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Author Topic: North and South Korea  (Read 15585 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« on: October 13, 2006, 08:25:58 AM »

www.stratfor.com

Geopolitical Diary: The Non-Reactions to the North Korean Test

One of the rules of geopolitical analysis is that you should pay little attention to what people say and a great deal of attention to what they do. Applying that principle to the North Korean explosion (nuclear, fizzled or other) causes us to come to a singular conclusion: there is no great concern among the major powers about what happened. No one is doing anything on their own and no one can agree on what should be done together. If this is a crisis, no one is acting that way.

The United States and Japan, it is true, have imposed sanctions on North Korea. However, China and Russia aren't going along with this, therefore the action is fairly meaningless. It's like a balloon with two holes in it: it defeats the entire purpose. The United States, it should be added, can't be surprised by the Russian and Chinese position. Moscow and Beijing have always been wary of following the U.S. sanctioning protocol with other countries, and they were always unlikely to follow the Americans on North Korea. Given that fact -- and given that Washington knows it -- U.S. and Japanese sanctions are more a gesture than an action.

If one listens to conventional analyses of the situation, North Korea poses a threat to the international community, and the key countries -- the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea -- are searching for ways to achieve the common goal of a non-nuclear North Korea. This is the community-of-nations theory of international relations, also known as multilateralism. It makes an assumption of a common interest that really isn't accurate. In fact, all of the key players have very different interests.

China, for example, sounds like a country that is quite upset that North Korea did something it didn't want. It behaves as a country that is quite content with North Korea's move, as it should be; the test flouts America's will and the United States is unable to do anything about it. American impotence is of direct interest to China. The United States has maneuvered itself into a position of taking primary responsibility for dealing with North Korea's threat. China, seeking a dominant position in Asia, welcomes anything that makes the United States appear incapable of carrying out this role. The weaker the United States appears, the greater the vacuum for China to step into. Beijing is going to make the appropriate sounds, but will also make certain that the United States looks as helpless as possible.

The Russians, too, are pleased to see North Korea's challenge to the United States and America's inability to respond; they are not going to bail Washington out. Russia sees itself as locked in a duel with the United States in the former Soviet Union. It holds the Americans responsible for the recent crisis in Georgia, as well as for a generally aggressive stance in Ukraine and Central Asia. The Russians are delighted to see the United States bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything that adds to American pain can only help.

Now, one might say that both Moscow and Beijing should be concerned that the unstable government in Pyongyang might threaten them with nuclear weapons. In our view, neither China nor Russia sees Pyongyang as unstable, politically or mentally. They are not worried about North Korean nukes because (a) North Korea doesn't really have nuclear weapons yet and (b) North Korea will be wiped from the face of the Earth by China or Russia should it strike at them and Pyongyang knows it. The risks are low and the benefits are high for both China and Russia. The appropriate expressions of concern will be uttered, but neither country will do anything.

Japan is concerned -- but not to the point of taking any unilateral action, because it can't. South Korea is far more worried about a conventional war than North Korean nukes, and does not want the government in Pyongyang to fall under any circumstances. The task of integrating a post-Communist North Korea with the South would cripple South Korea for decades. The South Koreans are not happy North Korea tested a nuke, but they are not about to do anything to destabilize the situation.

Multilateral approaches assume that there is a common interest in a solution and that the problem is working out the process to get there. There are indeed times when there is a common interest among nations, but they are rarer than times when interests diverge. In the case of North Korea, what we see is not a group of nations struggling to find a way to achieve a common goal. Rather, we see a group of nations pretending to have a common goal, and using that as a cover for pursuing very different ends. China and Russia view this as weakening the United States and they like it. South Korea does not want chaos to the North. Japan is waiting for someone else to take a risk. And the United States is out of options and allies.

The only good news for Washington is that it might discover that the test was not a nuclear test at all. That would relieve it of the burden of doing something, and therefore not make it look nearly as helpless as it now does. Indeed, discovering that there was no nuclear blast would solve a lot of problems; it would show that not doing anything was the result of prudence, and not of a lack of options.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 07:42:13 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2006, 11:47:36 PM »

Thanks Crafty for the Strat report.  I don't agree completely, but it makes a nice takeoff point for discussion.

Strat makes several assertions or conclusions that are arguably valid, but could also be looked at differently.  At the core they seem to see this as a U.S. public relations challenge with the U.S. looking impotent.  IMO, that assumes that people buy the anti-American rhetoric of the regime (they are doing this because they are threatened by the U.S., they demand 2-party talks with the U.S., etc.).

Blame goes to the NK regime IMO, not Clinton, Carter, Bush or China. If they fed their people or allowed any human effort at having an economy maybe one could then argue that defense and exerting sovereignty are healthy or righteous interests. That is not the case.

If there is a PR problem it should go to China who has influence and leverage, who laid down the line that was then crossed.

Strat quote: "The United States has maneuvered itself into a position of taking primary responsibility for dealing with North Korea's threat."

Yes, the current and previous President said this was unacceptable.  But I assume the same goes for statements of all others in the 6-party talks except for the DPRK and the UN and all the non-proliferation nations.  This is NOT acceptable.  Unfortunately, all this is in the context of the Iraq experience: the 12 years of resolutions without enforcement or consequences, the lack of support for action from so much of the world, and the enormous difficulty, tragedy and yet unknown outcome of finally taking bold action.

Strat continued: "the United States is out of options and allies."

Obviously there is an elephant in the room, a militatary strike in the spirit of Ozirak, the Israeli strike on an Iraqi nuclear facility in June 1981, is very carefully not being mentioned or discussed in any way. Ozirak reference: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/mcnair41/41osi.htm

I see that China is working on a new fence: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/17/asia/AS_GEN_China_NKorea_Fence.php  Perhaps that is in preparation for the fall of the NK regime and perhaps they are considering stronger actions after they feel they can control the flow of refugees - pure speculation on my part.  As Strat wrote, they also have an interest in seeing the status quo continue.  They certainly do not fear the NK regime.

The U.S. allies with the most to fear from a nuclear NK are obviously South Korea first (if they are still our ally), then Japan and ...Taiwan, oops another elephant in the room. 

I don't know the timeframe for North Korea becoming a real threat.  If this is a U.S. problem, then the political timeframe for this administration taking any action is 2 years.  In the Ozirak link above, the time frame was also driven by a leader with a deadline to leave office.

Under my theory that this really is a China problem first and with China not wanting Japan and Taiwan to accelerate their militarization or increase their defense cooperation with the U.S., I presume China could shut this down one way or another in a short order if or when that decision is made. 




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G M
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2006, 06:20:22 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2006/10/16/video-mark-steyn-on-north-korea/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2007, 07:31:30 AM »

A Whistleblower's Tale
Remember Oil for Food? Here's the story of how the U.N. propped up Pyongyang.

BY MELANIE KIRKPATRICK
Sunday, July 8, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

It's been more than six months since the U.S. first shone a light on the corruption in the United Nations Development Program in North Korea--a scandal potentially involving tens of millions of dollars used to help prop up the nuclear-armed regime of one of the world's most dangerous dictators. But never mind. It's all a Bush administration plot.

Such, apparently, is the considered view of the UNDP, which has spent the past half-year variously disputing the U.S. disclosures, justifying UNDP actions on "humanitarian" grounds, or offering an everyone-does-it defense. Ad Melkert, the former Dutch politician who is the No. 2 official at the UNDP and the point person for oversight of the program, even threatened to "retaliate" against the U.S., according to Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

In any case, Mr. Melkert seems to be more worried about his own job than the integrity of the organization he leads. In a June 23 article titled, "Smear Campaign, U.S. Against Melkert," the Dutch daily De Telegraaf, citing "insiders at the UNDP," reported that "conservative forces in the American government want the scalp of Ad Melkert."

So it's perhaps the right moment for a reality check courtesy of the man who blew the whistle on it all--Artjon Shkurtaj, an Albanian-born accountant who served as chief of operations for all U.N. operations in North Korea from November 2004 to September 2006. Mr. Shkurtaj--a veteran of UNDP programs in Bangladesh, East Timor, Kosovo, Mexico, India and elsewhere--was outraged at the violations he encountered in North Korea. After two years of trying to persuade his superiors at UNDP headquarters in New York to take corrective action, he took his information to the U.S. mission to the U.N. in May 2006. The UNDP responded by firing him this March.





A preliminary report by U.N. auditors, issued last month, confirms massive violations of U.N. rules regarding hiring practices, the use of foreign currency, and inspections of U.N.-funded projects. In a series of interviews in New York, Mr. Shkurtaj says the auditors (who were barred by North Korea from going there) barely scratched the surface of the misconduct.
We get quickly to the bottom line: Did the U.N. money go to the humanitarian projects it was supposed to fund? "How the hell do I know?" responds Mr. Shkurtaj--oversight was so poor, the involvement of North Korean workers assigned by the government so extensive and the use of cash so prevalent, that it was impossible to follow the money trail.

Mr. Shkurtaj arrived in North Korea on Nov. 4, 2004. He says one of his first indications that something was amiss was when checks denominated in euros and made out to "cash" arrived on his desk for signature. "Rule No. 1 in every UNDP country in the world is that you have to operate in local currency," he says, "not in hard currency. It's the rule No. 1 of development . . . in order to support the local economy and not devalue or destroy the local currency."

"I didn't sign the checks for about a week," he says, and then "it became a real mess. Headquarters contacted me, and said, 'Don't become a problem. You're going to wind up a PNG, a persona non grata, and ending up a PNG means the end of your career with the U.N. . . . We are authorizing you to go ahead and sign the checks. . . . So I started signing."

"Every morning from 8 to 10, we would issue checks" in euros for staff and projects, Mr. Shkurtaj says. "Then the checks, instead of going directly to the people or institutions by mail, as they should go [as specified by U.N. rules], the checks were given to the driver of our office." The driver would take them to the Foreign Trade Bank, where he would "exchange them into cash and come back to the office." North Korea did not permit Mr. Shkurtaj to have access to the UNDP's accounts at the Foreign Trade Bank, which refused even to keep his signature on file.

Then, every day at noontime, "North Koreans saying they represented U.N.-funded projects would come to receive cash at the UNDP offices." Mr. Shkurtaj says he was not allowed to require the North Koreans to sign receipts for the money or even to present IDs. "I had to trust them," he says. "But, hey, if headquarters tells me to give the money away, I'll give the money away."





On Aug. 16, 2006, a few weeks before Mr. Shkurtaj left North Korea, the UNDP resident representative, Timo Pakkala, issued a memo to the staff noting "an increased use of cash payments, in some cases to payees that are not authorized to receive payments." Citing "UNDP policy," Mr. Pakkala ordered future payments be made by bank transfer or "non-cash cheque." He also ordered staff to obtain receipts and not give money to unidentified people.
Mr. Shkurtaj says nothing happened. "The same routine continued." On Jan. 31, in a memo to Kemal Dervis, head of the UNDP, he urged that "the cashing of checks from the UNDP driver must be stopped and UNDP must demand access to the Foreign Trade Bank in all transactions with our accounts."

As the recent U.N. audit confirmed, the North Koreans who worked at UNDP were selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which also collected their salaries; both practices were violations of U.N. rules. Mr. Shkurtaj notes, too, that North Koreans selected by the government performed "core" functions such as dispensing cash--another violation of the rules. All communications tools--fax and telex equipment, computer servers, the local area network--"were in the hands of the North Koreans." "All the backup data [for the office's computers] were in a storage place completely isolated with a North Korean the chief of it." When Mr. Shkurtaj wanted to file a secure report, "I would go use the telex and communications satellite at the German Embassy or other embassies in the compound."

A North Korean--Li Kum Sun--controlled the office safe in her job as "finance officer." "Damn it," says Mr. Shkurtaj, "you had security-evacuation plans in the hands of a North Korean. It's unbelievable." One of his few on-the-job successes was to get control of the safe and petty cash taken away from Ms. Li and handed over to him in March 2006.

The U.N. audit also found numerous irregularities regarding on-site inspections of UNDP projects. Most projects are located outside Pyongyang, and Mr. Shkurtaj says one way to determine whether the required annual field visits actually took place is whether the inspectors filed expense accounts. "Everybody--meaning one driver, one translator . . . and one or two international staff would have received per diems," he says, or submitted vouchers for gas or overtime. "That is the proof that people checked the project." Yet, "in nearly two years in North Korea. . . . I signed for a maximum of two or three" such trips.

Mr. Shkurtaj recounts two inspections he attempted to carry out himself. In one case, UNDP paid for 300 computers intended for Kim Il Sung University. "Instead of the computers coming to UNDP, they went to a warehouse outside town, and we were allowed to inspect them only after a month and a half of fighting [with the government]. Then we were allowed to inspect only one computer in one box. The other boxes were not allowed to be opened."

Another inspection charade involved GPS equipment supposedly going to an agricultural project on flood control. "They didn't allow us for 3 1/2 months to see the GPSs that we gave them," Mr. Shkurtaj says.

Finally, he says, "they took us to the outskirts of Pyongyang, to an empty building, completely empty--no desk, no chairs, no nothing. We come in and go to the first floor. Empty. We go to the second floor. Empty. On the last door of the second floor, we enter. There is only one desk in the middle of the room, and on the desk are the GPS devices that we provided. Now, you're telling me we are providing GPS devices for an empty building, without people working inside?"





During the years he worked for UNDP in Pyongyang, Mr. Shkurtaj says he filed numerous reports to his superiors but got nowhere. Finally, with several months to go in his tour of duty in North Korea, he was recalled to New York.
He says that David Lockwood, deputy assistant administrator of the UNDP, told him, "Look, it would be good for your future if you come to New York and from here we'll send you somewhere else in the world. But you have rocked the boat too much right now and you should leave for your own good."

Mr. Shkurtaj's last day in North Korea was Sept. 26, 2006. When his contract came up for renewal in March--the vast majority of U.N. employees operate under work contracts--he was told that after 13 years of employment at UNDP his services would no longer be needed.

A few months before his dismissal, he received an "outstanding" rating in his annual review, dated Dec. 14, 2006, and signed by Romulo Garcia, chief of the Northeast Asia and Mekong Division. Mr. Garcia described Mr. Shkurtaj as "quick, professional, highly competent, creative, hard working and dedicated."

Mr. Shkurtaj has filed a complaint with the U.N. Ethics Office, asking for reinstatement under the U.N. whistleblower protection policy. Yesterday Rep. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon asking him to look into Mr. Shkurtaj's dismissal. His case "appears to be a fundamental test of the UN's whistleblower protection policy, one of the touted hallmarks of internal U.N. reform in recent years," she writes. "It is also highly relevant to whether UNDP has adequately internalized the need for increased transparency and accountability." Her request followed a similar letter to Mr. Ban last week from Sen. Norman Coleman, asking that Mr. Shkurtaj be accorded whistleblower protection.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shkurtaj has sent his wife and two children home to Italy--he is an Italian citizen--and is fast depleting his savings. He says he is "living like a bum" in New York.

Ms. Kirkpatrick is a deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2007, 10:37:55 PM »

stratfor.com
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DougMacG
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2007, 05:56:54 AM »

I think this is the article you were posting,  I don't understand either China's strategy or Stratfor's analysis of it.

China: Fearing a U.S.-North Korean Thaw
July 16, 2007 20 42  GMT

Summary

The six-party nuclear talks are slated to resume July 18 in Beijing now that North Korea has shut down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor. Before then, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will hold a bilateral meeting with North Korean chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Gwan. The recent progress on the North Korean nuclear issue is raising new concerns in Beijing, sending it on a mission to reclaim its influence over the U.S.-North Korean relationship.

Analysis

Now that North Korea has shut down the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, the six-party nuclear talks have been set to resume July 18 in Beijing. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will meet one-on-one with North Korean chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Gwan before then.

Signs that Washington and Pyongyang might begin a series of bilateral security talks, coupled with the recent progress on the North Korean nuclear issue, have caused China some concern, prompting Beijing to seek to restore its influence over the U.S.-North Korean relationship.

China has hosted the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, publicly calling numerous times for dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington. While Beijing sought to avoid another war on the Korean Peninsula, it knew such a scenario was very remote. It used its ties with, and influence over, North Korea to help manage Chinese relations with the United States, using its role as mediator and facilitator of the talks to reduce U.S. pressure on China in other areas.

However, the growing rift between Beijing and Pyongyang and the decline in North Korean reliance on Chinese exports steadily have eroded Beijing's ability to command obedience from Pyongyang. North Korean oil imports from Russia's Primorsky region via deals brokered through Moscow, for example, have risen precipitously in recent years. And while China still exerts influence over North Korea, Chinese oil stoppages no longer hold the bite they once did.

The long delay between the Feb. 13 agreement and North Korea's shutdown of Yongbyon was not a big problem for Beijing. While it did show some limitations of Beijing's ability to manipulate North Korea, it kept Washington looking to Beijing to keep North Korea in line. But the rapid shift -- just three weeks -- from the return of North Korean funds deposited in Macau's Banco Delta Asia (long a sticking point in the six-party process) to Pyongyang's announcement of the shutdown has left China concerned that the process is moving out of its control. Pyongyang's offer of direct bilateral defense talks with Washington and Washington's relatively positive response to this have magnified Chinese fears.

North Korea's offer of direct military talks with the United States, something that could be part of -- or a supplement to -- a peace accord between the two nations, sidesteps China's role as facilitator. China remains a signatory to the 1953 Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War, along with North Korea and the United States. (South Korea refused to sign at the time.) Washington's positive response, as well as rumors that the United States is even considering normalized relations with North Korea -- or at least a liaison office in Pyongyang -- is adding to China's sense of isolation.

For China, this is more than just the short-term issue of using North Korea's latest crisis as a lever in U.S.-Chinese relations; North Korean nuclear crises come and go. Rather, there is a deeper concern in Beijing regarding a true U.S.-North Korean rapprochement. North Korea is a critical component of China's buffer strategy. China has significant land borders and so has created a system of buffers to protect the heartland around the Yellow, Yangtze and Pearl rivers. This buffer zone was created over the course of China's history and includes Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Tibet, among other parts of China. It offers strategic depth and supplements China's defense forces with natural barriers.

Historically, China viewed Korea as part of this buffer zone, even if it was not formally part of the Chinese nation. During the Korean War, the fear of losing North Korea as a strategic buffer to U.S. forces triggered Chinese intervention. And while Washington is currently not threatening to march up to the Yalu, China's need for North Korea as a strategic buffer remains strong. A saying used by the Chinese during the Korean War maintains that relations between China and North Korea are as close as lips and teeth: When the lips are gone, the teeth get cold. When North Korea ceases to be a friendly buffer state, China accordingly gets nervous and feels vulnerable.

For Beijing, helping the inter-Korean reconciliation process was not much of a concern. For geographic and economic reasons, a unified Korea would more than likely shift toward China -- but a U.S.-friendly North Korea is a different story. And even if it is unlikely that Washington and Pyongyang will make immediate friends and become close allies, Beijing is worried that it is losing control of the process, and thus its ability to shape its own strategic environment.

Beijing is now looking for a way to reclaim its influence over the U.S.-North Korean relationship. One method will be to press for four-party talks on shaping a peace accord. These talks would include China, the United States and the two Koreas, drawing on Seoul's similar concern that it is being left out of the U.S.-North Korean process. This would also help keep Russia out in the cold as far as influence over the six-party talks is concerned. Another means by which Beijing could address this issue would be to offer support for South Korean attempts to resurrect the North Korean economy by tying existing economic activities on the China-North Korea border to those on the inter-Korean border (such as the inter-Korean Kaesong industrial complex).

However remote, the threat Beijing perceives from any sign of a U.S.-North Korean rapprochement is very real. Hence, China's primary goal at the talks beginning July 18 will be to reclaim influence over the U.S.-North Korean relationship.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2007, 07:47:09 AM »

Thanks for the save Doug!  (PS I accidentally deleted your email about Scott G.  embarassed Would you resend it please?)

As for the NK situation, at the moment it looks like President Bush may actually have a win on this one.  As for Strat's analysis, I can't really comment-- I haven't understood the NK situation all along  cheesy
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DougMacG
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2007, 11:06:11 AM »

The North Koreans shut down a known reactor and the South Koreans delivered oil to them.  The difference between this and the Clinton agreement is that this administration is reacting with caution, acknowledging that other covert reactors may still exist.  Bill Clinton and Madeline Albright reacted with an end zone dance that could have made Randy Moss blush.

What I fail to grasp is why a rogue NK is useful to China in 2007. 
--

National Security Director Steven Hadley on Fox News Sunday: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,289361,00.html

"It's a first step in implementing an agreement that was reached last February, which is part of an overall framework of a year ago September, and under that framework, they need to give up their entire nuclear program."

[Understood. But what effect — what practical effect does the shutdown at Yongbyon have on their ability to continue to produce nuclear devices?]

"It means they will no longer be able to process to produce the plutonium from which they — of those nuclear weapons that are made out of plutonium.  We have concerns they may have a covert enrichment program. That will be the next subject of discussions..."

[And that's a uranium deal, right?]

"This is basically enriching uranium to the point where it can be used for nuclear weapons."

[Harder to do than with plutonium, correct?]

"Harder to do. We've had concerns they have a covert program. They at one point admitted that program.  But the route that they have used to date is the reprocessing route. That will be shut down. That route will be cut off, assuming these facilities are shut down.  We will then pursue to work through toward disabling, ultimately dismantling that program, getting a full accounting of what they've been doing with any covert enrichment program, and finally getting them to turn over any nuclear materials from which nuclear weapons have or could be made."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2007, 12:16:20 PM »

Bush's North Korea Meltdown
By JOHN R. BOLTON
October 31, 2007; Page A21

Facts about Israel's Sept. 6 raid on a suspected nuclear facility in Syria continue to emerge -- albeit still incompletely, especially regarding the involvement of the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea. Important questions remain, such as whether its personnel were present when the attack occurred, and whether they had been working to clone the Yongbyon nuclear facility in the Syrian desert since the North Korean commitment in February (the latest in a long series) to give up its nuclear programs.

 
Seemingly unperturbed, however, the Bush administration apparently believes North Korea is serious this time, unlike all the others. The concessions continue to flow in essentially only one direction, crossing repeated "red lines" Washington had drawn.

These include: (1) the humiliating U.S. collapse on North Korea's access to international financial markets; (2) accepting a mere "freeze" of Yongbyon (misleadingly called "disablement" by the administration) rather than real dismantlement; (3) failing to ensure enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718's sanctions, imposed after Pyongyang's nuclear test; and (4) the State Department's palpable hunger to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and the Trading With the Enemy Act's prohibitions, and re-establish full diplomatic relations.

The Bush administration's most serious concession is forthcoming, in which the U.S. will accept, with little or no concrete verification, Pyongyang's imminent declaration that it actually has very little nuclear activity other than what we have long known about at Yongbyon.

Even critics from the left now worry that State is conceding far more than it should. Jack Pritchard, the special envoy for negotiations with North Korea who resigned during Secretary of State Colin Powell's tenure because our policy was too unyielding, said recently that North Korean officials think "they can ask for and get what they want from the Bush administration because [it] is so eager to demonstrate a diplomatic achievement." Mr. Pritchard concluded, "The North Koreans are rubbing their hands together with glee."

Our current Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and other partisans of the six-party talks respond to all internal administration complaints or criticisms by asking, "What is your alternative? What would you have us do otherwise, risk war on the Peninsula?" Herewith, some responses:

First, it is simply inapposite to judge every tactical decision -- to accede or stand firm on this or that subsidiary point -- by forecasting the complete demise of the entire six-party process if North Korean sensibilities are ruffled by occasionally saying "no." Indeed, showing tactical toughness can frequently enhance the long-term prospects for success, not reduce them. Sadly, however, toughness at the tactical or strategic level is no longer the hallmark of our North Korea policy. Weakness is the watchword.

Second, before it is too late, President Bush has to draw a deep line in the sand on verification. The State Department has yet to say anything publicly about how verification will be accomplished, especially on the North's uranium-enrichment efforts, giving rise to the suspicion that our negotiators don't really have a clue what they mean. The idea of North Korea for years engaged in cloning Yongbyon in Syria (or anywhere else -- Burma, for instance) should be a fire bell in the night. President Reagan's mantra of "trust but verify" in the Cold War days didn't offend anyone, and if it offends Kim Jong Il, that should tell us something. If anything, however, with North Korea, President Bush should reverse Reagan's order: Let's see real verification, and leave trust until later.

Third, consider the severely negative effect these repeated concessions have on our relations with Japan and South Korea. President Bush used to stress that this was a "six-party" process, but now all of the action is bilateral. The State Department's lust to remove North Korea from the terrorism list is having a profoundly negative impact on our treaty ally, Japan, the nation most directly threatened by Pyongyang's nuclear capability. Thomas Schieffer, the Bush administration's ambassador to Japan, reportedly complained recently to the president that he was "cut out of the process." State should explain why it trusts North Korea more than our ambassador to Tokyo, and why we ignore Tokyo's concerns over North Korea's kidnappings of Japanese citizens.

South Korea is facing a critical presidential election in December. The last thing Washington should do is pursue concessionary policies that might enhance the prospects for a new president who follows the same appeasement line as incumbent President Roh Moo-hyun. If South Korea can discard Mr. Roh's rose-colored glasses, our overall prospects will improve considerably, but our unquestioning embrace of North Korea could have exactly the wrong impact in the South's volatile politics.

Fourth, and most importantly, the right response to the North Korean threat is to apply pressure steadily and consistently, rather than hastily releasing it. After its nuclear test, Pyongyang faced growing pressure from the cumulative impact of Chinese anger, U.N. Security Council sanctions, ongoing implementation of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and the U.S. Treasury's continuing financial squeeze.

There was a plan, of sorts, and it was producing some evidence of success. Instead of squeezing harder, such as by encouraging refugee flows out of the North, the administration did a U-turn. It let a desperate North Korea up off the mat, provided tangible economic support for this appallingly authoritarian regime, allowed Kim Jong Il to relegitimize himself, and undercut the PSI world-wide.

The icing on Kim's cake is that for years -- before, during and after the 2005 and 2007 "agreements" -- North Korea was happily violating its commitments. Instead of focusing China on solving the problem of the regime it has propped up for so long, we absolved China, sidelined Japan, inserted ourselves and started life-support for the administrators of the world's largest prison camp.

This will perpetuate the North Korean problem, not solve it. Any by perpetuating Kim Jong Il's regime, and its continuing threat, it is actually the State Department's policy that poses the greater risk to international peace and security. This is true not only for Pyongyang, but for other would-be proliferators watching our ongoing failure to stop North Korea.

The debate within the Bush administration is not yet over, although time is short before irreparable harm is done. Growing restiveness in Congress among Republicans and Democrats may increasingly become a factor. For President Bush, I can only hope he re-reads his first term speeches on North Korea.

Mr. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations," out next week from Simon & Schuster/Threshold Editions.

WSJ
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2008, 11:13:09 AM »

Foggy Bottom Apostate
January 25, 2008; Page A14
Jay Lefkowitz, President Bush's special envoy for human rights in North Korea, has recently pointed out that our current approach to Pyongyang is failing. Lord help a diplomat who tells the truth.

Mr. Lefkowitz, growled Condoleezza Rice at a Tuesday press conference in Europe, "doesn't work on the six-party talks [on North Korea], he doesn't know what's going on in the six-party talks and he certainly has no say in what American policy will be in the six-party talks." For good measure, the Secretary added that she "would doubt very seriously that [the Chinese and Russians] would recognize" Mr. Lefkowitz's name.

In this Foggy Bottom version of the vanishing commissar, Mr. Lefkowitz is being written out of the Administration's North Korea policy for a speech he gave last week at the American Enterprise Institute. Noting that it has been more than two years since Pyongyang pledged to abandon its nuclear weapons program, and more than two weeks since it violated the latest deadline to disclose the full extent of that program, Mr. Lefkowitz observed that "it is increasingly clear that North Korea will remain in its present nuclear status when the Administration leaves office in one year."

Mr. Lefkowitz also noted that the rationale for the six-party talks (which include China, Japan, Russia and South Korea in addition to the U.S. and North Korea) has largely evaporated since it's become clear that neither China nor South Korea were prepared to exert any meaningful leverage on Pyongyang to abandon its weapons. "What we had hoped would be a process in which Beijing and Seoul would simultaneously withhold carrots and use their considerable influence over Pyongyang to end its nuclear activities has evolved into a process that provides new carrots without a corresponding cost to Pyongyang." Instead, he added all too accurately, the talks have deteriorated into the North Korean-U.S. bilateral negotiation that Kim Jong Il always wanted.

It wasn't long ago that Mr. Lefkowitz's comments, which also recommended linking human-rights to security issues with the North, would have been a fair reflection of President Bush's own views. But apparently not any more, as Mr. Bush has accepted Ms. Rice's judgment that one more "Dear Mr. Chairman" letter, or one more aid shipment, or one more diplomatic concession will cause Kim to change his ways.

State is even claiming that North Korea has fulfilled the requirements necessary to get itself off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, one of Pyongyang's key demands. A contrary assessment is provided by the Congressional Research Service, which recently noted "reports from reputable sources that North Korea has provided arms and possibly training to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka." State also seems to be ignoring, or suppressing, evidence of Pyongyang's nuclear proliferation, which was brought to light after Israel destroyed an apparent North Korean nuclear facility in September.

We understand why Ms. Rice would be unhappy to hear her policy contradicted by Mr. Lefkowitz. We would be more understanding if that policy had any record of success. Kim Jong Il has now had nearly a year and two deadlines to fulfill his nuclear promises and shows no intention of doing so. Chances are he now figures he can wait out this Administration and hope for better terms from President Clinton.

On present course, Ms. Rice is setting President Bush up to spend his final year begging Kim to cooperate by offering an ever growing and more embarrassing list of carrots. Mr. Bush would do better to listen to Mr. Lefkowitz, while ordering Ms. Rice to introduce him to the Chinese and Russians.

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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2008, 05:19:59 AM »

Salvaging Our North Korea Policy
By JOHN R. BOLTON
March 17, 2008
WSJ

There are signs, albeit small ones, that the Bush administration may be reaching the end of its patience with the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program. These signs could prove illusory. But as it nears its end, the administration has a serious responsibility: It must not leave its successor with an ongoing, failed policy. At a minimum, President Bush should not bequeath to the next president only the burned-out hulk of the Six-Party Talks, and countless failed and violated North Korean commitments.

 
David Gothard 
Since they were conceived in spring 2003, the Six-Party Talks have stumbled around inconclusively. And for the last 13 months, Pyongyang has ignored, stalled, renegotiated and violated the Feb. 13, 2007 agreement.

Throughout all this "negotiation," which has mostly consisted of our government negotiating with itself, North Korea has benefited enormously. It's been spared the truly punishing sanctions that concerted international effort might have produced. In large part because of the appeasement policies of the two previous South Korean governments, Pyongyang has not felt the full impact of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on its outward proliferation efforts. The U.S. has muzzled its criticism of North Korea's atrocious oppression of its own citizens. And, perhaps most humiliatingly of all, the U.S., in a vain effort at chasing the mirage, gave up its most effective pressure point -- the financial squeeze -- allowing Pyongyang renewed access to international markets through institutions like Banco Delta Asia.

In fact, the protracted Six-Party Talks have provided Kim Jong-il with the most precious resource of all: the time to enhance, conceal and even disperse his nuclear weapons programs. Time is nearly always on the side of the would-be proliferator, and so it has proven here. In exchange for five years of grace to North Korea, the U.S. has received precious little in return.

Pyongyang is now stonewalling yet again on its promise to disclose fully the details of its nuclear programs, including its uranium enrichment efforts and its outward proliferation. The successful Israeli military strike against a Syrian-North Korean facility on the Euphrates River last September highlighted the gravity of the regime's unwillingness to do anything serious that might restrict its nuclear option.

President Bush should spend the next 10 months rectifying the Six-Party concessions and put North Korea back under international pressure -- efforts that would be welcomed by Japan, and South Korea's new, far more realistic President Lee Myung-bak. Here are the steps to take:

- Declare North Korea's repeated refusal to honor its commitments, especially but not exclusively concerning full disclosure of its nuclear programs, unacceptable. This is the easiest step, and the most obvious. It can happen immediately. Accept no further partial "compliance," as the State Department continuously tries to do. Make public what we know about the North's Syria project, and its uranium enrichment and missile programs, so our 2008 presidential candidates can have a fully-informed debate.

- Suspend the Six-Party Talks, and reconvene talks without North Korea. Although the talks could be jettisoned altogether, continuing them without the North allows Japan, South Korea and the U.S. to begin applying real pressure to China, the one nation with the capacity to bring Pyongyang's nuclear program to a halt. China has feared to apply such pressure, worried that it could collapse Kim Jong-il's regime altogether -- an accurate assessment of the regime's limited staying power. Nonetheless, the effect of Chinese reticence has been to preserve Kim and his nuclear program. It is vital that China know this policy is no longer viable.

- Strengthen international pressure on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. Ramp up PSI cooperation with South Korea. Remind Russia of its own voluntarily-assumed obligations as a PSI core member. Remind China as well to comply with the sanctions imposed on North Korea by U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1695 and 1718 (which followed the North's 2006 ballistic missile and nuclear tests), and honor its other counterproliferation obligations. Tell them we will be watching with particular care, and that Chinese failure to increase pressure on North Korea will have implications in Sino-American bilateral relations. We can make this point privately to China rather that trumpet it publicly, but it should be made without ambiguity.

- Squeeze North Korea economically. Return the regime to limbo outside the international financial system, and step up action against its other illicit activities, such as trafficking in illicit narcotics and counterfeiting U.S. money. These and other "defensive measures" are nothing more than what any self-respecting nation does to protect itself, and the U.S. should never have eased up on them. Even now they can have a measurable impact on Kim Jong-il's weak and unsteady regime.

- Prepare contingency plans for humanitarian relief in the event of increased North Korean refugee flows or a regime collapse. Both China and South Korea have legitimate concerns about the burdens they would face if the North collapsed, or if increased internal economic deprivation spread instability. America and Japan should make it plain that they will fully shoulder their share of providing humanitarian supplies and assistance if either happened. Moreover, President Lee should increase pressure on Pyongyang -- by reiterating that South Korea will fully comply with its own constitution and grant full citizenship to any refugees from the North, however they make their way to the South.

Doubtless there are other steps. President Bush will not likely be able to solve the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Nonetheless, he still has time to implement policies that will allow him to leave office with the nation back on offense -- thereby affording his successor the chance to vindicate a return to the original Bush administration national security strategy.

Mr. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations" (Simon & Schuster/Threshold Editions, 2007).
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2008, 07:51:47 AM »

Vetoing the Verifiers
May 8, 2008; Page A14
The State Department is justifying its decision to let North Korea renege on its pledge to give a "complete declaration of its nuclear programs" by promising a strict verification regime. So why is Foggy Bottom cutting its own verification experts out of the loop?

The State Department's systematic exclusion of its own Bureau of Verification, Compliance and Implementation has gone unreported as the North Korean diplomacy proceeds. But it is causing concern on Capitol Hill and has already led to a proposal to require State to submit a report to Congress describing how the U.S. will verify any nuclear deal. Sponsored by Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the legislation passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week with the support of Democratic Chairman Howard Berman.

The mandate of the verification bureau, as described on the State Department's Web site, is to provide oversight "on all matters relating to verification or compliance with international arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament agreements and commitments." It "supports the Secretary" in "developing and implementing robust and rigorous verification and compliance policies."

The verification bureau was created by a Republican Congress in 1999 over the objections of the Clinton Administration and State Department careerists who didn't want agreements subject to additional oversight. The bureau's biggest success to date is Libya, where it played a central role in dismantling the country's WMD programs in 2003. There the bureau worked closely with experts from the Departments of Defense and Energy as well as with Britain and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

North Korea is a different story. The verifiers "have no voice so far," one person close to the process told us. They aren't part of the negotiating teams talking to the North Koreans and they've been excluded from key internal meetings. No one from the verification bureau participated in a recent State Department trip to Pyonygang intended to work out verification issues.

Nor is the verification bureau in charge of monitoring the disabling of the North's nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. One bureau professional took part, but he was invited for his technical expertise; he was not there as a verifier. Paula DeSutter, the assistant secretary who heads the bureau, declined to comment.

 
Incredibly, the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs is calling the shots – talking to the North Koreans, hand picking experts to work at Yongbyon, and overseeing disablement. Call it the Chris Hill Show. Mr. Hill – the assistant secretary for East Asia – has also made a mockery of the interagency process. The verification bureau's Pentagon counterparts, who were closely involved in the six-party Korean diplomacy until mid-2005, have also been kept in exile.

Now there's talk that the East Asia bureau – not the verification bureau – will also end up monitoring any final six-party agreement. Not only does East Asia lack the technical expertise to verify a nuclear agreement, its staffers would hardly be eager to find violations in an accord negotiated by their superiors. There's even talk State may outsource some of the inspection work to China, which will be chairing a verification group within the six-party group. But China would have no incentive to blow the whistle on its client state.

The fact that Mr. Hill and his boss, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, are marginalizing their own verifiers is further reason to doubt their North Korea deal. The diplomats want to deliver a "success" and are afraid that if the verifiers get a close look, they will expose it as a fraud. Among the uncomfortable questions: Where is all of the plutonium North Korea has produced over the years? What happened to the uranium program that Pyongyang once boasted about but now says does not exist? What exactly did the North proliferate to Syria?

No verification can deliver 100% certainty, and North Korea, with its history of cheating and lying, would be a difficult case under even the most stringent inspection regimes. The disarmament of Libya succeeded because Moammar Gadhafi decided to cooperate. There's zero indication that Kim Jong Il shares that frame of mind.

North Korea's geography offers special challenges too. It's a mountainous country, with caves hiding mobile missile launchers aimed at Seoul. The military has vast underground facilities built with the help of its former Soviet patrons. Will these be open to inspectors? Even assuming that Kim will allow unimpeded and unannounced access – a leap of diplomatic faith – special expertise is needed to decide where to inspect and what to look for.

The State Department's verification bureau was created in the spirit of Ronald Reagan's slogan, "trust but verify." The Gipper was referring to the disarmament of the Soviet Union in the 1980s, but his principle applies equally to North Korea today. If Foggy Bottom won't trust its own verifiers enough to make them part of any disarmament deal, then the rest of us shouldn't trust any deal struck by the Bush State Department.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds,
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2009, 05:43:38 AM »

By JOHN R. BOLTON
Yesterday, North Korea declared all its political and military agreements with the South "dead" -- the latest in a string of confrontational moves taken by Pyongyang against Seoul and the U.S. In the past few weeks, the North confirmed it possessed enough plutonium for four to five nuclear warheads; threatened to retain its nuclear weapons until America withdraws its nuclear protection from the South; denounced the appointment of Seoul's new unification minister as "an open provocation"; and proclaimed that a routine South Korean military exercise had so inflamed tensions that "a war may break out any time."

The Associated Press concluded from all this that North Korea "sounded open to new ideas to defuse nuclear-tinged tensions." Some State Department quarters will warmly receive that analysis; a senior careerist at State once called earlier North Korean provocations "a desperate cry for help." Others will say Kim Jong Il just wants attention, that these moves are simply a "coming out" exercise after his recent illness.

Unfortunately, early signs are that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is falling prey to such logic and downplaying the significance of Pyongyang's nuclear program. It may well be that the Obama administration wants to emphasize domestic economic issues and limit foreign affairs priorities to the Arab-Israeli conflict. But neglecting North Korea is a dangerous gamble with very high stakes.

Most troubling is Mrs. Clinton's unwillingness to acknowledge North Korea's uranium-enrichment efforts. In her confirmation hearing, she said these efforts were "never quite verified." Although we know precious little about the North's progress, including how much weapons-grade uranium may have been produced, Mrs. Clinton cast doubt on whether uranium enrichment was a serious subject at all. Pressed on this point on Jan. 23 at State's daily briefing, the department spokesman said "we don't know" whether such a program exists.

Of course, the easiest way to solve a difficult problem is to conclude there really isn't one. (This was John Kennedy's technique for eliminating the U.S. "missile gap" with the Soviet Union, which he had deployed so effectively against Richard Nixon.) For years, State's permanent bureaucracy has been trying to wish away North Korea's uranium-enrichment program. If President Barack Obama's State Department takes this strategy, Pyongyang will once again have occasion to contemplate the profound wisdom of the ancient North Korean riddle: Why negotiate with the Americans when we do so well by letting them negotiate with themselves?

Equally tempting -- and equally dangerous -- is the notion that North Korea is not a truly pressing problem. After all, the argument goes, the North already has nuclear weapons, so unlike Iran there is no line to prevent it from crossing. Accordingly, there is no urgency to reconvene the six-party talks with the Koreas, Russia, China and Japan to end the North's nuclear program, and certainly not to take any concrete measures to apply meaningful pressure to Kim Jong Il's regime.

By contrast, George Mitchell, the newly appointed special envoy to the Middle East, arrived in the region five days after being named, and the endless cycle of meetings on Iran's nuclear program among the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members and Germany will resume in days. The special envoy for Afghanistan-Pakistan is gearing up rapidly. And there's now even a special envoy for climate change.

But so far, there is no special envoy for North Korea. Mrs. Clinton's first press conference last Tuesday provided another opportunity to announce the position and name the envoy, but she passed, even though she was asked specifically about the six-party talks. There are persuasive arguments against reviving the unhappy Clinton administration practice of unleashing numerous Big Beast envoys in the State Department. But make no mistake: In such an ecosystem, if your issue does not have a Big Beast, then it is not a Big Issue.

The belief that North Korea is not an imminent danger is closely related to the fallacy that it is "merely" a threat to peace and security in Northeast Asia, a longstanding State Department fixation. In fact, North Korea is an urgent threat in the Middle East, both because of its nuclear program and its strenuous efforts to proliferate ballistic missile technology there.

The clone of North Korea's Yongbyon reactor -- under construction in Syria until it was destroyed by Israel in September 2007 -- demonstrates beyond debate how the North's nuclear program contributes directly and palpably to Middle East tensions. Trying to ignore or downplay the relationship guarantees that we will resolve neither Pyongyang's, nor Tehran's, nuclear ambitions.

Ironically, North Korea's provocations may well precipitate the appointment of a U.S. special envoy to continue the six-party talks. If so, the North will have succeeded yet again, suckering Washington into more fruitless negotiations which have no prospect of eliminating the North Korean threat. By whittling away our time, they will continue to prevent the U.S. from implementing stronger measures to undermine Kim Jong Il's regime.

Mr. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations" (Simon & Schuster, 2007).
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2009, 04:58:37 PM »

If Ronald Reagan didn't pursue what the left derided as "star wars" we wouldn't be able to do this now would we?

****ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Adm. Timothy Keating, head of the U.S. Pacific Commands, said that the military is prepared to shoot down any North Korean ballistic missile -- if President Obama should give the order.

There are reports that Kim Jung Il is advancing his nuclear plans for North Korea and Washington is watching closely. Admiral Keating says that the U.S. military is ready and prepared to respond to the launch of any missiles by North Korea.
(AP Photos)"If a missile leaves the launch pad we'll be prepared to respond upon direction of the president," Keating told ABC News. "I'm not a betting man but I'd go like 60/40, 70/30 that it will, they will attempt to launch a satellite. There's equipment moving up there that would indicate the preliminary stages of preparation for a launch. So I'd say it's more than less likely."

"Should it look like it's not a satellite launch -- that it's something other than a satellite launch -- we'll be ready to respond."

Intelligence reports suggest that North Korea is preparing a long-range missile test. Earlier this week, North Korea announced its plans to send a satellite into orbit as part of its space program.

However, many in the international community assert that North Korea's satellite test is simply a means of concealing a long-range missile test -- a move that would flare existing tension in the region.

Related
Will North Korea Launch a Long-Range Missile?NKorea Building Underground Fuel Facility?Clinton Fears North Korean Power StruggleKeating said that the military is ready to respond with at least five different systems: destroyer, Aegis cruiser, radar, space-based system and ground-based interceptor. All of these work in conjunction with one another to protect against any missile threat.

 Destroyers are fast, multi-purpose warships that can be used in almost any type of naval operation. They would likely play a defensive role, helping to repel an air attack and offering a platform for gunfire and missiles to hit airborne objects.

 The Aegis cruiser is part of the Navy's computer-based command and control system that integrates radar and missiles to fight against land, air and sea attacks. For Keating, the Aegis combat system can tracks threats and counter any short- or medium-range missiles.


 Radars vary in type and design, but the military would likely employ a range of sea-based and early warning radars to detect the presence of a North Korean missile, track warheads' movement and more easily home in on the position of a missile to knock it down.

 Space-based infrared system is a defense system that provides warning of any missile launches, detecting the threat and employing other tools to obliterate it.

 Ground-based interceptor is a weapon that seeks and destroys incoming ballistic missiles outside of the earth's atmosphere. Its sensors give the military the ability to locate and obliterate a North Korean missile.

"We will be fully prepared to respond as the president directs," Keating said. "Everything that we need to be ready is ready. So that's ready twice in one sentence, but we're not kidding, it doesn't take much for us to be fully postured to respond."****
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2009, 07:41:28 PM »

Does the Empty-suit have the huevos? I guess we'll find out.
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2009, 10:30:35 PM »

Can open.  Worms everywhere , , ,
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2009, 10:10:44 AM »

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2009/03/airliner-threat.html

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Airliner Threat

It its latest attempt at sabre-rattling, North Korea has threatened to shoot down a South Korean airliner during next week's exercises between ROK military forces and their American counterparts.

Reuters has the warning, issued by the official Korean Central News Agency:

"Security cannot be guaranteed for South Korean civil airplanes flying through the territorial air of our side and its vicinity ... above the East Sea of Korea (Sea of Japan) in particular, while the military exercises are under way," the North's KCNA news agency quoted a statement from a government official as saying.

In response, South Korean airlines have announced plans to re-route flights approaching Seoul from the east, placing them farther away from North Korean territory. Singapore Airlines, which also operates a number of flights into and out of Seoul, has adopted a similar policy. Other carriers, including Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Air China, said they have no plans to alter their flight routes.

There was no word from U.S. carriers that service South Korean destinations, including Northwest Airlines and United.

Pyongyang's warning is almost certainly a prelude to the expected launch of a Tapeodong-2 long-range missile, now being prepared at a test site on North Korea's east coast. DPRK officials claim the rocket will be used to put a satellite into orbit, but western analysts dispute that statement. There were no signs of a satellite deployment during previous TD-2 launches in 1998 and 2006. Intelligence officials in the U.S., Japan and South Korea believe the launch is nothing more than a test of the extended-range missile, capable of hitting U.S. territory throughout the Pacific.

North Korea is expected to announce a "closure area" for air and naval traffic in preparation for the test. The restricted area may extended into commercial air corridors over the Sea of Japan --the same routes used by airliners flying into Seoul from the east. However, the launch of a single missile, from a location on the North Korean coast, would pose a minimal threat to commercial air traffic.

But the warning statement--and anticipated closure area--will achieve an important goal: minimizing air traffic over the Sea of Japan during the upcoming missile test. That will make it for North Korean air defenses to keep tabs on U.S. platforms expected to monitor the launch, namely the RC-135S "Cobra Ball," and the RC-135V/W "Rivet Joint."

Cobra Ball is a dedicated Measures and Signatures Intelligence (MASINT) aircraft, configured to track ballistic missile flights at long range. Normally based at Offut AFB, Nebraska, at least one RC-135S will be deployed to Kadena AB, Japan in preparation for the North Korean test. Rivet Joint is a dedicated SIGINT platform, used to monitor enemy communications and threat emitters, providing additional threat warning to Cobra Ball and other allied assets.

Indeed, the greatest risk to our reconnaissance platforms--and commercial airliners--comes from North Korean fighters and long-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), not the TD-2. The DPRK maintains a number of older fighters, mostly MiG-21s and MiG-19s, on alert at bases on it eastern coast. While both have limited ranges, they could (potentially) intercept an RC-135 operating within 150 NM of the DPRK coastline, or a commercial jet approaching ROK airspace.

A second threat comes from the aging SA-5 "Gammon" SAM system, purchased from Russia more than 20 years ago. North Korea has two SA-5 complexes, located an Ongo-dak and Tokchae-san. Together, they provide overlapping coverage of the eastern coast, and airspace south of the DMZ. With a range of at least 150 NM, the SA-5 is optimized for engagements against large, non-maneuvering targets like reconnaissance aircraft and commercial airliners.

In response, Washington and Seoul should make it very clear that any provocative move by Pyongyang will result in a strong military response. The U.S. and South Korea have a variety of assets that could target the SA-5 sites and airfields housing MiG-21s and MiG-19s. If North Korea sends its fighters on an intercept mission, they should be shot down. If one of the SA-5 complexes "paints" a recce flight or an airliner, the site will be hit with an ATACMS, anti-radiation missiles, cruise missiles or a combination of those weapons.

It's no accident that North Korea has grown increasingly bold in its provocations toward the U.S. and our allies in the Far East. Sensing weakness and indecision in the Obama Administration, Kim Jong-il is quite willing to test the limits of our patience--and response options.

Less than two months into Mr. Obama's term, Pyongyang has announced plans to launch another TD-2 (on a flight path that may carry it over Japan); vowed military against South Korea, and threatened to disrupt commercial air service along busy east Asia corridors.

The U.S. response? Nothing more than mild diplomatic warnings. No wonder Mr. Kim is feeling his oats.
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2009, 08:28:46 PM »

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D96Q4L200&show_article=1

N. Korea warns intercepting 'satellite' will prompt counterstrike+   

Mar 8 05:45 PM US/Eastern
                  
PYONGYANG/BEIJING, March 9 (AP) - (Kyodo)—North Korea warned Monday that any move to intercept what it calls a satellite launch and what other countries suspect may be a missile test-firing would result in a counterstrike against the countries trying to stop it.
"We will retaliate (over) any act of intercepting our satellite for peaceful purposes with prompt counterstrikes by the most powerful military means," the official Korean Central News Agency quoted a spokesman of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army as saying.

If countries such as the United States, Japan or South Korea try to intercept the launch, the North Korean military will carry out "a just retaliatory strike operation not only against all the interceptor means involved but against the strongholds" of the countries, it said.

"Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war," it added.

North Korea earlier announced it is preparing to put a communications satellite into space, but outside observers suspect it may in fact be a test-firing of a long-range ballistic missile.

The United States, Japan and South Korea have said that even if Pyongyang calls the launch a missile test, it would violate existing U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The same North Korean statement said the country's military will cut off communications with its South Korean counterparts during the U.S.- South Korean exercises for the duration of the exercises beginning Monday.

A separate, more rare statement by the KPA's Supreme Command was quoted by the KCNA as saying that its soldiers are under orders to be "fully combat-ready" during U.S.-South Korean military exercises beginning Monday.

The North's armed forces have been ordered to "deal merciless retaliatory blows" should there be any intrusion "into the sky and land and seas of the DPRK even an inch."

DPRK stands for Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

North Korea has demanded a stop to this month's U.S.-South Korean exercises, and said earlier it cannot guarantee the security of South Korean civilian airplanes flying through its territorial airspace while they are under way.
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2009, 10:47:37 AM »

Hey all

N.Korea conducts second nuclear test, U.N. to meet(and do What ? oh ,I know nothing ,just like the obama) shocked
           
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea conducted a second nuclear test Monday that was far more powerful than its first one, triggering an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on the hermit state's defiant act, but financial markets wobbled only briefly on the news.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Pyongyang's attempts at developing nuclear weapons was a threat to international peace and security, while the North's neighbor and long-time benefactor, China, said it was "resolutely opposed" to the test.

Russia, which also called the test a threat to regional security, said the blast was about equal in power to the U.S. atom bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki in World War Two.

Ratcheting up tensions further, North Korea test-fired three short-range missiles just hours later, Yonhap news agency said.

Officials in Washington and Beijing said North Korea had warned their governments of the test about an hour before detonation but nearby Japan said it was not given advance notice.

Germany, Britain and France were among the nations condemning the test while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply worried."

Monday's blast was up to 20 times more powerful than the North's first nuclear test about 2 1/2 years ago, underscoring the advances in its nuclear program despite multilateral talks on ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons ambitions.

The latest test will confound the international community, which has for years tried a mixture of huge aid pledges and tough economic sanctions to persuade the impoverished North to give up efforts to build a nuclear arsenal.

It is also bound to raise concerns about proliferation, a major worry of the United States which has in the past accused Pyongyang of trying to sell its nuclear know-how to states such as Syria.

NORTH KOREAN LEVERAGE

Analysts said the test also will serve to raise North Korea's leverage in any negotiations with the United States.

It comes as speculation has mounted that leader Kim Jong-il, his health uncertain after reports of a stroke last year, wants to strengthen an already iron grip on power so he can better secure the succession for one of his three sons.

The nuclear test dealt another blow to South Korean markets, already unsettled by fears of domestic unrest after former President Roh Moo-hyun, who had been questioned over his links to a corruption scandal, jumped to his death during the weekend.

South Korea's main stock market index fell more than 6 percent at one stage on worries by some that investors would flee.

But the decline was short-lived and analysts said investors were used to the North's repeated saber-rattling, even as it became more aggressive, and would likely panic only if there was military conflict on a peninsula where 2 million troops face each other across one of the world's most heavily armed borders.

North Korea already is so isolated there is little left with which to punish an autocratic government that has long been willing to take dealings with the outside world to the brink.

At home, its leaders repeatedly stress the threat from a hostile United States to justify heavy spending on the military that keeps them in power but which has meant deepening poverty, at times famine, for most of the rest of its 23 million people.

The official KCNA news agency said the North had "successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defense in every way."

The country's first nuclear test, in October 2006, was considered to have been relatively weak, about 1 kiloton, suggesting design problems.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET

China Monday echoed concerns by other permanent members of the Security Council, which was due to go into an emergency session later Monday.

"The Chinese side vehemently demands North Korea abides by its denuclearization promises, stop any actions which may worsen the situation and return to the six-party talks process," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website (www.mfa.gov.cn).

"The Chinese government calls on all sides to calmly and appropriately deal (with the situation)."

Analysts said, however, Beijing was unlikely to back stronger sanctions as part of a new U.N. Security Council resolution.

Obama said it was "a matter of grave concern to all nations" and warranted action by the international community.

North Korea had for weeks threatened to conduct the test in response to tighter international sanctions following its April launch of a rocket, widely seen as a disguised long-range missile that violated U.N. resolutions.

Following the tightened sanctions, Pyongyang also said it would no longer be a party to six-country talks on giving up its nuclear weapons program.

"North Korea's strategic objective hasn't changed. That objective is to win the attention of the Obama administration, to push the North Korea issue up the agenda," said Xu Guangyu, a researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.



Boyo( Obamas foriegn policy in a nut shell : You're right its all our fault we diserve it , we surrender. evil)

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« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2009, 12:22:38 PM »

Also to be remembered here is the presence Iranian scientists at these things, the NK nuke operation in Syria neutralized by Israel, recent reports that Pak is upgrading its nuke program-- probably with US money!!!--  The Gathering Perfect Clusterfcuk gains momentum. cry angry
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« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2009, 07:34:13 PM »

Russia fears Korea conflict could go nuclear

link

By Oleg Shchedrov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is taking security measures as a precaution against the possibility tension over North Korea could escalate into nuclear war, news agencies quoted officials as saying on Wednesday.

Interfax quoted an unnamed security source as saying a stand-off triggered by Pyongyang's nuclear test on Monday could affect the security of Russia's far eastern regions, which border North Korea.

"The need has emerged for an appropriate package of precautionary measures," the source said.

"We are not talking about stepping up military efforts but rather about measures in case a military conflict, perhaps with the use of nuclear weapons, flares up on the Korean Peninsula," he added. The official did not elaborate further.

North Korea has responded to international condemnation of its nuclear test and a threat of new U.N. sanctions by saying it is no longer bound by an armistice signed with South Korea at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Itar-Tass news agency quoted a Russian Foreign Ministry official as saying the "war of nerves" over North Korea should not be allowed to grow into a military conflict, a reference to Pyongyang's decision to drop out of the armistice deal.


"DANGEROUS BRINKMANSHIP"

"We assume that a dangerous brinkmanship, a war of nerves, is under way, but it will not grow into a hot war," the official told Tass. "Restraint is needed."

The Foreign Ministry often uses statements sourced to unnamed officials, released through official news agencies, to lay down its position on sensitive issues.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has condemned the North Korean tests but his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has warned the international community against hasty decisions.  Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council which is preparing to discuss the latest stand-off over the peninsula.

In the past, Moscow has been reluctant to support Western calls for sanctions. But Russian officials in the United Nations have said that this time the authority of the international body is at stake.  Medvedev told South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who called him on Wednesday, that Russia was prepared to work with Seoul on a new U.N. Security Council resolution and to revive international talks on the North Korean nuclear issue.

"The heads of state noted that the nuclear test conducted by North Korea on Monday is a direct violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution and impedes international law," a Kremlin press release said.
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« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2009, 07:42:30 PM »

"Clinton slams N. Korea's rhetoric, 'belligerent' actions"

I'm sure Kim Jong Il is shaking in his boots.   shocked
Let's hope action is taken besides useless rhetoric... 

 
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that North Korea "has ignored the international community" and "continues to act in a provocative and belligerent manner toward its neighbors."

"There are consequences to such actions," Clinton said, referring to recent saber-rattling and nuclear activities in North Korea.

The country has chosen to violate "specific language of the U.N. Security Council resolution 1718" and "abrogated obligations it entered into though the six-party talks," Clinton said Wednesday during an appearance with the Egyptian foreign minister. The U.N. resolution, adopted in 2006 after North Korea's first nuclear test, condemned the test and imposed sanctions on the country.
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« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2009, 07:51:26 PM »

Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again....
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« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2009, 07:56:24 PM »

You mean that doesn't work?
 shocked
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2009, 10:56:53 AM »

May 28, 2009
John Bolton, prophet

Ethel C. Fenig
Last week, on May 20, the Wall Street Journal  published  former UN ambassador John Bolton's  op-ed prophetically titled "Get Ready for Another North Korean Nuke Test."
 
 Five days later--boom!  Well, why not?  As Bolton noted
 
Quote
What the North has lacked thus far is the political opportunity to test without fatally jeopardizing its access to the six-party talks and the legitimacy they provide. Despite the State Department's seemingly unbreakable second-term hold over President Bush, another test after 2006 just might have ended the talks.

So far, the North faces no such threat from the Obama administration. Despite Pyongyang's aggression, Mr. Bosworth has reiterated that the U.S. is "committed to dialogue" and is "obviously interested in returning to a negotiating table as soon as we can." This is precisely what the North wants: America in a conciliatory mode, eager to bargain, just as Mr. Bush was after the 2006 test.

If the next nuclear explosion doesn't derail the six-party talks, Kim will rightly conclude that he faces no real danger of ever having to dismantle his weapons program. North Korea is a mysterious place, but there is no mystery about its foreign-policy tactics: They work. The real mystery is why our administrations -- Republican and Democratic -- haven't learned that their quasi-religious faith in the six-party talks is misplaced.

For good measure, the North Koreans sent up a few missiles the next day--and yes, Ms. Tina Fey, they can reach Alaska.  And Alaska, governed by Sarah Palin (R) is part of the United States.

And what will Iran learn from North Korea?   Bolton concluded

Quote
Negotiations like the six-party talks are a charade and reflect a continuing collapse of American resolve. U.S. acquiescence in a second North Korean nuclear test will likely mean that Tehran will adopt Pyongyang's successful strategy.

It's time for the Obama administration to finally put down Kim Jong Il's script. If not, we better get ready for Iran -- and others -- to go nuclear.

Expanding his ideas in a May 25 New York Times op-ed, Bolton warns of the dangerous results of President Barack Hussein Obama's (D) insistence on arms control; (read arms reduction.)

Quote
Today's real proliferation threat, however, is not Israel, but states like Iran and North Korea that become parties to the alphabet soup of arms control treaties and then violate them with abandon. Without robust American reactions to these violations - not apparent in administration thinking - more will follow.

And right on schedule, as, to no one's surprise ( well, except maybe the entire Obama administration) Parisa Hafezi and Zahra Hosseinian  report in the Washington Post

Quote
Ahmadinejad on Monday rejected a Western proposal for it to "freeze" its nuclear work in return for no new sanctions and ruled out any talks with major powers on the issue.

The comments by the conservative president, who is seeking a second term in a June 12 election, are likely to further disappoint the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama, which is seeking to engage Iran diplomatically.

Instead he

Quote
proposed a debate with Obama at the United Nations in New York "regarding the roots of world problems" but he made clear Tehran would not bow to pressure on the nuclear issue.

"Our talks (with major powers) will only be in the framework of cooperation for managing global issues and nothing else. We have clearly announced this," Ahmadinejad said.

"The nuclear issue is a finished issue for us," he told a news conference. "From now on we will continue our path in the framework of the (U.N. nuclear watchdog) agency."

Iran has recently fired missiles which can not only reach Israel but southern Europe, other Arab countries and US forces in the Gulf.

Bolton thus reminds us

Quote
The Senate, which must approve any treaty with a two-thirds supermajority, is now the only obstacle to Obama administration policies that will seriously weaken the United States. Voters should remind their representatives on Capitol Hill that they have a responsibility to keep us safe.

But as Andy Borowtiz noted

Quote
U.S. to Respond to North Korea with 'Strongest Possible Adjectives'

 And will speak those same adjectives to Iran.  And then will be shocked, shocked, shocked that they will have no effect, downplay a North Korean and Iranian missile threat while frantically attempting even more engagement.   

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/05/john_bolton_prophet.html at May 28, 2009 - 11:54:03 AM EDT
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« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2009, 03:42:34 PM »

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-6448-Norfolk-Military-Affairs-Examiner~y2009m5d27-Fasttrack-to-failure

Fast-track to failure
May 27, 5:44 PM

It's not often that we beat John Bolton to the punch on North Korea.  But in this column on April 26th--about three weeks ahead of Dr. Bolton's Wall Street Journal op-ed--we predicted more trouble with Pyongyang: 
From the moment Mr. Obama entered the presidency, it has been clear that Pyongyang planned to test him.  By late February. intelligence agencies in the U.S., Japan and South Korea were detecting suspicious activity at Musudan-ri, North Korea's long-range missile test facility.  Preparations for a launch of a Tapeodong-2 ICBM were underway. 
"...In response, Washington (once again) turned the other cheek, seeking only mild punishment for North Korea's violation of existing U.N. resolutions.  American officials have also urged the DPRK to return to the Six Party nuclear talks, which have been stalled for months. 
 [snip]
Not surprisingly, Pyongyang was undeterred.  The missile test went off as scheduled on April 5th, but a satellite never reached orbit.  Intelligence analysts report that the TD-2's third stage failed, although its unclear if the missile actually carried a satellite payload.  Many experts remain convinced that the launch was nothing more than a missile test. 
In response, Washington vowed to seek new sanctions against North Korea.  Meanwhile, Kim Jong-il's regime was moving on to other, equally outrageous acts.  Less than a year after (supposedly) shuttering its nuclear efforts, Pyongyang promised to restart the program.
 
Of course, North Korea did more that restart its nuclear efforts.  Earlier this week, the DPRK conducted its second, underground nuclear test, a blast in the 10-20 kiloton range.  That's roughly the size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II, and demonstrates that Pyongyang has completely mastered the nuclear weapons cycle.  North Korea's first nuclear test (in 2006) was a dud, raising questions about the reliability of Kim's nuclear technology. 
To be fair, Ambassador Bolton deserves credit for predicting the recent test, noting that the military and scientific imperatives made it all-but-inevitable.  We thought the next nuclear test would be later this year, but clearly, Kim Jong-il is on an accelerated timetable. 
Consider the events that have followed the nuclear blast.  The hours that followed saw a series of short-range missile launches, affirming  North Korea's ability to build nuclear weapons and (eventually) mate them to various delivery platforms.   And, if that's not enough, Pyongyang has announced that it is no longer bound by the armistice that ended the Korean war, and has threatened to attack allied vessels that try to inspect North Korean merchant ships. 
The reaction from Washington?  Nothing but sharply-worded statements, pleas for U.N. action and invitations for North Korea to return to the bargaining table.  No wonder Kim Jong-il is feeling his oats. 
In fact, our "evolving" policy toward Pyongyang is rather remarkable, given the recent, dangerous turn of events in northeastern Asia.  In less than two months, North Korea has demonstrated its ability to launch a crude ICBM, detonated a nuclear weapon that will (one day) be carried by that missile, and promised additional provocations unless the U.S., South Korea and Japan play ball with Kim's regime.  Put another way, Washington and its allies better cough up more aid--and avoid new sanctions--or the DPRK will raise the ante again. 
The Obama Administration seems to believe that Pyongyang has already played its trump card with Monday's nuclear test.  At some point, the thinking goes, North Korea will be desperate for food and fuel and meekly return to negotiations.  That will allow everyone to forget about the recent unpleasantness, and get back to the diplomatic " Rope-a-Dope" that passes for bargaining with North Korea.
Unfortunately, there are a few problems with that theory.  Truth is, Mr. Kim can create more havoc, exacerbating the crisis that now engulfs the Korean peninsula.  The crab fishing season is now underway along the Northern Limit Line (the maritime extension of the DMZ), an area that saw pitched battles between DPRK and South Korean gunboats a few years ago.  Given the current tensions in Korea, the potential for new battles is growing.  How would Mr. Obama respond to a naval "war" that quickly spreads to land? 
Or, how would the commander-in-chief react if North Korean MiGs or surface-to-air missiles begin firing on U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the Sea of Japan, or south of the DMZ?  Would he order attacks on the DPRK missile sites, or beg the U.N. to take action?  And, what about a repeat of Pyongyang's commando attack on the South Korean presidential mansion (the Blue House) in the 1970s?  Or the terrorist bombings in the 80s that brought down a RIK airliner, killing hundreds of passengers, or a decapitation strike against South Korean leaders during a state visit to Burma?  All of these options remain a part of Kim Jong-il's playbook, and history demonstrates that the North Korean leader is not afraid to raise the stakes, in pursuit of his goals. 
Carried to their extreme, Kim's plans could (ultimately) include a general attack against South Korea, though most "experts" have long discounted that possibility.  Still, that scenario cannot be completely ruled out.  Sixty percent of the North Korean Army is located within 60 miles of the DMZ, meaning that Kim Jong-il could launch a limited invasion with virtually no intelligence warning.  Did we mention that he now has nukes? 
Against this deteriorating backdrop, how should the U.S. respond?  While the time for diplomatic carrots and U.N. resolutions has clearly passed, Mr. Obama remains wedded to that approach, with little regard for wider, long-term  consequences.  Consider the examples of South Korea and Japan.  Over the past three months, both have been threatened by their enemy's long-range missiles, and now that same regime has detonated a nuclear weapon.
That leaves Tokyo and Seoul with a sobering choice.  Remain under the American umbrella (which Washington appears reluctant to use), or consider building their own nukes.  With their advanced technological and industrial bases, both Tokyo and Seoul could have nuclear weapons in a little over a year, a development that would likely spur all-out arms race in the region.   And rest assured, the nuclear option is being quietly discussed in both capitals, as confidence in American (read" the Obama Administration) sinks like a rock.         
At the very least, this should be an interesting summer on the Korean peninsula.  Borrowing John Bolton's crystal ball, we can easily envision naval clashes between North and South Korea, and American involvement is almost assured.  Ditto for some sort of ambush involving a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the Sea of Japan or the Yellow Sea.  Beyond that, the situation grows even dicier.   
Clearly, no one wants another Korean War, but there are steps the Obama Administration should be taking now, to deter Pyongyang's aggression.  For starters, how about re-imposing some of the financial sanctions that (among other things) froze the assets of North Korean leaders stashed in a Macau bank.  The amount of the money was rather small, but it got the attention of Kim Jong-il.  Moreover, it spurred a rare stretch of "good" behavior from the DPRK, until the U.S. released the assets. 
Additionally, Washington should press ahead with naval exercises involving South Korea vessels along the Northern Limit Line, as a show of resolve against Pyongyang.   Potential attacks by DPRK vessels should bring an immediate response by both navies, aimed at neutralizing the maritime threat.    On the political front, Mr. Obama needs to lean on China--hard.  Not only can Beijing put additional pressure on Pyongyang, it can help in more practical ways, too.
At the top of that list is barring over-flights and landings by transports that routinely ferry arms to Iran and Syria.  Deprived of that aerial route--and with allied warships stopping North Korean merchant vessels--Pyongyang will feel the pressure rather quickly and reconsider its actions.
Regrettably, there are no indications that the Obama Administration is prepared to adopt--and maintain--a tougher line against North Korea.  Indeed, the president's policies for dealing with the DPRK are on a fast track to failure, following the precedent set by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush--with one exception.  Neither Mr. Clinton nor Mr. Bush had to deal with a North Korean regime that was nuclear-capable.  Now, Mr. Obama is facing one with nukes, but he has no realistic plan for handling the situation, beyond myopic diplomacy.                                         
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« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2009, 10:50:41 PM »

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-6448-Norfolk-Military-Affairs-Examiner~y2009m5d29-No-crisis

What crisis?
May 29, 9:07 PM

Over the past five days, North Korea has detonated its second nuclear device; test-fired at least six missiles of various types, announced it is no longer bound by the armistice that ended the Korean War, and threatened more "defensive measures" against the U.S. and South Korea. 
But don't worry, there's no "crisis" on the Korean peninsula.  If you don't believe us, just ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
En route to a meeting of Pacific region defense chiefs, Mr. Gates told reporters on Friday that the situation in Korea hasn't reached the crisis stage, at least not yet.   
Glad he cleared that one up.  Of course, Mr. Gates' assessment begs a rather obvious question: if this isn't a crisis, then pray tell, what is.  Tensions on the peninsula are at their highest level since the infamous, 1976 "tree-cutting" incident--which resulted in the murder of two U.S. Army officers by North Korean troops--and the capture of the USS Pueblo in 1968. 
And North Korea is doing everything it can to exacerbate the situation.  In the hours since Secretary Gates' made his comments, Pyongyang has test-fired a long-range surface-to-air missile (the same type that could be used to engage U.S. reconnaissance aircraft), and intelligence analysts have detected vehicle movement at a missile complex--the same one where the DPRK launched a crude ICBM in early April.     
Oh, and did we mention that Chinese fishing boats have vacated Korean waters in the middle of the lucrative crab season?  U.S. officials aren't sure if the departure was ordered by Beijing, or simply a decision by Chinese captains.  Apparently, the folks at Foggy Bottom have never watched an episode of The Deadliest Catch.  Chinese skippers devote the same effort to the Yellow Sea season that American captains put into their crabbing expeditions in the Bering Sea.  Put another way, it would take a cataclysmic event--and a directive from Beijing--to prompt a mass exodus by the Chinese crab fleet.
In the meantime, U.S. and South Korean units have moved to WATCHCON 2, the second-highest readiness level for surveillance and intelligence-gathering activity.  That means that virtually every available ISR asset is focused on North Korea, in an effort to glean additional information on Pyongyang's intentions. 
Even General George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff, felt compelled to tell reporters that our ground forces could handle a sudden attack from North Korea, despite the on-going demands of Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Army's 2nd Infantry Division has been based on the peninsula for more than 50 years, and currently backs up the South Korean units that man forward defensive positions along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). 
Readers will note that General Casey didn't speculate as to whether 2 ID will be called into combat.  Fact is, Casey--and everyone else in the Pentagon--simply don't know.  Most of North Korea's combat power, roughly two-thirds of its army, is located within 60 miles of the DMZ.  That means that first and second-echelon invasion forces are located at their jumping-off points for a push against the south.  As the Defense Intelligence Agency cautioned a few years ago, North Korea has the ability to mount a limited invasion against the ROK, and the warning time would be measured in hours, not days. 
But it's not a crisis. 
In fairness to Mr. Gates, he is merely following the administration party line.  Despite the gravity of recent events, President Obama--and his national security team--have barely mentioned the situation in Korea, trying to deny Kim Jong-il the attention he craves.  But it's a little hard to ignore a nuclear test, given Pyongyang's propensity for sharing nuclear and missile technology with other rogue states.   That's why North Korea is still the top story for most papers and TV news programs, despite the administration's best efforts to manage our response and how it is covered. 
Indeed, it could argued that the DPRK's continuing belligerence has made a mockery of Mr. Obama and his policy.  In reaction to the nuclear test and recent missile launches, the President has turned to the United Nations, imploring the Security Council to pass another toothless resolution.  That sort of timid reply didn't exactly send shivers down Mr. Kim's spine, so the North Korean dictator has decided to continue his challenge.  If recently-detected activity is any indication, Pyongyang may be preparing for another ICBM test, literally challenging the U.S. to do something about it. 
Clearly, no one wants another Korean War, but there are steps the administration could take, short of conflict, that could deter North Korea.  For starters, the U.S. (along with South Korea, Japan and other regional partners) need to reimpose strict financial sanctions against Pyongyang.  Targeting the private bank accounts of the DPRK regime produced a burst of cooperation two years ago, because it denied Kim Jong-il of the cash needed to buy consumer goods and luxuries for his allies, ensuring their continued support. 
Additionally, the United States should tighten the maritime inspection regime imposed on North Korea.  Not only would it limit Pyongyang's WMD export activities, it would also complicate other activities that support the regime.  Keeping North Korean mother ships in port would curtail drug smuggling and counterfeiting, denying other sources of revenue for the DPRK.  The naval inspection program--make it a full-fledged quarantine--would also reduce the infiltration of North Korean agents into South Korea, reducing intelligence collection and potential sabotage efforts. 
Unfortunately, the current inspection program has a serious deficiency--it doesn't cover air routes.  Mr. Obama should lean hard on China (and other countries) to deny overflight and landing rights for cargo aircraft that travel between North Korean and its customers in the Middle East.  Elimination of the "air option"--coupled with the naval quarantine--would make it almost impossible for Kim Jong-il to ship his most important products to his most valuable customers.
Of course, China can (and should) do much more to bring Pyongyang into line.  If Beijing continues to balk, there are other steps that the administration must take, including greater military aid to our allies; bolstering U.S. military forces in the region, moving our own tactical nukes back into South Korea, and encouraging both Seoul and Tokyo to pursue their own nuclear deterrents.  Collectively, those measures should convince Kim Jong-il (and his supporters in Beijing) that all options are on the table in dealing with the North Korean threat.                                       
Sadly, the chances that Mr. Obama will "get tough" with the DPRK are somewhere between "slim" and "none."  Pyongyang has judged the president to be weak, and will continue its program of provocation and confrontation, hoping to undermine the current ROK government, and strain our alliances with South Korea and Japan.   Kim Jong-il hasn't achieved those goals (yet), but he's making progress, thanks to a new administration that is failing its first, major foreign policy crisis.       
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WSJ
« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2009, 07:18:25 AM »

Right after North Korea's first nuclear test, in October 2006, Senator Bob Menendez explained that the event "illustrates just how much the Bush Administration's incompetence has endangered our nation." The New Jersey Democrat hasn't said what he thinks North Korea's second test says about the current Administration, so allow us to connect the diplomatic dots.

 
AP
 At the time of the first test, the common liberal lament was that Kim Jong Il was belligerent only because President Bush had eschewed diplomacy in favor of tough rhetoric, like naming Pyongyang to the "axis of evil." Never mind that the U.S. had continued to fulfill its commitments under the 1994 Agreed Framework, including fuel shipments and the building of "civilian" nuclear reactors, until the North admitted it was violating that framework in late 2002. Never mind, too, that by 2006 the Bush Administration had participated in multiple rounds of six-party nuclear talks, or that it had promised to normalize relations with the North.

Nevertheless, President Bush adopted the views of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had internalized the views of Bush Administration critics. Led by Christopher Hill (now President Obama's ambassador in Baghdad), the U.S. announced the resumption of the six-party talks -- only three weeks after the first North Korean test. Mr. Hill also held direct bilateral talks with the North Koreans, something Pyongyang had long sought and Mr. Bush had long resisted.

In February 2007, the six parties agreed to a statement in which North Korea promised to shut down and seal its nuclear reactor and bring in inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor compliance. The typical reaction was that the Bush Administration had finally seen the error of its ways. Columnist Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune captured the media consensus by calling it a "surprising breakthrough that belied [Mr. Bush's] hard-line record and shrewdly advanced American interests in a vital part of the world."

As part of the deal, the North promised to provide a complete list of its nuclear programs within 60 days. But Kim's minions refused to provide the list until the U.S. released $25 million in North Korean assets deposited at the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia, which had been sanctioned under the Patriot Act for money laundering and counterfeiting. The Administration even enlisted the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to get the funds to Pyongyang after no international bank would go near the transaction.

By then it was summer and North Korea promised again to provide a complete nuclear report, this time by the end of the year. In exchange, it got more diplomatic goodies: The U.S. said it would work toward a peace agreement with the North once the nuclear issue had been resolved; South Korea proposed a "South-North economic community"; and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda pledged to improve relations despite unresolved issues regarding Japanese citizens abducted by the North.

Amid this Western accommodation, in September 2007 Israel bombed a Syrian nuclear facility that U.S. and Israeli intelligence believe was supplied by North Korea. Pyongyang denied any role, and the U.S. kept its diplomacy active. However, North Korea ignored its end-of-year deadline for producing its nuclear declaration. When it did finally produce one, six months later, it included an incomplete plutonium record and nothing about its uranium nuclear program. The North did publicly destroy the cooling tower of its reactor at Yongbyon for the TV cameras, but it balked at any credible verification process.

Still, the Bush Administration decided to put the best face on it. Mr. Bush announced last June that he was lifting restrictions on the North under the Trading With the Enemy Act. He also removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

This is the state-of-play that the Bush Administration bequeathed its successor. And it was a diplomatic approach that the Obama Administration made clear it was ready to pursue. But then Kim Jong Il decided to return to his familiar script, raising the ante by launching a ballistic missile in April, expelling U.N. inspectors, boycotting the six-party talks and then detonating a second bomb last week.

Whatever is driving Kim, no one can say it's U.S. bellicosity. Our guess is that Kim must figure President Obama will soon come calling with his own "carrots" in return for more empty disarmament promises. That's what the U.S. has always done before.

We offer this timeline of diplomatic futility as a suggestion that maybe it's time to try something different. The U.S. is now working to secure a fresh U.N. sanctions resolution, and good luck making that stick. North Korea has never honored any commitment, or abided by any convention, or respected any international law. And until some very clear signal is sent by the U.S. and its allies that they will not be gulled again by the allure of negotiations, it never will.
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« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2009, 09:07:49 AM »

NYT

U.S. Weighs Intercepting North Korean Shipments
Published: June 7, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with China’s help, North Korean sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology.


The administration also said it was examining whether there was a legal basis to reverse former President George W. Bush’s decision last year to remove the North from a list of states that sponsor terrorism.

The reference to interdictions — preferably at ports or airfields in countries like China, but possibly involving riskier confrontations on the high seas — was made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was the highest-ranking official to talk publicly about such a potentially provocative step as a response to North Korea’s second nuclear test, conducted two weeks ago.

While Mrs. Clinton did not specifically mention assistance from China, other administration officials have been pressing Beijing to take such action under Chinese law.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Mrs. Clinton said the United States feared that if the test and other recent actions by North Korea did not lead to “strong action,” there was a risk of “an arms race in Northeast Asia” — an oblique reference to the concern that Japan would reverse its long-held ban against developing nuclear weapons.

So far it is not clear how far the Chinese are willing to go to aid the United States in stopping North Korea’s profitable trade in arms, the isolated country’s most profitable export. But the American focus on interdiction demonstrates a new and potentially far tougher approach to North Korea than both President Clinton and Mr. Bush, in his second term, took as they tried unsuccessfully to reach deals that would ultimately lead North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

Mr. Obama, aides say, has decided that he will not offer North Korea new incentives to dismantle the nuclear complex at Yongbyon that the North previously promised to abandon.

“I’m tired of buying the same horse twice,” Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said last week while touring an antimissile site in Alaska that the Bush administration built to demonstrate its preparedness to destroy North Korean missiles headed toward the United States. (So far, the North Koreans have not successfully tested a missile of sufficient range to reach the United States, though there is evidence that they may be preparing for another test of their long-range Taepodong-2 missile.)

In France on Saturday, Mr. Obama referred to the same string of broken deals, telling reporters, “I don’t think there should be an assumption that we will simply continue down a path in which North Korea is constantly destabilizing the region and we just react in the same ways.” He added, “We are not intending to continue a policy of rewarding provocation.”

While Mr. Obama was in the Middle East and Europe last week, several senior officials said the president’s national security team had all but set aside the central assumption that guided American policy toward North Korea over the past 16 years and two presidencies: that the North would be willing to ultimately abandon its small arsenal of nuclear weapons in return for some combination of oil, nuclear power plants, money, food and guarantees that the United States would not topple its government, the world’s last Stalinesque regime.

Now, after examining the still-inconclusive evidence about the results of North Korea’s second nuclear test, the administration has come to different conclusions: that Pyonyang’s top priority is to be recognized as a nuclear state, that it is unwilling to bargain away its weapons and that it sees tests as a way to help sell its nuclear technology.

“This entirely changes the dynamic of how you deal with them,” a senior national security aide said.

While Mr. Obama is willing to reopen the six-party talks that Mr. Bush began — the other participants are Japan, South Korea, Russia and China — he has no intention, aides say, of offering new incentives to get the North to fulfill agreements from 1994, 2005 and 2008; all were recently renounced.

“Clinton bought it once, Bush bought it again, and we’re not going to buy it a third time,” one of Mr. Obama’s chief strategists said last week, referring to the Yongbyon plant, where the North reprocesses spent nuclear fuel into bomb-grade plutonium.

While some officials privately acknowledged that they would still like to roll back what one called North Korea’s “rudimentary” nuclear capacity, a more realistic goal is to stop the country from devising a small weapon deliverable on a short-, medium- or long-range missile.

In conducting any interdictions, the United States could risk open confrontation with North Korea. That prospect — and the likelihood of escalating conflict if the North resisted an inspection — is why China has balked at American proposals for a resolution by the United Nations Security Council that would explicitly allow interceptions at sea. A previous Security Council resolution, passed after the North’s first nuclear test, in 2006, allowed interdictions “consistent with international law.” But that term was never defined, and few of the provisions were enforced.

North Korea has repeatedly said it would regard any interdiction as an act of war, and officials in Washington have been trying to find ways to stop the shipments without a conflict. Late last week, James B. Steinberg, the deputy secretary of state, visited Beijing with a delegation of American officials, seeking ideas from China about sanctions, including financial pressure, that might force North Korea to change direction.

“The Chinese face a dilemma that they have always faced,” a senior administration official said. “They don’t want North Korea to become a full nuclear weapons state. But they don’t want to cause the state to collapse.” They have been walking a fine line, the official said, taking a tough position against the North of late, but unwilling to publicly embrace steps that would put China in America’s camp.

To counter the Chinese concern, Mr. Steinberg and his delegation argued to the Chinese that failing to crack down on North Korea would prompt reactions that Beijing would find deeply unsettling, including a greater American military presence in the region and more calls in Japan for that country to develop its own weapons.

Mrs. Clinton seemed to reflect this concern in the interview on Sunday. “We will do everything we can to both interdict it and prevent it and shut off their flow of money,” she said. “If we do not take significant and effective action against the North Koreans now, we’ll spark an arms race in Northeast Asia. I don’t think anybody wants to see that.”

While Mrs. Clinton also said the State Department was examining whether North Korea should be placed back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, she acknowledged that there was a legal process for it. “Obviously we would want to see recent evidence of their support for international terrorism,” she said.

That evidence may be hard to come by. While North Korea has engaged in missile sales, it has not been linked to terrorism activity for many years. And North Korea’s restoration to the list would be largely symbolic, because it already faces numerous economic sanctions.
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« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2009, 09:09:00 AM »

Fox News.com - 19 June 2009

The U.S. military is preparing for a possible intercept of a North Korean flagged ship suspected of proliferating weapons material in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution passed last Friday, FOX News has learned.

The USS John McCain, a Navy destroyer, is positioning itself in case it gets orders to intercept the ship Kang Nam as soon as it leaves the vicinity off the coast of China, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The order to inderdict has not been given yet, but the ship is moving into the area.

"Permission has not been requested. Nor is it clear it will be," a military source told FOX News. "This is a very delicate situation and no one is interested in precipitating a confrontation."

The ship left a port in North Korea Wednesday and appears to be heading toward Singapore, according to a senior U.S. military source. The vessel, which the military has been tracking since its departure, could be carrying weaponry, missile parts or nuclear materials, a violation of U.N. Resolution 1874, which put sanctions in place against Pyongyang.

The USS McCain was involved in an incident with a Chinese sub last Friday - near Subic Bay off the Philippines. The Chinese sub was shadowing the destroyer when it hit the underwater sonar array that the USS McCain was towing behind it.

This is the first suspected "proliferator" that the U.S. and its allies have tracked from North Korea since the United Nations authorized the world's navies to enforce compliance with a variety of U.N. sanctions aimed at punishing North Korea for its recent nuclear test.

The ship is currently along the coast of China and being monitored around-the-clock by air.

The apparent violation raises the question of how the United States and its allies will respond, particularly since the U.N. resolution does not have a lot of teeth to it.

The resolution would not allow the United States to board the ship forcibly. Rather, U.S. military would have to request permission to board -- a request North Korea is unlikely to grant.

North Korea has said that any attempt to board its ships would be viewed as an act of war and promised "100- or 1,000-fold" retaliation if provoked.
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said that the resolution allows states to seek permission to inspect cargo.

"If permission is not granted, then the flag state, the owner of the ship, is instructed to send that ship to a port for -- for a formal inspection to be made," Kelly said, adding that he would not go into any details of any particular ship or the way inspections are conducted.

"We would hope that -- that North Korea would -- would comply with international law and -- and allow the inspection," he said.

Since the U.S. does not expect to be granted permission, it expects to be asked to interdict that it will have to shadow the ship until it runs out of fuel. At that point, the ship would likely have to be towed into the port.

The U.S. military may request that the host country not provide fuel to the ship when it enters its port. North Korean merchant ships usually need fuel as they approach Singapore and the ports of eastern India. When tipped off, Indian port authorities are stringent enforcers of UN sanctions against ships carrying contraband.

The U.S. Navy does not need to enforce the sanctions. Instead, it could "poison the host," a move that entails working behind the scenes with Indian Ocean port authorities to inspect and confiscate illegal cargos.

This move worked last year when U.S. officials reportedly warned Indian officials in advance of a North Korean transport aircraft that had requested permission to fly through Indian airspace on the way to Iran after stopping in Burma to refuel. The Indians refused to allow the aircraft to fly through their airspace. The aircraft reportedly was carrying gyroscopes for ballistic missiles.

The Kang Nam is known to be a ship that has been involved in proliferation activities in the past -- it is "a repeat offender," according to one military source. The ship was detained in October 2006 by authorities in Hong Kong after the North Koreans tested their first nuclear device and the U.N. imposed a subsequent round of sanctions.

"North Korea does not export anything other than weapons," a U.S. official told FOX News. "And this ship is presumed to be carrying something illicit given its past history."

The latest tension follows a Japanese news report that North Korea may fire a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii in early July.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday the military is "watching" that situation "very closely," and would have "some concerns" if North Korea launched a missile in the direction of Hawaii. But he expressed confidence in U.S. ability to handle such a launch.

Gates said he's directed the deployment of the Theater High Altitude Area Defense, a mobile missile defense system used for knocking down long- and medium-range missiles.

"The ground-based interceptors are clearly in a position to take action. So, without telegraphing what we will do, I would just say ... I think we are in a good position, should it become necessary, to protect the American territory."
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« Reply #30 on: June 21, 2009, 04:14:16 PM »

June 21, 2009
North Korea uncovered: Palaces, labour camps and mass graves
By Miranda Prynne
US researchers are using the internet to reveal what life is really like behind the closed borders of the world's last Stalinist dictatorship

The most comprehensive picture of what goes on inside the secret state of North Korea has emerged from an innovative US project. The location of extraordinary palaces, labour camps and the mass graves of famine victims have all been identified. The online operation that has penetrated the world's last remaining iron curtain is called North Korea Uncovered. Founded by Curtis Melvin, a postgraduate student at George Mason University, Virginia, it uses Google Earth, photographs, academic and specialist reports and a global network of contributors who have visited or studied the country. Mr Melvin says the collaborative project is an example of "democratised intelligence". He is the first to emphasise that the picture is far from complete, but it is, until the country opens up, the best we have.

Palaces

The palatial residences of the political elite are easy to identify as they are in sharp contrast to the majority of housing in the deeply impoverished state. Though details about many palaces' names, occupants and uses are hard to verify, it is known that such buildings are the exclusive domain of Kim Jong-Il, his family and his top political aides. Kim Jong-Il is believed to have between 10 and 17 palaces, many of which have been spotted on Google Earth:

1) Mansion complex near Pyongyang

This may be Kim Jong-Il's main residence. His father lived here surrounded by the huge, ornate gardens and carefully designed network of lakes. Tree-lined paths lead to a swimming pool with a huge water slide, and next to the complex there is a full-size racetrack with a viewing stand and arena. There is a cluster of other large houses around the mansion, forming an enclosed, elite community. It appears to be reached via an underground station on a private railway which branches off from the main line.

2) Kangdong estate

This lies about 18 miles north-east of Pyongyang and has an elaborate garden, set around many lakes. There are numerous guest houses, and a banqueting hall, within the security-fenced perimeter. Kenji Fujimoto, who served as Kim Jong-Il's cook from 1988 until 2001, said entertainment at Kangdong included bowling, shooting and roller-skating. There is also a racetrack next to the complex and Kangdong airfield is just 2.5 miles away.

3) Unnamed palace on the banks of the Changsuwon lake

The residence sits across the lake from a couple of other mansions which may house relatives of the current occupant. One Google Earth tag suggested that this might be the home of Kim Yong Nam, the second-in-command in North Korea's leadership.

4) Jungbangsan or Hwangju palace

An enormous mountain retreat set in manicured gardens with lakes and winding paths. It allegedly has several entrances to an underground facility within the steep hill next to the mansion. Google Earth reveals a railway track which runs along the top of the hill then disappears mysteriously into its east side.

5) Nampo Mansion

Estate covering a huge area with an unusual chain of dammed lakes. There are many buildings making up the mansion compound, which probably cater for members of the North Korean leadership.

6) Yongpong Mansion

Kim Jong-Il's residence on the banks of Lake Yongpong, near the city of Anju, which he uses as a private hunting retreat. According to one defector, Han Young Jin, writing in 2005, it is known for its lakeside fishing spots and hunting ground, which was completed in 1984. The mansion was originally further south and was moved after an enlargement in 1979. The estate contains the main house and 10 security and support facility buildings.

7) The Wonsan Palace

One of Kim Jong-Il's favourite holiday destinations, sitting on a peninsula lined with white sand beaches. Wonsan is where Kim Jong-Il and his relatives enjoy fishing, hunting guillemots, jetskiing and swimming during the winter. Lee Young Kuk, who worked as one of Kim Jong-Il's guards from 1979 to 1988, claimed that Kim also spent time at Wonsan hunting roe deer, pheasants and wild geese. The palace is conveniently next door to an airfield. Kim Jong-Il's enormous private yacht was caught by satellite image at anchor up the coast in Wonsan harbour. On board the vessel there is a 50-metre pool with two water slides.

Cool The Hyangsan Chalet

Large mountain retreat, located on the Horang ridge at an altitude of about 1,000m. Han Young Jin described it as a traditional Korean-style building, completed in 1984, with beautiful views of the Myohyang mountains. The compound contains three buildings for security and support facilities, and there are reports of several entrances to an underground facility beneath Hyangsan. The chalet allegedly is where Kim Il-Sung died.

Gulag-style prison camps

North Korean prison camps are split into two main types. Firstly the kwan li-so, translated as "political penal-labour colonies". These camps contain the political prisoners, and often their families, who are imprisoned without trial, usually for life. Sentences involve slave labour within the camps. The other type of camp, the kyo-hwa-so, are smaller penal-labour camps. These usually hold criminal offenders who are subject to a judicial process and fixed sentencing, after which they can be released. Kyo-hwa-so prisoners are also forced to do hard labour in mining, logging, textile manufacturing and more.

A US Human Rights Committee report in 2006 asserted that there were more than 200,000 prisoners throughout North Korea, a figure that may now have risen to 300,000. Estimates claim more than 400,000 have died in the system in 30 years. What little is known about these camps comes mainly from the testimonies of ex-detainees and ex-prison guards. Most of their accounts date back to the 1980s and 1990s and little new evidence has since come to light.

1) Kyo-hwa-so 1

A labour camp in Gaechun, South Pyongan province. Lee Soon Ok, who was imprisoned here until 1994, described prisoners dying from torture and maltreatment, their bodies dumped on the mountainsides "like animals". At the time of her imprisonment from 1986, around 6,000 people were held within the camp's high walls and electric fences, and its main industries were clothes and shoe manufacturing.

2) Kwan-li-so 14

This is near Kaechon, South Pyongan province, on the north bank of the Taedong River opposite camp 18. It measures 25 to 31 miles by 19 miles, and contains about 15,000 prisoners, according to Kim Yong, who was held there from 1995-96. Kim said the main industries were mining and farming and that many people died due to malnutrition, disease and mining accidents.

3) Kwan-li-so 15

This is located at Yodok in South Hamgyong province. Descriptions of the camp by refugees cover all the years from 1977 to 1999. These include Kang Chol Hwan, the author of Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag, whose small village within camp 15 suffered about 100 deaths every year due to malnutrition and disease. In the 1990s Yodok held more than 45,000 prisoners, surrounded by a barbed-wire fence up to 4m high and walls topped with electric wires. Along the fence were watchtowers patrolled by guards carrying automatic rifles and hand grenades. In the camp there was a gypsum quarry, textile plants, distilleries and a gold mine, where there were frequent accidents. Lee Young Kuk, a prisoner until 1999, witnessed numerous public executions and shootings in the camp.

4) Kwan li-so 16

Less is known about this camp at Hwasong, North Hamgyong province than the others. This could be because it lies adjacent to another highly secret location, the Mount Mantap nuclear testing site, and it is close to the Musudan-ri missile-testing facility. The camp measures 18 miles by 16 miles and is believed to hold 10,000 prisoners.

5) Kwan li-so 18

This camp lies at Bukchang on the south bank of the Taedong River, South Pyongan province. Kim Yong, who was transferred here in 1996 and escaped in 1998, said it held approximately 50,000 people, mainly the families of those imprisoned in camp 14. Bukchang was less severe than camp 14, but Kim Yong still witnessed prisoners dying of malnutrition and being shot. The main industries were coal mining, brick making and cement making.

6) Kwan li-so 22

Camp located at Hoeryong in North Hamgyong province, the north-eastern tip of the country. Former guard Ahn Myong Chol described it as one of the largest prison camps, containing around 50,000 prisoners within an area 31 miles long by 25 miles wide. Hoeryong is infamous for reports of chemical weapons experiments on humans, and glass gas chambers, revealed in a BBC documentary Axis of Evil in 2004.

Mass graves

North Korea was hit by a famine in the 1990s that killed a huge number of its people. Estimates of the death toll between 1995 and 1998 vary from 600,000 to 3.5 million from a population of 22 million. The US State Department claims two million died of starvation in these years. While thousands starved, particularly in the north-east, the regime continued to prioritise weapons buying and sent shipments of international aid to politically favoured areas on the west coast.

1) Hamhung mass graves

Hamhung city in South Hamgyong province was among the worst affected by famine. In 1998 a former engineering student told Kyodo News Services that more than 10 per cent of the city's population, including his mother, had starved to death, while another 10 per cent fled the city to find food. Google Earth images have revealed mass graves on the hills around the city of Hamhung. One can see a multitude of distinctive mounds packed on to the slopes. The graves begin within a well-organised cemetery then spread. The small mounds consume the entire hill, the hills around it and nearly all the unoccupied land surrounding the city. One North Korea Uncovered researcher, Joshua Stanton, believes the number of graves exceeds 100,000, and if the smaller and less dense burial areas are included, the total could be twice that figure.

2) Unnamed graves

This is another burial ground just east of the capital, Pyongyang, where the small mounds are again visible on the hillsides. There are other large, haphazard burial grounds in North Korea. No date or cause of death relating to these graves can be determined from the satellite images. But most commentators agree it is unlikely that normal circumstances could produce such a great density of burials. The concentration of graves would be consistent with published reports filed from Hamhung during the famine.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/north-korea-uncovered-palaces-labour-camps-and-mass-graves-1711573.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2009, 09:29:51 AM »

By GORDON G. CHANG
At this moment the Kang Nam, a North Korean tramp freighter, is on the high seas tailed by a team of American destroyers and submarines and watched by reconnaissance satellites and aircraft. The vessel had cleared the Taiwan Strait at the end of last week as it headed south. Yesterday, it was reported to have turned back north toward the Chinese coast. On board, its cargo could contain plutonium pellets, missile parts or semi-ripe melons. In any event, Washington wants to know what is in the rusty ship's hold.

Why the interest in this particular vessel? The Kang Nam is a "repeat offender" and known to carry "proliferation materials." As an unnamed American official told Fox News this month, "This ship is presumed to be carrying something illicit given its past history." United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874, unanimously passed on June 12, broadened the concept of illicit cargoes as far as North Korea is concerned. It prohibits Pyongyang from selling arms, even handguns. The Kang Nam's U-turn is a sure sign that it is carrying contraband and is now seeking a safe port.

The Security Council, while banning Pyongyang's export of weapons, has not given U.N. member states the means of enforcing the new restrictions. Resolution 1874 calls upon countries to inspect North Korean cargoes on the high seas -- but only "with the consent of the flag State," in this case North Korea. Should Pyongyang refuse -- as it most certainly would -- a member state can, within the terms of the resolution, direct a vessel to "an appropriate and convenient port" for inspection by local officials. Should Pyongyang refuse to divert the ship, the resolution contemplates the filing of a report to a U.N. committee.

It looks as if Washington will file such a report soon. Last week, the U.S. promised China it would abide by the restraints imposed by Resolution 1874. This means, in all probability, that the U.S. will be reduced to watching the Kang Nam unload illegal cargo items at some port.

Yet Washington does not have to adopt such a feeble approach. The North Koreans have, inadvertently, given the U.S. a way to escape from the restrictions of the new Security Council measure. On May 27, the Korean People's Army issued a statement declaring that it "will not be bound" by the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War. This was at least the third time Pyongyang has disavowed the interim agreement that halted hostilities in 1953. Previous renunciations were announced in 2003 and 2006.

The U.N. Command, a signatory to the armistice, shrugged off Pyongyang's belligerent statement. "The armistice remains in force and is binding on all signatories, including North Korea," it said immediately after the renunciation, referring to the document's termination provisions. That may be the politically correct thing to say, but an armistice as a legal matter cannot remain in existence after one of its parties, a sovereign state, announces its end. Today, whether we like it or not, there is no armistice.

Furthermore, there has never been a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War. This means the U.S., a combatant in the conflict, as leader of the U.N. Command, is free to use force against Pyongyang. On legal grounds, the U.S. Navy therefore has every right to seize the Kang Nam, treat the crew as prisoners of war, and confiscate its cargo, even if the ship is carrying nothing more dangerous than melons. Because the Navy has the right to torpedo the vessel, which proudly flies the flag of another combatant in the war, it of course has the right to board her.

But does America have the will to do so? "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something," President Barack Obama said in the first week of April, reacting to North Korea's test of a long-range missile. Unfortunately, the president's words have apparently meant little because Kim Jong Il's belligerent state has, since that time, detonated a nuclear device, handed out harsh sentences to two American reporters, and announced the resumption of plutonium production. North Korea has threatened nuclear war several times in recent days and this month sent one of its patrol boats into South Korean waters. American envoys, in response, have issued stern warnings, participated in meetings in the region, and engaged in high-level diplomacy in the corridors of the U.N. None of these measures, however, has led to the enforcement of rules or the punishment of the North Korean regime.

North Korea's words, in contrast, have meant something. It has, as noted, ended the armistice. Of course, no one is arguing that the nations participating in the U.N. Command resume a full-scale land war in Asia. Yet recognizing the end of the temporary truce would allow the U.S. to use more effective measures to stop the North Korean proliferation of missile and nuclear technologies. The Bush administration sometimes got around to warning Kim Jong Il about selling dangerous technologies but never did anything about it.

Instead, President George W. Bush outsourced the problem to the U.N. In October 2006, in response to the North's first nuclear detonation, the Security Council passed a resolution aimed at halting North Korean proliferation. Unfortunately, Beijing refused to implement the new rules, calling the measures unacceptable, even after voting in favor of them. Since then, more evidence has come to light of North Korea's transfer of nuclear weapons technologies to Iran and Syria.

The lesson of the last few years is that the U.N. is not capable of stopping North Korean proliferation. No nation can stop it except the U.S. Of course, ending North Korea's sales of dangerous technologies to hostile regimes will anger Pyongyang. This month, for instance, the North said that interception of the Kang Nam would constitute an "act of war."

Yet, as much as the international community would like to avoid a confrontation, the world cannot let Kim Jong Il continue to proliferate weapons. Moreover, it is unlikely that he will carry through on his blustery threats. The North Koreans did not in fact start a war when, at America's request, Spain's special forces intercepted an unflagged North Korean freighter carrying Scud missiles bound for Yemen in December 2002. Even though the Spanish risked lives to board the vessel, Washington soon asked Madrid to release it. At the time, the Bush administration explained there was no legal justification to seize the missiles.

Now, the Obama administration has no such excuse. There is definitely a legal justification to seize the Kang Nam. North Korea, after all, has resumed the Korean War.

Mr. Chang is the author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World" (Random House, 2006).
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« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2009, 09:38:18 AM »

Ironic that the Obama led military is now pointing out how we should be able to shoot down any ICBM from N. Korea that threatens US soil.

Remember how the left did and still does lambast Reagan's antiballistic defence strategy and mocks it as starwars?

Why if BO was President this strategy would never have been undertaken, we would have no defense against this threat and now this guy is acting tough by taking advantage of Reagan's wisdom.

All the while he and his socialist cohorts consider Reagan a destroyer of worlds.

I hope Dick Morris is right before this coutnry gets sold out and BO crashes and burns in the poll ratings.

We got to get him kicked out of office before its too late.
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« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2009, 06:05:30 PM »

Amen CCP.

@Anyone:

  Any word on the sit rep with that NK tanker we are shadowing?
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« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2009, 06:29:04 PM »

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2009/06/changing-course.html

Changing Course

For more than a week, the USS John S. McCain has been shadowing a North Korean merchant vessel, believed to be carrying illegal weapons.

Now that ship--the Kang Nam--appears to be heading back home. As the AP reports:

U.S. officials said Tuesday that a North Korean ship has turned around and is headed back toward the north where it came from, after being tracked for more than a week by American Navy vessels on suspicion of carrying illegal weapons.

The move keeps the U.S. and the rest of the international community guessing: Where is the Kang Nam going? Does its cargo include materials banned by a new U.N. anti-proliferation resolution?

Originally, the North Korean cargo vessel was believed enroute to Myanmar, carrying a load of missile parts. The two rogue nations have drawn closer in recent years, although Myanmar has little need for ballistic missiles. However, various intelligence agencies and anti-proliferation groups have reported that Pyongyang has been attempting to sell missiles to the Myanmar regime since 2005.

There is also the possibility that Myanmar was merely a trans-shipment point, but those reports are also unconfirmed. With U.S. naval vessels trailing the Kang Nam--and hints that we might board and search the vessel--North Korea decided to recall the ship and its cargo.

Still, no one can actually be sure the the Kang Nam is heading back to the DPRK. In the past, North Korean ships involved in illicit activities (most notably, drug running) have operated from Chinese coastal waters. Under that scenario, the vessel would rendez-vous with another ship and transfer the cargo.

However, given the constant surveillance of the Kang Nam, accomplishing that transfer would be difficult, if not impossible. It's also unlikely that Beijing would want to be associated with that activity, particularly as U.S. envoys press China to put more pressure on Pyongyang.

The most likely scenario? In a few days, the Kang Nam slips back into port at Nampo, and the cargo is unloaded. Then, it's shipped to Sunan Airfield, near Pyongyang, and loaded onto an IL-76 transport, which flies the cargo to the customer.

As we noted almost three years ago, North Korea has long used airlift to move high-value cargo to its most important clients, including Iran. And that illustrates a rather serious "hole" in current efforts to contain Pyongyang. While the U.S. (and other naval powers) are actively tracking DPRK maritime shipments, there is no comparable effort for air transfers.

In some cases, those shipments would be almost impossible to stop. With a lighter load, an IL-76 can fly non-stop from North Korea to Iran. However, those flights do require direct routing (through Chinese or Russian airspace). Without it, North Korea or Iranian airlifters would be forced to make refueling stops, providing an opportunity for the U.S. to lobby for third-party inspections, or deny access to the airfields.

As with other attempts to pressure Pyongyang, China would be a key player in eliminating the air option. But (apparently) there are limits to Beijing's cooperation. Intelligence reports indicate that North Korean IL-76s sometimes use Chinese airfields during flights to the Middle East. Without more assistance from the PRC, North Korea's "air bridge" will remain open, and Kim Jong-il will retain a critical option for shipping missile and WMD cargoes to his customers.
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« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2009, 06:33:09 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/03/north-korean-burmese-alliance-grows-closer/

North Korean-Burmese alliance grows closer
POSTED AT 5:15 PM ON JULY 3, 2009 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Any room for one more in the Axis of Evil Alternative Ethics Outlook?  Burma, called Myanmar by the ruling military junta, sent its military leaders to North Korea for secret talks last year, resulting in a closer military and economic alliance just coming to light now, according to the Telegraph.  Pyongyang has begun supplying the Burmese regime with weapons in defiance of UN arms embargos on both countries:

A 37-page document in Burmese obtained by Radio Free Asia detailed a visit by 17 Burmese officials, including General Thura Shwe Mann, the chief of staff of the army and Burma’s third-ranked leader, to Beijing and Pyongyang last November.

The stated aim of the visit was “to modernize the Burmese military and increase its capabilities through visiting and studying the militaries” of China and North Korea, and a memorandum of understanding was signed with North Korea counterparts on November 27.

The report also says the Burmese delegation was shown North Korean surface-to-air missiles and rockets, along with naval and air defense systems and tunnel construction, including how Pyongyang stores aircraft and ships underground to protect them from aerial attack.

None of this comes as any great shock, as Pyongyang needs all the customers it can get for its weapons systems, and Burma needs weapons systems to maintain its iron grip on power.  The path of the Kang Nam, the North Korean ship trailed by the US Navy and suspected of illegal gun-running, originally appeared to lead to Burma, before American pressure forced it to turn around.  This revelation confirms that Kim Jong-Il has turned the rogue nation of Burma into a client state.

If we needed more proof of Kim’s inclination to act as a proliferator, it would be difficult to find anything better.  He partners with fellow rogue states to move weapons around the world while his people starve to death.  The only action that will get his attention is a blockade, which is why Kim keeps threatening war when the US and its Pacific Rim allies attempt to impose it.  It may not be a bluff; if we cut off his ability to sell weapons, Kim will have no choice but to either surrender to the six-party agenda or to attempt to seize the entire Korean peninsula.
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« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2009, 08:15:26 PM »

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=57e_1250289703
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« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2009, 11:59:59 AM »



http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/09/us-shifts-policy-willing-to-meet-1on1-with-north-korea.html
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« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2010, 11:19:47 AM »

By PETER M. BECK
North Korea's nuclear program has preoccupied foreign policy makers for years, but it's not the only problem on the Korean Peninsula. Kim Jong Il's regime looks increasingly unstable and could collapse. That could lead to North Korea's reunification with the South and could present foreign leaders with the expensive task of modernizing the North's economy.

There are three plausible scenarios for a Korean reunification. One would be sudden and bloodless like what Germany experienced. The worst would be a reunification marked by the kind of violence Vietnam suffered. The third is somewhere between the first two and akin to the chaotic post-Communist transitions of Romania and Albania.

Any one of these outcomes would be expensive. The North's economy is in shambles. It collapsed in the 1990s amid a famine that likely killed hundreds of thousands of people. Fixing the economy will require new infrastructure, starting with the power grid, railway lines and ports. This alone will cost tens of billions of dollars. Few of the North's factories meet modern standards and it will take years to rehabilitate agricultural lands. The biggest expense of all will be equalizing North Koreans' incomes with their richer cousins in the South, whether through aid transfers or investments in education and health care.

Even the best-case German model will cause South Koreans heartburn. Despite the $2 trillion West Germany has paid over two decades, Bonn had it relatively easy in the beginning. East Germany's population was only one-quarter of West Germany's, and in 1989 East German per capita income was one-third of the West's. The two Germanies also had extensive trade ties.

North Korea's per capita income is less than 5% of the South's. Each year the dollar value of South Korea's GDP expansion equals the entire North Korean economy. The North's population is half the South's and rising thanks to a high birth rate. North and South also barely trade with each other. To catch up to the South, North Korea will need more resources than East Germany required if living standards on both sides of the peninsula are to be close to each other.

More than a dozen reports by governments, academics and investment banks in recent years have attempted to estimate the cost of Korean unification. At the low end, the Rand Corporation estimates $50 billion. But that assumes only a doubling of Northern incomes from current levels, which would leave incomes in the North at less than 10% of the South.

At the high end, Credit Suisse estimated last year that unification would cost $1.5 trillion, but with North Korean incomes rising to only 60% of those in the South. I estimate that raising Northern incomes to 80% of Southern levels—which would likely be a political necessity—would cost anywhere from $2 trillion to $5 trillion, spread out over 30 years. That would work out to at least $40,000 per capita if distributed solely among South Koreans.

Who would foot such a bill? China is the greatest supporter of the current regime in Pyongyang, with trade, investment and economic assistance worth $3 billion a year. Even if that flow continues, it's only a fraction of the $67 billion a year needed to equal $2 trillion over 30 years. Japan is willing to pay $10 billion in reparations for having colonized the North in the 20th century, but that too would barely make a dent.

That leaves international institutions like the World Bank as well as South Korea and the United States. Building a modern economy in North Korea would be a wise investment in peace and prosperity in North Asia. Policy makers need to think about where that money will come from and how it should be spent to minimize the risk of wasting it in post-reunification confusion.

Mr. Beck is the Pantech Research Fellow at Stanford University and teaches at American University and Ewha Womans University.
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« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2010, 08:38:26 AM »


http://alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/TOE60Q019.htm
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« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2010, 09:28:13 AM »

Whenever the NorKs act up, either they need a cash/aid infusion, or China needs to pressure the US for something.
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« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2010, 04:45:16 AM »

Power Balances and the ChonAn Incident

United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates met Tuesday with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae Young and announced the official date for the long-delayed naval exercises called “Invincible Spirit,” which will be held on July 25-28 in the East Sea. The exercises will include the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group and four F-22 Raptors among a host of other American and Korean ships and aircraft. On Wednesday, Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — accompanied by a delegation of top U.S. officials from the military, State Department and National Security Council — will hold the first ever “2+2” round of talks with their South Korean counterparts in a show of solidarity after the alleged North Korean surprise attack on the South Korean navy corvette, the ChonAn, on March 26.

In short, the United States is attempting to give a substantial commitment to South Korea to show that it will come to its defense when needed, and dispel fears to the contrary that were raised following the ChonAn incident. Gates, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Pacific Command Chief Admiral Robert Willard, stressed that the military exercise is only the first step in what will be a series of exercises between the two states to demonstrate alliance strength, improve operational skills and readiness and deter North Korea from future provocations. The meeting will conclude with a joint statement about the alleged attack and an outline of future military cooperation. Previously, the United States held 2+2 talks with regional partners like Japan and Australia, but not South Korea, so the meetings between the top defense and foreign affairs ministers are meant to represent a promotion of the status of the U.S. and Korean alliance. The two sides will also likely discuss their decision to delay the transfer of wartime operational control over Korean forces for three years to 2015, and may discuss ways to ratify the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement that was signed in 2007.

From the Korean point of view, this commitment badly needed demonstrating. Seoul’s response to the ChonAn incident has been constrained from the start, and the United States bears some responsibility. Unwilling to risk a war with North Korea, Seoul pursued mostly symbolic and diplomatic means of retribution. But even these efforts were diluted or moderated, primarily due to intervention by China and unwillingness on the part of the United States to pressure Beijing. The limitations on Korea’s ability to rally an international response was emblematized by the United Nations Security Council’s presidential statement on the incident, which condemned the attack without naming North Korea as the attacker.

“The ChonAn incident has brought into relief the constraints that bind the different players in Northeast Asia.”
From the United States’ point of view, instability on the peninsula became entangled in the broader U.S.-China dynamic, and Washington proved unwilling to risk a deeper rift with China. This is why the United States repeatedly delayed the military exercises and has resisted sending its aircraft carrier to the West Sea. But the vacillations and cautiousness in dealing with Beijing gave Seoul the impression that Washington’s response was not as rapid and unequivocal as it should have been and that its commitment to the alliance was weaker than promised.

In this way, the ChonAn incident has brought into relief the constraints that bind the different players in Northeast Asia. In the aftermath of the Korean War, a balance of power was put in place enabling the United States to remove the majority of its forces, as it is currently attempting to do with Iraq and eventually Afghanistan. This balance has held so far, but it has faced serious tests. The ChonAn incident presented yet another test, and each player performed a role. North Korea orchestrated a sudden and inflammatory provocation as part of its strategy of keeping enemies off guard and neighbors divided, called attention to matters of its concern — such as the disputed maritime border and lack of a peace treaty — and managed to pull all of this off with relative impunity. South Korea scrambled to respond to the incident in a way that would appear strong without triggering an internecine war, while striving to reassure its public, get assistance from the United States (its chief security guarantor) and win over other international players.

Meanwhile, China served as an abettor of the North Korean regime amid a barrage of criticism from the United States and its allies. It managed to mount such harsh resistance to U.S. plans as to extract concessions, creating divisions between Washington and a disappointed (but still needy) Seoul. Japan and Russia remained aloof; Russia basically supported Beijing, and Tokyo basically supported Washington. The United States struggled to balance its commitment to the alliance with its desire to maintain relations with China, a crucial economic player and one Washington would rather not fight with at present. And yet Beijing inevitably remained opposed to the U.S. response since it brought the most powerful navy in the world — and by no means an ally — right up to China’s strategic core.

While the balance of power continues to hold, recent events reveal that it cannot be taken for granted. The sinking of the ChonAn would normally be considered an act of war, and not all regions would be able to prevent a downward spiral of unintended consequences after such an event. Pyongyang’s alleged ambush seems a particularly flagrant and reckless example of its time-tried strategy – a fact that may reflect the political elite’s attempt to manage a potentially highly destabilizing leadership succession. Most importantly, China’s regime is facing up to some deeply held fears about future strategic challenges. It sees greater U.S. pressure coming to bear against its economic policies and growing regional influence; it sees heightening internal and external risks to its economic model and social cohesion; and it fears that too much compromise with foreign powers will lead it to the fate of its predecessor, the nationalist Chinese republic that undermined its own credibility by allowing foreign powers to take advantage of it through economic and naval means. Beijing’s perspective explains its staunch resistance to the American and Korean show of force. But crucially, with the United States preoccupied with the task of establishing balances of power elsewhere, Washington itself has played a decisive role in putting limits on the alliance’s show of force.
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« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2011, 09:50:56 AM »

The Korean peninsula was divided by the world’s great powers as World War II came to an end. That division persists today, of course, and is the greatest source of instability in East Asia, thanks largely to North Korea’s belligerence.

The division also feeds a sentiment in both Koreas of victimization, the sense that outsiders hurt us, ripped us apart.

In many discussions about Korean reunification between, for instance South Koreans and Americans, the statement “We didn’t ask for this” is the ultimate trump card a South Korean can pull to make the American stop, reconsider themselves and feel a twinge of guilt.

In South Korea, there’s also another way that this sense of victimization manifests itself. Many South Koreans say they believe that, even now, the world’s great powers don’t want the two Koreas to get back together.

Well, it’s rare that a moment presents itself for other countries to actually say how they feel about the reunification of the two Koreas, but it happened Friday afternoon in Seoul.

Ambassadors from three of South Korea’s neighbors spoke at a conference marking the 20th anniversary of the Korea Institute for National Unification, a government-funded think tank associated with the Ministry of Unification, which deals with North Korea-related matters.

Now, normally, the words of diplomats are a bit convoluted and, well, boring, so journalists like us usually just summarize them.

But on Friday, each of the three ambassadors talked about experiences in which South Koreans had told them they didn’t think the country they represent wanted reunification to happen. And each of them had a strong, succinct response that yes, actually, they would like to see the Koreas reunite with Seoul in the lead.

So we decided to give them to you without a filter on this post.

We should point out – as the hosts of the KINU conference did several times – that China’s ambassador to South Korea was also invited to Friday’s meeting, had confirmed his attendance but canceled at the last minute. In other words, the stance many of us would like to hear on the topic, Beijing’s, remains a mystery.

The key statements from the diplomats:

Kathleen Stephens, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

“The U.S. vision on Korean unification is in the context of our vision for the entire Asia-Pacific region. We want to see shared prosperity, shared peace and genuine stability. It’s within that context that we support reunification – too long postponed, too long delayed, too tragically prolonged – by peaceful means and in accordance with the wishes of the Korean people.

“President Obama and President Lee Myung-bak in June 2009 signed a joint vision statement, a vision of the U.S.-Korea relationship. I want to read to you one sentence, there’s more, but one sentence, because this is our vision. ‘Through our alliance, we aim to build a better future for all people on the Korean peninsula, establishing a durable peace on the peninsula and leading to peaceful reunification on the principles of free democracy and a market economy.’

“That’s what we’re trying to do. Now, I emphasize this because nothing has disturbed me more over the years than at times having it suggested to me by Korean friends or others that somehow the United States thinks the division of the Korean peninsula is right or even serves U.S. interests. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“We look, from the perspective now of 2011, at the division of this peninsula and at the division of the Korean people as one of the great tragedies of the 20th Century.”

Muto Masatoshi, Japan Ambassador to South Korea

“I want to talk about [South] Korean people’s perception of how Japanese look at unification. A lot of people used to say we are negative or reluctant to support it. People would say Japan does not want a very strong country next to us. Well, that is not true. That is not based on reality or how our relations are.

“The reunification of Korea is a big benefit for us. I would like to quote three reasons for that.

“First of all, the reduction of tension on the Korean peninsula will certainly promote peace and stability in East Asia.

“Second, with reunification, we will have a big market here and big business opportunities will emerge out of reunification.

“Thirdly, South Korea is very active in promoting peace and stability and prosperity in the world. Korea is a very good partner in our international relations. And we would like to see a very strong partner next to us, which has a very similar interest to us.”

Konstantin Vnukov, Russia Ambassador to South Korea

“The situation on the Korean peninsula directly affects the security of the Russian people who live very close on the neighboring Russian Far East as well as influences the large scale, rapid-development plans of my government for Siberia and the Russia Far East region.

“From this point of view, the establishment in future of a democratic, prosperous and friendly-towards-us united Korea fully reflects Russian political and economic interests.

“We are convinced that there is no alternative to political and diplomatic settlement of the situation. Moreover, the six-party talks from our point of view is the optimal mechanism for making necessary decisions on all the issues, including, of course, the main issue, which is the nuclear problem.

“Using our obvious advantages, in particular good relations with both Korean states … Russia is doing everything possible to normalize the situation on the peninsula.”

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« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2011, 10:03:16 PM »

This could get interesting , , , 
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« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2011, 10:12:08 PM »

This could get interesting , , , 

Ronery no more.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TEvacFETvM
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« Reply #45 on: December 18, 2011, 10:24:47 PM »

ROK on "emergency alert".
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« Reply #46 on: December 18, 2011, 10:40:15 PM »

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il on Aug. 24
STRATFOR Book
•   North Korea’s Nuclear Gambit: Understanding Pyongyang’s Survival Strategy
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died the morning of Dec. 17, according to an official North Korean News broadcast at noon Dec. 19. Initial reports say Kim died of a heart attack brought on by fatigue while on board a train. Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008, and his health has been in question since.
Kim’s death comes as North Korea was preparing for a live  leadership transition in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim’s father and North Korea’s founding leader, Kim Il Sung, a transition that had been intended to avoid the three years of internal chaos the younger Kim faced after his father’s death in 1994. Kim Jong Il had delayed choosing a successor from among his sons to avoid allowing any one to build up their own support base independent of their father. His expected successor, son Kim Jong Un, was only designated as the heir apparent in 2010 after widespread rumors in 2009 and thus has had little experience and training to run North Korea and little time to solidify his own support base within the various North Korean leadership elements. Now, it is likely that Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, will rule behind the scenes as Kim Jong Un trains on the job. Like the transition from Kim Il Sung to Kim Jong Il, it is likely that North Korea will focus internally over the next few years as the country’s elite adjust to a new balance of power. In any transition, there are those who will gain and those who are likely to be disenfranchised, and this competition can lead to internal conflicts.
The immediate question is the status of the North Korean military. Kim Jong Un is officially the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers Party of Korea and was recently made a four-star general, but he has no military experience. If the military remains committed to keeping the Kim family at the pinnacle of leadership, then things will likely hold, at least in the near term. There were no reports from South Korea that North Korea’s military had entered a state of heightened alert following Kim Jong Il’s death, suggesting that the military is on board with the transition for now. If that holds, the country likely will remain stable, if internally tense.
Kim’s death does not necessarily put an end to recently revived discussions with the United States and others over North Korea’s nuclear program. Pyongyang has increasingly felt pressured by its growing dependence on China, and these nuclear talks provide the potential to break away from that dependence in the long term.
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« Reply #47 on: December 19, 2011, 11:03:58 PM »

This could go under Glibness but are we not going to send the N. Korean people our condolences at their time of grieving?  Have we no manners or are we run by right wing zealots?  And what about adding a stop on the Presidential apology tour - I wonder what role our crippling sanctions played in his demise.
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« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2011, 05:32:41 AM »


Let the grave dancing begin!  grin
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« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2011, 07:23:10 AM »



Tiny carbon footprint!

Pyongyang is the only lighted area north of the border.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 07:24:45 AM by G M » Logged
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