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Author Topic: North and South Korea  (Read 47200 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #200 on: April 24, 2017, 03:38:13 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-north-korea-travelogue-20170419-story.html

 There's no such thing as a failed missile launch: Lessons from North Korea, the post-truth capital of the world
In this Saturday, April 15, 2017, photo, soldiers salute as their national anthem is played during a

Soldiers salute as their national anthem is played during a military parade to celebrate the 105th birthday of Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Wong Maye-E / Associated Press)
Jonathan Kaiman

All afternoon we obsessively checked our phones, seeking a reason — or even a clue — as to why North Korea wouldn’t let us leave.

I was among roughly two dozen foreign correspondents, tourists, and diplomats waiting at the Pyongyang airport’s departure gates on Monday. Our flight to Beijing was scheduled for 8:30 a.m.; now it was nearly 4 p.m., and as the evening loomed, the question felt increasingly urgent. We had no explanation for the delay, and no information on rescheduling. Soon, as we exhausted the limited cellular data allotted by our exorbitantly expensive North Korean plans, we would have no connection to the outside world.


Saturday was the most important day on the North Korean calendar — the 105th birthday of its founding president, Kim Il Sung. His grandson, Kim Jong Un, planned to preside over a massive military parade in Kim Il Sung’s honor, and the North Korean government invited about 100 foreign journalists to attend. It clearly intended to send a dark but unambiguous message to the outside world: that the country was well-armed, unfazed by U.N. sanctions over its budding nuclear program, and prepared to go to war with the U.S.

It clearly intended to send a dark but unambiguous message to the outside world.

All week, the mood was tense. The U.S. had reportedly dispatched a naval strike group to the Korean peninsula, and there were reports that officials were considering a preemptive strike. (It would later turn out that the naval group was headed in the opposite direction.) North Korea threatened to retaliate, raising the specter of nuclear conflict. "We will go to war if they choose,” a high-ranking North Korean official told the Associated Press.

So at the airport, we puzzled over the delay and feared the worst. We ruled out the weather, unofficial Chinese government measures, and a mechanical issue with the plane — Pyongyang and Beijing both had clear skies, and a flight from Pyongyang to the Russian city of Vladivostok was also grounded. Several people waiting had visited North Korea on multiple occasions, and they were equally perplexed.

Rumors flew. What if the government had closed its airspace for a missile test? What if it didn’t want us to leave? Suddenly, just after 4 p.m., the departures board went dark, and the group went quiet.
‘Liberation of the fatherland,’ then sandwiches

On April 12, I flew from northeastern China to Pyongyang on Air Koryo, North Korea’s state airline. About a half-hour after takeoff, a flight attendant announced that we had entered North Korean airspace. "Our President, Kim Il Sung, came across the river with great ambition for his country,” she said in English. “It reminds us of his revolutionary exploits in his liberation of the fatherland.” She then distributed sandwiches.

Since the late 1940s, the Kim family has ruled North Korea with an iron fist — hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have died in its vast network of internment camps, according to best estimates. Any sign of dissent, or even disillusionment, can carry unspeakable consequences.

Its capital, Pyongyang, is a city of clean streets and modest apartment blocks. It’s also an urban testament to a personality cult so entrenched that it subsumes many aspects of its residents’ daily lives. Golden statues of Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il, the country’s ruler from 1994 to 2011, tower over the city. Their smiling portraits stare out from socialist-style edifices, living room walls, and red lacquer badges that all North Korean adults are required to wear in public, on their left lapels over their hearts.
Reporter Jonathan Kaiman with his government minder Kim Jin Hyok.
Reporter Jonathan Kaiman with his government minder Kim Jin Hyok. (Los Angeles Times)

Each journalist was assigned a government minder. We were not allowed to report, or even leave the hotel, on our own. On Thursday, my minder — Kim Jin Hyok, 27, a handsome Foreign Ministry employee — roused me at 4 a.m. for an “important event,” and instructed me to leave my phone and computer in the hotel room.

Bleary-eyed, the journalists stumbled onto our buses, spent four hours in a security line — every bag, every camera, every pocket was scoured — and arrived at a huge, empty square. At one end was a red-carpeted stage, and behind that, Ryomyong Street — a row of gleaming new high-rise residential buildings that, according to North Korean media, were built within a year.


“The mode of the respected leader Kim Jong Un is to improve the living standards of the people,” one official told me. “It’s to show that even if the U.S. places sanctions on us, we can still move forward at tremendous speed.”

People soon began filing in, until the square was a sea of dark suits, military uniforms and colorful dresses. I saw thousands of soldiers; many were heartrendingly small and thin, a reminder of the malnutrition that remains widespread outside the capital.

At about 9:30, Kim Jong Un arrived in a black Mercedes limousine. The crowd roared. The country’s prime minister gave a speech. After about 15 minutes, Kim stepped back into his limousine. He never said a word.

When he departed, the applause abruptly stopped. It echoed for several seconds, as if within a vast stone church.
What do you do for fun?

North Korea is perhaps the world’s foremost post-truth society. Most citizens cannot access the Internet, or unfiltered foreign information of any kind. Domestic media exists only to glorify the country’s leaders, or rehash ideological dogma and grievances against South Korea and the U.S.

Our minders constantly hovered over us, openly surveilling our cameras and notebooks. We had no recourse — even our minders had minders. They’d taken our passports on arrival. If they caught us photographing something forbidden — an off-duty soldier, a particularly revered political portrait — they didn’t hesitate to forcibly delete our photos.

Everything raised questions. Who decided our itinerary, and why didn’t our minders ever seem to know it until the last minute? Why were we allowed to photograph some portraits of the Kims, but not others? What was the average salary in Pyongyang? The minders didn’t know, or wouldn’t tell us.

In the absence of information, we formed our impressions through visual details, the cadence of conversations, the hum of Pyongyang’s city life.

Through the bus window, we observed the city’s old-fashioned bicycles, its pastel-colored mid-rises, its construction sites and rail depots. Experts had told me that the country’s economy was improving, and it appeared to be true. New cars lined the streets. Women wore high heels; men wore sneakers. Some rode electric bicycles, cellphones pressed against their ears.

“Do you believe in God?” my minder suddenly asked me as we sat on the bus. It was a surprising question — North Korea is an officially secular state, where religion is severely restricted.

“Not really,” I replied. “Do you?”

He paused, and smiled. “I believe in Juche revolutionary ideology,” he said, referring to Kim Il Sung’s ideology of self-reliance.

I laughed, and he laughed too.

We chatted about ourselves — our jobs, our families, our friends and relationships. He agreed to interpret several interviews with ordinary Pyongyang residents. I asked them about the U.S.-North Korea relationship, and they responded with state-sanctioned lines about “U.S. imperialist aggression” or “the benevolence of the respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.”

Yet other questions elicited incoherent answers or blank stares. Nobody could explain what they did for fun. A woman expressed her hope to someday visit Mt. Paektu, North Korea’s holy mountain. A man said that he was an architect. I could find no better way to ask the question, so I changed the subject.
Missile launch? What missile launch?

Saturday’s military parade was a blur of color and noise. For two hours, Kim stood and waved from a high rostrum, overlooking an endless procession of tanks, missile-bearing trucks, and soldiers who goose-stepped with such precision that the ground shook. Civilians marched by clutching North Korean flags, their necks craned towards Kim. They shouted “long live,” tears streaming down their faces.


Analysts expected North Korea to mark the holiday with a missile or nuclear test — and sure enough, the following morning, U.S. and South Korean officials reported that North Korea had tested a missile, though it fizzled shortly after takeoff.

In the U.S., talking heads debated the prospects of war. Yet North Korean state media didn’t announce the test — it never reports on failures. For ordinary North Koreans, it simply never happened.

That afternoon, at the Pyongyang Zoo, hundreds of middle-class Pyongyang residents filed past healthy-looking seals, hippos and orangutans. Three little girls petted a tortoise, their eyes filled with wonder, as their mother snapped pictures. No military marches piped in through speakers, and no portraits of dictators adorned the walls.

You can’t fake this, I thought. These were real people with loving families, having genuine fun. Some of them were almost certainly the same people I’d seen sobbing at the parade. The thought filled me with sadness.
Departure board goes dark

On Monday, my minder and I said goodbye. He returned my passport, and I stepped through immigration.

An hour after the departure board went dark — and just as we began wondering how we’d spend the night — it flickered back to life. An airline employee announced that all flights would depart immediately. She gave no further information — no explanation, no apology. We boarded the tired-looking Tupolev jet, and held our breaths as it shuddered down the runway.

This time, when we crossed the Yalu River and the flight attendant praised Kim Il Sung’s “revolutionary exploits,” the words filled me with relief.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #201 on: April 25, 2017, 10:24:32 AM »

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39694640
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DougMacG
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« Reply #202 on: April 25, 2017, 11:13:11 AM »


Xi urges restraint.  Isn't restraint what got us to this point? 

Are we moving really expensive assets around the globe and briefing congress only to allow him to continue to build his arsenal and threaten the world?  I hope not.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #203 on: April 25, 2017, 11:36:26 AM »

"Are we negotiating?"

"Always."
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ccp
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« Reply #204 on: April 29, 2017, 07:32:09 AM »

No one who could bothered to protect our electronic grid from and EMP so now suddenly Woosley is making this case
no kidding:

http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/james-woolsey-kim-jong-un-missiles/2017/04/28/id/787157/
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 08:49:53 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #205 on: April 30, 2017, 06:56:23 AM »

I don't get the impression that Kim could care less if S or N Koreans die in a war but the question remains is he willing to face certain death if a war comes because he would die for sure (or taken the way of Saddam Hussein - forced into a hole, arrested and hanged for crimes against humanity.

I would guess this young man for all his bluster would not choose to die.  But I could not fathom betting  lives of millions of people on it:

http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/Trump-North-Korea-United-States-nuclear-test/2017/04/29/id/787221/
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ccp
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« Reply #206 on: May 04, 2017, 08:31:03 AM »

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/korea-expert-theres-only-one-141228223.html

Either give up the butcher and live like kings the rest of your lives or die.
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G M
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« Reply #207 on: May 04, 2017, 10:45:28 AM »

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-china-idUSKBN17Z1TA?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social

WORLD NEWS | Wed May 3, 2017 | 11:27am EDT
North Korean media issues rare criticism of China over nuclear warnings
A man walks the the street decorated with flags as North Korea prepares to mark Saturday's 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, North Korea's founding father and grandfather of the current ruler, in central Pyongyang, North Korea April 12, 2017.   

North Korea's state media published a rare criticism of China on Wednesday, saying Chinese state media commentaries calling for tougher sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear program were undermining relations with Beijing and worsening tensions.

A commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) referred to recent commentaries in China's People's Daily and Global Times newspapers, which it said were "widely known as media speaking for the official stand of the Chinese party and government."

"A string of absurd and reckless remarks are now heard from China every day only to render the present bad situation tenser," it said.


"China had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations," the commentary said, referring to North Korea by the acronym for its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

China is North Korea's neighbor and only major ally and the United States has pressed it to use its influence to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. Diplomats say Washington and Beijing are negotiating a possible stronger U.N. Security Council response - such as new sanctions - to North Korea's repeated ballistic missile launches.

The KCNA commentary charged that the Chinese articles had attempted to shift the blame to Pyongyang for "deteriorated relations" between China and North Korea and U.S. deployment of strategic assets to the region.

It also accused China of "hyping up" damage caused by North Korean nuclear tests to China's three northeastern provinces.

Chinese state media calls for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program were "a wanton violation of the independent and legitimate rights, dignity and supreme interests" of North Korea and constituted "an undisguised threat to an honest-minded neighboring country which has a long history and tradition of friendship," it said.

ALSO IN WORLD NEWS

After North Korea criticism, China says wants to be good neighbor
Trump to wade into Middle East politics on first foreign trip
The KCNA commentary said calls by "some ignorant politicians and media persons" in China for stricter sanctions on North Korea and not ruling out military intervention if it refused to abandon its nuclear program, were "based on big-power chauvinism."

It said North Korea's nuclear program was needed for the "existence and development" of the country and "can never be changed nor shaken."

"The DPRK will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China," the commentary said.

Earlier on Wednesday, China called on all parties in the Korean standoff to stay calm and "stop irritating each other" a day after North Korea said the United States was pushing the region to the brink of nuclear war.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Frances Kerry)
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DougMacG
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« Reply #208 on: May 05, 2017, 02:35:37 PM »

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2017/05/103_228651.html

China urges citizens in N. Korea to return home Posted : 2017-05-02 13:52Updated : 2017-05-03 17:
 
North Korean soldiers carry the Korean People's Army flag as they walk past residential buildings along Ryomyong street in Pyongyang, North Korea, Apr. 13. / AP-Yonhap

By Ko Dong-hwan

The Chinese Embassy in North Korea has advised Korean-Chinese residents to return home amid concern that the North's military provocations may trigger a U.S. attack on the North, according to a source.

The embassy began sending the message on Apr. 20, five days before the North celebrated the 85th anniversary of the Korean People's Army with a show of military power, Radio Free Asia said Tuesday.

The U.S.-based station specializes in North Korea.

The station cited a Korean-Chinese living in the North's capital, who said he left for China late last month after the embassy contacted him.

He said he has been visiting China every two to three months but, after being told he should "stay in China for a while," left North Korea a month early.

"The embassy has never given such a warning. I was worried and left the country in a hurry," said the man, whose name was withheld.

But he said that most Korean-Chinese residents in Pyongyang were ignoring the message.

The city's "peaceful" atmosphere, despite the global crisis due to the state's threats involving missiles and nuclear tests, might have kept them unaware of the situation, he added.

The embassy's warning indicates that China is worried that the saber-rattling North and U.S. moves to destabilize the Kim Jong-un regime might affect Chinese citizens abroad.

The North was expected to conduct its sixth nuclear test around the 105th anniversary of the state's founder Kim Il-sung's birth on Apr. 15 and/or on the national military anniversary on Apr. 25.

The test did not happen on either day, except a fizzled missile test on Apr. 29.
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G M
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« Reply #209 on: May 12, 2017, 08:21:32 AM »

http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/05/12/conventional_artillery_and_nuclear__missiles_in_north_korea_111363.html

Well worth reading, IMHO.
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ccp
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« Reply #210 on: May 21, 2017, 05:26:33 PM »

Maybe... maybe not.  Remember when the Iraq defector made the Bush administration think everything would be simply great after Saddam was toppled in Iraq?

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/cia-director-met-high-level-north-korean-defector/
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ya
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« Reply #211 on: May 25, 2017, 06:52:41 PM »

https://youtu.be/FpQx7sxKv-I
#Invalid YouTube Link#

Stratfor thinks US will attack NK within weeks...
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 12:49:00 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #212 on: May 25, 2017, 07:39:36 PM »

https://youtu.be/FpQx7sxKv-I
#Invalid YouTube Link#

Stratfor thinks US will attack NK within weeks...

It does sound very plausible.
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ccp
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« Reply #213 on: May 25, 2017, 08:37:12 PM »

They have the most to lose.  Some insight here surprising actually:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/04/why-south-koreans-arent-afraid-of-a-military-standoff.html
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DougMacG
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« Reply #214 on: May 26, 2017, 09:02:32 AM »

If we are not planning to militarily end this regime, moving carriers around the globe is an expensive way to play mind games with this lunatic.

Wouldn't it be great if deal maker President has orchestrated an overwhelming joint effort of China, Russia, US and South Korea to free this prison camp and rescue the inmates.
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G M
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« Reply #215 on: May 26, 2017, 09:06:46 AM »

If we are not planning to militarily end this regime, moving carriers around the globe is an expensive way to play mind games with this lunatic.

Wouldn't it be great if deal maker President has orchestrated an overwhelming joint effort of China, Russia, US and South Korea to free this prison camp and rescue the inmates.

It would be nice, but I expect the best case is that China sits on the sidelines and let's it happen.
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ccp
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« Reply #216 on: May 26, 2017, 10:10:11 AM »

"Wouldn't it be great if deal maker President has orchestrated an overwhelming joint effort of China, Russia, US and South Korea"

China has much to gain from N Korea.   Look how Trump *caved* in one Mar a Lago meeting with Xi Jinping.  For years China is a currency manipulator and Xi Jinping plays Trump like  fiddle makes a few worthless faints like he is going to help with N Korea and viola.  We never hear a single peep from Trump about them being currency manipulators again.

So he gave up his position within a matter of minutes and runs around telling us what a great deal maker he is.

I felt duped frankly.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #217 on: May 26, 2017, 12:35:06 PM »

My understanding (supported by Scott Grannis btw) is that China it has been some years since China has been exporting unemployment via its exchange rate.  Thus, a good deal by Donald to get something for the nothing of a no longer valid accusation.

Also, note that the US navy sailed close by one of the fake islands yesterday.

OBAMA left a very bad situation with regards to the South China Sea-- as we here have covered closely for several years now and left an even worse situation with the Norks.   What would you have Trump do?  Fg with them over the SCC while asking for their help with the Norks is a tough hand to play.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #218 on: May 26, 2017, 01:20:43 PM »

"...What would you have Trump do?  Fg with them over the SCC while asking for their help with the Norks is a tough hand to play."

Agreed, though he also needs to f with them to show he's not afraid to act alone.  Besides South China Sea and NK, there are  many more pieces in that puzzle not counting the unknown unknowns. 

The perception of Trump having a screw or two loose actually helps in negotiations with this kind of rival.  George H.W. and George W weren't going to screw with them, Clinton and Obama wouldn't even want to but Trump might. 

China is an export based economy.  Their house of cards collapses if exports to the US collapses IMHO.  The regime is held up by power and by their public's perception of security and prosperity.  Collapse the economy and all they have left is military power that could conceivably turn against failed leadership.

Trump is a buy-American, imports-are-all-bad politician.  He's wrong but that isn't the point.

It could be that China has a real fear of what Trump could do to them without firing a shot.  That's a nice negotiating position to be in; get what you want by agreeing to do nothing.

I understand the game China has played to their advantage regarding NK and the US in a past tense sense.  They have played us and played the NK threat like a fiddle going back to Madeline halfbright and however many decades it has been.  I also believe NK has been a thorn in Chinese side and an unnecessary cost to them.  NK poses risks to them too.

Jump forward to 2017 and the Denny S theory of backyards.  Maybe China's thinking is changing on NK.  They don't need an American war in their backyard.  They don't need Japan accelerating their militarization and testing their own nuclear warheads.  NK poses a direct threat to Japan. Same for Taiwan and South Korea. 

Trump has publicly (and privately to China?) threatened to take care of the NK threat without Chinese help if he cannot get their help.  The collapse of his predecessor's foreign policy was symbolized by the drawing of red lines drawn and crossed without consequence.  Don't be that guy.

He also publicly bragged that he delegates military details to people like Gen Mattis who no doubt already has access to more than one plan, ready to go on NK when he gets the word.

In the context of Ya's post and the Stratfor report of public alert warnings sounded in Guam, maybe Trump already has Xi on board for some kind of operation that makes both countries look good and the world a little safer. 

More likely, advisers worried about safety in the short run will talk him out of it.
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G M
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« Reply #219 on: May 26, 2017, 01:25:55 PM »

"China is an export based economy.  Their house of cards collapses if exports to the US collapses IMHO.  The regime is held up by power and by their public's perception of security and prosperity.  Collapse the economy and all they have left is military power that could conceivably turn against failed leadership."

Exactly.

China spends more on "internal security" than defense. Actually, China doesn't have a military, intelligence service or law enforcement agencies. Those belong to the Chinese Communist Party. I hesitate to mention this, as I don't want to give the dems any ideas.
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ccp
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« Reply #220 on: May 26, 2017, 04:03:34 PM »

" Thus, a good deal by Donald to get something for the nothing of a no longer valid accusation."

Please explain to me what he got.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #221 on: May 26, 2017, 07:07:58 PM »

Arguably he got some Chinese pressure on the Norks.  Even if this turns out to be an illusion, he gave up nothing when he gave up the currency manipulator argument.

""China is an export based economy.  Their house of cards collapses if exports to the US collapses IMHO.  The regime is held up by power and by their public's perception of security and prosperity.  Collapse the economy and all they have left is military power that could conceivably turn against failed leadership."

"Exactly."

A point all of us have been making on the China-US thread for some years now.  Of course a trade war would have formidable consequences for all concerned, but quite a bit more for the Chinese I'm thinking. 
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G M
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« Reply #222 on: May 28, 2017, 12:12:15 PM »

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201705270029.html

U.S. to deploy 3rd carrier group to deter strike North Korea
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #223 on: May 29, 2017, 08:11:56 AM »

https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-war-catastrophic-worst-153740284.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #224 on: May 29, 2017, 08:58:35 PM »

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/05/29/japan-vows-to-take-action-with-us-after-north-korea-missile-test.html
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DougMacG
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« Reply #225 on: May 30, 2017, 03:49:05 PM »

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/05/28/mattis_nothing_scares_me_i_keep_other_people_awake_at_night.html

DICKERSON: Help people understand what a conflict with North Korea would be like and how it would be different.

MATTIS: A conflict in North Korea, John, would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people's lifetimes.

Why do I say this? The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on earth, which is the capital of South Korea.

We are working with the international community to deal with this issue. This regime is a threat to the region, to Japan, to South Korea, and in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russia as well.

But the bottom line is, it would be a catastrophic war if this turns into combat, if we are not able to resolve this situation through diplomatic means.

DICKERSON: North Korea has been testing missiles. Are they getting any better at their capability?

MATTIS: We always assume that, with a testing program, they get better with each test.

DICKERSON: You say North Korea is a threat to the region. Is North Korea a threat to the United States?

MATTIS: It is a direct threat to the United States. They have been very clear in their rhetoric.

We don't have to wait until they have an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon on it to say that now it has manifested completely.

DICKERSON: What is the line in North Korea that, if the regime crosses that line, in your view, the U.S. should take action?

MATTIS: I would prefer not to answer that question, John. The president needs political maneuver room on this issue.

We do not draw red lines unless we intend to carry them out. We have made very clear that we are willing to work with China, and we believe China has tried to be helpful in this regard.

DICKERSON: Give me a sense, if you can, of the time when you think North Korea gets to the point of no return.

MATTIS: We consider it a direct threat even today, the North Korean threat.

As far as that specific threat, I don't want to put a timeline on it. At this time, what we know, I would prefer to keep silent about, because we may actually know some things the North Koreans don't even know.
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ccp
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« Reply #226 on: June 16, 2017, 04:52:27 PM »

https://www.yahoo.com/news/otto-warmbier-roommate-north-korea-145630543.html

moral of story:  do not travel to country where leaders starve their people to death, and starve their dogs so they will tear apart  people they don't like (including relatives) .

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #227 on: June 22, 2017, 03:17:10 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-prisoners-20170621-story.html
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