Uh oh. US President Donald Trump — who is somewhat famous for his relentless commentary on Twitter — has offended the wrong leader. After tweeting, “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”, he not only offended Kim Jong-un, but the entire populace of North Korea.
According to the newspaper Rodong Sinmun, Trump “hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership” when he criticized Kim Jong-un’s regime during his visit to South Korea. Because of this, he apparently deserves the death penalty. The editorial reads, “The worst crime for which he can never be pardoned is that he dared (to) malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership. He should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people.”
The article went on to accuse Trump of canceling a visit to the country ruled by a dictatorship because he is “too scared to face the glaring eyes of our troops.” In reality, the trip was called off due to inclement weather, according to the White House.
The entire purpose of Trump’s tour through Asia was to unite the continent’s powers against Kim. The goal, reportedly, is to “end the isolated nation’s nuclear weapons program.” While he was in South Korea, the US President denounced the regime up north as a “cruel dictatorship.” His tweet on November 11, 2017 did nothing to smooth things over.
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!
To help contain the North Korean threat, President Trump called on China to intervene. According to China’s foreign ministry, President XI Jinping’s special envoy will be sent to Pyongyang within the week to talk with Trump. In previous meetings, the US president urged XI to act. He warned that “time is quickly running out.” It doesn’t look like China is in the mood to pick sides, however.
Fortunately, “China is now actively making diplomatic efforts,” according to Wang Dong, a foreign policy specialist at Peking University. He said, “Before Trump’s visit to China, there was a strong smell of gunpowder between the US and North Korea. The nuclear issue at a key point. If the US or North Korea make a wrong move, it will likely result in military conflict. So China is trying to do all sorts of work, first to persuade the United States, and now also North Korea.”
As The Independent reports, the state newspaper has attacked Trump before. Earlier this year, it called him a “rabid dog,” a “psychopath” and even suggested that it could “reduce the US mainland” to rubble at any moment.
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War on the DPRK would be madness – if nuclear, risking catastrophic slaughter and destruction on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere regionally.
No precedent exists for trying to destroy a nation’s nuclear capability by military means. The possibility of nukes detonating on the Korean peninsula should deter any country from risking the world’s first nuclear war, assuring losers, not winners.
Trump earlier threatening a “major, major conflict” with Pyongyang sounded like the ravings of a madman.
He rejects diplomatic outreach, the only possible way to resolve differences, avoiding a war only a lunatic would launch.
Trump’s trip to five East Asia countries, nearing completion, is all about selling war and weapons.
During his visit, Washington launched provocative Asia/Pacific drills, involving three US aircraft carrier strike groups, along with Japanese and South Korean warships.
Pyongyang considers it rehearsing for war, blasting Trump’s trip as “a warmonger’s visit for confrontation to rid the DPRK of its self-defensive nuclear deterrence.”
Its Foreign Ministry said he “laid bare his true nature as destroyer of the world peace and stability and begged for a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.”
He insulted the nation and its leadership, recklessly accusing Pyongyang of “threaten(ing) (US cities) with destruction.”
A Foreign Ministry response said “(t)he reckless remarks by a dotard like Trump can never frighten us or put a stop to our advance.” The nation will defend its “sovereignty and rights to existence and development by keeping a real balance of force with the US.”
North Korea’s UN envoy Cha Son Nam said “(t)he DPRK will not lay its nukes and ballistic missiles on the negotiating table in any case, unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the US against the DPRK are thoroughly eradicated.”
“Despite the serious concerns of the international community, the US continues to stage, annually, the aggressive joint military exercises, with the aim of planning a nuclear attack against the DPRK.”
On November 11, Professor of International Law/staunch human rights defender Francis Boyle delivered the following remarks sent me by email at a Refuse Fascism rally, saying:
“The US government threats of “preventive warfare” against DPRK are illegal and criminal.”
“The Nuremberg Tribunal in their Judgment of 1946, which the US helped organize, condemned ‘preventive war’ when the lawyers for the Nazis made the argument on their behalf.”
“This is an illegal and criminal threat in violation of international law. According to the World Court in its Advisory Opinion (1996) on the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, the legality vel non of a threat stands or falls on the same legal grounds as if the threat were carried out.”
“The repeated US government threats to ‘destroy’ or ‘annihilate’ DPRK are an international crime under the 1948 Genocide Convention to which the United States is a party.”
“These genocidal threats are also illegal and criminal under the rationale of the 1996 World Court Advisory Opinion mentioned above.”
“The United States has an absolute obligation under UN Charter article 2(3) and article 33 to open ‘negotiation’ with DPRK in good faith in order to produce a peace resolution of this dispute. Instead, the US government has repeatedly rejected these obligations under the UN Charter.”
“The proposal by Russia and China for a ‘dual-freeze’ is an excellent basis to produce good faith and direct negotiations between the USA and DPRK as required by the UN Charter.”
“The United States is deliberately provoking the DPRK, ratcheting up these provocations in the hope that they will provoke the DPRK to commit an act of aggression against the United States that the USA can then use as a pretext for war.”
“Pursuant to the terms of their mutual self-defense treaty, China has stated that if the US attacks first it will defend the DPRK, but that if the DPRK strikes first, China will remain out of any war. So the United States is trying to provoke DPRK into striking first.”
“It is an extremely dangerous situation. It is really up to the United States to take the first step down the Ladder of Escalation that it has constructed here.”
“Instead it appears that the Trump administration is going to escalate up the Ladder of Escalation in the hope and expectation that DPRK will capitulate.”
“This is what International Political Scientists call a Game of Chicken – with cosmic consequences. Who will blink first? Anything can go wrong.”
“Thank you so much for being here today to prevent World War III.”
Now retired, Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas gave his views on a possible conflict with North Korea in a letter to Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) earlier this week.
Jouas, formerly deputy commander of US Forces Korea, said the near 30,000-strong US forces stationed in the neighboring South would struggle to counter the North Korean Army, which the country claims almost 5 million people have volunteered for.
“The 28,500 US Armed Forces personnel in South Korea are vastly outnumbered by North Korean forces,as well as ROK (South Korean) forces that will conduct the overwhelming majority of the fighting,” he wrote.
Jouas also stressed that unlike previous conflicts, the US would not be able build up its forces prior to engagement with the North Koreans, stating that it “will take days to months to arrive in theater [of war].”
In the meantime, the 25 million inhabitants of the South Korean capital, Seoul would be in grave danger from the enemy to the north and that US and allied forces would be “subject to attack by conventional or chemical weapons” which would further delay their entry into the war.
The retired general, who was “deeply involved” with developing plans to counter any potential attacks on South Korea from the North, warned that despite the US’ clear technological advantage, the sheer number of North Korean troops, coupled with the country’s “artillery, rockets and missiles,” would result in an “enormous casualty and evacuee crisis.”
Furthermore, the North Korean submarine force, “although technically inferior,” is among the largest in the world and “capable of sinking allied vessels, sowing mines and inserting Special Forces units.” There’s also the small matter of the country deploying unknown quantities of nuclear weapons against its enemies.
Jouas believes that there’s no such thing as a surgical strike designed to knock out North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and that any US attack, “no matter how limited,” would result in a full-scale war.
“An attack by the US on North Korea’s strategic nuclear capabilities, which they deem essential to the regime’s survival, would most likely be viewed as an existential threat and generate a corresponding response,” he wrote.
The letter comes just days after thousands of South Koreans flocked to the streets of Seoul to demand peace with North Korea and protest the visit by US President Donald Trump, who previously promised to unleash “fire and fury” against the “rocket man,” Kim Jong-un.
In a well-received speech before South Korean lawmakers on Tuesday, President Trump tried to rally the region and the world against the rogue North Korean regime. The President glorified South Korea for its booming economy and democratic government. He also drew attention to North Korea’s decades of human rights abuses, the hellish living conditions of its people, and the desperate things they would do to escape, including selling themselves into slavery. That’s the truth about life in North Korea, but for MSNBC’s Brian Williams and members of his panel on The 11th Hour, it was just too much.
“But the other thing that stuck out to me in this speech was, he painted a picture of what life in North Korea is like under this regime. He described it as hell. He talked about a murderous regime. In very dark terms,” said Philip Rucker, the White House bureau chief for The Washington Post.
After Rucker noted how it was in contrast to Trump’s flowery language about South Korea, Williams agreed with his guest’s initial point. “Yeah, Phil, to one of your points, I was struck by how clinical and graphic this speech got at one point,” Williams critiqued. “Very dark, wondering what, where, how that was injected into this speech? It’s not the kind of thing you wanted children in the room to hear.”
Rucker opined about how it reminded him of how dark Trump’s campaign speeches would be:
It’s not, but we’ve seen this before in some of President Trump’s speeches, including his inaugural address when he talked about American carnage. He likes this sort of graphic imagery. He spoke this way on the campaign trail a lot. He describes terrorists as animals. I mean, he likes to come up with really sort of visceral terminology when he’s making his points.
Williams then whined that Trump’s speech didn’t match his recent nice language about North Korea. “Yesterday’s theme though from him was kind of let’s make a deal. Even in Japan, he was saying we can work something out. It was a little bit of outreach,” he noted. “Today/tonight we are back to something closer to fire and furry.”
Their criticism of Trump’s speech was ridiculous. If Trump couldn’t speak the truth about the communist regime’s atrocities in a room full of adults, then how was he supposed to rally other foreign leaders? And as journalists, they should be all for exposing the truth and not hiding it because it offends their weak sensibilities.
And the assertions made by the disgraced Williams regarding Trump’s shifting tone were disingenuous at best. In Trump’s speech, he did talk about wanting to have the United States and North Korea sit down for negotiations. He also painted a bright and glorious future for North Korea:
The Korean people do have a glorious destiny, but they could not be more wrong about what that destiny looks like. The destiny of the Korean people is not to suffer in the bondage of oppression but to thrive in the glory of freedom.
So, if Brian Williams and his panel couldn’t stand to listen to the harsh oppressive reality of the lives of the North Korean people, or tell the truth about what the President actually said, perhaps journalism was not for them.
Their fear of the truth was sponsored by Prevagen, Wayfair, and It’s Just Lunch.
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The 11th Hour
November 7, 2017
BRIAN WILLIAMS: We are seeing differences in these remarks from day to day.
PHILIP RUCKER: That’s right. But the speech that he delivered, the formal speech that he delivered a couple hours ago is very much in keeping with what the top national security advisers had previewed back in Washington before they departed on the trip. And Trump’s top aides are with him on this trip, including General Kelly, the chief of staff, and general McMaster the national security adviser.
But the other thing that stuck out to me in this speech was, he painted a picture of what life in North Korea is like under this regime. He described it as hell. He talked about a murderous regime. In very dark terms. And then he painted a picture of South Korea, talking about South Korea’s economy that’s been booming for decades, about the political independence there. He even praised scientists and authors and writers and talked about the Olympics and really tried to draw a comparison out as he really tries to build support around the world to join this coalition against North Korea.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, Phil, to one of your points, I was struck by how clinical and graphic this speech got at one point.
RUCKER: Very much so.
WILLIAMS: Very dark, wondering what, where, how that was injected into this speech? It’s not the kind of thing you wanted children in the room to hear.
RUCKER: It’s not, but we’ve seen this before in some of President Trump’s speeches, including his inaugural address when he talked about American carnage. He likes this sort of graphic imagery. He spoke this way on the campaign trail a lot. He describes terrorists as animals. I mean, he likes to come up with really sort of visceral terminology when he’s making his points.
WILLIAMS: Kimberly you to admit, yesterday’s theme though from him was kind of let’s make a deal. Even in Japan, he was saying we can work something out. It was a little bit of outreach. Today/tonight we are back to something closer to fire and furry.
KIMBERLY ATKINS: I think that’s right. I think, we’ve heard the President say many times that he doesn’t want his enemies to know what he’s thinking and he likes the element of surprise and unpredictability. So we’re certainly seeing that play out in these very different — these very different words, very different approaches that we’ve seen in a matter of 24 hours. I mean, while he still has not gone all the way to calling, you know, calling Kim Jong-un pejorative names, it was a lot stronger, a lot more resolute that you either put these — you stop this nuclear program or it’s going to end very badly for you. And being really strong and resolute. So I think it’s a way to keep the enemy guessing.
America’s only enemies are invented ones – justifying unjustifiable global militarism, belligerence, and out-of-control defense spending, intended for offense against sovereign independent countries threatening no one.
On Trump’s Asia-Pacific trip to five countries, North Korea is his prime focus, earlier during his Saudi Arabia visit, it was Iran.
Neither country threatens anyone. Throughout its post-WW II history, North Korea never attacked another country. Iran hasn’t done it for centuries.
Both countries are wrongfully vilified – for their sovereign independence, free from US imperial control, their militaries able to hit back hard if attacked.
The threat of US aggression against both nations remains unacceptably high, unthinkable nuclear war possible.
Trump’s Asia-Pacific trip is largely about selling war and weapons, peace and stability off his agenda, ranting about nonexistent threats his main tactic, along with pressuring allies to support US imperial policies.
It’s also about containing China, the region’s economic powerhouse, heading toward becoming the world’s leading economy, overtaking US dominance regardless of how Washington tries curbing its rise, treating Beijing as a rival, not an ally, Cold War strategy, the same hostility confronting Russia.
America seeks global dominance, not mutual cooperation. Trump wants increased congressional funding to challenge North Korea.
In a November 6 letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, he requested “an additional $4.0 billion to support urgent missile defeat and defense enhancements to counter the threat from North Korea, $0.7 billion to repair damage to U.S. Navy ships, and $1.2 billion in support of my Administration’s South Asia strategy,” adding:
“This request supports additional efforts to detect, defeat, and defend against any North Korean use of ballistic missiles against the United States, its deployed forces, allies, or partners.”
Claims of possible DPRK use of ballistic missiles or any other weapons against America, its regional forces or US allies are fabricated.
North Korea wants regional peace, not war. It wants respect for its sovereignty, normal relations with all countries, hostile sanctions lifted, and a peace treaty, formally ending the 1950s war – objectives Washington rejects, maintaining the myth of a DPRK threat.
En route to Tokyo on Air Force One, Trump told reporters America’s military budget is “going up” – despite no threats facing the nation or its allies.
He falsely blamed Iran for involvement in a Houthi missile fired from Yemen on Saudi Arabia, claiming the Islamic Republic supplies its fighters with these and other weapons.
An air, sea and land blockade prevents most everything from getting in, including essentials to life.
Trump’s accusation against Iran was a bald-faced lie, his extreme hostility toward the country worrisome, disturbing rhetoric perhaps prelude to something more sinister.
His Asia-Pacific trip is more about selling war than preventing it. Unthinkable US aggression against North Korea is ominously possible, including use of nuclear weapons, a nightmarish scenario if happens.
Shortly after dawn on Aug. 29, residents of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido awoke to sirens, emergency alerts and breaking news banners urging them to take cover and brace for an imminent attack.
“Missile launch. Missile launch. North Korea appears to have fired a missile. Take refuge in a solid building or underground,” read one mobile alert that Tuesday morning.
Minutes earlier, North Korea had test-launched a long-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan’s north into the sea ― the first North Korean rocket to travel over the country since 2009. Pyongyang would repeat the exercise less than a month later.
As U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchange personal insults over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, talk of military action has put governments across the region on high alert. For Japan, Pyongyang’s twin missile launches over its territory have highlighted just how vulnerable it is as the threat of conflict grows.
Trump’s Visit To Japan
Trump arrived in Japan on Sunday as part of a 12-day tour of Asia.During his stops in Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, China and the Philippines, he is likely to assure allies that the U.S. has their security in mindand to call for a unified international strategy to rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
In Japan, Trump is meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss trade issues and possible steps to prevent North Korean advancements and aggression. The leaders are also expected to talk about North Korea’s history of abducting Japanese citizens ― Trump will meet with the parents of Megumi Yokata, a Japanese woman who was kidnapped by North Korea as a teenager in 1977.
Trump began his visit with a speech to U.S. military personnel at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo. Wearing a leather bomber jacket, he did not directly mention North Korea but said: “No one — no dictator, no regime and no nation — should underestimate, ever, American resolve.”
Although it’s less often in the crosshairs of North Korea’s belligerent propaganda than South Korea or Guam, Japan is one of Pyongyang’s prime potential targets in the event of a conflict, Evans Revere, a former principal deputy assistant secretary of state who specialized in North Korea, told HuffPost.
“What is often overlooked as we deal with this crisis is that many of those North Korean missile systems are built and being tested for use against Japan and against U.S. military bases in Japan in the event of a conflict,” Revere said.
The presence of U.S. forces, air bases and missile defense systems is partly intended to check North Korean aggression and guarantee Japan’s security. But by hosting that deterrent to North Korea, Japan is also a target in any potential attack.
Prior to the missile launches in August and September, North Korean state media billed a different set of tests in March as practice for strikes against Japan and U.S. bases there, should Pyongyang be attacked. Analysts believe the North Korean military was hoping to test ways to get around U.S. missile defense systems and train for a quick deployment of its arms.
The assurance of U.S. support has been a pillar of Japan’s defense strategy for decades, and Japanese governments have put a focus on missile defense since the late 1990s. The Japanese government’s worries have increased this year, however, as North Korea grows more aggressive in the face of Trump’s erratic threats.
Trump has repeatedly threatened North Korea and Kim with military action, saying he was prepared to unleash “fire and fury” on the country, or suggesting that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is wasting his time with diplomacy.In September, Trump said in a United Nations speech that the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if it was forced to defend itself or allies.
Kim, whom Trump has pejoratively called “rocket man,” has issued his own threats and insults in response. He gave a rare direct address in late September, criticizing the U.S. and calling Trump a “mentally deranged dotard.”
The belligerent back-and-forth has left countries on the front lines of a potential conflict in a precarious position.
Trump’s “use of phrases like ‘fire and fury’ and ‘locked and loaded’ etc., phrases like that have really raised questions in the minds of many Japanese about U.S. intentions and caused many in Japan to worry about whether the U.S. really is focused on a diplomatic solution,” Revere said.
Japan still very much favors a diplomatic solution and de-escalation of the crisis. Abe vowed to “pursue decisive and strong diplomacy” following his recent election win, and he has been careful to avoid any bellicose rhetoric or talk of military action, something that would raise alarm among the Japanese public.
“The [Japanese] public seems to be less enthusiastic about the military and the martial tone of rhetoric from Washington. The public wants firmness, but they don’t seem to want to increase the level of rhetoric and potential misunderstanding” with North Korea, Revere said.
Around 61 percent of Japanese citizens want tougher economic sanctions on North Korea, according to a Pew Research Center survey taken in March and April this year ― months before Pyongyang sent missiles over Japan
The Crisis Loomed Over Japan’s Election
Japan’s increasing worries over North Korea were evident this fall, when the crisis was a persistent campaign issue for Japanese voters.
Abe had called a snap election in late October to shore up support after months of circling domestic scandals. Throughout the run-up to the vote, he used the rising tensions to argue that the country needed his steady leadership.
“During this last election Abe campaigned on two issues. One was the long term Japanese challenge of its demographics ― its aging society and how it’s going to cope with that ― and the other was North Korea,” said Sheila Smith, an expert on Japanese politics at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Although Smith said that the North Korea crisis didn’t singularly shape the way that Japanese voters cast their ballots, she added that Abe’s image as a hawkish leader ready to take a strong stance against Pyongyang likely helped him at the ballot box.
The Pew Research Center poll of Japanese attitudes found that 66 percent of those surveyed were very concerned about North Korea possessing nuclear weapons ― a higher number than in both South Korea and the United States.
Abe has also long argued that his country needs to reform its pacifist constitution to give its military more leeway after decades of post-World War II restrictions. He and other lawmakers have recently pointed at the threat from North Korea to reinforce their case.
One of Abe’s senior party officials, Masahiko Shibayama, argued during the campaign that revising the constitution would give the country a new security framework to address North Korea.
“We can’t permit North Korea to keep making threats and ignoring the rules. We need a deterrent for those threats,” Shibayama said.
Public opinion on revising Japan’s constitution remains divided, and prior attempts to move away from the country’s pacifist policies have set off rare, large-scale protests. Abe is set to use his landslide victory to attempt to push through his goal of constitutional reform.
Much of Japan’s long-running debate over reforming its constitution has nothing to do with North Korea, instead focusing on domestic politics and governance issues. But the threat from Pyongyang is increasingly making Japan review its defense priorities and foster national debate over what role it should play in the crisis.
After Abe’s victory, it’s likely that Japan will advocate for stronger pressure on Pyongyang and back U.S. attempts to enforce economic sanctions against the regime. Yet Abe’s administration will also likely take care to walk a careful line that avoids escalating the situation further amid the war of words between Trump and Kim.
A massive tunnel collapse at a nuclear test site in North Korea has resulted in the death of at least 200 people, according to an unverified report from the Japanese media.
Although there still isn’t any official confirmation that the tunnel collapse actually occurred, according to Japan’s TV Asahi, an unnamed North Korean ‘source’ claimed that up to 100 people were trapped in the tunnels before rescue teams went in after them, at which point the structure collapsed, raising the death toll to at least 200 people.
The date on which the incident occurred is also unknown. Although it is believed to have happened on October 10, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said that it’s still unclear when exactly the tunnel collapsed. Yonhap reported that the disaster occurred as a result of North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, which was conducted at the same site.
Not long before the tunnel collapsed, Seoul warned North Korea that one more nuclear detonation could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak, with enough force to destroy its mountain test site once and for all and potentially even trigger a radiation leak. Despite these continued warnings, it is unlikely that Kim Jong-Un will stop testing nuclear missiles any time soon. (Related: Here is what war with North Korea would actually look like.)
In addition to warnings from South Korea, including the country’s weather agency chief Nam Jae-Cheol, U.S. experts have also stated that further nuclear testing could result in more tragedies in the future. Five of North Korea’s recent missile tests have been carried out under Mount Mantap, but after three small earthquakes that occurred near the site of the blasts, the region is now said to be suffering from “Tired Mountain Syndrome.”
While there is no way to tell how much more destruction will occur as a result of North Korea’s nuclear tests, the fact remains that both natural and manmade structures will continue to weaken as these tests go on.
As President Trump prepares for his much anticipated tour across several parts of Asia next week, Trump is already receiving stern warnings from people like Anita Kumar, a reporter for McClatchy News to “watch what language he uses” out of fear that the North Korean regime may be provoked. Kumar’s warning comes on the heels of claims made by experts who have suggested that North Korea could conduct its 23rd missile test this year during President Trump’s time in Asia between November 3 and November 14.
“What experts are telling me, though, is that there might be a missile test by North Korea while President Trump is traveling,” she said. “That’s going to put him on the spot while he’s in China or South Korea. So that would be huge. He’d have to decide then and there how to react.”
While it is certainly a possibility that North Korea could intentionally conduct another nuclear test that coincides with Trump’s Asia tour, many would argue President Trump’s tough rhetoric is something that Americans should get behind instead of constantly discouraging it. Of course, it will anger the North Koreans, but the most important thing that the United States can do in the face of this enemy is stand strong and show the world that we are not the same passive country that we were for eight years under Barack Obama. America needs to show her teeth, and thankfully, our commander-in-chief seems to agree.