by David Haggith, The Great Recession Blog:
The Korean missile crisis has never been hotter. Trump is turning the screws on everyone to force action. China, Japan, and South Korea join in threatening Kim Jong-un with imminent war, but North Korea’s crackpot despot isn’t backing down.
Trump has dispatched war ships, including the USS Carl Vinson, to North Korea as North Korea continues to show signs that it is preparing to do another nuclear test on Saturday (known as ‘Day of the Sun,’ which celebrates the birth of the present dictator’s grandfather, who was North Korea’s founding president). Voice of America has reported that North Korea “has apparently placed a nuclear device in a tunnel, and it could be detonated Saturday AM Korea time.”
By that time (Friday in the US), I suppose, those American ships will all be in place to do whatever it is they’re going there to do — maybe blow up the facilities around the test site. A US aircraft (Air Force WC-135 Constant Phoenix ) commonly called a nuclear sniffer, used to monitor radiation after a nuclear blast, has been moved up to Japan. The US has two destroyers capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles positioned near North Korea’s nuclear test set, and it has heavy bombers in Guam, capable of attacking North Korea.
US pre-emptive strike against North Korea on the table
US intelligence officials told NBC that the US may launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea if they test another nuclear device. When asked about the NBC story, the Pentagon responded, “No comment.” North Korea, in response, has warned of a “merciless retaliatory attack” if the US takes such action and has said it will hit the US with a nuclear weapon if there are even signs of aggressive reaction from the US armada. (It is not believed that North Korea has such a weapon … yet.)
A defiant North Korea has said it will do more tests, regardless of US threats, and that it “will not back down.” America’s UN ambassador under Obama already called the threat “extremely grave,” saying last fall that North Korea was more dangerous than ever and a threat to the entire world.
Now the US and South Korea have deployed thousands of troops in the area, and US troops have been practicing the assassination of North Korea’s crackpot tinpot dictator. North Korea confirms that it has no doubt that the US is threatening the life of its leader, and that the US, since the Obama days, has used its own nuclear bombers to push North Korea toward further development of its own nuclear arsenal.
After a recent North Korean missile test off of North Korea’s coast, Japan began conducting mass nuclear evacuation drills. In the last couple of weeks, Japan also installed anti-missile batteries around the country, and a report has been circulating that President Trump last week made the extraordinary post-WWII policy change of granting Japan permission to attack North Korea on its own volition so long as China is not already engaged in conflict with North Korea. Japan denies this report. So, this might have been talk to get China more engaged as China would prefer to keep Japan out of North Korea.
It has also been reported on several news sites this week that China has moved 150,000 troops into location along North Korea’s border and has even stated to North Korea it will go to war against it if North Korea attempts another nuclear test. Trump tweeted his confidence in China’s response, saying they would “properly deal with North Korea,” but adding that, “if they are unable to do so, the US, with its allies, will!” Trump also said that, when he met with China’s president, he told President Xi Jinping to remind North Korea that the United States has nuclear submarines.
China issued its own uncharacteristically blunt caution to all parties this week:
“The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering,” China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said in Beijing…. “No matter who it is, if they let war break out on the peninsula, they must shoulder that historical culpability and pay the corresponding price for this.” (The New York Times)
Even the normally reticent South Korea has warned the north that it can expect significant punishment that it will find hard to recover from if it attempts another nuclear test or intercontinental ballistic missile test. So, North Korea’s days of getting away with nuclear tests that defy world conventions are clearly over, and I think the days of negotiation are also past. There will be no more tests without action.
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