Category: Kings of the East

Mar 27

Trump’s First War? ‘All Options Are On The Table’ As The U.S. And North Korea Prepare For The Second Korean War

By Michael Snyder, on March 17th, 2017

This may be the closest that we have been to war with North Korea since the original Korean War ended in 1953. The North Koreans are feverishly working to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike the U.S. mainland, and meanwhile Donald Trump has not moved from his position that North Korea will simply not be allowed to have ICBMs. If North Korea does not blink, it means that we are literally counting down the days until we go to war. Unfortunately, North Korean leaders appear to literally be insane and they have shown absolutely no signs of backing off. In 2016, North Korea tested two nuclear bombs and test-fired 24 missiles, and so far this year they have test-fired five ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

During a joint press conference with the South Korean Foreign Minister on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson boldly declared that “all options are on the table” when it comes to North Korea…

US military action against North Korea is an “option on the table,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated, adding that Washington’s “strategic patience” with the isolated country has ended.

“Let me be very clear. The policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson told reporters during a joint news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on Friday.

In addition, Tillerson specifically declined to rule out a preemptive strike against the regime.

Needless to say, the ultra-paranoid leadership in Pyongyang was totally freaked out by what Tillerson had to say. The following comes from the Washington Post

Soon after Tillerson’s remarks, in a sign of mounting tensions, the North Korean Embassy held an extraordinary news conference in Beijing to blame the potential for nuclear war on the United States while vowing that its homegrown nuclear testing program will continue in self-defense.

North Korea has amassed a sizable nuclear stockpile and appears at the brink of being able to strike the U.S. mainland and American allies in Asia.

What has brought this crisis to a breaking point is the fact that North Korea has continued to work on developing an ICBM that could deliver a nuclear payload to the United States.

Donald Trump has promised to stop North Korea from doing that before it ever happens

Just before he took office in January, Trump tweeted: “It won’t happen!” when Kim said North Korea was close to testing an ICBM.

I believe that Trump means what he says.

So now Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are locked in a very dangerous game of chicken. Both of them are known to be extremely strong-willed, tempermental, and unwilling to back down when threatened.

But if neither of them is willing to back down now, it could potentially spark a major war

Making matters worse, this year we have Kim Jong Un on one side: A young, relatively inexperienced and unpredictable leader prone to aggression who could be facing internal turmoil (one explanation for killing his brother).

On the other, we now have President Trump. In such a high-stakes standoff, if we’re not careful, these two leaders could prove to be a volatile — and deadly — mix.

In short, what we have now is a regional tinderbox ready to be lit by a small spark that could lead to an exchange of fire and subsequently another war.

And actually the truth is that the conflict has already started. It is widely known that the U.S. has already been conducting cyberattacks against North Korea’s nuclear program, but if those cyberattacks end up not being enough the Trump administration will order a preemptive military strike.

In recent days, the U.S. military has deployed a 100,000-ton Nimitz-class aircraft carrier to the region. The USS Carl Vinson is carrying more than 40 F-18s, and it is being escorted by a number of very powerful destroyers and cruisers.

And it is also being reported that SEAL Team 6 is being deployed to South Korea in order “to practice incapacitating North Korean leadership in the case of conflict”. The following comes from Zero Hedge

On March 1, the WSJ reported that the options contemplated by the White House in response to recent North Korean acts, include “the possibility of both military force and regime change to counter the country’s nuclear-weapons threat.” The review came es amid recent events have strained regional stability including last month’s launch by North Korea of a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, and the assassination of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.

And, according to a report in Yonhap, said “regime change” may come far sooner than expected: the South Korean website writes that U.S. special operations forces, including the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, will take part in joint military drills in South Korea “to practice incapacitating North Korean leadership in the case of conflict”, a military official said Monday.

The U.S. Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group, better known as the SEAL Team 6, will arrive in South Korea for joint military drills and take part in an exercise simulating a precision North Korean incurion and “the removal of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un”, according to the Ministry of National Defense Monday.

But regime change in North Korea would not be easy, and unless the U.S. was willing to use nuclear weapons in a first strike the North Koreans would almost certainly be able to strike back very hard.

North Korea has the fourth largest army in the entire world, and it is being reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has personally ordered his entire military to go into “combat mode” in anticipation of a conflict with the United States…

It’s been at least 24 hours since any further sabers were rattled between China, US, South Korea, and North Korea (oh and Japan), but it according to DailyNK.com, Kim Jong Un has ordered the entire North Korean army into “combat mode” to tighten security and consolidate sentiment in response to military drills conducted by South Korea and the US, which began in early March.

A source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK that following the order from Kim Jong Un, every last soldier– even if away on business, on leave, off-base for training, or even those with a recent death in the family–were ordered back to their units. The authorities have ordered the military police in each region to summon all soldiers back to their bases.

North Korea has overwhelming military superiority over South Korea, and unless the U.S. was willing to use nukes, any U.S. strike would almost certainly provoke a North Korean invasion of South Korea. The following description of what that might look like comes from the Daily Mail

North Korea, most rogue of rogue nations, has struck. The nuclear explosion, similar in size to that which levelled Hiroshima, signalled the start of a blitzkrieg-style ground invasion intended to swiftly overwhelm its richer, more advanced neighbour.

A second atomic warhead, inbound on a crude Rodong rocket, has been successfully intercepted by America’s THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence) anti-ballistic missile system. But Seoul’s torment is only beginning as hundreds of North Korean heavy guns rain down shells on the capital, many containing Sarin nerve gas.

The city, bunched up against the North-South border, is hopelessly vulnerable to a mass sneak attack of the kind now taking place, as hundreds of thousands of North Korean troops, and thousands of tanks, pour out of innumerable underground bunkers built within miles of the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries.

Unless the U.S. is willing to nuke North Korea into oblivion (and this would almost certainly not happen), the scenario detailed above is very likely to actually happen someday.

And once North Korea invades, the United States will be forced to come to South Korea’s aid and the Second Korean War will have begun.

We are moving into a time when war will become much more common, and at some point World War III will erupt.

If we do go to war with North Korea, Trump will get the blame, but the truth is that Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also deserve much of the blame for allowing things to get to this point.

It is absolutely unthinkable that we would allow the North Koreans to develop ICBMs that could deliver nuclear payloads to U.S. cities.

But it is almost as unthinkable for us to go to war with North Korea.

Both possibilities are absolutely horrific, and so let us hope that cooler heads will prevail and that Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be able to work things out.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8404

Mar 20

Japan, South Korea, US Deploy Guided Missiles Near North Korea

Tensions on the Korean peninsula near boiling point

Clifford Cunningham | Infowars.com – March 14, 2017 183 Comments

Japan, South Korea, and the United States dispatched naval vessels equipped with missile defense technology to an area of the Sea of Japan where four missiles recently fired by North Korea landed.

The three vessels involved in the exercise, USS Curtis Wilbur, ROKS Sejong the Great, and JS Kirishima, are guided missile destroyers equipped with the Aegis missile defense system, which uses AN/SPY-1 radar to detect, track, and ultimately destroy ballistic missiles launched within the radar’s effective range.

The Aegis missile defense system is also capable of working in tandem with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system recently deployed to an area in southeastern South Korea, much to the chagrin of China and Russia.

The United States Navy called the two-day exercise “a trilateral missile warning informational link exercise.”

“The exercise will employ tactical data link systems to trade communications, intelligence and other data among the ships in the exercise,” read a statement from the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, based in Japan.

In addition to the three guided missile destroyers in the Sea of Japan, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson recently joined South Korean naval forces for an annual military exercise dubbed “Foal Eagle.”

The United States has reportedly begun deploying Gray Eagle attack drones to South Korea, while conflicting reports indicate Army Rangers, Delta Force Green Berets, and Navy Seals may be training to infiltrate North Korea and decapitate the country’s leadership in the event of a military conflict.

North Korea reacted furiously to the naval deployment and military exercises, threatening to launch “merciless” precision strikes on South Korea.

“If they infringe on the our sovereignty and dignity even a bit, our army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater,” said North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency, KCNA.

China, which recently called for an end to all joint South Korean/US military drills in return for a halt to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, expressed disappointment in the naval drill.

“North Korea has violated UN Security Council resolutions banning its ballistic missile launches; on the other hand, South Korea, the US — and now Japan — insist on conducting super-large-scale military drills,” said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8396

Feb 28

Wary of Trump unpredictability, China ramps up naval abilities

By Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina | BEIJING

The PLA Navy is likely to secure significant new funding in China’s upcoming defense budget as Beijing seeks to check U.S. dominance of the high seas and step up its own projection of power around the globe.

China’s navy has been taking an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and new Chinese warships popping up in far-flung places.

Now, with President Donald Trump promising a U.S. shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.

“It’s opportunity in crisis,” said a Beijing-based Asian diplomat, of China’s recent naval moves. “China fears Trump will turn on them eventually as he’s so unpredictable and it’s getting ready.”

Beijing does not give a breakdown for how much it spends on the navy, and the overall official defense spending figures it gives – 954.35 billion yuan ($139 billion) for 2016 – likely understates its investment, according to diplomats.

China unveils the defense budget for this year at next month’s annual meeting of parliament, a closely watched figure around the region and in Washington, for clues to China’s intentions.

China surprised last year with its lowest increase in six years, 7.6 percent, the first single-digit rise since 2010, following a nearly unbroken two-decade run of double-digit jumps.

“Certainly, the PLA Navy has really been the beneficiary of a lot of this new spending in the past 15 years,” said Richard Bitzinger, Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Military Transformations Programme at the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

“We don’t how much they spend on the navy, but simply extrapolating from the quantity and the quality of things that are coming out of their shipyards, it’s pretty amazing.”

RAPID DEVELOPMENT

The Chinese navy, once generally limited to coastal operations, has developed rapidly under President Xi Jinping’s ambitious military modernization.

It commissioned 18 ships in 2016, including missile destroyers, corvettes and guided missile frigates, according to state media.

Barely a week goes by without an announcement of some new piece of equipment, including an electronic reconnaissance ship put into service in January.

Still, the PLA Navy significantly lags the United States, which operates 10 aircraft carriers to China’s one, the Soviet-era Liaoning.

Xu Guangyu, a retired major general in the People’s Liberation Army now senior adviser to the government-run China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said China was keenly aware of the U.S. ability to project power at sea.

“It’s like a marathon and we’re falling behind. We need to step on the gas,” Xu said.

Trump has vowed to increase the U.S. Navy to 350 ships from the current 290 as part of “one of the “greatest military buildups in American history”, a move aides say is needed to counter China’s rise as a military power.

“We’ve known this is a 15-20 year project and every year they get closer to being a blue-water navy with global aspirations,” said a U.S. administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

“What you have seen this last year and what I think you will see with the new budget is that they are moving ahead with the short-term goal of being the premier naval force in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, with the mid-term goal, of extending all the way to the Indian Ocean.”

In January, China appointed new navy chief, Shen Jinlong, to lead that push.

Shen has enjoyed a meteoric rise and is close to Xi, diplomatic and leadership sources say.

“The navy has gotten very lucky with Shen,” said a Chinese official close to the military, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Now they know for certain their support goes all the way to the top.”

Recent PLA Navy missions have included visits to Gulf states, where the United States has traditionally protected sea lanes, and to the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, in what the state-run website StrongChina called Shen’s “first show of force against the United States, Japan and Taiwan”.

Last month, a Chinese submarine docked at a port in Malaysia’s Sabah state, which lies on the South China Sea, only the second confirmed visit of a Chinese submarine to a foreign port, according to state media.

The submarine had come from supporting anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia, where China has been learning valuable lessons about overseas naval operations since 2008.

Chinese warships have also been calling at ports in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, unnerving regional rival India.

“It’s power projection,” said a Beijing-based Western diplomat, of China’s navy

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8361

Feb 15

China may be preparing for a crippling preemptive missile strike on US military bases

Business InsiderFebruary 7, 2017

(Military vehicles carry DF-10 ship-launched cruise missiles as they travel past Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing Thursday Sept. 3, 2015.Andy Wong/Reuters)

A new report by Thomas Shugart on War On The Rocks details the disturbing level to which China appears to have planned out a crippling missile attack on US military bases in the Pacific should its interests in the region be threatened.

For some time analysts have noted that China seems to be tailoring its military to counter the US’s. For example, Beijing tested its “carrier killer‘ ballistic missile on a model of a US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, while its own aircraft carrier is designed for coastal defense and will likely be destined for the South China Sea.

But Shutgart’s investigation of satellite imagery comparing China’s missile testing grounds with US bases in the region shows an eerie pattern. It appears that China’s latest missile tests have all been geared towards knocking out US carriers, destroyers, and airfields in East Asia.

This falls right in line with one of China’s core military doctrines — “active defense.”

Essentially, if China thinks it is facing a foe that actively seeks to challenge its territorial cohesiveness or sovereignty, the PLA will engage the enemy through all available means: Legal challenges, psychological and cyber warfare, counter-space systems, and preemptive strikes.

Under President Donald Trump, the US has made the most serious challenges to China’s territory and sovereignty in recent history.

Trump and key members of his administration have chastised China for its “massive military fortress” in the South China Sea, and even threatened to cut off China’s access to the islands it has built and militarized in the region. Trump’s phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen struck at the core of China’s very existence, as it could undermine China’s policy of considering Taiwan as a rogue province that must be back into Beijing’s fold.

View photos

china missiles csis

(CSIS Missile Defense Project)

China has already engaged its state-sponsored propaganda against the US, developed counter-space systems that could denude the US of its huge satellite-driven information advantage, and developed systems uniquely able to counter US stealth aircraft.

If the US continues to actively challenge China and seek to undermine its territorial cohesion, the next logical step in the PLA’s escalation may be to attempt to eviscerate US bases and assets throughout Asia with a blistering missile attack.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8344

Jan 09

North Korea Ready for ICBM Launch

January 02, 2017

 (PYONGYANG) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Sunday that the isolated, nuclear-capable country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

  • North Korea tested ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate during 2016, although some experts have said it is years away from developing an ICBM fitted with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the United States.
  • “Research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing and ICBMrocket test launch preparation is in its last stage,” Kim said during a televised New Year’s Day speech.
  • The country has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The sanctions were tightened last month after Pyongyang conducted its fifth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 9.
  • A successful ICBM test launch would mark a significant step forward for secretive Pyongyang’s weapons capability.
  • ICBMs have a minimum range of about 5,500 km (3,418 miles), but some are designed to travel 10,000 km (6,214 miles) or further. California is roughly 9,000 km (5,592 miles) from North Korea.

North Korea has struggled to reliably deploy its intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, succeeding just once in eight attempted launches last year.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Anna Richey-Allen on Sunday called on North Korea “to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric that threaten international peace and stability, and to make the strategic choice to fulfil its international obligations and commitments and return to serious talks.”

She urged “All states to use every available channel and means of influence to make clear to the DPRK and its enablers that launches using ballistic missile technology are unacceptable, and take steps to show there are consequences to the DPRK’s unlawful conduct.”

The Musudan is designed to fly about 3,000 km (1,860 miles), posing a threat to South Koreaand Japan, and possibly the U.S. territory of Guam.

South Korea’s Defence Ministry declined to comment on whether North Korea would test launch an ICBM soon.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8287

Sep 18

U.S. Bombers Send China, Russia, North Korea a Message

by William M. Arkin and Robert Windrem

Call it gunboat diplomacy from 35,000 feet.

Three times in the last two months, the United States has flown B-1 bombers, equipped with the latest non-nuclear cruise missiles, on missions in Europe and Asia meant to show adversaries as well as allies what one U.S. commander called “an unshakable commitment.”

The flights are part of strategic missions aimed at sending explicit messages to Russia, China and North Korea. Each of the B-1s is equipped with two dozen non-nuclear cruise missiles with highly accurate, bunker-busting warheads, a new capability.

“Deployment follows capability,” said Hans M. Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, who tracks the missions. He explained that with the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), a cruise missile, the U.S. believes it has an intimidating, even if non-nuclear, capability.

The latest mission took place Monday night over the Korean peninsula, when two B-1 bombers flew within a few miles of the DMZ between North and South Korea, accompanied by U.S. F-16s and South Korean F-15s. Earlier in the mission, which was flown out of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the B-1s were escorted by Japanese F-15’s.

The U.S. left no doubt that the flyover was related to North Korea’s latest nuclear weapons test, which took place four days ago.

“North Korea’s nuclear test is a dangerous escalation and poses an unacceptable threat,” Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, U.S. Forces Korea commander, said in a statement Tuesday. “The United States has an unshakable commitment to defend allies in the region and will take necessary steps to do so, including operations like this one today.”

And to ensure that no one missed the point, the Defense Department released both still images and video of the mission.

The mission was one of three in recent weeks intended by the U.S. to act as deterrence, but which its adversaries claim are provocations.

On Tuesday, a B-1 bomber from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas landed at Ostrava Air Force Base in the Czech Republic, part of the deployment of a non-nuclear bomber strike group to Europe for exercise Ample Strike, according to official Pentagon reports. The B-1 joined a B-52 that flew to Ostrava two weeks ago.

Kristensen said that while the U.S. had deployed a B-1 to the Czech Republic “on a good will mission” in the past, this is different. “It’s part of a strike package of bombers deployed as part of a NATO exercise,” he said, and as such is more likely to attract Russian attention.

Kristensen also noted that last month, as part of the same NATO exercise, a B-52 was deployed to neighboring Slovakia, also a first as part of an exercise.

Earlier this summer, a B-1 and a B-2 stealth bomber were deployed to Andersen AFB in Guam, from which the Air Force’s venerable B-52 still flies. It marked the first time all three U.S. strategic bombers have been deployed to Asia simultaneously. The Pentagon again left little to the imagination, calling the deployment “Continuous Bomber Presence.”

Then, on August 17, again working with regional allies, the U.S. flew all three bomber types on a mission over the disputed South China Sea, where the People’s Republic of China is trying to assert dominance over islands and sea lanes that U.S. allies like Japan and Philippines also claim.

‘A Flood of Reckless Nuclear Attacks’

On Tuesday, the response from North Korea to Monday’s exercise came in a statement from KCNA, the North’s official news agency.

“Any sanction, provocation and pressure cannot ruin our status as a nuclear state and evil political and military provocations will only result in a flood of reckless nuclear attacks that will bring a final destruction,” KCNA said.

Meanwhile, U.S. military officials tell NBC News that flights by Chinese bombers on Monday were meant as a counter to last month’s U.S. bomber overflights of the South China Sea.

According to a Defense Ministry statement on one of its blogs, on Monday China carried out an exercise in the Bashi Channel, between the Philippines’ northernmost island of Luzon and Taiwan. Both countries dispute China’s claims in the South China Sea.

“Bombers, fighters, and early warning and aerial refueling aircraft” flew through the channel on Monday, Reuters reported, based on the blog statement. “This move is to raise the air force’s abilities via training, to meet the needs to maintaining national sovereignty, protecting national security and guaranteeing peaceful development.”

In fact, according to a senior Air Force official, this might be the first time in history when the United States, China and Russia are all employing long-range bombers in conventional warfare tasks and deterrence missions.

Russia has repeatedly bombed targets in Syria using long-range bombers, its first combat experience since the war in Chechnya. China has been flying regular patrols in the South China Sea as part of its demonstration of greater military muscle.

All of these aircraft are potentially capable of carrying nuclear weapons, the official said, but this is “conventional deterrence and signaling.” Long-range assets — bombers and missiles — are now on par with nuclear and cyber weapons as elements of the new strategic triad.

Kristensen says much of the U.S. strategy is driven by its recent deployment of the extended-range JASSM missile. Each B-1 can carry up to 24 for them, each with a 1,000-pound penetrating warhead. It reportedly can hit a target 600 miles away with an accuracy of eight feet.

“It’s a significant but little noticed shift,” he said

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8132

Aug 15

North Korea, China want to undo the Japan-South Korea Alliance that the US helped broker

By James K. Glassman

Published August 08, 2016

With the world preoccupied by America’s raucous election, the U.K.’s vote to exit the E.U., and continued terrorism in Europe and the Middle East, North Korea fired a missile Wednesday more than 600 miles into Japanese waters, just 155 miles off its shores.

The launch defied a resolution approved in March by the United Nations, the fifth since 2006, that bars development of nuclear and ballistic missile technology and applies broad sanctions. In recent weeks, North Korea and China have been protesting plans by South Korea to deploy a missile defense system developed by the United States, and the missile launch may have been a reaction. But it seems much more.

North Korea and China have been deploying a strategy of undermining cooperation between the two largest democracies in the region, South Korea and Japan, which comprise the fulcrum for the Obama Administration’s “pivot to Asia.” Attacks on this alliance will almost certainly intensify as we approach Aug. 15, the 71st anniversary of the surrender of Japan, ending World War II.

In December, the United States played a key role in helping South Korea and Japan forge an agreement to end a dispute involving so-called  “comfort women” that had been festering for decades. The Japanese government agreed to compensate Korean women who were used for sex by Japanese troops, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe renewed an apology.

The agreement had far broader implications. It was a major step in ending the animosity between the two countries that had seriously infected economic and security relations. Between 2012 and 2014, for example, Japan-South Korea trade fell 17 percent, and tourism dropped sharply.

In headlines, the Guardian newspaper of Britain called the so-called comfort women deal “a triumph for Japan and the U.S.,” and The Washington Post concluded that it “offers strategic benefit to U.S. in Asia-Pacific.” President Obama intervened several times personally during the two years of negotiations, trying to bring Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye closer to together. He phoned to congratulate the two on the agreement, praising them for “having the courage and vision to forge a lasting settlement to this difficult issue.”

Also facilitating the agreement was Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, who was slashed in March 2015 by a knife-wielding attacker.

According to the BBC, the accused South Korean man, Kim Ki-jong, attacked the Japanese ambassador to South Korea in 2010 and later tried to erect a memorial altar in the heart of Seoul to the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.

Obama brought Park and Abe together during a nuclear summit meeting at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to The Hague in 2014. It was the first time the two Asian leaders had met despite being in office for more than a year. North Korea’s aggressive policies were the backdrop for the comfort women talks.

Abe and Park spoke within 24 hours of a North Korean nuclear test that occurred shortly after the comfort women agreement. That contact showed that working through the wartime claims deal had helped establish “a relationship of trust,” said a special adviser to Abe.

But trust and unity between South Korea and Japan, especially with U.S. encouragement, is precisely what the North Koreans oppose, and they continue to try to drive a wedge between the two nations. North Korea immediately attacked the December agreement and mobilized its allies.

The Association of Koreas in Japan for Peaceful Reunification, for example, issued a statement saying: “For South Korea, there is no more humiliating diplomacy than to reach such a deal with Japan.”

Now, more than seven months after the agreement was reached, the response to “an issue that the Korean media often treated as central to South Korean identity” seems to have “dropped out of the newspapers,” according to Robert Kelly, who teaches at Pusan University.

The truth is that the comfort women issue has been a favorite hot-button issue for politicians across Asia, but now that it’s been settled in South Korea and Japan, you can still expect North Korea and China to exploit it.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8080

Jul 14

South China Sea Decision Causes Beijing Defiance

July 13, 2016
China vowed to take all necessary measures to protect its sovereignty over the South China Sea and said it had the right to set up an air defense zone, after rejecting an international tribunal’s ruling denying its claims to the energy-rich waters.
Chinese state media called the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague a “puppet” of external forces after it ruled that China had breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights by endangering its ships and fishing and oil projects.
Beijing has repeatedly blamed the United States for stirring up trouble in the South China Sea, where its territorial claims overlap in parts with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
“China will take all necessary measures to protect its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests,” the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said in a front page commentary on Wednesday.
The case, covering a region that is home to one of the world’s busiest trade routes, has been seen as a test of China’s rising power and its economic and strategic rivalry with the United States.
Underscoring China’s rebuffing of the ruling, state media said that two new airports in the Spratlys, on Mischief Reef and Subi Reef, both received test flights from civilian aircraft on Wednesday.
Beijing called the Philippines’ claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea “baseless” and an “act of bad faith”. In a government white paper published on Wednesday, China also said its fishing boats had been harassed and attacked by the Philippines around the disputed Spratly Islands.
“On whether China will set up an air defense zone over the South China Sea, what we have to make clear first is that China has the right to… But whether we need one in the South China Sea depends on the level of threats we face,” Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters in Beijing, adding that China hoped to return to bilateral talks with Manila.
“We hope that other countries don’t use this opportunity to threaten China, and hope that other countries can work hard with China, meet us halfway, and maintain the South China Sea’s peace and stability and not turn the South China Sea in a source of war.”
U.S. officials have previously said they feared China may respond to the ruling by declaring an air defense identification zone in the South China Sea, as it did in the East China Sea in 2013, or by stepping up its building and fortification of artificial islands.
China’s Liu also took aim at the judges on the tribunal, saying that as not one of them was Asian they could not possibly understand the issue and it was unfair of them to try.
COMPLICATED, UNCLEAR
The Philippines reacted cautiously to the ruling late on Tuesday, calling for “restraint and sobriety”, but the mood at President Rodrigo Duterte’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday was “upbeat”, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.
Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he had spoken to U.S. counterpart Ash Carter ahead of the ruling who told him China had assured the United States it would exercise restraint, and the U.S. made the same assurance. Carter had sought and been given the same assurance from the Philippines, Lorenzana added.
“The ruling can serve as a foundation on which we can start the process of negotiations which hopefully will eventually lead to the peaceful settlement of the maritime dispute in the South ChinaSea,” Charles Jose, a spokesman for the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs, said.
One of the lawyers who argued the Philippines’ case said how and when the country would enforce the tribunal’s ruling was complicated.
“There’s no timeline for this game. It might have an extended period of gestation,” said Florin Ternal Hilbay, a former solicitor general. “I would assume our diplomats have read the decision and understand the complexities and consequences of enforcing the decision.”
Global intelligence firm Stratfor said fishermen from China or the Philippines were the greatest potential disruptors in the region, beyond the easy control of law enforcement.
“The greatest struggle for both countries will be to rein them in, preferably before they get to sea, lest they disrupt the delicate peace,” Stratfor said in a note.
In moves likely to antagonize Beijing, the coastguards of Japan and the Philippines took part in simulated rescue and medical response exercises off Manila Bay on Wednesday, part of what the two countries have called efforts to improve maritime security and combat crime and piracy.
Japan and China are involved in a separate territorial dispute in the East China Sea and Beijing has warned Tokyo against meddling in the South China Sea dispute.
PIVOT PRESSURE
Beijing’s ambassador to the United States earlier blamed the rise in tension in the region on the United States’ “pivot” toward Asia in the past few years. Cui Tiankai said the arbitration case “will probably open the door of abusing arbitration procedures.
“It will certainly undermine and weaken the motivation of states to engage in negotiations and consultations for solving their disputes,” Cui said at a forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. “It will certainly intensify conflict and even confrontation.”
South Korea on Wednesday announced the planned location of a U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense unit against North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats, a system that has angered Chinaand prompted a North Korean warning of retaliation.
President Barack Obama’s top Asia policy adviser, Daniel Kritenbrink, said the United States had no interest in stirring tensions in the South China Sea as a pretext for involvement in the region.
“We have an enduring interest in seeing territorial and maritime disputes in the Asia Pacific, including in the South China Sea, resolved peacefully, without coercion and in a manner that is consistent with international law,” Kritenbrink said at the same forum.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen boarded a navy frigate in southern Taiwan ahead of its departure for the South China Sea early on Wednesday, a regular patrol pushed forward due to the Hague decision, which Taipei rejected.
“This patrol mission is to show the determination of the Taiwan people to defend our national interest,” Tsai said from the warship.
China considers self-ruled Taiwan a breakaway province to be united with the mainland eventually, and by force if necessary.

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May 24

China’s Nuclear Subs Are Ready to Terrorize the Sea

China’s about to join an exclusive club for nuclear powers. After decades of development, 2016 could be the year the Chinese navy finally sends its ballistic-missile submarines—“SSBN” is the Pentagon’s designation—to sea for the first time for operational patrols with live, nuclear-tipped rockets.
If indeed the Jin-class subs head to sea this year, China will achieve a level of nuclear strike capability that, at present, just two countries—the United States and Russia—can match or exceed.
“China will probably conduct its first SSBN nuclear deterrence patrol sometime in 2016,” the Pentagon warned in the latest edition of its annual report on the Chinese military, published in mid-May (PDF). Once the Jins set sail, Beijing will command a nuclear “triad” composed of ground-, air-, and sea-launched nuclear weapons.
That’s a big deal, according to the dominant theory of nuclear warfare. “The theory is that a diverse array of delivery systems creates survivability by complicating a first strike,” Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on nuclear geopolitics with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told The Daily Beast.
In other words, if a country possesses all three kinds of nukes, it’s harder for an enemy to wipe them all out in a surprise attack. And if you can’t destroy your enemy’s entire atomic arsenal, he can nuke you back—so you’d better not attack at all.
The word for that is “deterrence.” And China could be on the verge of gaining a deterrence capability that most countries simply can’t afford. China reportedly possesses several hundred atomic warheads, but no one outside of the Chinese Communist Party leadership and, perhaps, top foreign intelligence agencies, knows the exact number.
Regardless, that’s far fewer than the roughly 7,000 warheads that the U.S. and Russia each possess but more than any of the world’s other nuclear powers, with the possible exception of France. And compared to Beijing only Moscow and Washington boast a wider range of launchers for their nukes.
The Chinese military’s rocket branch maintains around a hundred long-range rockets in land-based silos. The Chinese air force’s H-6 bombers first dropped atomic bombs back in the 1970s—and modern versions of the bombers can fire cruise missiles that are compatible with nuclear warheads. When the Jins are finally war-ready, they will complete Beijing’s land-air-sea atomic triad.
To be fair, the Chinese vessels are, in a sense, playing catch-up. The Soviet Union and the United States deployed the first nuclear ballistic-missile submarines at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s—and France and the United Kingdom soon followed suit. Today the U.S. Navy’s 14 Ohio-class missile subs take turns quietly sailing deep in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, ready to fire their 24 nuclear-tipped rockets on a moment’s notice.
Russia, France, and the U.K. still operate SSBNs, and India is developing one of its own. The Chinese navy began tinkering with missile subs in 1981. The experimental Xia-class vessel and its JL-1 rocket were technological failures and never sailed on an operational mission.
Since 2007, the Chinese navy has completed four of the follow-on Jin-class subs and is reportedly planning on building four more. More than 400 feet long, a Jin can carry as many as a dozen JL-2 rockets, each with a range of 4,500 miles. A Jin sailing in the central Pacific Ocean could strike targets anywhere in the United States.
If the Jins finally deploy this year, a whopping 35 years will have passed since China first tried to develop a functional SSBN. But developing a missile sub is hard.
Expensive, too. China has not disclosed the cost of the Jins, but consider that the U.S. Navy plans to spend $97 billion replacing its 14 Ohios with a dozen new submarines. Missile subs are big and complex—and their rockets are, too. Training reliable crews and designing an effective command-and-control system are equally difficult to do. Chinese subs have been plagued with quality-control problems.
“While it is clear that the [Chinese navy] is making strides towards correcting these issues, the capabilities of China’s nuclear-powered submarine fleet remain in a process of maturity,” the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, explains on its website.
To Beijing, achieving a nuclear triad is apparently worth the labor and expense. But Lewis cautions against reading the development of the Chinese atomic triad as the result of some sort of clear, top-down policy.
Officials in the U.S. and Russia take for granted the wisdom of a nuclear triad. But in fact, the triads in both of those countries developed as a result of rivalries within their respective militaries. During the early Cold War, the U.S. Navy lobbied lawmakers and the president for missile submarines in part to wrest from the U.S. Air Force some of the funding and prestige that came with being America’s main nuclear strike force.
The same internal conflict could be behind the Jins’ development. And whether China’s missile subs set sail for the first time this year could depend as much on politics as on technology and training. “There are a lot of rivalries and intrigues playing out that might result in a triad—or not,” Lewis said.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7966

Mar 15

Nuclear War With North Korea Coming?

By Michael Snyder, on March 13th, 2016
On Sunday, North Korea warned the United States that it could wipe out Manhattan with a single hydrogen bomb, and earlier this month North Korea threatened to make a “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike” on the United States in response to aggressive military exercises currently being jointly conducted by South Korea and the U.S. military. So does nuclear war with North Korea actually pose a significant security risk to this country? Well, according to the Washington Post the entire west coast of the United States is within reach of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles. The only question is whether or not North Korea’s ultra-paranoid leader Kim Jong Un would ever actually press the button.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but nuclear war with North Korea is now closer than it has ever been before. In the past, North Korea’s technical capabilities were greatly limited, but now all of that has apparently changed. Just consider what has taken place within just the past few months. The following comes from a timeline that was put together by the Arms Control Association…
January 6, 2016: North Korea announces it conducted a fourth nuclear weapons test, claiming to have detonated a hydrogen bomb for the first time. Monitoring stations from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization detect the seismic activity from the test. The type of device tested remains unclear, although experts doubt it was of a hydrogen bomb based on seismic evidence.
February 7, 2016: North Korea launches a long-range ballistic missile carrying what it has said is an earth observation satellite in defiance of United Nations sanctions barring it from using ballistic missile technology, drawing strong international condemnation from other governments which believe it will advance North Korea’s military ballistic missile capabilities.
March 2, 2016: The UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 2270 condemning the nuclear test and launch of early 2016, and demanding that North Korea not conduct further tests and immediately suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program. Resolution 2270 expands existing sanctions on North Korea by adding to the list of sanctioned individuals and entities, introducing new financial sanctions, and banning states from supplying aviation fuel and other specified minerals to North Korea. Resolution 2270 also introduces a requirement that UN member states inspect all cargo in transit to or from North Korea for illicit goods and arms.
In response to these moves, South Korea and the U.S. military have launched the largest military exercises in the history of South Korea. More than 300,000 troops have gathered to simulate an invasion of North Korea and practice the elimination of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction. These military exercises being held over a period of eight weeks, and this is precisely what caused North Korea to threaten us with a “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike“.
And on Sunday, North Korea boasted that they could reduce Manhattan to ashes with a single hydrogen bomb…
“Our hydrogen bomb is much bigger than the one developed by the Soviet Union,” DPRK Today, a state-run outlet, reported Sunday. DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.
“If this H-bomb were to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile and fall on Manhattan in New York City, all the people there would be killed immediately and the city would burn down to ashes,” the report said, citing a nuclear scientist named Cho Hyong Il.
I don’t know about you, but I find statements such as these to be quite alarming.
Earlier this month, Kim Jong Un put his nuclear weapons on alert “for use at any time”, and Reuters is reporting that he has just ordered his military to conduct even more nuclear weapon tests.
So why is there so little concern about this in the United States?
Sometimes it is the enemy that you underestimate the most that ends up being your greatest threat.
Meanwhile, in the midst of everything else, a North Korean submarine “has gone missing”…
The North Korean regime lost contact with one of its submarines earlier this week, three U.S. officials familiar with the latest information told CNN.
The U.S. military had been observing the submarine operate off North Korea’s east coast when the vessel stopped, and U.S. spy satellites, aircraft and ships have been secretly watching for days as the North Korean navy searched for the missing sub.
The U.S. is unsure if the missing vessel is adrift under the sea or whether it has sunk, the officials said, but believes it suffered some type of failure during an exercise.
At a time when tensions on the Korean peninsula are near an all-time high, this is a very disturbing development. The last thing that we need is some sort of “trigger event” that could cause the North Koreans to want to start pressing buttons.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but hatred for America is one of the centerpieces of North Korean society. In fact, they have an entire month each year during which they celebrate how much they hate us. The following comes form a New York Post article that was published last June…
June is something like Hate America Month in North Korea.
Officially, it’s called “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month” and — more so than usual — it’s a time for North Koreans to swarm to war museums, mobilize for gatherings denouncing the evils of the United States and join in a general, nationwide whipping up of anti-American sentiment.
The culmination this year came Thursday — the 65th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War — with a 100,000-strong rally in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Stadium.
If Manhattan actually was reduced to a pile of ashes by a hydrogen bomb, there would be dancing in the streets of Pyongyang.
So let us not underestimate the threat that North Korea poses. They hate us enough to want to completely destroy us, they now have the technological capability of hitting major west coast cities with nukes, and they have an ultra-paranoid young leader with his hand on the trigger. Meanwhile, we have an increasingly aggressive leader of our own sitting in the White House that seems to like to yank Kim Jong Un’s chain.
If push came to shove, North Korea would attempt to hit American targets with nukes.

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