N Korean nuclear strike could cause chaos in US

Moon and Kim visited Mount Paektu on Thursday. The volcano is considered by Koreans to be a site of great cultural significance.
Korean leaders visit sacred volcano amid nuclear talks | CBC News
North Korea and South Korea's leaders took to the road for the final day of their summit Thursday — heading to a beautiful volcano considered sacred in the North — following a day of wide-ranging agreements they trumpeted as a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Kim stated that he will permanently dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons, but they want unspecified corresponding measures from the US in return.
However, their deal on the issue most fascinating and worrisome — the North's pursuit of nuclear-tipped missiles that can accurately strike the U.S. mainland — contained a big condition: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stated he would permanently dismantle his country's main nuclear complex only if the United States takes unspecified corresponding measures.
Moon will be returning to South Korea on Thursday. At this summit, the two leaders agreed upon a series of concrete measures. North Korea will dismantle a missile test site, Kim will visit Seoul soon, and the two countries will try to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.
Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon, and both leaders vowed to work together to try to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.
Trump told reporters that the Moon-Kim summit was "very good news" and that "we're making tremendous progress".
The question is whether it will be enough for U.S. President Donald Trump to pick up where Moon has left off. Trump told reporters Wednesday that the outcome of the summit was "very good news" and that "we're making tremendous progress" with North Korea.
Moon gave a public speech in North Korea where he stressed the long history of the Korean people and said he wants to eliminate the hostility of the past 70 years.
"We have lived together for 5,000 years and lived in separation for 70 years. I now propose that we completely eliminate the hostility of the past 70 years and take a big step forward in peace so that we can become one again."
Other announcements included agreeing to establish buffer zones along the land and sea borders, establishing a zone above the DMZ where helicopters and drones are not allowed, and removing 11 guard posts in the DMZ.
According to a statement signed by the countries' defence chiefs, the two Koreas agreed to establish buffer zones along their land and sea borders to reduce military tensions and prevent accidental clashes. They also agreed to withdraw 11 guard posts from the Demilitarized Zone by December and to establish a no-fly zone above the military demarcation line that bisects the two Koreas that will apply to planes, helicopters and drones.
 
Trump said on Monday that a second meeting with Kim could happen "soon".
Trump says 2nd summit with North Korea likely 'quite soon' | CBC News
U.S. President Donald Trump raised hopes at the United Nations on Monday that a second meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un could occur "quite soon," ...
He also praised Kim as"very open" and "terrific".
Trump praised Kim as "very open" and "terrific," ...
This occurred after a meeting with South Korean president Moon. Moon passed on Kim's message of "You are the only person who can solve this problem".
Trump began his second visit to the UN with a brief meeting on the global drug trade before sitting down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who delivered a personal message to Trump from Kim after their inter-Korean talks last week in Pyongyang.
"You are the only person who can solve this problem," Moon said to Trump, relaying Kim's words.
Flattery probably pays dividends when it comes to dealing with Trump.

The location for the meeting has not been determined, but apparently the Americans would like it to take place in the US.
Trump said the location for the second summit is still to be determined, but officials have said the U.S. leader is holding out hope it could take place on American soil.
 
In a speech at the UN in New York, the North Korean foreign minister said what can best be summed up as North Korea won't continue making unilateral concessions, but rather expect some reciprocation from the US. Or in other words, it takes two to tango.
North Korea says sanctions, lack of trust stand in way of denuclearization | CBC News
North Korea's foreign minister told the United Nations on Saturday continued sanctions were deepening its mistrust in the United States and there was no way the country would give up its nuclear weapons unilaterally under such circumstances.
Ri Yong-ho told the world body's annual General Assembly that North Korea had taken "significant goodwill measures" in the past year, such as stopping nuclear and missiles tests, dismantling the nuclear test site, and pledging not to proliferate nuclear weapons and nuclear technology.

"However, we do not see any corresponding response from the U.S.," he said.

"Without any trust in the U.S. there will be no confidence in our national security and under such circumstances there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first."
One of the things that North Korea wants is a formal end to the Korean War. So far, the US has rejected that.
North Korea has been seeking a formal end to the 1950-53 Korea War, but the United States has said Pyongyang must give up its nuclear weapons first. Washington has also resisted calls to relax tough international sanctions on North Korea.
The North Koreans blamed the current dead-lock (as they see it) on the US, saying that if South Korea were the party that had to be satisfied, more progress would have been made.
The minister instead highlighted three meetings between Kim and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in in the past five months and added: "If the party to this issue of denuclearization were South Korea and not the U.S., the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula would not have come to such a deadlock."
Trump said he has no fixed time frame for dealing with North Korea, and is prepared to negotiate for years if necessary.
On Wednesday, Trump said he did not have a time frame for this, saying "If it takes two years, three years or five months - doesn't matter."
South Korea's president Moon told attendees at a UN meeting that declaring an end to the Korean War would make the "denuclearization" issue more likely to proceed.
Moon told an event in New York on the sidelines of the UN meeting that declaring a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War would encourage North Korea to move further with denuclearization.
The North Koreans had told Moon that the measures that North Korea is looking for include the security guarantees that Trump promised, and the normalization of relations with Washington.
He said Kim had told him the "corresponding measures" he was seeking were security guarantees Trump pledged in Singapore and moves toward normalization of relations with Washington.
 
North and South Korea have begun removing land mines from a small section of their border. South Korea says landmine removal underway on both sides of border with North Korea | CBC News
Troops from North and South Korea began removing some landmines along their heavily fortified border on Monday, the South's Defence Ministry said, in a pact to reduce tension and build trust on the divided peninsula.
This was as a result of an agreement made last month in a summit in Pyongyang.
Project details were agreed during last month's summit in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The mines are being removed from an area around Panmunjom.
In a statement, the ministry said the two sides agreed to remove all landmines in the so-called Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom within the next 20 days, ...
 
The former president of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption. His successor, former president Park from the same party, is already serving a 33 year sentence for corruption. Former South Korea president Lee sentenced to 15 years in prison | CBC News
Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday in a corruption case that has badly tainted his status as the country's first leader with a business background who once symbolized the country's economic rise.
Lee's conviction in Seoul came six months after his successor and fellow conservative Park Geun-hye was convicted in a separate corruption scandal that triggered the country's greatest political turmoil in decades. She is serving a 33-year prison term.
Public dissatisfaction with the corruption endemic in the previous government was one of the things which brought current president Moon to power. The change in government also brought in a change in policy towards North Korea, which in turn has led to the events we have been seeing recently.

Former president Park is the daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee, whose regime was noted for its human rights abuses. There have been rallies in South Korea in support of Park by people who look fondly back on her father's dictatorial rule. It reminds me in some ways of the Russians who say that the days of Stalin were not so bad after all.
 
War-end declaration 'slippery slope' for U.S. Korea presence: U.N. Command general | Reuters
Interesting comments from Canadian Lt Gen Eyre deputy head of the U.N. Comd about any declaration of peace rather than the current ‘cease fire’. Some, such as the S Korean President think it may aid Tubby III in actually complying with the UN Resolutions, giving up his nukes, other CBRN weapons and missiles. Others, that it’s a lever to remove the US troops from S Korea. After all, if there’s ‘peace’, why is such a large contingent of US troops stationed there?

He queries why Tubby III is pushing so hard for ‘peace’ to be declared. Optimists saying it aids him at home. Pessimists that it is intended to split the alliance:
“You have to question why North Korea is pushing so hard for that end-of-war declaration,” he told an event at Washington’s Carnegie Institute for International Peace.

“The optimistic would say that he (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) needs it for a domestic audience so he can change his ways and have a new approach; the pessimist would say it’s another way to split the allies apart.”
He believes the current mood is giving hope for a process towards a lasting peace, he also cautions that the DPRK are “experts at separating allies.”:
While saying that the current mood of detente and negotiation had given hope for a process “moving forward towards a lasting peace” on the Korean peninsula, Eyre said the North Koreans were “experts at separating allies.”

“So what could an end-of-war declaration mean? Even if there is no legal basis for it, emotionally people would start to question the presence and the continued existence of the United Nations Command,” he said.

“And it’s a slippery slope then to question the presence of U.S. forces on the peninsula.”
Moon wants a ‘declaration of peace’ by year end. The US want the U.N. Resolutions complied with, or at least partially with ‘denuclearisation’:
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is seeking an end-of-war declaration by the year-end, arguing it would encourage North Korea to denuclearize. Washington has argued that Pyongyang must give up its nuclear weapons first.
 
US foreign minister Pompeo said that progress was made during a meeting with North Korean leader Kim. Pompeo cites progress made with Kim Jong-un on North Korea trip | CBC News
Arriving in Seoul after several hours in Pyongyang on his fourth visit to North Korea, Pompeo tweeted that he had a "good trip" and that he and Kim "continue to make progress on agreements made at Singapore summit." Trump and Kim held a historic summit there in June that resulted in a vague agreement for the North to denuclearize.
He also met with South Korean president Moon, and also with the prime minister japans.
The top U.S. diplomat offered no details, and upon landing in South Korea, he briefed White House national security adviser John Bolton and Trump chief of staff John Kelly on his trip, officials said.
Pompeo remains tight lipped in regards to what he discussed with Kim. That is probably an admirable trait in a diplomat, but it does mean that there isn't a lot of fodder for discussion at this time.
 
North Korean leader Kim has invited the Pope to visit Pyongyang.
North Korea wants to 'ardently welcome' Pope Francis, Seoul says | CBC News
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited Pope Francis to visit Pyongyang in a gesture designed to highlight peace efforts on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea's presidential office said Tuesday.
The invitation will be delivered by South Korean president Moon during a visit to Europe next week.
North Korea and the Vatican have no formal diplomatic relations. South Korean President Moon Jae-in will deliver Kim's invitation when he meets Francis next week during a trip to Europe, Blue House spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said.
North Korea nominally offers freedom of religion. However, they do not allow Catholic priests to reside permanently there. There are estimated to be between a few hundred and a few thousand Catholics in North Korea.
North Korea's constitution guarantees freedom of religion as long as it does not undermine the state, but beyond a handful of state-controlled places of worship, no open religious activity is allowed. (...)

North Korea, which Church officials estimated had a Catholic community of about 55,000 just before the 1950-53 Korean War, does not allow priests to be permanently stationed in the country.
Priests from the South occasionally visit, usually accompanying aid deliveries or humanitarian projects.
Information about how many Catholics are still in North Korea is scarce. Religious agencies have said they number in the few hundreds to about 4,000.
 

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