddles the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the heavily armed border that has separated the two Koreas for more than six decades.

As the two sides sat down for their first face-to-face talks since December 2015, North Korean media pushed back against Trump’s claim that his tough stance on North Korea had forced it to the negotiating table. The Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers’ party, said Trump’s claim that sanctions and pressure on the regime had brought him “diplomatic success” during his first year in the White House was “ridiculous sophism”.

To continue reading: Peace Progress: North Korea Will Send Team To Winter Games As Seoul Prepares To Lift Some Sanctions

De-Escalation? Koreas Agree To Hold High-Level Talks Next Week, by Tyler Durden

Maybe Scott Adams is on to something. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

North Korea is on a roll: just hours after it emerged that in a diplomatic victory for the Kim regime the US and South Korea agreed not to hold military drills during the Olympics, moments ago Yonhap reported that in the latest sign of de-escalation between the neighboring rivals, South and North Korea agreed on Friday to hold high-level talks next week to discuss Pyongyang’s potential participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics as well as ways to improve ties.

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North Korea notified Seoul that it has accepted South Korea’s latest offer for talks next Tuesday, according to Seoul’s unification ministry.

“The two sides decided to discuss working-level issues for the talks by exchanging documents,” Baik Tae-hyun, ministry spokesman at the ministry, told a press briefing.

The meeting, on 9 January, will focus on finding a way for North Korean athletes to attend the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea in February, the BBC adds. As we reported previously, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said this week that sending a delegation to the games would be “a good opportunity to show unity of the people”.

The meeting is expected to be held at Panmunjom, on the border. The so-called peace village, in the heavily guarded demilitarised zone (DMZ), is where the two sides have historically held talks.

The move came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed willingness to send a delegation to the Olympics to be held in the South next month and said the country is open to inter-Korean talks over the matter during his New Year address. The South proposed Tuesday for a high-level meeting in response.

And, as discussed earlier today, the agreement came as the South and the United States agreed late Thursday to delay their joint military drills during the Winter Olympics.

To continue reading: De-Escalation? Koreas Agree To Hold High-Level Talks Next Week

America’s Renegade Warfare, by Nicolas J.S. Davies

One of the weird things about modern warfare is that it kills large numbers of civilians, but those deaths are essentially ignored, while most military deaths generate all sorts of attention. From Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

Seventy-seven million people in North and South Korea find themselves directly in the line of fire from the threat of a Second Korean War. The rest of the world is recoiling in horror from the scale of civilian casualties such a war would cause and the unthinkable prospect that either side might actually use nuclear weapons.

Since the first Korean War killed at least 20 percent of North Korea’s population and left the country in ruins, the U.S. has repeatedly failed to follow through on diplomacy to establish a lasting peace in Korea and has instead kept reverting to illegal and terrifying threats of war. Most significantly, the US has waged a relentless propaganda campaign to discount North Korea’s legitimate defense concerns as it confronts the threat of a US war machine that has only grown more dangerous since the last time it destroyed North Korea.

The North has lived under this threat for 65 years and has watched Iraq and Libya destroyed after they gave up their nuclear weapons programs. When North Korea discovered a US plan for a Second Korean War on South Korea’s military computer network in September 2016, its leaders quite rationally concluded that a viable nuclear deterrent is the only way to guarantee their country’s safety.

What does it say about the role the US is playing in the world that the only way North Korea’s leaders believe they can keep their own people safe is to develop weapons that could kill millions of Americans?

The Changing Face of War

The Second World War was the deadliest war ever fought, with at least 75 million people killed, about five times as many as in the First World War. When the slaughter ended in 1945, world leaders signed the United Nations Charter to try to ensure that that scale of mass killing and destruction would never happen again. The U.N. Charter is still in force, and it explicitly prohibits the threat or use of military force by any nation.

To continue reading: America’s Renegade Warfare